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Old 10-21-2012, 11:46 PM
Madredr1's Avatar
Madredr1 Madredr1 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Deforest, WI
Posts: 17
Default Brown tool kit....

I did a search to find info on the browntool kit because its so much cheaper and didn't find any reviews in favor or against. Any input on this kit at all? The price is so much cheaper and that concerns me a little.


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Old 10-22-2012, 07:10 AM
esjacoby77 esjacoby77 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 131

I bought the Brown kit when I started building. I haven't had any problems with the tools, and would purchase it again. Keep in mind that all of the tool kits are basically starter will end up purchasing many more tools during your build.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:30 AM
2bolts 2bolts is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 120
Default Brown tool kit


I ordered the Brown kit and am reasonably satisfied with it. As Ethan said the kit is a starter kit , that's the same of all the tool kits. Some tools might apply to other RV's but not your version(Browns say that 'RV builders' have asked for these tools). It is difficult to tell if there is anything in the kit that you don't need(for the version you are building), and might be able to swap out. Check out specific tools in the kit

The riveting plate is also absent from the Brown kit, which I would've thought was a basic part of any tool kit. But overall I thought it a pretty good kit to get you started.
A Brit in Texas
RV8 N886LH (Reserved) BuNo 83320
Collecting books/info/tools.
Tail kit arrived! 9/30/2012
Construction started

"The engine's overheating, and so am I! Either we stand down, or blow up! Now which do you want?" Sqn Ldr Canfield.

Last edited by 2bolts : 10-22-2012 at 08:31 AM. Reason: added some text to make clearer
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:49 AM
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sbal0906 sbal0906 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Posts: 214
Default Me too

I purchased the Brown tool kit to start working on the -9A empennage and am satisfied with it but as mentioned, it is a starter kit. I think I'll have to get a few more different sized bucking bars because I'm having trouble riveting the forward most rivet in the horizontal stab.

The plastic grip on the cleco pliers has been sliding off with use but not a big deal.

Shamit Bal
Started on wings.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:32 PM
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ChiefPilot ChiefPilot is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 1,576

I purchased the Brown tool kit when I started my -6A project about 11 years ago. It's now ready for the FAA to have a look, and the tools I got from Brown have all done well and have suffered more from infrequent use than anything else. Keep them well oiled and they will last for a long time.
Brad Benson, Maplewood MN.
RV-6A N164BL, Flying since Nov 2012!
If you're not making mistakes, you're probably not making anything
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:53 AM
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clevtool clevtool is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boone, Iowa
Posts: 342
Default Apples to Apples

The cost is really a difference of what is in the kit. I just had a customer on Wednesday ask the same thing. I made up a spreadsheet to detail the differences between the Cleaveland Kit and the Brown Kit. It can be found here:

There are three sheets, one that shows all Brown items and CAT items indexed by item, one that shows if we deleted all items that were not in both kits to do a quick price comparison, and a third that shows what I would do if I was trying to only spend $1500. Personally the third option is not really something I would do as I believe in having the best quality tools you can get to make the process more enjoyable.

Mike Lauritsen
Cleaveland Aircraft Tool
mike.toolman (at)

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:37 PM
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clevtool clevtool is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boone, Iowa
Posts: 342
Default Followup

To a question I received by email...
How complete is your kit vs. a starter kit?
When the RV7 kit was released I changed the kit to conform to the new hardware and procedures with the goal in mind of what I would want to build the AIRFRAME. There are plumbing and electrical, firewall forward, paint, fiberglass, and standard shop tools that are not included.

This kit is still essentially the same as our current offering. We tweak the clekos a bit for those building a -9 or a QB kit, and have an additions kit for those building a -10. All of our kits are with customization to meet the individual builder's needs.

We have made a few notable changes. First we deleted the angle drill kit and bits as the pre-punched kits drastically reduced the need for this. About half of the builders said that they didn't use the tool, the other half said that they could not have done it without. We added the #40 and #30 reamers as they do a much nicer job of enlarging an existing pre-punched hole and require very little deburring. The tight fit dimpling fixture was also added when it was developed to allow for easy dimpling of trailing edges of control ribs. Finally we were the first to carry, and the only ones to have in our kit the new Sioux 1416 6000rpm drill. This drill turns nearly twice as fast as the 3600rpm version that we originally had in our kits.

Some things that I would do different if it were my money... I would buy the pneumatic squeezer rather than the hand squeezer. I would add the tank dies, and substructure dies, swap the two bucking bars for the BBT-41 tungsten bar. Add a flange nose squeezer yoke, torque wrench, Boeing quick change tooling, and swap out the airhose kit for a deluxe airhose kit.

The above tools are not necessary, but for about $900 they will make the project much more pleasant and go faster with more consistent results. I have added a sheet and detailed the pricing on the spreadsheet linked in the prior post.

The torque wrench is needed during the assembly stage of the project. Some borrow them, but if you intend to own one, at the onset or at least into the wings is the time to buy one. Then as mentioned plumbing and electrical in the wings and fuse kits. As with any builder you will find things along the way that you will just want, but I am pretty confident that you could built the structure with the contents of our kit.

Mike Lauritsen
Cleaveland Aircraft Tool
mike.toolman (at)

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:58 PM
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cka357 cka357 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Richmond, KY
Posts: 57
Thumbs up Tool Kit

Definately add a tank die, substurcture die, and a small tungsten bar to any kit you pick. I don't want this to sound like a sales pitch but Cleaveland tools are made really well and they are great to deal with. I have a mix of many vendors in my tool box.

RV7 in Process
- Empennage Complete
- Wings and Fuel Tanks Complete
- Fuselage In Process
Dues Paid 10/16[/url]
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:27 PM
BrownTool BrownTool is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Oklahoma City (A GREAT Place to live!)
Posts: 84
Exclamation Setting the Record Straight

@ Mike /CAT

Perhaps it was a simple mistake, but your spreadsheet indicates the Nova drill as being "made in the USA", this is in fact not correct. The Nova Palm Drill (yellow handle) is actually made in TAIWAN and imported into the USA by Pan American Tool - in fact, you can buy the drill directly from Pan American Tool for $113.00 at their website. I have actually met the Taiwanese gentleman who owns the factory where the Nova tool is manufactured. I can assure you that no pneumatic drill selling for $113 is manufactured in the USA.

Also, perhaps another mistake, but your spreadsheet also states that the Rivet Gun and bucking bars supplied in our kit are not capable of installing 3/16" rivets. This is also quite simply not true. The overwhelming majority of RV builders who purchase our kit select the 3X Rivet Gun and I can assure you that it is more than capable of installing a 3/16" rivet. In my career in the aviation industry, I have installed tens of thousands of rivets, I do not claim to be an expert on everything, but I do know rivet guns.

I stand by our statement that "the money you save by purchasing a tool kit from Brown Tool is money that you can invest in fuel or your avionics panel". We save RV builders real dollars. Our kit and its contents can be seen here:

Michael Brown
Brown Aviation Tool Supply Co.
Oklahoma City, OK
michael AT
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:10 PM
fatherson fatherson is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 427

Although I have purchased most of my tools from Avery and Cleaveland, I have also occasionally bought a few items from Brown as well. All three of these companies are excellent businesses, run by top-notch people, and all three advertise here to support this one-of-a-kind place. We are blessed by their presence, and I appreciate them each individually. I can't speak to any of their tool kits, as I bought most of my tools here and there as I could afford them, but I've never been disappointed by any of these vendors.

I have noticed that Cleaveland and Avery seem to be a little more active on the forums, answering questions and participating more often, but the folks at Brown have been responsive enough any time I've needed help from them. Whatever you choose, don't put too much emphasis on price, as the value you are getting from high-quality tools is more than sufficient to justify the prices each of these companies are asking.

Stephen & Tyson Humphrey
father-son team building new lives and an RV-9
VAF Donors: 2008 to 2014 * Friends of the RV-1
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