Re: Endangered Tools

Bill Welch

Dear Denny and everyone:

I encountered this when trying to find an HO ruler while I continue to find some of my tools from my move a year ago. I have two, one a long Walthers example which is good but often feels unwieldy because of its 12 inch or so length. My short one, which is still eluding me, is I think from "General Tool" and is about 6-inches and BTW is NOT straight on one side. It is great for measuring in HO including one section in HO inches. So desperate was I for a small one right now that I ordered a "Factory second" manufactured for a company named "Creative Horizons" that no longer sells these rulers. The price was about $2 and it is straight on both sides and will serve until I can find my favorite, albeit crooked one. It is straight on the HO edge.

I did order something from H&R Trains and will pick it up. Walthers no longer offers any under its brand and buying something like this from a website or catalog is difficult. Some are described as flexible, which is the LAST thing I want in a ruler.

I am sure my small one will show up and now think it is in the same box with the small power supply for my little drill and my HO calipers which are plastic but okay. I wish I had been modeling when PFM offered an HO caliber.

So I echo Denny's Caveat Emptor but also go by the words of Gen. "Vinegar" Joe Stillwell's advice: "Illegitimum non carborundum." (pardon my poor Latin spelling)

Bill Welch

--- In STMFC@..., Denny Anspach <danspach@...> wrote:

Like the advancing thin edge of the wedge, it has come to my attention that several of our very favorite tools are no longer available, namely the very fine Utica Swiss-made PBL sprue cutters, both varieties. They are no longer on dealers' shelves, nor are they on P-B-L's website or product list. I suspect that with the weak dollar, PBL could not longer afford to import them, and the flooding of the modeling market with cheap Pakistan clones by Micro Mark did not help (the Micro Mark cutter WILL cut melted butter but nothing more substantial- making it as a replacement tool a pretty dear item).

Otto Frei has a similar Swiss cutter to the Swiss P-B-L varieties (Dumont No. 15A High Precision Carbon Steel Tweezers 157.312) at @$87; and Wiha has a German-made variety #49501- almost identical @$86, which gives some clue as to what values are involved for fine tools these days. .

Also noted is that in some Otto Frei listings, their outstanding, popular, and precise French- made brass-handle/steel-chuck miniature pin vise #23650 is either just "Out of Stock", or is no longer listed. I have made inquiry.

Although I do take extremely good care of tools (usually!), this certainly is a cautionary note to guard even more closely my P-B-Ls, reserving to cutting pliers any tasks calling for cutting any metals, no matter how small.

Also, once again, with regard to the MicroMark copy, I got exactly what I paid for- performance and quality commensurate with the cheap price. Caveat Emptor.


Denny S. Anspach, MD
Okoboji, Iowa

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