Lakejumper

Craftool - How old for quality Tool?

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I have an opportunity to buy some Craftools that are 10-15 years old. Some may be older. Will these tools be any better quality than what Tandy is selling today? How can I tell if a Craftool is the older and better quality tool? When did the quality change...I read some old threads and some members mentioned 1960's. Thanks in advance!

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howie696   

Buy in this order

 

Craftool Co - No number 
Craftool Co - Number only
Craftool Co - Letter and number
Craftool Co USA - Letter and number
Craftool USA  - Letter and number
Craftool - only if on super special very poor quality

 

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Thanks Howie. I did another search and found this info with the dates as well on an eBay blog. I'm think g that if a tool falls into 1, 2, 3 and 4 below, that it may be a better quality tool. Or perhaps I should avoid 4 as well?

"A rough guideline as to age can be made from what is stamped on the handle; If it says:

1.  CRAFTOOL CO -  with No Number.......most likely made before Craftool started putting the numbers on            tools around 1950.

2.  CRAFTOOL CO. - with only a 2 or 3 digit number..........it was made prior to 1963.

3.  CRAFTOOL CO. - with a letter prefix & number ...............it was made about 63' to 68'

4.  CRAFTOOL CO. USA - with a letter and number .............it was made after 69"

5.  CRAFTOOL USA - with a letter and number..................... it was made more recently"

 

 

Edited by Lakejumper

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:dunno:  I bought some in the 80's - right off the shelf -  seemed to work fine

They're packed for the move, so I can't tell you what they actually say. But I just look for a texture -- the stamping on them only matters to collectors.

 

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Thanks JLS. I looked at the tools that I had bought awhile ago (can't remember when) and many of them have Craftool USA on them. I do see a change in the texture on them versus my recently purchased tools.

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Lakejumper, there is a very discernible difference in the crispness of the impressions made by the older craftool compared to the new ones.  Pre letter are the best and in addition to the impression, the steel is far superior.  Most importantly, the actual shapes of the tools have evolved over the decades and many are far from what they were intended to be.  This doesn't mean much in a pear shader, but in the figure beveler series they have become almost unusable.  If you have the opportunity to get your hands on some of the older stuff, by all means do it.

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Thank you Mike. I'm going to see what he has.

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Feel free to shout if you have questions.

 

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Rlaing   

I understand the pride of ownership and being in a "I want vintage" frame of mind but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around paying 6.00 for a Craftool plain pear shader or 30.00 for a branded plain pear shader. Please enlighten me. This is not sarcasm. 

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Rlaing - I have several of the newer Craftool tools and they have been fine. OTOH, some leave impressions that aren't as good as the older tools I have but they are adequate. A couple of good examples are the "Pebble" and Basketweave stamps. The Pebble tool leaves a "dimple" impression no matter how I tap the tool.  I haven't found a way to avoid it and figure that the tool is too convex in its shape. Or perhaps this is how they are designed...this is my first time using one. The newer Tandy Basketweave stamp works fine but it isn't as crisp as other brands out there.  I'm just making items for myself, family and friends so highly visible, professional quality isn't necessary for me and I don't want to invest a lot more money (I've spent enough already! lol). FWIW, Tandy is having a sale on their Craftool Pro stamps now.

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Stamps that have been dipped in the plating process loose their sharpness.  Look at the face of each stamp before you buy.  Even out of the same batch, you will find some with much more crisp detail than others.  This is fine when you are in a store, but more difficult if buying online or by mail order.  For more professional work, you may want to upgrade your stamps replacing the poorer quality ones, one at a time.  There are lots of good tool makers out there.

Tom

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That is what I have been doing...replacing them slowly. I just purchased some used stamping tools that are the older and better ones and will buy better brands as I go.

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The most recent Craftools have been much improved - I'm not sure of the exact date, but let's say from 1995 when Tandy was in trouble to 2005 after LeatherFactory bought Tandy, the tools were in poor shape.

Then the new Tandy management gathered the best old stamps they could find and had all the dies re-made and the quality did improve.

The only mistake they still made up until a few years ago (might be even to this day) was to put crappy zink tools in the starter sets - that is exactly where you actually want the very best quality tools.

So don't shy too much away from the new tools.  In any case, the tools do not make you a better tooler - it is all about how well you learn to use what you have.  For some refreshing perspective, visit the Stohlman m,museum in Sheridan and look at Al Stohlman's first set of tools and the work he produced with it.

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JOhan,

Thanks for the info. I have used newer tools and am pleased with most of them. I would love to visit the Stohlman Museum.

Edited by Lakejumper

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