Ok so I have a friend that works for Toyota and he typically makes a trip to Japan at the beginning of every year. When he does this he take an extra bag and on the way back he fills it with Japanese made tools. I have had him pick some up for me but its hard to know what they have and what I want. The tools there are amazingly clever and the quality is perfect. They think of every thing when designing these tools. Here is an example: they provide a cheater bar for hex keys and it has multiple angles too (http://www.ebay.com/itm/WISE-SBL-1000-SUPER-BALL-WRENCH-Power-Up-handle-Hexagon-Hex-Key-set-from-JAPAN-/161389908599?hash=item2593969277:g:p2gAAOxyLN9Sie4-). I can find some stuff on ebay but not much. Also I can often find the companies of the stuff he brings back but can’t order them. Also if anyone knows of websites to by affordable Japanese made tools please let me know…and Japanese brands. Thanks.
Some Japanese toolmaker’s that come to mind are:
Shimano Bicycle Tools
TAKAGI TOOLS INC. - SHARK tools
Some retail sources:
Nepros.net is a good one. They will deal direct with US customers, fast and reasonable shipping. They ratchets are beautiful with a fine tooth mechanism. Their adjustable wrench is almost a work of art. And I love their wood handle screwdrivers. The only issue with their tools are that you will feel bad using them as a tool should be used. But the quality is fantastic.
I’ve used levelchrome before to purchase Koken tools. Good experience with them.
“Eight” make excellent quality hex keys in metric and imperial. Beautifully finished.
I’ve also bought Wise and like their colour coded versions.
“Lobster” brand pliers and cutters are good quality. They do a nice range of adjustable wrenches in various sizes including short handle wide jaw versions handy for use on those large plastic pipe fittings. Lobsters crimp tools are excellent.
I’ve also bought Ko-ken sockets in standard and impact versions. They seem well made and I haven’t used them hard enough to break anything yet. They make torx and hex bits for socket wrenches too.
There are many high quality bit sets manufactured in Japan. Take a look at
Are there any good distributors in the US for any of these tools?
http://www.vesseltools.com/ is a distributor for Vessel’s products, for OLFA you can just buy from their site. Olfa has some great products.
Makita’s best tools are made in Japan, not many of them are available in the states. Don’t have any hand tools for you tho.
I use Amazon or LevelChrome.
Looking for something else - I ran across this Koken set of sockets:
Not sure why they are described as “flare nut sockets” as I would think that the tubing would get in the way of the ratchet handle. They look a bit like the sockets used to remove some oxygen sensors.