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Preferred ratchets?


Conductor562

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I'll be the first to admit I have a thing for ratchets. I probably have 9 or 10 in my roller box and when I die my boys will be saying "why the hell did dad have a whole drawer full of ratchets?" They are by far my favorite hand tool. I have a set of 72 tooth Danaher era Kobalt's, Williams era Kobalt's, vintage Thorsen's, and a WWII era Plomb. However, my go to ratchets are my 24 tooth Proto pear heads. I've got a full standard length set as well as a 16" 1/2 model and I love them. They're built like little chrome tanks and I never feel the need to use a breaker bar. I don't own a dual 80 Snap-on...yet, but it's on my list. What do you guys prefer and why?

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I like Snap-ons for fine work and S-K for when the going gets greasy. Snap-on for the fit and finish, they feel good in the hand. S-K because the knurled handles are easy to hold onto even when everthing is absolutely covered in grease.

I have to admit that this is not always the case, as I often end up grabing whatever ratchet is close at hand. I have a Belzer in the tool box on my bench that sees fairly frequent use, along with a few vintage Craftsmans that I have scattered about and a Stanley set that ends up on some jobsites when they might end up walking off.

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Nice looking ratchet, though I'm not sure how I'd like the molded grip. As a rule, I'm not super crazy about flex/swivel ratchets. I have them, they are indispensable in certain situations, but I do not like to use them when it isn't absolutely essential. I've never been real big on molded cushion grips on anything though, especially pliers and adjustable wrenches. I'm kind of a purist when it comes to hand tools.

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I agree 100% about the knurled grips. That's what I love about the Proto's, you can tear into a rear suspension, under carriage, tractor, or whatever and no matter how nasty and stubborn it gets your covered. The tough 24T gear and knurled grip make it a real war horse, the old school Thorson 77's are the save way. Take the leaf spring out of an F-350 with any of those Kobalt's and your ass is headed back to Lowe's.

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Nice looking ratchet, though I'm not sure how I'd like the molded grip. As a rule, I'm not super crazy about flex/swivel ratchets. I have them, they are indispensable in certain situations, but I do not like to use them when it isn't absolutely essential. I've never been real big on molded cushion grips on anything though, especially pliers and adjustable wrenches. I'm kind of a purist when it comes to hand tools.

I don't care for the over mold much either, my main gripe is that they just about always end up getting shewed up and they hold grease really well, not to mention what happens when you get them near any srtong solvents. I think it is impossible to find a swivel head without one these day though. Even Snap-on went that way. I really like the old version with the black plastic handle like they used to put on their screwdrivers. I find swivel heads to be very handy for assembly work. start off like a screwdriver and swing it down to finish tightening it up.

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My Kobalt flex heads have a solid metal handle, but they don't pivot exactly like this one.

The swivel heads are better for me because they can be used like a screwdriver unlike the plain flex heads which don't work that way. Works best in 1/4" drive, although 3/8" drive makes a passable screwdriver like tool, 1/2" is kind of clumsy but still can be done. With the bigger tools I don't always feel comfortable really bearing down on this style of tool but for lighter work I do like them.

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While I didn't look to hard, I didn't see a tooth count on this ratchet. However, with a 5 degree return angle I'm guessing it's fairly high. I prefer a 72 tooth count for 1/4 drive and I'm assuming that's what this is. I like a smaller tooth count like 24 for 1/2 models and for 3/8 I think 60 is probably ideal though a 72 is still a bit handier.

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All this talk about ratchets made me go and order one. I dropped $40 on a Proto 4757 1/4 flex head. I went ahead and spent an extra $12 on a 4757 6" flex extension. I've got a 72 tooth Danaher era Kobalt but it's gotten a little rough in the gear and I've got a 24T Proto pear head but I prefer the smoothness of a 72T for 95% of 1/4 applications. I'm not crazy about flex heads but 1/4 was the only size I didn't have one in and in my opinion it's probably the most practical size for one so I guess it's problem solved. Guess I can go to Lowe's and swap out my old Kobalt clunker for a new Kobalt clunker.

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All this talk about ratchets made me go and order one. I dropped $40 on a Proto 4757 1/4 flex head. I went ahead and spent an extra $12 on a 4757 6" flex extension. I've got a 72 tooth Danaher era Kobalt but it's gotten a little rough in the gear and I've got a 24T Proto pear head but I prefer the smoothness of a 72T for 95% of 1/4 applications. I'm not crazy about flex heads but 1/4 was the only size I didn't have one in and in my opinion it's probably the most practical size for one so I guess it's problem solved. Guess I can go to Lowe's and swap out my old Kobalt clunker for a new Kobalt clunker.

Looks like a nice couple of tools, I also find myself lacking any 1/4" flex heads. Have you ever tried a 1/4" swivel head? I really like the ones I have used, and this is the ideal size for this style of drive.

For 1/4" fine tooth is really good as it is not really going to be exposed to any real high torque applications. I tend to strip out any of the larger sizes with fine teeth unless I take the time to put them aside when the going gets tough. I tend not to keep mine real handy for this reason. I have had Snap-on rebuild a a few of my ratchets and they have been really good about it. How is Proto on getting warranty repairs? I have never tried to get any repaired.

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Never used a swivel head ratchet. I can see the advantage in certain situations, I guess I just never had the right occasion to purchase one. As far as Proto warranty goes my limited experience with it has been positive. When I got my 16" 1/2 model as a hand me down from my dad it was missing a spring. He got it from work so God only knows how it came about getting lost. Regardless, I called Proto, told them it was sticking and 4 days later I had a rebuild kit in the mail. I filed for a warranty exchange on a pair of bent nose pliers after I broke about 1/4 of the tip off. I mailed the broken pair in and got a new pair in the mail with a total turnaround of about 8 days. A lot of people go swap them out at Grainger but I'd just as soon mail it in as I would drive an hour to Grainger and back. I like Proto stuff a lot. You get a high quality tool without having to run down a truck or pay for the cost of keeping that truck running. The truck setup works fine for people who work places that are on the route, but for me it's just a hassle.

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Got a call from tool source today. Apparently the ratchet I purchased is a discontinued model. The new model has a slightly different head design that incorporates a thumb wheel which I suppose is a good thing. It cost an additional $11 making it a $50 1/4 ratchet. I wouldn't have cared to pay the additional money as I know the tool is top quality but lucky for me they agreed to let me have for the price I paid for the old one. Can't complain about that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is the updated 4757 I'm getting instead of the original posted model

Stanley-Proto-Flex-Head-Ratchet-J4757F.jpg

After a month on back order the J4757F came today. Very happy with it on initial impression. What appears to be a thumb wheel is simply for reversing directions and the Torx screw merely holds the ratchet together. Very smooth operation. The flex head does not have positive stop capability. I guess it's a matter of preference. It doesn't bother me at all on a ¼" model but I don't think I'd care for a ⅜" or ½" without a positive stop function on the head.

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  • 3 years later...

Few of us in chat were talking about starting a thread to show off your ratchet collection, don't matter the brand eventually ill get a post of my HF ratchets so don't be ashamed, but here is a shot of my Proto collection, I love these things, mostly i reach for the quick release. The chrome ratchets are a 45 tooth spearhead quick release.  The black are a round head, 72 tooth Facom design proto, these have a 5 degree swing arc, the chrome ones have an 8 degree.  Great solid ratchets, I've lubed them all with superlube!!

 

5cea0b9457e37c982e3d82a78f82102b.jpg

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Okey dokey...

 

 

Whole family, except for the two pass-thru ratchets. Gonna probably give those two some time on the new carbon fiber background...

 

26179387743_056cec7b26_b.jpg

Ratchets 002 by Edward Durbin, on Flickr

 

 

And a shot of the smallest ratchets I own...

 

26635689731_a01a5b1801_b.jpg

Tiny Ratchets by Edward Durbin, on Flickr

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8 minutes ago, Kato said:

Okey dokey...

 

 

Whole family, except for the two pass-thru ratchets. Gonna probably give those two some time on the new carbon fiber background...

 

26179387743_056cec7b26_b.jpg

Ratchets 002 by Edward Durbin, on Flickr

 

 

And a shot of the smallest ratchets I own...

 

26635689731_a01a5b1801_b.jpg

Tiny Ratchets by Edward Durbin, on Flickr

that a new ratcheting sharpie?

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