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Old 21-04-2016, 23:06   #1
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Best brand of tools for saltwater

Good evening, I just went through the web, youtube and yes did a search on here for this question, what is the best brand for saltwater environment? not power tools, more your everyday wrench, ratchet etc etc. I know budget restrains certain brands and we all have different budgets, but in general if money was not in the equation what do you see as the best brand for tools that hold up in the salt environment? I am in the caribbean, Puerto Rico to be exact if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance


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Old 21-04-2016, 23:28   #2
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Sounds like the opening of an anchor thread. Hand tools, talk to mechanics and wpodworkers for opinion on best quality locally, keep them oiled to prevent rusting. For power with the exception of battery powered drills ( I like Milwaukee) you are better off buying or renting at haulout and not carry the weight.

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Old 22-04-2016, 05:39   #3
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Many of mine are Sears Craftsman, w/ lifetime guarantee. But what keeps them in good shape is the watertight Pelican box they live in. Wipe them off, put them away dry and clean, and they stay that way.
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Old 22-04-2016, 06:15   #4
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Many will tell you to buy cheap tools,

Don't, decent tools will outlast you
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Old 22-04-2016, 07:57   #5
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Craftsman or similar,

lightly coated with WD-40 and stored in an airtight pelican case.

Don't cheap out on the tools or the case....
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Old 22-04-2016, 07:57   #6
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

I don't have a direct answer regarding brands of tools for you.

I know there are stainless steel mechanics tools available, but since they are as buoyant as their more cost-effective forged chrome vanadium counterparts, I choose to save the money. [Also, try fishing your SS wrench or socket from that hidden area in the bilge with a magnet...]

Therefore, I have found it to be more cost effective to focus on corrosion prevention.

This strategy also allows me to afford some redundancy with common tools. [We typically travel in remote places where there often isn't even another boat to borrow something from...]

I've had success avoiding rust and corrosion keeping quality mechanics tools in water tight boxes with ZeRust products of choice, and sometimes desiccants added. I'm pretty religious about stowing them clean and dry.

I use the ZeRust drawer liner (e.g., rubber non-skid) product a lot and it seems to keep rust under control.

This strategy applies to spare parts and anything else that is not inherently corrosion resistant.

Specialty tools [and spare parts] that I may not need often [or possibly ever...] are coated with Corrosion-X and vacuum bagged [or shrink wrapped when vacuum bagging is not feasible] before being stowed separately. [e.g., specially designed socket for engine injectors, etc.] Otherwise, these tools and spare parts are stored like the hand tools using ZeRust products. [e.g., often spare parts are stowed wrapped in the ZeRust drawer liner for corrosion resistance and padding/non-skid qualities, then shrink wrapped.]

In case this is of interest.



PS: I long ago realized that I can't afford cheap tools...
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:06   #7
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Titanium never rusts and is light and strong. A few expensive but often used titanium hand tools are handy. The rest packaged as noted in oil and stored in a good case. The nice thing about the commonly used tools being titanium is they can left out where they are readily available to do common tasks without exposing your full set to the environment.

Underwater Kinetics - Blue Tang Titanium Dive Knife
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:16   #8
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

As a professional mechanic I purchased my tools as I went through life, I prefer Snap-On brand and the majority is that brand but I also have Matco, and other gauranteed for life tools, good tools do make a difference on ease of job... I want the best, least failures (when used properly) and warranted in my professional life. Snap Ons are easy to wipe down, easy on the hands, have advantages like "flank drive sockets", strip less bolt heads, chisels stay sharper and are engineered with better materials,they are better tools and are also very very expensive. On my boat I have a set of Craftsman and mismatched stuff kept organized in an old Kennedy machinist box, a roll away would be serious overkill on a 30 ft Cat, these usually serve me well, are inexpensive and I keep them well oiled. Rust is a given so keep the internal mechanisms well oiled also. The finish is not as important as function but I hate to have a ratchet skip under pressure, especially while hanging by my tail upside down, with a flame two inches from my elbow etc etc. The mechanism has a spring and pawl in it that must operate freely, like a winch does, it makes that click click.. The other option is disposable tools like a Harbor Freight set. I wouldnt but maybe thats all the money you have and use them very little. Its a matter of money and preference, just like everything else. Craftsman is suffecient and you buy them one time provided they dont fall overboard. That happens too!
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:23   #9
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

I am still using Black and Decker corded drill, made in USA, which I picked up brand new for $10 at a flea market in the late 70s. Since then I have discarded so many cordless drills it's not even funny. And not just the ones from Harbor Freight.

Unless you can afford to splurge big time most of today's tools are Chinese junk so I would advise to shop at yard sales, flea markets, craigslist, etc where you can pick up a good old quality used tools for peanuts. Just the other day picked up a B&D corded jigsaw, probably same vintage as my B&D drill, for $3 at Goodwill. Can't beat that for a quality US made tool.
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:30   #10
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

I was actually thinking about putting together a few kits of commonly used items made out of tool quality titanium in a well-organized case and selling them to sailors.

Maybe 4 sets. 1 simple, 1 bigger, and 2 comprehensive. Obviously the bigger the set the greater the expense--as well as individual tools from the sets.

Pliers, adjustable wrench, screw drivers, regular wrenches.

Any interest?
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:41   #11
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

I would make one small point. The ratchet is the most mechanically complex piece of a typical set of hand tools, and good or cheap, the ratchet is the most vulnerable to rust making it non-operable. I like ratchets, but also carry the common sizes of breaker bars in my tool set.

Not quite as efficient but far less apt to fail.
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:55   #12
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Most of my hand tools over the years have come from Harbor Freight. Some have been on the boats for 20 years with no problems. Unless you do commercial work, no need to spend the big bucks. I make sure they have no salt water on them and wipe them over with wd40 when I put them away.. As with anything, take care of them and they will last...
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Old 22-04-2016, 08:57   #13
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

I gave up on cordless equipment when all of my batteries died and one overheated in the charger and started smoking.

I was down to my last battery our of four when I plugged the battery into the drill and made some holes in a planter. Put the battery back in the charger which was in the utility room on the work surface and under a wall cabinet. A while later I started to smell something. Started walking around trying to find the smell and saw smoke coming from the battery!

I unplugged the charger and threw it outside of the house on the gravel driveway. If that battery had caught fire it likely would have caught the wall cabinet on fire which would have burned down the house.

No more cordless tools for me. I thought I might relent when I had to do a chore that needed a drill but it really is not that much effort to pull out my 30+ year old B&D drill and a cord. The cord drill just works better and I could buy a new, even better corded drill for much less than a battery drill.

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Old 22-04-2016, 09:04   #14
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Any wrenches etc you like. The box is important. I've been using Craftsman for years, but the newer ones for the last 20 years or so are not great tools, but have a great guarantee! The wrenches appear to be just cheap Chinese made stuff with the Craftsman name. I know this because I have my Dad's ones from the 50's. They are much more closer fitting and better made.
For sockets I like to have a set of Deep sockets and I like most my sockets in 6 point which works better on rusty nuts etc.
The last couple of boats I have just bought a complete set of inexpensive tools that come in a nice case.... not the bottom of the line but not expensive either. Often a complete metric & inch set of wrenches with 1/4 and 3/8 drive sockets is only $50 or less.
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 22-04-2016, 09:15   #15
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Re: Best brand of tools for saltwater

Snap-on is a must. We have used them underwater and never had a problem(of course rinse off, dry, and hit with wd-40). For electric we went finally with the portable models from the big box stores(like Porter-Cable). So: hand tools get the best; for electric tools, go cheap because none of them will last).
Sealed tool boxes a must. A gallon of wd-40 and a spray bottle; keep a thick napped all cotton or wool rag in your toolbox(wicks up humidity); a big powerful magnet for bilge fishing.

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