DeWalt Moving Into the Hand Tool Business
Since DeWalt’s founding they have primarily been about power tools, but expect to see many new innovations hitting the market soon in the areas of hand tools. That’s right – hand tools. So how big of a deal is this for the company? Well, just look in the job site trailer or the back of almost any contractor’s van and we are pretty sure that you will see the familiar yellow and black of DeWalt. With many contractors that are either well-vested in DeWalt tools or using them continuously on their jobs, we are pretty sure that these guys will be excited about the new line of hand tools. From a marketing standpoint, it appears that DeWalt is making a smart move to offer new products that augment their current offerings. With their expansion into hand tools looks like a pretty smart direction to go. And let’s face it – people like yellow and black.
Looking at today’s contractors and craftsman, DeWalt realized that, not only do they have a faithful following, but that there are many new guys to the business that are looking for real job site performance in their hand tools. While we were up at the DeWalt 2011 Media event a few weeks ago, we got to put our hands on many new DeWalt 20V Max cordless tools and hear discussions from managers and engineers on how they took a hand tool concept and made it worthy to bear the DeWalt name.
One of the first things that jumped out to us was a the DWHT51138 15-ounce Framing Hammer. Up to now, the only way you could have a framing hammer that weighed less than a pound was a titanium-headed model like what Stiletto offers. The key to the DeWalt model is that they figured ways to shave weight by eliminated unneeded bulk in the head. The way they approached this was to use three separate steel forgings that are then MIG welded together. The face, claw and handle are separate pieces that are joined together and make the entire hammer surprisingly lightweight. The benefit of the three pieces is that they can be individually heat-treated for the properties that are required. While we were doubtful at first, we gave it a try and found that we could easily drive a 16D framing nail with a few solid whacks. DeWalt claims that it hits with the power of 28oz framing hammer. Just like the titanium hammers, you can expect to be able to tackle most framing applications and not feel fatigued at the end of the day. For the guy needing a new trim hammer there will be a smooth-faced 14oz version – and if you still like a wood handle, they will also have a 17oz forged-head version too. The 15-ounce Framing Hammer will run you about $60 which is a significant savings over that titanium model you were dreaming about.
Notice the chisel in the photo above? Now this is not just any chisel, but one that you can use for a myriad of chores that range from fine mortise work, demolition, or using it like a spokeshave. The upper edge of the chisel is hardened and wide so that it can withstand impact on the top edge of the blade. The serrated edge provides fast cutting so that you can use it much like a knife. The DWHT16065 Side Strike Chisel will cost you about $15.
We next checked out the new DeWalt tape measures and chalk reels. Knowing that Stanley Black and Decker is the parent company of DeWalt, we figured that the DeWalt tapes would simply be re-branded Stanly FatMAX tapes for sure. We were quickly assured by Todd Langston, the director of brand marketing for Stanley Black and Decker, that there was absolutely no “brand slapping” as he put it. While the DeWalt products are built using some shared technology gained from the long history of Stanley Tools, the DeWalt products are unique and specifically designed for the professional user. Both their price point and features put it in a market where users that do construction work for a living will be particularly interested in them. The new DWHT33385 25 Foot Short Tape looks like it will deliver durability for contractors. Standard features include a 13 foot standout, an oversized end hook, a durable casing with rubber overmold, and a rubber covered thumb slide lock that was one of the best that we ever used. To help extend the lifespan of the tape, there is a patented 3M thermoplastic film adhered to the first six inches of the blade. This same tape will be available in 16 and 30 foot lengths as well. In addition to these tapes, there will be three different 100′ tapes and a new chalk reel. The DWHT33385 25 Foot Short Tape will cost around $25 once it hits the shelves.
No tool line would be complete without a knife, so DeWalt came up with a few items here as well. The first we laid eyes on was the DWHT10035 Folding Retractable Utility Knife. At first it seemed like an oxymoron to say folding and retractable in the same sentence, but follow us here. This new knife has on-board blade storage, an all-metal body, and easy blade changes (plus with the retractable blade, you can now have precision variable cut depth). If you don’t need the compact folding knife, DeWalt will also offer a more tradition model, DWHT10046 that has much the same features. Both knives can be had for around $10 each.
There will also be a comprehensive line of adjustable wrenches and pliers. The adjustable wrenches will feature solid handles verses the standard I-beam cross sections that we are used to. The claim is that they are more comfortable to hold (we agree) and are easier to apply pressure on in extreme situations. The jaws also are more precise – with less wobble and side to side play. Expect these to cost from $13 for the 6″ size, up to $35 for the 15″. A wide range of pliers will be introduced as well and will include aviation snips, compound action pliers and specialty pliers as well. All of the new pliers will feature forged chrome vanadium steel for strength and durability along with handle designs and coatings that are designed for increased user comfort.
Now if you are going to be loading up with a bunch of new hand tools, you will undoubtedly need somewhere to store them. DeWalt has you covered. Their new DWST24070 Power Tool Case with Tote is a two-in-one tool box that gives unique storage options for tools and small accessories. Power tools, hand tools and small parts, such as drill bits, can be be organized in the power tool case with plenty of customization possibilities. In addition to this new tool box, DeWalt has put together what they are calling their ToughSystem. This system is a series of various-sized storage containers that will fit larger size tools and accessories in tough waterproof boxes that can be stacks and organized easily. The boxes are made from a 4mm thick structural foam product that is nearly indestructible. There are various inserts for tools, along with a central locking mechanism to make sure they are secure once you close them up.
With over 100 new SKU’s, DeWalt is launching their hand tool line with a significant variety of products. In addition to the tools we already looked at, they will also have screwdrivers, electrician-specific hand tools, hack saws, hand saws, pry bars and much more. You will start to see these in stores on online beginning July 2011.