Good value for re-threading, tapping wood, non-ferrous

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Review by Woodknack posted 04-17-2015 04:56 AM 4940 views 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Good value for re-threading, tapping wood, non-ferrous Good value for re-threading, tapping wood, non-ferrous No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this cheap set for cutting threads in wood. For example, making shop knobs by cutting threads directly in hard wood without having to bother using threaded inserts. Also occasionally to fix a munged thread or to clean paint from threads, light duty stuff. For those purposes the quality and carbon steel would be fine.

Here is what you are supposed to get:
COARSE: 6-32 NC, 10-24 NC, 12-24 NC, 1/4 in. -20 NC, 5/16 in. -18 NC, 3/8 in. -16 NC, 7/16 in. -14 NC, 1/2 in. -13 NC and 1/8 in. -27 NPT

That is mostly what I got except that I got two 3/8 dies, one marked correctly, the other marked 7/16, but they are the same size. update: I originally had the sizes backward, the 3/8 die is present however the 7/16 die is questionable. I do not have a 7/16 bolt but I do have a plastic bolt/nut size checker. The 3/8 tap fits the 3/8 tab on the size checker, the 7/16 isn’t even close to fitting the 7/16 tab. Using a caliper I checked the 7/16 die, it is within a hundredth of an inch of the 3/8 die. The 7/16 die does not seem to fit the 7/16 tap but that’s a difficult thing to check since one is 3 flute, the other is 4 flute.

Also, any [wood or plastic] threads I cut with the 1/4×20 seem fine until you tighten down, and they immediately strip. Doesn’t matter if it’s wood or plastic (Delrin), they will not hold at all. (I am using the correct size drill bit, in fact I’ve tried 13/64 and 7/32). The wood I could understand, maybe wood will not hold 1/4×20, but Delrin should hold. Or maybe not, I’m no expert. update: I checked the 1/4 tap with calipers, it is within spec. Then I checked all the taps, all were within spec.

Also several of the dies have chunks of metal inside the flutes. They will thread on a bolt but I don’t know they would actually be able to cut threads. If I ever need them for that, I can try filing them clean.

The inclusion of the 1/8×27 NPT seems like an odd choice. I have no idea what use I would have for that. Automotive maybe??
(Also why are pipe threads weird? 1/8 implies it is 1/8”, instead it is something less than 3/8”)

The handles are chintzy but that was expected. Overall the carbon steel works fine for my purposes. It would have been nice to have the correct dies.

For an $8 tap & die set I suppose I got my money’s worth, you can’t expect much. I’ve owned them over a year.

-- Rick M,

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3666 days

24 comments so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 3281 days

#1 posted 04-17-2015 06:51 AM

These are really one of the few disappointments I’ve had with HF tools. I have a set that I intended to use mainly with aluminum. They are barely sharp enough for that. I’ve had a few twist on me….as in the tap itself twists so the flutes are no longer vertical/parallel. The tap handles are very weak and break easily. For holes in aluminum sheet they work OK.

There is a set of 3 tap handles you can buy separately at HF that are pretty good. Their large size ratcheting tap holder is great actually. its like $20 but its for bigger taps and reamers. Also can hold your 1/2 socket wrench extension. But skip the die sets and buy what you need as you need it from a quality brand. Ace Hardware usually has a pretty good selection of very serviceable Irwin taps.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2658 days

#2 posted 04-17-2015 03:01 PM

With anything from HF, you have to look closely. I usually read the reviews on their web site because HF doesn’t edit them. There are plenty of comments like “junk” and “don’t buy”. There is one review for the set you bought – one star and the review says they would not recommend to a friend. Also, HF has a very easy return policy so when you found the problem, you could have returned them. In fact, you may still be able to return them.

View JayT's profile


6439 posts in 3497 days

#3 posted 04-17-2015 03:09 PM

Pipe threads are weird because the pipe is measured by inside diameter so as to be able to calculate flow rates. No idea why one would be included, it’s not a commonly used size, AFAIK.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2772 days

#4 posted 04-17-2015 03:42 PM

I have had a lot of success drilling and tapping hardwoodo and hardwood for jigs and such. I look up drill and tap charts and use 100% thread engagement and go from there. You prob want a set with the 3/8” die so I’d bring it back.

1/8” is prop 1/8” pipe. That’d be my guess.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Richard's profile


1957 posts in 3977 days

#5 posted 04-17-2015 05:21 PM

On thier website it shows this ,

Lifetime Warranty. We guarantee this Tool to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the product. Limitations apply.

I would take it back even if I had it for a year and show them the one die is marked wrong. Can’t hurt to try even for a $8 to $10 set. Not sure what the Limitations might be.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9999 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 04-17-2015 05:24 PM

I’m fine with the China tap and die sets…. at $8 for 21 pieces, you paid $0.38/ea for taps.

The only other alternative to buy new is to shop the metal working sites like Enco. Spend some time surfing their offerings and you’ll find that the next step up in quality is going to cost you ~$2.50 for small taps. and the sets are upwards of $100-$300.

Without the cheap China stuff, I could never justify the expense of having tap sets, which I infrequently use (and I do hobby metal working as well).

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4335 days

#7 posted 04-17-2015 06:01 PM

I bought a bigger set from HF years ago.
I posted a good review for it and I got flack for it.

This set saved my a** more than once and I ma very happy that I bought it.
If I could I would give it 6 stars

-- Bert

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

153 posts in 3978 days

#8 posted 04-17-2015 06:55 PM

I have the same set as b2rtch and feel the same about it as he does his.

View philba's profile


96 posts in 2658 days

#9 posted 04-17-2015 06:56 PM

@b2rtch, some people just have to dump on things to prove their “superiority”. That tap set you bought has a good rating for HF (4.2) so I’d say it’s worth the $40. Some HF tools are gems.

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4335 days

#10 posted 04-17-2015 07:09 PM

@b2rtch, some people just have to dump on things to prove their “superiority”. That tap set you bought has a good rating for HF (4.2) so I d say it s worth the $40. Some HF tools are gems.

- philba

I know that, they are called tool snobs.
Some tools are really worth a higher price but not all of them

-- Bert

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4090 days

#11 posted 04-17-2015 07:26 PM

These seem to better for “cleaning” out threads instead of making em. They will make new threads tho, so, as much as you may need to make threads, I’d say that’s a deal. Just my .02

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Rayne's profile


1319 posts in 2826 days

#12 posted 04-18-2015 01:41 AM

I have this set and can’t complain about them at all. I’ve never used a tap and die set until this and it has saved my butt a few times, including the installation of my Carter Quick Release BS Tension. I had to tap into the frame to screw in the base and it worked flawlessly. For $12 after discount, it has paid itself off and more.

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 5056 days

#13 posted 04-18-2015 01:47 AM

I found the sets they sold 6 years ago are a higher quality than the sets there selling now.

-- Tom D

View playingwithmywood's profile


444 posts in 2883 days

#14 posted 04-18-2015 03:02 AM

well how often are you backing out the tap and cleaning out the threads…. also are you using any type of cutting fluid

yea I do not have this set it is just two things I wondered reading your review

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 3702 days

#15 posted 04-18-2015 06:08 AM

Rick …....The inclusion of the 1/8×27 NPT seems like an odd choice. I have no idea what use I would have for that. Automotive maybe??......
Fits some british motorcycle petcocks and oil line nuts, badger air brush, pressure gauges etc

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

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