Buying Tools

Low&Slow

Ancora imparo
I'm "probably" (not 100% sure right now) going to retire from the military in February 2021. I've been looking around at various A&P jobs, and most require you to own your own tools. The tools I use at work belong to the US Government, we aren't allowed to use privately owned tools at work. As a result, I don't have a lot of personal tools, especially airframe tools, so I need to start a tool(s) of the month club or something so I will be employable somewhere if I get out.
What's the best way to go about building a tool collection without going into crazy debt? Right now, I'm just planning on buying about $200-$300/month. I'm not buying garbage, I want good tools that I can trust and will enjoy using.
Also, can I write tools off as a business expense on my taxes?
 
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web265

Well-Known Member
Garage and estate sales!

I would look at things like Craig's list. My son was going into auto mechanics years ago and was trying to buy SnapOn or like tools which would have put him into serious debt (particularly for the boxes it seems). We found someone trying to "clean out" a garage literally full with tools (many new) 9 craftsman pro boxes (three stacks plus a couple others), two project carts, several high quality cabinets. He wanted $3000 for it all and you had to have it out in a week. We rented a truck and took it all without even looking at it. After sorting and selling the doubles and cabinets that we didn't want we had recovered @ $1500 of the cost and had 3 complete tool sets minus a couple specialty items.

Look around, those opportunities are out there.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
Web has the right idea. Nothing wrong with buying from the rape van but be choosy unless you want the equivalent a second car payment.
 

knot4u

Repeat Offender
I don't buy that many tools anymore but I'll still pretty much only buy Snap-On hand tools. I have a Snap-On roll cab and a smaller MAC box that's easier to push around the hangar. I've become increasingly disappointed with the customer service from both dealers recently, maybe it's because I don't buy a lot of tools these days and I'm not their target customer anymore. Last week I found my 1/4" drive flex-head Snap-On ratchet was missing the little lever that selects the direction of ratcheting. It's a tool I use a lot. When the truck showed up I took it in so the dealer could either fix or replace it. He poked around in the drawers for a minute and then said he didn't have the parts to fix it. I asked if he'd just replace it and he said his boss would freak out if he did and he'd get the parts and fix it next week. This is the new normal, the guy that actually owns the truck and replaced our old guy when he retired actually owns 4 trucks and routes and doesn't personally drive any of them. In the old days it would've just been replaced with no questions asked if they couldn't fix it. I've actually considered contacting Snap-On and inquiring whether or not they would be open to me opening a brick and mortar Snap-On store next door to the airport as a semi-retirement job. The MAC guy seems to spend more time windsurfing off of the west coast of Maui than he does actually going out to his customers.
Having said all of that, Snap-On hand tools are the best, be cautious of the Blue Point stuff, the quality is not as good and the lifetime guarantee is non-existent. MAC tools are a close second. Snap-On and MAC both make very nice toolboxes, if you're going to buy new a MAC box will be cheaper.
Estate sales can be gold mines when it comes to tools, a friend of mine got dragged to one by a girlfriend. Turned out the guy that died had been a heavy equipment mechanic for over 40 years and had two well maintained MAC roll cabs full of tools, he bought both for $1800 without knowing what was inside, it turned out to be a great deal. The guy had only bought MAC, Snap-On or Matco tools, even used the whole lot should've been worth around $20,000. My friend felt bad after he realized what he had and went back to the family and gave them an additional $3200 so he could sleep at night without feeling guilty.
 

Inverted25

Well-Known Member
If you buy a snap on tool from someone else does it still have a warranty?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Plata

Well-Known Member
There’s an ad in the Helena Craigslist for a full set of unused Snap-On tools that were purchased expressly for an Aviation Maintenance Technician program.
 

knot4u

Repeat Offender
If you buy a snap on tool from someone else does it still have a warranty?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes, as long as it's a normal hand tool. Stuff like scanners and borescopes have a very limited guarantee.
 
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flyinggreasemnky

Well-Known Member
I bought my initial set of tools and box utilizing the Snap-on student discount program. You basically get around 40-50% off the normal catalog rates. I even got a $400 gift certificate with my tool box. You might be eligible if you are using something like Emery Riddle to get your certs before you retire. Otherwise, Craigslist, Ebay or pawn shops are a good place to find them. If you buy them from the last 3, don't tell your dealer as they won't be required to warranty them.
 

Low&Slow

Ancora imparo
Awesome information!
I looked on the local Craigslist but there was just a bunch of garbage at crown jewel prices there. Still, I have time, I'll keep an eye on it.
I bought my initial set of tools and box utilizing the Snap-on student discount program. You basically get around 40-50% off the normal catalog rates. I even got a $400 gift certificate with my tool box. You might be eligible if you are using something like Emery Riddle to get your certs before you retire.
I already have my certificates via on the job experience and self-study, but that sounds like a good deal! Makes me wonder about the mark-up rate though.
 

flyinggreasemnky

Well-Known Member
Makes me wonder about the mark-up rate though.
I've always wondered if they took a loss on it. Maybe its like a drug dealer offering a free taste to get you hooked for life. I got that discount about 10 years ago and I'm still buying. I don't even work as a mechanic anymore but just got a new ratchet last week. I'm also thinking about upgrading my box to an epiq next year because I'm running out of room. Yes, I have a problem.
 

Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
I've always wondered if they took a loss on it. Maybe its like a drug dealer offering a free taste to get you hooked for life. I got that discount about 10 years ago and I'm still buying. I don't even work as a mechanic anymore but just got a new ratchet last week. I'm also thinking about upgrading my box to an epiq next year because I'm running out of room. Yes, I have a problem.
There’s no way they took a loss in it. I’ve never been impressed with snap-on they must be making a killing in margins for what the tools really are.
 
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