Craftsman Tools- back from the dead - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default Craftsman Tools- back from the dead

Saw this at my local Rona store in Vernon. I think Rona in Canada is owned by Lowe's now. The new Craftsman tools seem much better quality now that B & D/ Stanley/ DeWalt /Porter Cable is making them. I picked up a Craftsman oscillating tool while I was there and checked it out. It has the same type tool less blade change as my son's DW tool. I can't figure out what B & D's sales strategy is though. They bought PC which competed against the DW division and now they are making Craftsman which would compete to some extent with the B & D line only the Craftsman tools are about as expensive as the DW line and are better quality than the B & D line. GM got rid of Pontiac because it competed against Chev and they got rid of the Oldsmobile line because it competed against Buick. I don't get where they are going. Maybe at least the new Craftsman tools will last longer and have parts available.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:01 PM
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Maybe it's like the ciggie brand thing; get as many different brand names out there in order to capture a larger share of the total market?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:17 PM
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Although under a single umbrella, it is most likely that each brand is treated as an individual business within the organization. With their own profit/loss statement. Maintaining brand loyalty, market share, price points, manufacturing, distribution, advertising, margins, positioning of brands within a geographical area etc. all come into play with each individual brand. There are pro's and con's to this kind of business model.
Ultimately,it is the quality of the tool that maintains brand loyalty. Sears did not fail to realize this, what they failed to do is maintain it!. As their market share dwindled (primarily due to growing competition and online sales) so did the profit. To maintain margins and profit they sacrificed quality. This worked in the short term for those making the decisions and they personally gained from it, however they had to know full well that in the long run it would not last and neither did they. I believe they milked the name for all they could, padded their personal accounts handsomely and then got the hell outta Dodge. The last few years has seen a slow but steady resurgence in the quality of the Craftsman brand, hopefully B&D will continue to grow it again.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Saw this at my local Rona store in Vernon. I think Rona in Canada is owned by Lowe's now. The new Craftsman tools seem much better quality now that B & D/ Stanley/ DeWalt /Porter Cable is making them. I picked up a Craftsman oscillating tool while I was there and checked it out. It has the same type tool less blade change as my son's DW tool. I can't figure out what B & D's sales strategy is though. They bought PC which competed against the DW division and now they are making Craftsman which would compete to some extent with the B & D line only the Craftsman tools are about as expensive as the DW line and are better quality than the B & D line. GM got rid of Pontiac because it competed against Chev and they got rid of the Oldsmobile line because it competed against Buick. I don't get where they are going. Maybe at least the new Craftsman tools will last longer and have parts available.
Concerning the B & D strategy. I was looking to buy a Biscuit Joiner. There weren't any places to go and check them out so I resorted to a magazine review. Based on the review and tool features I narrowed it down to B & D and DeWalt. Both tools seemed to have identical features. At the time B & D owned DeWalt. I called B & D and asked if they could tell me the differences between the two tools. The answer was 1. B & D has a Red and Black body and the DeWalt has a Yellow body. And 2. The B & D retails for $25.00 more than the DeWalt. The internals were identical. I asked how the price difference works. The answer was that the tools were sold by different types of retailers e.g. B & D was sold through retail suppliers catering to tradesmen whereas DeWalt was sold through retail suppliers catering to consumers ( HD, Lowes, etc.). Interesting.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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There may be a better margin for the retailer in this case too because they had some of the DW and Bosch tools with clearance signs on them. It's too early to tell if that is a coincidence or not. I would have to do some better inspecting but I think that the Craftsman oscillating tool I looked at might be a red DW.

If you go back far enough B&D was a well respected brand. I have one of the old metal bodied 7" angle grinders and they must have sold millions of them because I see them everywhere I go and they are all old and most still working. I also have an old 1/2" B&D metal bodied drill that is non-reversing single speed. I use it to mix mortar and small batches of cement. I don't know if you can kill it. Somewhere along the way they did what Sears did and it started biting them on the arse. Tradesmen stopped using them so they started the DW brand to recapture some of that market. Hopefully the lesson sticks this time.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 09:09 AM
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Buying the competition is an old method of eliminating the competition. Let's face it, most people don't know who owns what !, so if a consumer is under the impression that one brand is considered bottom of the line such as Black & Decker, then by purchasing the DW or Craftsman might satisfy his needs and then Stanley has still made a sale. The big yellow DeWalt brand seems to be gaining momentum in Canada, seems everywhere you look someone has a DW tool. I have the 12'' mitre saw, the big compressor, and a few hand tools. Marketing is a savvy tool. One of my students has bought many tools this year and most are DW. He is proud to wear the DW cap also.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 09:54 AM
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I don't know if you saw the tool test in the recent Fine Woodworking magazine on 5" random-orbit sanders but out of 11 sanders, the Craftsman came out best value at $55 and the Festool came best overall at $510. Wasn't surprised with the Festool selection but for $510 it should be. I was very surprised with the Craftsman result given it was one of the lowest priced.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 10:51 AM
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I have been watching what B&D does with the Craftsman brand. I am still getting used to seeing it in Lowes, lol. It is good to hear that they are pushing quality back up. I also know that B&D said they are working to get more of the tools built in the U.S. which is another positive. I still feel like the number of tools that they are offering is very limited compared to what they offered when still owned by Sears. I am curious to see if they will start offering some of the bigger machines at some point.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 11:06 AM
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Interesting how Sears, who were so big in catalog ordering, couldn't keep up with online ordering. Must've been some bad decisions, or waiting too long to adapt, I guess. They should've been in good shape to get into that type of selling... basically put the catalog online.

I always thought that Craftsman screwdrivers were a good value when on sale. I still use them often and they are some of my oldest tools. Probably 45 years old. I wonder who made those, Fuller?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MYB View Post
I don't know if you saw the tool test in the recent Fine Woodworking magazine on 5" random-orbit sanders but out of 11 sanders, the Craftsman came out best value at $55 and the Festool came best overall at $510. Wasn't surprised with the Festool selection but for $510 it should be. I was very surprised with the Craftsman result given it was one of the lowest priced.
I was as surprised as you are Mark. I did buy a Bosch single speed for $5 less than the Craftsman recently and it only scored slightly worse in that test. Some other surprises were that the $200 Festool scored really badly overall and that the $500 Festool wasn't the most expensive sander. The Mirka was at least another $100.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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