Letter Re: Machine Shop Tool Recommendations

In your blog you recently mentioned Transfer Punches. A more important tool to have is the automatic center punch. These are handy around the shop and in a bug out bag. They are great for emergency egress from an automobile accident. [Since these will shatter the tempered glass used in the side widows of cars.] They are handy, compact and versatile.

The ones made by Starrett, though pricey, are the best quality. I used mine at work for over 20 years and once a year would oil the spring and still have it after 40 years. Quality always wins in the end. I paid less than 1/3 of the current price that long ago.

I have tools that are 40 years old and still in great shape. These include Wiss brand Snips, Vaco nut drivers, Klein tools, etc. For instance, I have my Grandfathers’ and Fathers’ Wiss Wiss bulldog snips as well as my first pair and each pair is as good as new and still sharp after years of metal cutting. I did wear out the aviation L/R pair several times though. (Mostly from cutting sheet steel or metal that was too thick.)

The moral is you still get what you pay for. As always talk to the people who use these tools everyday to find out what are the best and most reliable. – J.H.B.