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Old 12-01-2014, 10:51 AM   #1
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1st Tool Set

Not sure if this is the right place to post this but, what the hell. I'm a new TJ owner and notice some of the repairs seem fairly easy and the 4.0 seems pretty intuitive, what would you guys recommend in terms of a good tool set? Thinking about getting some ratchets and not looking to break the bank. I guess, something that would be most useful for the occasional tinker and something that would last.

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Old 12-01-2014, 10:59 AM   #2
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A Craftsman toolset is fine for your needs. Yeah they are made in China like all cheap tools are now, but I think they are the best cheap set out there. You can usually get a pretty good set of wrenches and sockets for under $100.

Pretty much the sky is the limit when it comes to tools. I know a couple of fire department mechanics that have well over 100k into their tools.

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Old 12-01-2014, 11:02 AM   #3
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craftsman or gear wrench tools both warranted and are made by the same company
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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I've heard harbor freight is decent. So you guys are basically saying get some sockets and a wrench set? That would be a good start?
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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Another opinion, (not because his is wrong) but I got a Stanley 1/4 inch drive set and a 3/8 drive set...and the torque bits for them...a set of screw drivers, and couple good set of adjustable pliers and a set of metric and standard combo wrenches. add a hammer and that is my "tool kit" for when I go wheeling.....well plus the zip ties/ electrical tape/ 100mph tape etc.
It might be a little over a $100 with a tool bag but it stows easy and the tools have been holding up just fine.
I do have a duplicate of the wrenches, and screw drivers and a 1/2 drive socket set for the garage as well. Honestly I usually use the tools in the bag before I grab out of the garage, even when I am home. Keeps the wife out of the tool bag, she knows what would happen if a tool was used out of the bag and not put back before a wheeling trip. She can use any of the tools in the garage, and I prefer she put them back. But that could be a serious issue if she "forgot" to put one back in the "wheeling tools" bag.
I like the soft tool bags because they "pack" easy, when wheeling. Good Luck!!
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #6
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This was my base set of tools -



Professional Mechanic's Tool Set - 301 Piece

With that as the starting point and base line, I turned this -



In to this -


And now my tool box looks like this -


You can get some amazing deals on tools, they don't have to be expensive, HF hand tools are all lifetime warranty and I can attest that they ask no questions, at least they didn't when I exchanged the one ratchet I've broken in the last 5 years.

I worked at a class 8 truck shop with these tools, and had less breaks than anyone with tool-truck tools. When it comes to tools, you don't get what you pay for, you get a name, but the name doesn't do the work, you do. Don't use a ratchet when you need a hammer, and don't treat your tools like they are worthless and they won't be, no matter what name is on them.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:12 AM   #7
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i'd stay away from cheap tools like harbor freight or pepboys

i'm really glad my craftsman tools are a bit older and were made in the us. the stuff they sell now is cheap Chinese crap and sears probably wont be around too much longer

my personal method is to buy quality tools and build a quality collection. i've bent and broken too many cheap tools, and theres nothing quite like breaking a tool at 1am when you have to drive to work in the morning
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by O_M_Jeep View Post
This was my base set of tools -



Professional Mechanic's Tool Set - 301 Piece

With that as the starting point and base line, I turned this -



In to this -


And now my tool box looks like this -


You can get some amazing deals on tools, they don't have to be expensive, HF hand tools are all lifetime warranty and I can attest that they ask no questions, at least they didn't when I exchanged the one ratchet I've broken in the last 5 years.

I worked at a class 8 truck shop with these tools, and had less breaks than anyone with tool-truck tools. When it comes to tools, you don't get what you pay for, you get a name, but the name doesn't do the work, you do. Don't use a ratchet when you need a hammer, and don't treat your tools like they are worthless and they won't be, no matter what name is on them.
Nice set up...IMO. Not being a "Pro" I don't have a reason to invest in the big box and everything else needed to do that job as a "lively hood", I do think it is rather ironic that the "beginner's set" of tools you had almost matches my description exactly. I don't have the deep well sockets though.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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I've heard harbor freight is decent.
If you heard that, then you are listening to the wrong person. HF tools are historically noted as the cheapest tools you can buy. While the poster above has had success with them, I think he may be the exception rather than the rule. One of the biggest problems with HF tools are the tolerances...horrible!

HF does make some useful tools though, such as their 20 ton shop press or their 6 ton jack stands. Maybe a few others...
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:25 AM   #10
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Craftsman here, something like this should handle most things. I would add a good set of Torx to complete the set.

Dual Marked Mechanics Set: Torque it with Sears

I have destroyed Craftsman tools by using them for the wrong purpose and never had a problem returning them.

There cases are absolute jumk in my opinion.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:27 AM   #11
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If you want a good look at how much things are changing in tools, do some reading at garageforum.com you'll find out that a great many 'quality tool brands' are made in the same factory on the same dies as the cheap tools, your paying for the name and your paying for the guy and his truck that brings them to you. Now the big brands aren't standing behind their warranty like they used to either, nothing more insulting than buying a $500 Snap-On impact gun and have it break 6x while the Earthquake gun just keeps going and going.

The trick to buying HF tools is easy, if it's a machine, watch the youtube vids to see if anyone has modified it to make it better, if it has a battery that recharges, it won't last as long as it should (although I bought a C-3 craftsman 1/2 impact that died in less than 3 months), if it has an electric motor, make sure it's assembled properly, if it's a hand tool, it's usually good, if it's hydraulic and goes bad within the first 6 months, make them exchange it and above all, NEVER buy the extended warranty.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:29 AM   #12
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Note that you will absolutely need both SAE and metric size tools. There are as many metric fasteners as SAE on TJs so don't think you can get away with just one or the other. Also make sure you get a complete set of Torx socket adapters all the way up to the T-55 size.

Most of my tools are Craftsman with a few Snap-On tools here and there, Craftsman is a very good way to go. However, I am surprised at the quality of the sockets and open-end/box-end wrenches sold by Harbor Freight Tools. I wouldn't touch their screwdrivers, pliers, or electric tools but I have a whole bunch of their combination open-end/box-end wrenches I keep in the Jeep and never had any complaints. Their hardened impact wrench sockets are very high quality, exceptionally strong, and a real bargain.

One Harbor Freight Tool I strongly recommend is their very inexpensive ($20) 1/2" torque wrench which you'll find a ton of uses for, like for the final tightening of your lug nuts. I've been using that plus their 3/8" torque wrench for many years and the quality is surprisingly good... even when compared to torque wrenches selling for 3-4X as much. Once in a while the 1/2" even goes on sale for $9.99. If you can, pick up the 3/8" version too. I've had a few friends who compared the accuracy of my JFT torque wrenches to their Craftsman and Snap-On counterparts and we were all surprised all pretty much gave the same results.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:34 AM   #13
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This is what I keep in the Jeep, for on the road repairs:
ผ” ratchet, Kobalt 337307
ผ” extension, 3” Kobalt 337352
3/8” to ผ” adapter Craftsman 4256
ผ” to 3/8” adapter, Kobalt 337377
ผ” driver
6” extension Craftsman 43393
ผ” 7/32 6 point socket (cam position sensor)
ผ” drive sockets, Kobalt to 14mm
ผ” drive Torx bits, Kobalt T10,T15,T20,T25,T27,T30
ผ” drive Metric bits, Armstrong to 8mm
L wrenches, T10-T40, Eklind
L wrenches, Metric to 6mm, Eklind
3/8” extension, 10” Craftsman 44262
3/8” extension, 6” Craftsman 44261
3/8” extension, 3” Craftsman 44264
3/8” extension, 1” Craftsman 43537
3/8” sockets, SK 7mm to 19mm
3/8” Torx bits, Stanley T10-T50
3/8” plug sockets, Stanley 5/8, พ, 13/16
3/8” Metric bits, Husky HW5-HW8, 5mm-8mm
3/8” ratchet, Stanley 7-85-715
10mm ratcheting wrench, Kobalt 338397 (crank position sensor)
Channellocks, 420
Diagonal cutters, Channellock 338
Vise Grips, Irwin 4LN 4” long nose
Screwdriver, Klein 32500 10-in-1
Combination wrenches, Husky stubby

plus 1/2" drive breaker bar and 19 mm deep impact socket for lug wrench
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:52 PM   #14
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Geeze I hate HF stuff, can't argue with the price tho, and surprising to hear OM's comments. I have craftsman tools that I built from a 75 piece set to a chest and roll-away full. Best affordable tools out there I believe. Also echoing what OM said, I've only broken them when used improperly
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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I recommend having more 1/2 inch drives than 1/4. I have a mixed set up and most of my sockets and drives are old school craftsman. I have a whole set of Kobalt (made in Taiwan) 1/2 sockets, and Kobalt (Made in USA) 1/4. I use the 1/2 set the most.

I also have combinations in SAE and Metric from 4 mm to 19, 5/16 to 1 1/8 (Craftsman and Kobalt) and a couple sets of ratcheting wrenches.
Plus a 10 inch combination, side cutters, pliers, screw drivers, Torx, and extentions. Plus one old school 4 pound "persuader" some bailing wire and tape.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:45 PM   #16
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As many people have said already, you can get a nice craftsmen set that comes in a carrying case with a good selection of sockets, wrenches, and drives. I believe the one I got was a 220 pc. After that, you're going to want some extensions, a breaker bar, and personally I like a larger 3/8 drive then the one in the set. If u start with a solid set you can pick up pieces as you go and before you know it you have a pretty capable garage.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:14 PM   #17
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I recommend having more 1/2 inch drives than 1/4. I have a mixed set up and most of my sockets and drives are old school craftsman. I have a whole set of Kobalt (made in Taiwan) 1/2 sockets, and Kobalt (Made in USA) 1/4. I use the 1/2 set the most.

I also have combinations in SAE and Metric from 4 mm to 19, 5/16 to 1 1/8 (Craftsman and Kobalt) and a couple sets of ratcheting wrenches.
Plus a 10 inch combination, side cutters, pliers, screw drivers, Torx, and extentions. Plus one old school 4 pound "persuader" some bailing wire and tape.
Only a word of caution, not to argue......I don't have the finesse to use the 1/2 drive socket and ratchets very much....I prefer the 1/4 and than the 3/8s...when I get out the 1/2 I start breaking bolts, but if I use the 1/4 or 3/8s it will take "longer" but I don't worry about breaking bolts.......sometimes (for me) the "smaller" ratchets make me put more "gradual pressure" until it breaks loose, rather than just twisting as hard as I can with more leverage and break the bolt.

Guess that is why I work in a factory and not a garage for a living.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:55 PM   #18
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Only a word of caution, not to argue......I don't have the finesse to use the 1/2 drive socket and ratchets very much....I prefer the 1/4 and than the 3/8s...when I get out the 1/2 I start breaking bolts, but if I use the 1/4 or 3/8s it will take "longer" but I don't worry about breaking bolts.......sometimes (for me) the "smaller" ratchets make me put more "gradual pressure" until it breaks loose, rather than just twisting as hard as I can with more leverage and break the bolt.

Guess that is why I work in a factory and not a garage for a living.
I agree whole heartedly. However, the suspension and undercarriage really benefit from the 1/2's. The larger bolts and what not are really to big for the 3/8 sockets and drivers (even though larger 3/8 sockets are available)

That said 3/8 is the main component in my "collection". I use the ratcheting wrenches a whole heap of a lot also.


I also like the HF torque wrenches, and the impact sockets... The 19'' 1/2" breaker bar is the tit! (maybe its the 25'') but it works great as a lug wrench and control arm bolt "holder" when you wedge the handle on the ground...
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:05 PM   #19
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Only a word of caution, not to argue......I don't have the finesse to use the 1/2 drive socket and ratchets very much....I prefer the 1/4 and than the 3/8s...when I get out the 1/2 I start breaking bolts, but if I use the 1/4 or 3/8s it will take "longer" but I don't worry about breaking bolts.......sometimes (for me) the "smaller" ratchets make me put more "gradual pressure" until it breaks loose, rather than just twisting as hard as I can with more leverage and break the bolt.

Guess that is why I work in a factory and not a garage for a living.

Try breaking an axle nut or pinion nut loose with a 3/8 ratchet. You'll invent new profanity in your search for a longer pipe to stick over the end, and then probably break the ratchet.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:12 PM   #20
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I agree whole heartedly. However, the suspension and undercarriage really benefit from the 1/2's. The larger bolts and what not are really to big for the 3/8 sockets and drivers (even though larger 3/8 sockets are available)

That said 3/8 is the main component in my "collection". I use the ratcheting wrenches a whole heap of a lot also.


I also like the HF torque wrenches, and the impact sockets... The 19'' 1/2" breaker bar is the tit! (maybe its the 25'') but it works great as a lug wrench and control arm bolt "holder" when you wedge the handle on the ground...
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Try breaking an axle nut or pinion nut loose with a 3/8 ratchet. You'll invent new profanity in your search for a longer pipe to stick over the end, and then probably break the ratchet.
again I understand what you guys are saying...but one thing for me...I enjoy "seat time to wrench time"....so the majority of my "Mods" are simple remove/ replace the bumpers, add a stereo, add a winch, swap some fenders, add lights maybe a novack shifter or a TT....I don't "do" suspension/ axles. I save that stuff for the "Pros". I will do steering but still take it to the "shop" for the alignment.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:15 PM   #21
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This is my tool list.. I put it on a google spreadsheet so others can comment and I can easily update it.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

The first set I purchased was this one: http://amzn.com/B000QF34SY

I have an LJ and it easily fits behind the rear seat. If you aren't driving an LJ you'd have to flip the rear seat forward or remove it to carry this thing...
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:16 PM   #22
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again I understand what you guys are saying...but one thing for me...I enjoy "seat time to wrench time"....so the majority of my "Mods" are simple remove/ replace the bumpers, add a stereo, add a winch, swap some fenders, add lights maybe a novack shifter or a TT....I don't "do" suspension/ axles. I save that stuff for the "Pros". I will do steering but still take it to the "shop" for the alignment.
You mean you take it to the pros until you break something on the trail and figure out what it costs to get it towed out and repaired vs trail fixing it, getting it home and doing it yourself.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:22 PM   #23
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You mean you take it to the pros until you break something on the trail and figure out what it costs to get it towed out and repaired vs trail fixing it, getting it home and doing it yourself.
The TJ has 170K on it and our "trails" around here are not that tough to get out of. Last Jeep Jam we had a YJ break his frame...and get towed out and than home. Where I wheel is 10 minutes from a small town, and a half hour from the Jeep dealer. Generally there are enough people out there with trailers someone could haul me back. Worst case scenario, towed to trail head less than 1000K yards. Call wrecker and turn in tow bill to my insurance company. No breaks on the trail that kept me from driving home. We have had people drive home with the "front wheel drive" Jeep more than once.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:47 PM   #24
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This is JMO. Unfortunately a good set of tools is hard to come by now a days unless you go with the likes of Snap on, Mac, etc. I have alot of SK stuff which I like, but not made anymore. I do use alot of Craftsman now which does the job, and they still replace them. My screwdrivers are all KLEIN. I would suggest a good set of 1/2 inch impact sockets in both standard and metric, even if you are not using air, Torx bits also. I find myself using 1/2 inch mostly even with 3/8 stuff and an adapter. To be honest to two most important tools in my garage are my air compressor, and my torch set when doing vehicle work. Also get some good swivels, you will thank me.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:09 PM   #25
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craftsman you can get at sears, husky is home depot, and kobalt is lowes. all there hand tools you can exchange right there in store. i paid 70 bucks for a craftsman evolve set and it had a lot of stuff i needed. then i got a kobalt 3/8 breaker bar for 12 bucks and over the years i have gotten ratching wrenches and all the goodies as presents. other than those i have wire cutters, paint pen, volt meter, pipe wrench, channel locks, and probably a few more tools im just not thinking about. but i have enough tools to do my own maintenance.
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:08 AM   #26
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I am a professional mechanic. I get paid to turn wrenches, or at least I used to. I am also an engineer. But, I work in aviation, not autos. That said, I started out with Craftsman and migrated to Snap-On.

I break out in hives with non USA made hand tools are put in my hands. It is harder and harder to buy USA but the quality is better. For your basic set, SK, Proto, Snap-On, MAC. Craftsman has gone China and really, their ratchets do not hold up.

A man should look at his tools as if they are a lifetime investment and something you will be proud to pass on. I still use my grandfathers tools passed to me, he was also a mechanic, engineer and an inventor.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:09 AM   #27
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I bought this set last year on black friday for $100! its a great starter kit, just get yourself some torx bits, more wrenches, vise grips, and some channel locks.

Shop Kobalt 227-Piece Standard (SAE) and Metric Mechanic's Tool Set with Hard Case at Lowes.com
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:21 PM   #28
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Home Depot has a set similar to what Jeep-YJ-91 shows from Lowes for $99 for Christmas. I bought a set last January for half price, and it has really been a strong set of tools. I read somewhere that they are made by Stanley. Throw in a few breaker bars and Torx sockets from Harbour Freight and you have most of what you will need for a while.
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:32 PM   #29
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I bought this set last year on black friday for $100! its a great starter kit, just get yourself some torx bits, more wrenches, vise grips, and some channel locks.

Shop Kobalt 227-Piece Standard (SAE) and Metric Mechanic's Tool Set with Hard Case at Lowes.com
I started with that set 5 years ago and have used it often to do many, many things to many different cars. So far I've broken 2 sockets, everything else has been fine. Highly recommended, especially when it hits that $100 price.

Over the last decade or so I've grown my tools from the simple hammers and pliers to the pictured box which is nearly full (same box as posted above without the top chest). I have lots of Kobalt tools which are generally good, and a number of Northern Tool Klutch brand that have proven to be very capable to this point (I have 1/2 drive impact sockets, stubby wrenches, and other odds and ends).

I've had pretty bad luck with HF tools but I did buy the box because it was generally agreed upon to be the best value out there, and so far I haven't been disappointed. I do with the drawers were a bit deeper but hey, for the money you can't expect the world.
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:54 PM   #30
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I love my Metrinch wrench and socket set. I don't worry about metric or standard, just grap the tool that looks right and go. Half the number of wrenches and sockets = less space, weight, and confusion.

I also have full sets of standard and metric Craftsman. I'll use the Metrinch every time.

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