I was recent asked for a recommendation of a tap and die set. Now there’s a ton of junk floating around (I’m talking about you, Harbor Freight- and yes even you “Made in China” Craftsman), but thankfully you can still find a good, USA made tap and die set for a decent price. Well, as long as you don’t mind eBay.
First, let’s make something clear. There’s a big difference between wanting to clean threads and tapping a hole. If you’re looking to chase that crusty looking thread, be it bolt, nut, insert- look no further then this kit from Sears.
It’s my go-to thread cleaning, chasing, or restoring method. Included is a wide range of metric and standard sizes. It even includes thread files! (Which helped me save a friends $200 axel.) Best part, it’s the exact same kit Snap-On, Matco, and Mac sell. Mine actually reads Kastar. It’s still as of this post, Made in USA. The major upside to a kit like this is, you keep your taps and dies nice and sharp for when you need to cut threads.
Now, if you are looking for a traditional tap and die set, check out these NOS Irwin Hanson USA made kits. I bought a complete set a few years back (5 piece including handles) and I’m happy to see they are still available. I can’t tell you how many times these kits have come to the rescue.
Handle kit: Irwin-Hanson-4935055-Tap-Die-Drive-Tool-Set