All-American Tool Manufacturers

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Following up on my recently-posted list of field gear makers that have all American-made products, I've compiled a comparable list of American tool makers.

The Sell-Outs

Some companies that have long been thought of as "American" companies now produce most or all of their tools overseas. For example, Craftsman (the Sears house brand) now produces many of their tools in Asia. Others include: Cooper, Disston, Eastwood, Greenlee, Lufkin, Milwaukee, Peerless, Porter Cable, Shurlite, Snap-On, Thorsen, Vise-Grip, Vermont American, Weller, Williams, and Winchester. The many, many others are almost too numerous to list.

Some of the "good guy" companies that I will list here sell a few imported tools, but to qualify for inclusion, they must sell mostly American-made tools (and component parts.) Also, beware even "All American" tool companies source their plastic storage boxes, their belt pouches, and their tool bags overseas.

What to Buy?

When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I would simply look at my father's collection of tools to get an idea of the good brands to buy. My kids can't safely do that today. Quite sadly, the majority of those tool companies have now moved their production offshore.

Do your homework before you buy! With the exception of high speed cutting tools, the vast majority of American tool manufacturing has moved offshore to mainland China. (The home of laogai "Reform Through Labor" prison factories.) Rather than just be depressed about this situation, I have resolved to do something to counter this trend. I urge all of my readers to do the following:

1.) Don't just blithely purchase merchandise without first checking on its country of origin. Take the time to LOOK at labels! When buying from mailorder catalogs or online, take a minute to call and ask, before you order if the country of origin is uncertain.

2.) If a product listing says "imported", then the odds are now better than 80% that it is made in mainland China. So skip it.

3.) Be sure to thank the management of these companies for keeping their production in the States, and tell them that they earned your business because of it.

Companies that proudly still offer "Made in USA" tools:

Measurement, Squaring, and Leveling Tools

  • Chappell Universal Square and Rule - Framing squares and other carpentry measuring/layout tools. Made in Maine.
  • Crick Tool - Traditional wood frame spirit levels. (Made in Ben Wheeler, Texas.)
  • Fischer Machine - Edge Finders, Vee Blocks and Clamps, and PeeDee thread measuring wires.
  • Port Austin Level and Tool - Wood and aluminum spirit levels. (Made in Michigan.)
  • Kraft Tool Company - Spirit levels as well as concrete and masonry tools.
  • L.S. Starrett Co. - Calipers, levels, tape measures, micrometers, dial indicators, and gage blocks. Most are still made in USA at their plants in Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota and North Carolina. (Some imported products, so see their catalog or web site, to be sure.)
  • U.S. Tape Company - The only domestic tape measure manufacturing company that makes a full line of tapes.


Wrenches, Socket Bits, and Socket Sets

  • Armstrong Tools - A wide variety of tools, all made in USA. (Now owned by Danaher Corporation.)
  • Bondhus - Various hex tools, including ball head. (Made in Minnesota.)
  • Bristol Wrench - The originators of the Bristol Spline Drive System.
  • Channellock - A wide variety of of pliers and other hand tools, including, of course, their patented slip-joint pliers. (Made in Pennsylvania.)
  • Eklind Tool Co. - Hex (Allen head) and Torx head tools, including folding, L-keys, and T-keys.
  • Klein Tools - This company was mention by nearly a dozen SurvivalBlog readers. They make a wide variety of hand tools at nine factories in Illinois. (A few of their products are imported, but those are noted in their catalog and on their web page.) Klein tools are widely available at hardware and Big Box stores.
  • Lisle Tools - Torx head and specialty automotive tools.
  • Loggerhead Tools - Adjustable wrenches, including the "Bionic" wrench.
  • Montana Brand Tools - Drive sets, drills, and more. (Made in Ronan, Montana.)
  • OTC - Wheel bearing wrenches and gear pullers. (Note that many other OTC products are imported.)
  • Precision Instruments - Click torque wrenches. Unlike other torque wrenches, these don't need to be "turned down" after use.
  • S-K Handtool - Socket wrenches, sockets, impact sockets, adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, punches, chisels, hammers, and more.
  • Snap-on Tools - A huge variety of tools. They have four factories, all in the U.S. (In Elkmont, Alabama; Algona, Iowa; Elizabethton, Tennessee; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) Most Snap-on products are US-made, but they also catalog some others tools that are imported. (So be sure to check.)
  • Superb Wrench - Filter wrenches.


Cutting Tools & Saws

  • American Carbide - Carbide end mills, burrs, and router bits.
  • Atlas Cutting Tools - Carbide, high speed steel and cobalt cutting tools made with domestic (USA) carbide.
  • Blu-Mol - (An American division of Disston.) Drill bits and power saw blades. Note: Disston's domestic operation is in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. But some of their tools are made in China.
  • Cenco Grinding - Drill blanks, Core Pins, Go/No-Go Gages, Plug Gages, Punches, Guide Pins, and Stainless Pins
  • Diamond Saw Works - Makers of Sterling brand saw blades. Blades for band saws, reciprocating saws, jig saws, hack saws, and more.
  • Eagle America - Router bits and jigs. More than 900 patterns of router bits. (Made in Ohio.)
  • Forrest's Blades - Excellent circular saw blades.
  • Hanson Tools - (a division of Irwin Tools) Taps and dies
  • Hart Steel - Hand-made straight razors. (Useful for more than just shaving.)
  • Imperial Blades - Oscillating blades.
  • Katie Jig - Dovetail cutting jigs.
  • King Tool - Hobby and craft tools. (Their knife sets are a lot like the old standby X-Acto brand--which sadly went offshore.)
  • Kodiak Cutting Tools - End mills, taps, twist drills, thread mills, burs, carbide drills and reamers
  • Lakeshore Carbide - Carbide end mills, center drills, and countersinks, made with American carbide.
  • Lie-Nielsen Toolworks - Woodworking block planes, bench planes, and chisels. (Made in Maine.)
  • Mastercut Tool Corp. - High Speed Steel Drills and Taps.
  • Mayhew - Punches, chisels, pry bars, etc.
  • Midwest Tool & Cutlery (aka Midwest Snips) - Forged blade hand tools, including metal cutting snips and other edged hand tools. Made in Minnesota.
  • MK Diamond - Masonry and Lapidary Cutting Saws.
  • Montana Brand Tools - Drills and drive sets, including titanium drill bits, magnetic screw guides, and more. Their "4-in1" self-countersinking bit/drivers are brilliant. (Made in Ronan, Montana.)
  • Niagara Cutter - Carbide and diamond-coated carbide cutting tools. (Headquartered in Amherst, but their tools are made in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.)
  • Norseman Drill and Tool - JWR's favorite brand of drill bits.
  • RedLine Tools - Machine tools (carbide end mills, drills, thread mills, tool holders, and cutting lubricants)
  • Scientific Cutting Tools (SCT) - Carbide and carbide-coated tools.
  • Severance Tool Industries - High-speed steel and carbide cutting tools
  • SGS Tool Company - Solid carbide rotary cutting tools: Burrs, drills, end mills, and router bits. (Made in Ohio.)
  • Silvey - Electric chainsaw sharpeners. (Unlike the cheap imported chain grinders, these cut a precision square notch.)
  • Southeast Tool - Router Bits and Drill Bits
  • Titan USA - Carbide, high speed steel,and cobalt cutting tools.
  • Toolco Industrial Corp. - Various cutting tools including Solid Carbide End Mills, Taps & Dies, Drills, HSS & Cobalt End Mills, Micro Tools, Threadmills, Carbide Burrs, Countersinks, Slotters, Door Bits, and Reamers
  • Triumph Twist Drill - Twist drills, tile drills, and taps & die,
  • Viking Drill - Various rotary cutting tools including drill bits, tap & dies, and annular cutters
  • Vortex Tool Company - Router and insert cutting tools.
  • Wenzloff & Sons - Awesome hand saws. Presently very limited production. (So it is best to buy them on the secondary market.)
  • Whiteside Machine Co. - Solid carbide and carbide-tipped router bits, form tools, spirals, and slotting cutters/arbors. Also a good assortment of chucks.
  • World's Best Saw Blades - Circular saw blades, dubbed: "Flattest, Truest, Smoothest, Best Made Blades... Anywhere"
  • Xuron Corporation - Shears, pliers and forming tools. (Made in Saco, Maine.)

Knives and Multi-Tools:


Hand Tools (Various)

  • ABC Hammers - Brass and bronze hammers.
  • Armstrong Tools - A wide variety of tools, all made in USA. (Now owned by Danaher Corporation.)
  • Arrow Fastener - Staple guns of all sorts. Note that some Arrow tools are imported, so be sure to check before you order.
  • Barco Tools - A wide variety of had tools including hammers, axes, pry bars, digging bars, trowels, etc.
  • Barr Specialty Tools - Excellent hand-forged woodworking tools such as adzes, chisels, draw knives, gouges, knives, mallets, and slicks. (Made in McCall, Idaho.)
  • Bicycle Tool - Specialty bike tools. They also make a fantastic 1/4-inch offset driver.
  • Blue Spruce Toolworks - Nice woodworking chisels, marking knives, scratch awls and mallets. (Made in Oregon.)
  • Bridge City Tool Works - Gorgeous (brass and rosewood!) woodworking tools including chisels, squares, Japanese saws, and planes. Pre-sold, in limited run batches. (Made in Oregon.)
  • Bully Tools - Shovels, hoes, planters, and trowels.
  • Chapman Mfg. Tools - Ratchets, drivers, and adaptors for Allen, Bristol, Phillips, and Torx head fasteners.
  • Council Tool - Reportedly, the only axe maker in the country that still forges its own axes. (Made in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina)
  • Crosscut Saw Company - Logging hand saws and accessories. (Made in Seneca Falls, New York.)
  • Estwing Tools - Hammers, bars, small axes, and mineralogist picks
  • Hardcore Hammers - Framing hammers. (Made in Kansas.)
  • INCRA Precision Tools - Dovetail and precision miter fences for table saws and router tables. (Made in Texas. )
  • Kahn Tools - Retailers of exclusively American-made products from more than 50 companies.
  • Klein Tools - This great company was mentioned by nearly a dozen SurvivalBlog readers. They make a wide variety of hand tools at nine factories in Illinois. (A few of their products are imported, but those are noted in their catalog and on their web page.) Klein tools are widely available at hardware and Big Box stores.
  • Logrite - Logging hand tools.
  • Lumberjack Tools - Tenon Cutters.
  • Moody Tools - Excellent miniature tools, such as jeweler's screwdrivers.
  • Park Tool - Bicycle maintenance and repair tools, made in Minnesota. (But their multi-tools are imported.)
  • Peavey Manufacturing - Axes, post hole diggers and off course Peaveys. (Made in Eddington Maine.)
  • Pratt-Read (now owned by Ideal) - Screwdrivers and nut drivers.
  • Pro-Tools - Tubing benders.
  • Proto (aka Stanley-Proto--a division of Stanley.) Most Proto tools are made in USA.
  • Ridgid Tools - Pipe wrenches, pipe threaders, and tubing cutters. Note that some Ridgid tools are imported, so be sure to check before you order.
  • Snyder Manufacturing - Ratcheting and non-ratchet screwdrivers. (Made in Salamanca, New York.)
  • St. Croix Forge Family - Horse shoeing tools, nails and other farrier equipment
  • Stiletto Tool Co. - Titanium and stainless steel hammers. (Made in Winton, California.)
  • Vaughan Mfg. (aka Vaughan-Grayvik) - Hammers, pry bars, hatchets, axes, drywall hatchets, etc. Note that some Vaughan tools are imported, so be sure to check before you order.
  • Wilde Tool - A great range of hand tools, including pliers, screwdrivers, scrapers, wrenches and more. (Spoken "Wild-ee.")
  • Woodman's Pal - A trail machete/hatchet/pruner.
  • Wright Tool - Wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, and hammers,
  • Xuron Corporation - Shears, pliers and forming tools. (Made in Saco, Maine.)

Sewing and Leatherworking Tools:

Gunsmithing, Reloading, and Bullet Casting Tools:

  • Brownell's - America's largest gunsmithing tools supplier. They sell a mix of US-made and imported tools, so be sure to check the country of origin for each item before ordering.
  • Chapman Mfg. Tools - Ratchets, drivers, and adaptors for standard slotted (gunsmithing style), Allen, Bristol, Phillips, and Torx head.
  • Dillon Precision - Reloading tools. Oh, and a great Minigun. ;-)
  • Grace USA - Excellent hollow-ground gunsmithing screwdrivers, as well as hammers and pin pinches.
  • Infinite Products - Stainless Steel Solvent Trap 1/2x28 to Oil Filter (3/4x16) Thread Adapters
  • Lee Precision - Reloading and bullet casting tools.
  • Lone Wolf Distributors - Glock armorer tools.
  • Lyman Products - Reloading and bullet casting tools.
  • RCBS - Reloading tools.
  • Squirrel Daddy - AR15 / M16 Lower Receiver Magazine Vise Block. (These are handy to just hold your AR for cleaning, too.)
  • Tapco - The best AR-15 armorer's wrench. Many of their other products are imported, so check before your order.
  • UTG - AR-15 Sight adjusting tools, and many products. (Check for country of origin.)


Welding Tools:


Clamps and Vises:

  • Anvil - (aka Wolff Industries) Their fly-tying (miniature) vise is American-made. (Made in Indiana.)
  • Armstrong Tools - Some clamps made in USA.
  • Badger Clamp - A variety of clamps. (Made in Michigan.)
  • Bench Crafted - "Build It Yourself" woodworking table vise kits and plans, including a great split-top Roubo bench. They also make great magnetic knife and tool holders.
  • Bench Dog Tools - Clamping assembly squares and hole clamps.
  • Dyna King - Their fly-tying (miniature) vises are American-made. (Made in Cloverdale, California.)
  • Griffin Enterprises - Fly-tying (miniature) vises, all American-made. (Made in Kalispell, Montana.)
  • Pony Clamps - Most of their clamps are made in the USA.
  • Wilton - Only some of their vises are still American-made, so check carefully before ordering.
  • Yost Vises - U.S. and imported vises. (Only the vises shown on their "Made in USA" web page are American-made.)


Handheld Electric Power Tools:

Except for Dremel, there are now precious few US-made hand-held AC (power cord) or DC (battery) power tools. We now must look for used tools that are marked "Made in USA." Even Milwaukee and Porter Cable have shifted their manufacturing to China! I personally use Dewalt tools, which are now mostly made in Mexico. (I refuse to buy tools made in China, unless I have no other choice.) Ironically, I've read that Makita (a Japanese conglomerate) now makes more tools in the U.S. than does Dewalt! BTW, I also own some Dremel brand tools, but they now only claim "Made in North America" (rather than "Made in USA") for their product line. Many of their tools are also now made in Mexico.


Floor and Bench Mount Power Tools:

Note: Pitifully, there are no more mid-size (home shop weight) milling machines made in the USA. The only one that comes close is is the Industrial Hobbies (Charter Oak Automation) brand mill, but the big castings that they start with fro those are imported from Taiwan. It is generally best to look for used American-made machines from quality makers, locally, via Craigslist. (Such as Apex, Jet, Atlas, or Bridgeport.) Ditto for bench grinders, disc sanders, scroll saws, and many other tools. Here are a few American floor and bench mount power tool makers that are still hanging in there:

  • Buffalo Machines, Inc. - Perhaps the last American maker of home workshop drill presses. Both their machines and their documentation still look "Old School", too! (Made in Lockport, New York.)
  • Clausing - Only their few "Insourced" machines are American-made.
  • Dremel - Makes a Rotary Tool Work Station that turns your Dremel tool into a miniature drill press.
  • Ellis Mfg. - Band saws, band saw blades, floor mount belt grinders, and a CNC drill press.
  • Powermatic - Table saws. (In October of 1999 Powermatic was purchased by WMH, who already owned Jet Tools, and Performax Products.)
  • Ridgid Tools - Best known for their pipe tools, they also make bench-mount (or cart-mount) miter saws, table saws, and abrasive cut-offs
  • Sherline - Miniature lathes and milling machines.
  • Shopsmith - Multipurpose woodworking machines (functions include lathe, table saw, disc sander, boring and routing) for home woodworking. (Some argue that in attempting to all of these tasks, that they do none of them particularly well. I only recommend Shopsmiths if you have very limited floor space in your wood shop.)
  • TAIG Tools - Bench top mini milling machines and lathes. Now with CNC control!


3D Printers

Here is a new technology where America presently has the lead! American companies control more than 90% of the market:


Pneumatic Power Tools:

  • Bondhus - Various hex (Allen and Torx head) tools, including ball head. (Made in Minnesota.)
  • Campbell Hausfeld - Cast Iron Air Compressors.
  • Proto (aka Stanley-Proto--a division of Stanley.) Most Proto tools are made in USA.
  • Snap-on Tools - A huge variety of tools. They have four factories, all in the U.S. (In Elkmont, Alabama; Algona, Iowa; Elizabethton, Tennessee; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) Most Snap-on products are US-made, but they also catalog some others tools that are imported. (So be sure to check.)
  • Texas Pneumatic Tools - Compressors, impact wrenches, grinders, et cetera.
  • St. Louis Pneumatic - Impact wrenches, grinders, drills, and power chisels.


Masonry Tools:


Log Splitters:

  • DR - Gas engine and electric splitters. Unlike a typical gas engine splitter, their electric splitters cannot be heard from more than a short distance away.
  • Ramsplitter - As electric splitters go, these are fast and powerful.


Pouches and Tool Bags:


Work Benches, Tool Chests, Cabinets, Tool Carts, Router Tables, and Saw Horses:

  • Akro-Mils - Very handy plastic hardware storage bins and metal racks, to hold them.
  • American Workbench - Excellent wooden workbenches, shipped unassembled. (Made in Charlestown South Carolina.)
  • Bench Crafted - "Build It Yourself" woodworking table vise kits and plans, including a nice split-top Roubo bench.
  • Bench Dog Tools - Cast iron router tables.
  • Black & Decker - Workmate Portable Workbenches. (Note that most Black & Decker tools are imported.)
  • Edsal - Steel work benches, shelves, pallet racks, and tool carts. Their is a real bargain, and quite versatile.
  • Gerstner - Some of the nicest wooden tool chests made. (Steel tool chests are more practical for most of us.)
  • Hideahorse - Strong, stable folding sawhorses
  • Kennedy Manufacturing - Rolling tool chests, bench top chests, hand-carry chests, modular cabinets, and benches with drawers.
  • Moduline - Aluminum tool cabinets
  • Noden Furniture Design - Makers of the Adjust-A-Bench
  • Task Horse Brackets - Sturdy sawhorses, using standard 2x4 dimensional lumber.
  • U.J. Ramelson Co. - Scribes, carving tools, and checkering tools.
  • Woodpeckers - Router tables, router mounting plates, router fences, measuring tools, layout tools and clamping accessories. Note that they also sell some imported products (under other brand names), so be sure to check the country of origin before ordering. (Their products under their brand name are made in Ohio.)


A Few Odd Ducks

Here are a few others American tool companies with products that are not in the aforementioned categories:

  • MacCoupler - A clever adapter that allows you to re-fill one-pound propane cylinders from 20 to 40 pound tanks.
  • MagEyes - Magnifying lenses with a headband for hands-free detail work. (Made in Texas.)

Closing Notes: Special thanks to Harry J. Epstein Company, a tool retailer that still cares about the country of origin off the tools that they sell.

When you do buy an American-made product, again, please send an e-mail to the maker, with a note of encouragement to let them know that you appreciate their integrity in keeping their production on-shore.

Please let me know via e-mail which companies I've missed in the preceding lists, and I will add them before I move this piece to a permanent reference page.

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2013 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles - SurvivalBlog.com

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on August 1, 2013 1:38 AM.

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