Author Topic: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study  (Read 11491 times)

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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2020, 05:41:44 PM »
Todd, I appreciate the study and the work you are putting into it. Could you tell me why you preferred the Professional style wrenches over the raised panel. I worked as a pro mechanic for 40 years, starting in 1974. I always used the raised panel style. I had a few Snap On that were specialty wrenches not made by Craftsman. I never did like the feel of Snap On or any other thin smooth handled wrenches like that. After an hour or so of pulling them on bolts they would hurt the insides of my fingers, just too sharp of an edge.

Papadan, I also used the Craftsman raised panel wrenches for 20 years, working on helicopters, before buying my first set of Full-Polished “Professional” Wrenches. I’m sure it was just “tool envy” that fueled my longing for the Snap-On style wrenches. Having never used them, I was unaware of the discomfort you experienced.  By the time I got my first set I was working on missile systems that didn’t have a lot of large size fasteners so I was never required to put a lot of muscle behind them.  Some of the advantages are: the polished finish make wiping them off after a dirty job much easier.  The Professional style wrenches are typically about 20 - 25 percent longer than there raised panel counterpart so you get more torque with less effort. Also, the Professional wrenches are much thinner around the box end allowing you to slip them over fasteners that don’t have much clearance around them. I've taken a few raised panel wrenches to the grinder to make them fit in certain applications.

You weren’t alone in your experience with the “sharp” edges. Around 2006, Craftsman came out with the “Cross-Force” wrench which has a 90-degree twist in the handle so you’re pushing or pulling on the flat side instead of the skinny sharp edge. These only went up to 1 1/8” or 24mm so they would probably be no good on a D10 dozer. These were never sold under the “Professional” label.
Todd F.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 05:43:34 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2020, 06:08:24 PM »
Nice research and write-ups.  Any idea who manufactured them for Sears?

Bill
Yes, like Iptools said, the V, in the case of the Stainless Steel Wrenches indicates they were forged by Easco Corporation. The V and the VV and the Vꓥ have always represented the same company….sort of. Moore Drop Forge was founded in 1901 and forged tools for Sears starting in the 1930s.  In 1967 they were acquired by Eastern Stainless Steel Corporation. They later shortened their name to Easco Corporation. In 1985 they were hostilely taken over by investors and the hand tool portion of Easco ended up in the hands of Danaher Corporation. Still making tools for Sears/Craftsman. They use lots of different forge markings now but if it says made in USA it was probably made by Moore/Easco/Danaher. (with the exception of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Professional wrenches, we’ll get to those later)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 07:11:01 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2020, 07:54:26 PM »
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

Offline papadan

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2020, 09:32:10 PM »
Thanks for the reply Todd. Your mention of easier cleaning made me laugh, in the field I dealt with a lot of mud, tool cleaning was a puddle on the ground and laid out in the sun to dry. ;-)
VWs to D10s, I've fixed em.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2020, 10:24:11 PM »
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

P_toad
Looks like you have a mix of Gen 1, 2 and 3 Craftsman Professional wrenches. They're all good. As we get further into this you'll be able to figure out which is which.
Todd F.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2020, 10:31:00 PM »
Thanks for the reply Todd. Your mention of easier cleaning made me laugh, in the field I dealt with a lot of mud, tool cleaning was a puddle on the ground and laid out in the sun to dry. ;-)

papadan
When I was writing that reply I figured cleanliness was not a top priority when working on D10s.
Todd F.
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2020, 12:38:09 PM »
for some reason this whole topic awakened in my old brain about some wrenches my wife bought me a long time ago.   she could only afford to get them one at a time (and i currently have no foggy about where the 3/4 is...).   Anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

P_toad
Looks like you have a mix of Gen 1, 2 and 3 Craftsman Professional wrenches. They're all good. As we get further into this you'll be able to figure out which is which.
Todd F.

Thanks Todd.   I really want to read that.   Like i said, she could (well, we could), only afford to buy them one at a time so she would get one periodically and give it to me as a gift.   I really like them (and her) :grin:

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2020, 04:37:37 PM »
We have one more wrench to cover before we get to the Professional line. This one is very rare and unknown to most people. I stumbled upon these purely accidently. I had just made an eBay purchase of some kind after searching for “Craftsman Professional Wrench” and, as usual, up pops the “You Might Be Interested In” section at the bottom of the page. I usually ignore these because the algorithm that makes these picks is normally way off. But this one caught my eye so I clicked on it. It was a set of full polish, long pattern, Craftsman wrenches but the word “Professional” was nowhere to be found. I questioned the seller and got back a short explanation. 

He said that, from 1991 to 1993, he worked for the agency that managed the Sears Craftsman Motorsports
Account. That account included the Official Craftsman tools of NASCAR, NHRA and INDY Car Racing. At the time, the race teams were signed with Snap-On Tools and MAC Tools who had trucks that would make weekly visits to their shops. Craftsman was eager to break into that market and lure race teams away from MAC and Snap-On. They built a tool truck and these wrenches were manufactured to sell to the race teams. Needless to say, the effort was a bust. The seller ended up with a standard, SAE set and a metric set still in the original boxes. As far as he knows they were never sold to the public. I occasionally see single, scuffed up ones pop up on eBay but not very often. 

These wrenches are very similar to the Professional wrenches that would follow a short time later. They are a hair shorter than the Professional wrenches but much longer than the raised panel wrench. There is one other rather large difference. These wrenches are stamped with the -VV-, indicating they were made by Easco Corporation. In fact, the boxes they came in have an Easco part number as well as a Craftsman part number. The Craftsman Professional wrenches that are to come, were not made by Easco.

Each set consists of 11 pieces and come in their own vinyl, roll-up pouches that appear to be made specifically for these sets.  You can barely make out the word Craftsman embossed on the upper flap in the pictures below. The part number on the metric pouch matches the number on the box. The number on the SAE pouch does not (but we will see that number again). The metric set goes from 8mm to 19mm minus the 9mm. The SAE set goes from 3/8 inch to 1 inch.

Part numbers are:
44940  3/8”
44941  7/16”
44942  1/2”
44943  9/16”
44944  5/8”
44945  11/16”
44946   3/4”
44947   13/16”
44948   7/8”
44949   15/16”
44950    1”

42979     8mm
42980   10mm
42981   11mm
42982   12mm
42983   13mm
42984   14mm
42985   15mm
42986   16mm
42987   17mm
42988   18mm
42989   19mm

Craftsman has a nasty habit of recycling their part numbers. We will see these part numbers again. (if you look at the pictures in the very first post, you can probably figure out which ones). Please don’t start posting pictures of the wrenches you found in the bottom of your tool box with these part numbers on them but say Professional. We will get to those later. Thanks for sticking with me.
Todd F.
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2020, 10:05:09 PM »
Those are rare sets Todd.  It’s nice to get a little background regarding when and why they were produced.  I certainly appreciate your efforts and recognize what goes into presenting the information.  Great job so far!  I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the wrenches.   

Jim C.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2020, 07:50:32 PM »
OK, we’re finally here.  In the 1994 – 1995 Craftsman Power and Hand Tool catalog, page 41 “New Pro Line 13-Piece Long Pattern Fully Polished Wrench Set”.  I only have the catalogs as a reference for the dates.  When they actually hit the store shelves is anybody’s guess. Just for reference, I call these the Generation 1 or Gen 1 wrench.  The SAE set sizes went from 1/4” to 1” and the metric set went from 7mm to 19mm. They Featured the “Head-Lock® box end” that grips the flat sides of the fastener to prevent rounded corners.  This sounds, and looks a lot like Snap-On’s “Flank-Drive”. They are also about 25 percent longer than the standard raised panel wrench giving you greater leverage. These new Professional wrenches were not made by Easco or Danaher (see reply #16) like the previous wrenches. They were manufactured by SK Tools. You can see the sideways “K” forge mark after the “Professional” stamp. Notice, the open end of the wrench is on the left side (with the word “Craftsman” right side up). Just tuck that away. These wrenches remained unchanged for a whole 4 years until they were replaced by the Gen 2 wrench in the 1998 – 1999 catalog.

The retail, store packaging consisted of a thin black plastic display/organizer with a clear plastic “keeper” that snapped in to keep the wrenches from falling out when hung up. It would have made a great drawer organizer except for one problem.  It was too big to fit in a Craftsman roll-away toolbox drawer. You could force it in but something had to give. Either the edges broke off or it just snapped in half. Very few survived. Ironically, the metric set does fit in a toolbox drawer yet they are even harder to find. I guess they just sold way more SAE sets than metric.

If you look at the last post (reply 22  ) about the Craftsman Motorsport wrenches, you can make out the part number in the lower left-hand corner of the pouch for the SAE set.  44934 does not match the number on the outside of the box they came in. It does, however, match the number of the of the new 13-piece “Professional” set. You can see it in the pictures of the catalog page and in the upper corner of the store display.  I don’t really have a good explanation for this.  Just something to ponder.

I won’t list all the part numbers.  You can see them in picture of the catalog page below. More to come. Thanks for reading.

Todd F.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 09:41:33 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2020, 06:53:50 AM »
Very interesting Todd!  I would walk though my local Sears or Sears Hardware stores back then and I vaguely recall seeing those sets with the clear plastic keeper.  You must have been in “collector mode” when you bought those sets.  I’m sure that a lot of people, like me, would have likely discarded the packaging and just lined the wrenches up in a drawer and called it good.  I like seeing the tools in their original retail condition.  I’m sure that’s gotta add to their value and scarcity. 

Jim C.
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2020, 10:21:45 PM »
This next one doesn’t really belong in this study due to the fact that it is not a Combination wrench and shouldn’t be in the “Professional Combination Wrench Study”. The reason I am putting it in at this point is because it was introduced in the same 1994 – 1995 Catalog, on the same page as the Gen 1 Professional wrench. It is kind of an odd duck. I’m talking about the “Craftsman Angled Open-Back Socket Wrenches”.  What? Now would be a good time to peek at the pictures below. Some of you will say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen those on eBay before”. The body of the wrench is angled 90 degrees with the same size socket on each end (one 6 point and one 12 point).  The short end is hollow and is open through the bend. I guess that would be good for getting it over a long stud or threaded rod, but I could also use an open end or ratcheting open end wrench to do the same thing. The long end is not hollow so you’ve basically got a long socket with a short handle. You can stick a screwdriver through the short end for more torque. I guess I’m trying to say: there is nothing that I can do with these wrenches that I can’t do with the tools I already have in my toolbox. They are also heavy and take up a lot of space if you leave them in the pouch.  Every set of these wrenches that I’ve seen on eBay seem to be in almost perfect condition……because nobody used them. There are even little pictures on the top flap of the pouch to explain how to use them. If you have to explain it to me then.....

The wrenches have the “Craftsman” and the “Professional” stamp on them. The 22 inch, vinyl pouch for each set, also says “Professional”. But nowhere in the catalog does it say anything about “Professional”. Not in any of the catalogs they appeared in. All three of them. They were introduced in the 1994-95 catalog and were gone in the 1997-98 catalog.

But here is the strangest part of the whole story. On each wrench, right after the “Professional” stamp, right where the forge mark should be, it says France. I have no logical explanation.

Thanks for reading.

Todd F.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 10:27:04 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2020, 10:45:37 PM »
Hey Todd,

Great write up on the angle socket wrenches.  Those are definitely wrenches you don’t see too often.  I’m beginning to think we’re going to see a lot of Craftsman branded wrenches in this thread that you don’t see too often.  I’m looking forward to it.  Anyway, I think they were made for Sears by Facom, a French manufacturer.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 10:52:26 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Todd F.

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2020, 02:11:42 AM »
Jim
You may have something there. I didn't think of that. Although I didn't think Facom made tools for sears since the early 1930s.
Todd F.
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Offline Lewill2

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Re: Craftsman Professional Combination Wrench Study
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2020, 12:55:35 PM »
I don't want to jump ahead of your great type study but just a quick question. Will you be covering the raised panel fully polished shorty combination VV coded professional wrenches?