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Tool kit for A@P student

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Well-known member
Sep 21, 2007
I will be starting a course in a few weeks for A@P training and have to get a set of tools.The instructor suggested a basic starter kit from either Craftsman, Proto, Mac, Matco or Snap On. Can anyone suggest which one to go with and the best places to get these at better prices.
Depends how much you want to spend. If it were me, I'd go with Craftsman for most of your tools, and buy Mac or Snapon for ones you can't get at Sears. Snap-On is always a good investment, but starting out, funds are tight.

Your sockets and combination wrenches can be had at craftsman. Get stubby wrenches and full length pattern wrenches. Reversible's and rachets aren't much more expensive than plain-jane wrenches, these days. A good set of screwdrivers. A descent 8 oz and 16 oz hammer, a soft face mallet (go for the snap-on dead-blow ball-peen...lifetime hammer and the handle won't fall off). A set of duck bill pliers, slip joint pliers, needle nose pliers, several sizes of vise-grips (needle-nose are handy), and a mid-size channel lock plier. A good quality diagonal cutter. The long handle snap-on dykes are handy. A descent set of safety wire pliers; the robinson 6" reversibles are nice because they are handier in tight spots. Your sockets should be quarter inch, and go for the six point and twelve point. One set of 3/8" twelve point sockets. Ignition wrenches. Hex keys (allen wrenches); get the ball-ended ones because they're more versatile. A net of needle files, and a couple of good single cut and double cut bastard files. A 10X magnifying glass or eye loupe. Metal snips. Get a good quality quarter inch torque wrench

You'll pick up other tools as you need them, and a good practice is to pick up a tool at a time, on an ongoing basis for the rest of your career...keep investing, keep paying them off, don't get stuck in debt. I've seen a number of guys end up stuck in hock after spending far too much on tools and a box. Don't do that.

Get a basic portable box with drawers; don't get sucked into the expense of a snap-on or mac. Craftsman works fine, especially for your starter box.

Ebay can be a good source of tools at a better price than you'll pay off the mac or snapon truck...and the truck still honor the lifetime warranty.

Good advice from avbug. When I went to school in the 90's a tool guy came around and took orders. The school supplied a list of required tools for the course and I bought them from him. He had a wide variety, Proto, Snap-On and S-K, maybe others. Point is get some descent tools that have a good warranty. Most good manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty/replacement deal. I generally stay away from the Snap-On guys. Way overpriced and in my opinion too arrogant in the way they conduct business. Craftsman and Mac are good choices. Have fun in school. An A&P cert can take you a long way if you know what you want.
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While its geared toward the mobile tool salesman selling off the truck (whether independent or name brand like Snap-On) this is one medium in which tool companies advertise and show off new products that might be handy as your career progresses and your tool box grows. An advantage might be knowing 2 companies have the same specialty tool but one sells it for considerably less. Plus, you'll get plenty of insight behind what that guy on the tool truck thinks of you his customer.
Another thought is when I was in school 15 yrs ago, Snap On had a 50% off for enrolled students. I am pretty sure it still is around.Take advantage of this too. Like for the 4 way angle wrench from5/16 to 1", also get Blue Point ( snap on ) saftey wire pliers both sizes ( 6" and 9" ) and 12pt 1/4" drv swivel sockets ( Craftsmans are only 6pt ) and a Snap on ratcheting Screwdriver. I wish I would've taken more advantage of this when I was in school and not later. Shop around like avbug said don't forget ebay. Everything else ( wrenches, sockets screwdrivers) Go Craftsman, Lifetime warranty and durable. And as far as a box, bought a 42" Craftsman 14 yrs ago with the thought I would buy a nicer one later, guess what, still working out of it and no plans of trading up. A thought when you are starting off is get a basic nice craftsman 20 some inch wide box ( single bank of drawers ) with a good mix of deep and shallow drawers and if you want a bigger box after a few years out of school just buy another 20 some inch box and bolt them together and put a countertop on it. That way you don't have to buy a big box right away. Put some thought into shadowing your drawers with foam rubber, one glance you'll know if you missing a tool and it just looks neater. GOOD LUCK

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