Basic Hand Tools

Finding the balance between cheap Chinese garbage and Snap-On.

Unless you have a full set already, the expense of the tools can be far greater than the expense of the car parts. Take a look at the Budget and see that tools to parts cost ratio is running over 3 to 1 at this early stage of restoration. What you do not spend on tools however you will spend on having the work done professionally because you haven't the tools. When sitting down with the Moss Catalog adding up what a restoration will cost, you can't ignore the enourmous expense of tools.

I will never ever ever ever be tempted again by inexpensive foriegn made"tool fair" tools. They are just garbage. I will never ever ever ever buy Snap-On, because I will never ever ever ever win the lottery. That puts me in Craftsman territory. I think Craftsman tools are the best for your money. You can pay 50% more for something 10% better, but anything past Craftsman you are really talking about diminishing returns.

You are going to need at least the basic Craftsman Mechanics tool set. You know, ratchets, some screwdrivers, etc. You probably have some stuff with it half missing, you really need a real nice big set of tools. It took me many years to accumulate my tools. I bought metric tools too, but they haven't left the tool box. Waste of money if you don't need them, and a Magnette doesn't have any metric parts. My Jaguar XJ-S has half metric half standard, but funny thing is the metric parts have never broken! Anyway, evaluate what you are going to do, and then buy whats needed. Moss Motors might tempt you with Whitworth to work on your SUs, but I honestly haven't found a single part that standard tools didn't fit on my SUs. If you aren't the neat and tidy guy, the best way to go is to get the fitted tool set that comes with a plastic case. I'm kicking myself for not getting that. Again, I saved a little money now and get screwed later.

Don't buy all your tools at once, unless you really can afford it! Often, you will start a restoration that you might never finish on your own. Do not buy the $300 spray gun until you are ready to paint, lest you decide later to have the paint done professionally. Check and see if you can improvise tools. The factory manual goes through how to use this special factory tool to remove the front springs on the Magnette. The the final line is that you can substitute to 4" bolts and do the same thing. Total cost: 98 cents. Spring compressor: $45.00.

Tools can be bought in various places. The most expensive is surely through Eastwood and other glossy catalogs. They have quality stuff, but its expensive. Avoid tools from J.C. Whitney or other not-glossy catalogs! This is often the cheap imported shit my father and your father has warned us about! Often overlooked sources for tools are: Garage Sales, Aged Relatives Garage, and Pawn Shops. Even if those tools look old and beat... if they say "Craftsman" they can soon be as good as new. They will soon actually BE NEW, because if there is anything wrong with them (like, dirty!) you just take them back. You don't need to be the original owner of the tools to take advantage of thier warranty.

Get a good creeper, and get it early. I love mine. I hated the one I got at Wal-Mart. The wheels fell off. Get a massive jack, with a huge lifting height and surface. The little ones suck, and wear out with use, especially when I was jacking my XJ-S on a daily basis for something gone wrong!

I warn against buying the following "used":

Thats enough about handtools. To learn more, check this out. <-LINK THAT WHEN YOU FIND A LINK. GOT ONE? TELL ME ABOUT IT

Pictures of tools:

Coming after Christmas 1999

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