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About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:45 pm
by mannytheseacow
Back early on in my independent days I was running any old chainsaw I could get my hands on. I ran Poulans and Craftsman, and I would pick them up used and they would last a year or so. The chains suck, they never start.... on and on. Eventually I just bought a Stihl. It made a lot of sense, the money I spent on four, five, or six saws that never ran right vs. the same amount spent on one saw that runs like a dream, cuts like a hot knife through butter, and has been dependable for over a decade now.

This was a good lesson for me. I used to often wear any old clothes... freebees, second hand shops, patchworks, and I still do for my lounging stuff. But for working outside when it's below zero, or cutting wood all day in the brambles, you need something like Stihl's products; quality and dependable. My first exposure to this was with backpacking gear. I had a Marmot raincoat that lasted me three years but was guaranteed for life. Even though I spent $90 on this jacket, which was way too much I thought at that time, it was guaranteed forever. Three years later, it didn't keep me dry anymore, I sent it back to the factory, and they replaced it for free. I'm forever a Marmot customer now. All my snow gear is Marmot and fully warrantied. But that stuff isn't made for farm work. I've become a fan of Carhartt for that, as far as tuff jackets and coveralls. Years ago the woodchucks in the Oregon hills turned me onto White's Boots. You might take a look and think no way am I spending $400 on a pair of boots, but I tell you what- to have a pair of boots custom made to fit your foot, totally rebuildable, tuff, and just as comfortable when you put them on in the morning as they are when you take them off after 10-12 hours of field work.... I've had mine for maybe 8 years or so now, had some minor tune-ups at the factory, and in the long run I'm probably in it less than half of what I would have spent on $100 boots that last a year and then get tossed, not to mention having hurting feet all along from cheap boots.

Another favorite is the Filson tin pants. Expensive, but you'll never ruin another pair of pants on a sharp chain or a raspberry or black locust tree. Once you make the investment, they'll last forever.

My latest favorite is Prison Blues. I got a pair of their pants last fall to try out. I like Carhartt's canvas duct pants but jeez, $50 and made in Mexico? The Prison Blues are made in Pendleton Oregon by prisoners. Good cause, good tuff pants, made in USA, and I got mine for about $35 with shipping.

Anybody else have some experience with quality threads?

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:35 pm
by matt walker
Love it Manny, I'm inspired by good quality, design, and materials so I am a sucker for good gear. I have a pair of White's packers I absolutely love, although my Danner 9" forest boots are my main farming work boots. Most of my outerwear for farm work is Filson, I had the good luck to spend some time with some of their people a while back and they occasionally send stuff along for me. That's been an incredible privilege, but it's actually led to me buying more as well since the stuff is so inspiring. Lately the wool Mackinaw bibs have been getting a lot of cold morning use.

One more outside the farm world, is Gustin. Neat little SF company making quality denim and stuff in the USA. I'm too little to fit any jeans without hemming so I don't buy those, plus I just wreck them, but I'm okay with $12 for a T shirt vs. $5 for a Hanes if it's made in the USA and I feel like the people behind the company are worth supporting. In this case, I try to support them as much as possible.

Oh, two more actually, hand tools for wiring and fixing things. Knipex for any cutting/stripping/bolt cutting/plier type job, and Wera for any screwdriver/ratchet type set up. Again, spendy, but well worth it in my opinion. I could go on and on, but I completely agree that there is better value in quality every time.

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:17 pm
by thickstrings
All though its not "fashion"...I am in the market for a good drill/driver....I am leaning towards the Dewalt,20v...there's a sale at the local Hrdwre store...2 batteries, charger and driver 199.00 I have had Ryobi...junk, Craftsman...semi junk, and oddly enough, the one that lasted the longest was a Black & Decker....which has now passed on....Any opinions? By the way I WAS a big fan of Merrell shoes...but the last pair I had made in China... Love Gold toe socks...

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:41 pm
by mannytheseacow
Good stuff, guys.

Matt, that Filson stuff is awesome. I do balk at the price but a quality product nonetheless. I have some Key canvas insulated bibs that I've had for years. They were maybe $50 and the zipper broke in the first couple of weeks that I owned them. They certainly aren't waterproof, either, but so warm I sweat in them most of the time. Come to think of it, they really aren't that good at all, but until they wear out I will keep wearing them! I think the Key brand stitching and material is every bit as good as Carhartt, but the cut of the clothing just doesn't work for me. I'm skinny but not that skinny. My wife uses Carhartt bibs, both insulated and uninsulated, and she pushes them pretty hard and they stand up to it. I don't think the Filson's would work for her since she has to wash them for biosecurity reasons after pretty much every farm call she makes.

I've never heard of Gustin, I'll have to check them out. And the tool recommendations, as well- next time I need to replace snippers or sockets I'll give your recommendations a try. My dad trained me to always buy Craftsman tools. Again, they're guaranteed, but since that's about all I've ever used I don't know if anything else is better.

ThickStrings, I had exactly the same experience with drills. Junk, junk, and more junk, and actually my old black and decker 18v is the most reliable. I had a Craftsman Li 19.6v and it actually was a good drill but the expensive batteries don't last long. If I ever buy another it will surely be Dewalt. Same experience with Merrell, too. Back in the '90s that stuff was great, but the last pair I had fell apart. My wife still has a couple pair of Merrells and I think they've held up well for her, but she has had them for a long time too, so maybe they are pre-China.

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:59 am
by matt walker
I work with drill/impact driver combos all day in my day job, as do all the other craftsmen on the boats. The two to choose from in my opinion are the Milwaukee Fuel or the Makita blue series. They cost more than all the others, but are well worth it. As with most brands now there are different levels of their tools, so shop online and identify the high end series, they usually will have larger batteries and better chucks, etc. Sometimes they can be found at Home Depot and the like, but typically there is a step up available elsewhere. That's the one you want. I'm a Makita guy since I like the large tool variety available, but those Milwaukee drills are amazingly smooth and powerful.

I wouldn't recommend the Dewalt TS, I've been through a few of them and they have all let me down.

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:35 am
by wfwarner
I use a lot of power tools in working in my shop where I make native American flutes. I use them on the lodge I am in the process of building. I use to buy cheap drills, saws, and anything in power tools. My son was always ragging me about it and bought me a dewalt drill. it was powerful but then I tried a fiends Milwaukee driver and since I buy the red tools exclusively. they have much better batteries and are dependable and very tuff if you drop stuff like I do sometimes.

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:50 pm
by thickstrings
I will have to check out the Makita and Milwaukee versions...It seems, its allways about the batteries with these things. I don't usually use one all day....just here and there on projects around here and the batteries never are charged when I need it or they don't last to long....I do have a corded Milwaukee sawzall and a Makita chop/miter saw which are great. Matt, very true about the upper end of some companies that built their name on quality then sell overseas junk on their reputation...As a side bar, I remember a old movie with James Cagney where he played a rather poor fellow who would walk by a restaurant window and see people inside eating steak....and he said, "one day I'm going to do that".....well he eventually got enough money to go inside and with his meager sum looked at the menu and ordered "salsberry" steak......when he was served he noted , in James Cagney fashion, that it was hamburger.....Its just hamburger! He later went on to a life of I submit, some of these tools are just that," salsberry" steak. They are just hamburger! Now on to a life of crime.....not really...just cynicism..

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:01 pm
by TruGrit
.. I go about this a bit different .. I buy the best cheap tools/clothes I can find, but I buy multiples .. when I found a good deal on bibs at Dickies, I bought a dozen pair .. that was 15 years ago, still have 4 new pair waiting .. I bought two corded and two cordless drills ($20 ea) about 10 years ago, and all four are still workin' ..

.. I think by doing it this way, I trick karma .. it wants to show me I wasted my money on multiples .. but I win, cause I still got 4 working drills for $80 .. ;)

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:09 am
by mannytheseacow
I'll take those as words of wisdom from my elders there Tru. Except when it comes to my feet. I'll do whatever it takes to keep my dogs from barkin!!

I think TS hit the nail on the head, it just depends on what you're doing and how often you're doing it. One place I used to work had Makita and Milwaukee cordless stuff, but it was all old and we rarely used that stuf for the work we were doing, so inevitably whenever we did need it the batteries work worth a dung. But I could see if you use it every day you would go for the good stuff.

By the way, TS, the Salisbury steak story made my day. That's a koan if I ever heard one. Thanks for that. :idea:

Re: About time we had a fashion thread

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:16 pm
by pa_friendly_guy
There are places that you need a cordless drill, but for most of my work I find that a corded drill works just great. Plenty of power, cheap, reliable, don't run out of batteries, and most places I use a drill there is a power outlet close enough. I bought a cheap corded drill back in 1974 when I bough my 1st house. I still have it, it still works, I still have the case it came in to carry it around, and did I mention it still works. Nothing wrong with reliable technology that has been around for the last 100 years. When you do need a cordless drill because of location the lithium batteries seem to have more power and last longer.