I would like to get some recommendations on where to get a quality, reasonably priced tap and die set. I don't want junk, but I also can't justify the high end machinist grade stuff since they'll just get occasional use. Seems like you can't go by brand name anymore since I've seen the same stuff at Harbor Freight sold at other big box stores under a different name.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Neiko brand is as good as it gets for the money. Ebay.
I would steer clear of Carbon Steel taps and dies as they will wear out very quickly.
This doesn't answer your question but may help you decide what to buy.
No help here just a question.Are most modern taps 3 flute instead of 4?? Bud.
Go on McMaster-Carr's website. They sell quality tools unlike a well known place that sells China made tools. Their price is right and they ship faster than any business that I know of.
Well, you get what you pay for, bought a set of snap-on a few years ago. You can actually cut threads and they are guaranteed against breakage. No regrets. KGB
I agree with Keith. I bought a Mac Tools set years ago and if you break one they are guaranteed. I gut threads on a piece of stainless rod and really fubbared up the die by the time I was done. Replaced no problem.
I can say that any quality set has gone up significantly in the past years. The set I bought back in the early 2000's for about $275 is now over $400. I have seen the same with other quality sets. Most good sets will go up to 1/2" with course and fine threads and also have the metric sizes too with both fine and course threads.
Also for model T use, beware as there are many odd sizes by today standards that will not be in the set.
Thanks all for the input.
If the primary use is chasing threads of stuff that is dirty or that I messed up as opposed to fabrication, are the thread restorer sets a good option?
Here is one by craftsman for example: http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-48-pc-sae-metric-thread-restorer-kit/p-009422 75000P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2
I don't really understand the difference between something like this and a traditional tap.
Dan, most any of the cheaper sets will work for chasing threads and will save you money that way. Lots of folks only buy what they need in individual taps and dies for special jobs where they need to cut threads. If that's the case you might only want to get the odd tools for the non standard threads Chad mentioned. KGB
I bought this TD2425 set 30 years ago for about $200. Every time a tap or die breaks or wears out, Snap On gives me a new one free, and it is delivered in person free by the local Snap On dealer. This one on eBay is an outstanding deal:
I have found snap on to be over priced and the guarantee is only as good as your salesman. My snap on tools are all given away or in the junk box for lending.
Watch ebay for an old Craftsman Kromedge set. Pretty good stuff.
Watch Ebay. This is one item you can get a good deal on. As others have said watch for the older brand name sets. I bought and older Ace tap and die set on Ebay a few years ago for 25.00. There are other USA brands that are good too.
I agree with Gustaf. Here, the Snapon guy is so arrogant he won't sell to guys like me. He only wants the young guys working in shops or going to school so they will buy, buy, buy on their account. Several years ago we had a seller pull every one of his Snapon tools out a couple days before an auction. I called the Snapon guys several times trying to get them to sell me several thousands of dollars worth of tools to put in the auction so the buyers were not mad at me after driving miles to get to the auction. The SOBS wouldn't even call me back. We had already done a ton of advertising and knew we would have a good crowd wanting to buy tools.
I'll NEVER own another Snapon tool.
I bought $3000 worth of Blackhawk tools, virtually every one the local Carquest dealer had in stock and put them in the auction. I bought $2000 worth of misc tools, creepers, parts washers, etc., from the Toolbox in Great Falls and put it all in the auction no reserve and sold it all. We did a couple drawings for $100 worth of gas, gave away some dinners from the restaurant across the street from the shop we were selling out and told everybody right up front what had happened and told them they could stomp off mad and cuss me to everybody that would listen to them or they could say, "I guess he did everything he could to save the auction" and stay and make some good buys on tools and everything else there was at the auction, which most of them did. I also told them that Charlie the snapon guy wouldn't call me back or come see me so I could buy snapon tools to put in the auction so there wasn't much else we could do. Later a couple people who were at the auction jumped him about it and he told them he figured I just wanted him to come waste his time telling me what the tools were and what they were worth.
There will NEVER be one more snapon tool in my shop. I took the ones I had, cut them in half with my chop saw and sent them to him with a suggestion as to a permanent body cavity storage area he could put them in.
They may be good tools -- I won't argue that, but I had all this guy I needed.
Snap On has been great for me. I've used their reps all over the world to get warranty on tools for decades. Snap On has an unconditional worldwide replacement gauranty. If you are having a problem with your local rep it is a really unusual circumstance.
The link I provided is to a super cheap deal on the highest quality tap and die set you can buy anywhere.
I'll take all those unwanted snap-on tools and even pay the postage . Please don't cut them in half, though. Thanks in advance!
I should mention I still have my tap and die set I bought in the 70's.......it's in a wood box. You only buy a snap-on tool once.
Royce- Thanks for the suggestion. I'm just wondering how the local Snap-On rep will respond to me requesting them to make an incomplete set whole that was purchased secondhand on eBay.
Heather bought me a set of Hanson taps and dies several years ago, they seem good enough for most things I get involved with in playing with Model T.
I paid $47 for the Snap On set back in 1965.
I think I had to have one or two replaced. Maybe more.
For the metric stuff I just buy each one as I need it as good taps are very expensive.
Be careful of the China imported stuff, they sometimes have a bit more threads per inch than they are supposed to have. I mean the thread pitch is not always perfect. That makes it hard to screw the bolts in.
I have had good luck with NAPA store's taps.
Dan & Andrew - This thread prompts a comment and a question:
If I remember anything from the high school course in "Machine Shop", that I took way back in the '50's, it's the instructor," Mr. Murray" making a point, many times, in regard to drill bits and taps. He said that when purchasing drill bits, taps, dies, etc, not to pay any attention to markings like "high carbon steel", or other fancy or exotic sounding names for special steels, etc., and that if a drill or tap was NOT marked with an "HS", or "HSS" to indicate "High Speed Steel",....."don't buy it"!
My question to you machinists out there is, is that still good advice nowadays or not??? Thanks,.......harold
Royce, I think you are wrong on the unconditional worldwide replacement gauranty, first off, snap on will replace worn out tools for half price, and abused tools are not replaced, that makes it easy for a rep to refuse to guarantee tools. Craftsman will replace any tool that you are not satisfied with, I melted two screwdrivers trying to jump start a pickup with a shorted out starter. The salesman said "you must have had a bad starter" as he took two new screwdrivers off the shelf. I defy you to get a snap on salesman to do that!
Snap on wrenches are soft, and you are not supposed to use the open end for breaking loose bolts or nuts, this will cause the jaws to spread, this is considered a worn out tool by snap on and you must pay half to replace it, and half is still more than any other too on the market. I have managed to break the open ends of Craftsman tools by using a very big cheater, and they are always replaced with a smile.
Harold, the chinese have figured out how to apply markings with out any concern for actual quality.
I've never paid a penny to exchange a Snap On tool that was broken for another one. Just got my 6-32 and 4-40 taps replaced this year.
I've had my 3/8" ratchet rebuilt perhaps 5 times since I bought it in the 1970's. The local Snap On dealer (I've had this done by several different ones in several states) keeps the rebuild kits on his truck. He rebuilds the ratchet while I watch, replacing all the gears and the internals.
Dan B -
Snap On won't replace anything that is missing. The way it works is you give the Snap On guy a broken tool, he in turn gives you a new one. For the money, the set on eBay is a screaming deal even with no warranty. If Snap On were out of business I would still buy their tools any way I could. Quality is worth pursuing.
I have abused snap on chrome sockets with a impact, beat on them with a hammer and everything else. All I had to do was sit them on my tool box the rep would come in grab them and replace with no questions. I can't imagine a dealer not replacing a broken tool as my dealers have always been great. I guess there's bad folks everywhere. Thing is he owns every thing on the truck, nothing on consignment so it's in the dealers best interest to keep customers. KGB
I think the difference is that you guys are working in shops that are on his route, in his customer base, buying regularly, have an account, etc., and probably buy something every time he stops. Here, they will not even deal with somebody like me -- working out of a garage at my house, not much need for tools, probably don't look like I have money enough to pay for them or look like I actually would pay off my account and they would never get anything back from me.
One of the things that used to go on (I think this is now illegal in Montana) was that every thing you ever bought from the tool truck guys was assigned as collateral on your account. Some guy would miss two payments -- say a couple hundred bucks -- and they would go load up everything he ever bought from them and sell them to pay the account. I'm pretty sure they outlawed that when they outlawed title loans and some other things several years ago. At least I don't hear about it any more.
I'm in pretty small town Montana, I don't even know where you would go looking for a SnapOn dealer. I suppose there is still one here. But the last I checked, probably 15 years ago they had a policy that would not sell to "non professional mechanics or shops."
Their loss. I just bought my 14 year old a set of Stanley sockets and ratchets, 1/4 & 3/8 drive, a couple sets of box end/open end wrenches, 3/8 - 1 inch; 6 mm to 18 mm, two adjustable wrenches, two sets of screwdrivers, a set of various pliers, an air compressor and a gauge, etc. plus a pair of Montana Garnet & Diamond earrings for her birthday. She loved it all. She also got a shop manual for her dirt bike. (Yes, she knows what they are and will use them. She is not one to stand and wring her hands and wait for some guy to show up to fix her bike for her. She knows where the tool kit is under the seat, how to check the oil, all of that already.) I tried to find some US made tools but there aren't any other than Sears and only a few of theirs are. So I tried to find Taiwan. Nope, almost all China except the Stanley open end/box end SAE/MM and one screwdriver set.
I bought her older brother a bigger set of sockets and ratchets, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, set of open end/box end 5/16 to 1 inch; 6 mm to 18 mm, two adjustable wrenches, set of screwdrivers and some other things to go with what he already had. He also got a 12v air compressor for his car. Hers plugs in the wall. Got him a floor jack and a set of jack stands, a shop manual for his dirt bike, few other things.
She has a 1980 Suzuki DS 125, he has a 1976 Suzuki TS185. Both dirt bikes, their birthday presents this year. In Montana, you can pretty much ride a dirt bike or a four wheeler anywhere except the main roads no matter how old you are. Kids here work in the summer, helping on the farms or at a job, they need transportation.
Back to the SnapOn discussion. I found out years ago that SnapOn tools are far more likely to be stolen than Stanley or other cheap ones from Wally World or Lowes.
Back to the original thread. I have several sets of Taps and Dies, which used to be called Screw Plates, apparently not any longer. Mine are all Greenfield. I bought them all used at auctions over the years. I got through a lot of taps in the shop, I buy either Greenfield, Cleveland Forge or Kennametal. They are as good as any in the world. They are not cheap. I have a set of old ACE that I love. I recently bought a set of Neiko to throw in the pickup tool box so I have a set in my work truck if I need them. They are good quality for the money but they are not Greenfield or Kennametal. The set was less than $100. Bought it off ebay.
Savanna with her Socket & Ratchet set. 14th
Hey Stan, I think you are wrong, they just have good representatives, Our shop was on the reps route, and he would stop by once a month, between my father, uncle and myself, he would usually sell a couple thousand dollars of tools a year, that was in the 70s and early 80s. When I found out that Craftsman would replace or refund a tool if you did not like it, I switched. I replaced every snap on tool in my tool box with Craftsman for about 1/4th the cost of snap on tools, the crap was given to a cousin or scrapped. With in a year, we were not bother at all by the snap on rep.
I'd suggest a "Thread Restorer Set" (check eBay). It is less aggressive than a thread cutting set. It's just designed for chasing worn, deformed or corroded threads.
When I got the shop finished in early 2010 I wanted to have a good tap and die set. I am not a rich man but I figured I would go to Sears and get the best 1 they had and be happy.
They didn't have the big daddy size set in the store.So the salesman pulled it up on the computer.
299 I think plus tax and he would order it.
Well there was a picture of a die on the computer screen and something looked funny. I ask him to zoom in on the picture and sure enough, Craftsman,Made in CHINA.
I said thanks and left. I did get a old partial set off ebay but needed something that was missing. So I went to Harbor freight and 59 bucks on sale I bought the big set. No breakage, no problems and I use the heck out of it. And it is guaranteed just like Sears.I have some Greenfield taps and Ace also in the tool box drawer for the smaller jobs but larger like 5/8ths or something I use that harbor freight set and it works well.I was surprised believe me. But why pay 300 for china junk at sears when I can get it cheaper with similar warranty?I was happy enough with the tools I went back when I needed a metric set and allthough I dont use them as much, they work just as well.
Now 1 thing I notice. Hardware stuff like bolts in metric, the sizes are in my set. But some of the automotive, are not.Seems odd numbers is automotive and even numbers is hardware?
Dont know for sure but I have run into problems with that.
Btw, B John deere spark plug holes, are metric!
I think the only spark plug I have encountered that is not metric is the Model T's
Another source for tools and tap & die sets is a good pawn shop. We have one locally that often has a good selection of tools. Just know what you are looking for and what the value is.