Yesterday was a day of talking to folks, sorting out filming stuff, and working some more with some new tools I’m going to film. That’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, heh heh.
I know I have written this before, but it bears repeating:
When I got into this tool testing and reviewing thing, one of the opinions I had was that all the products were made in the same factory. I mean, they all look alike, and unfortunately almost all the equipment and tools are made in China, Taiwan and now India.
In this economic climate we could certainly get into a big debate over the issues that creates, but that’s not an issue I want to even think about getting into.
Having talked to alot of different manufacturers, the thing I found out was that there is a big difference, and the difference lies in the specifications, or better put, the tolerences the different companies specify, and in many cases it’s the company’s own specific design.
That’s why you see so many products that look alike, but what I have found is that there are big differences.
Stuff like runout and table flatness on the table saws, as well as size and specs on trunions, jointers, bed flatness, true helical byrd heads or knockoffs. Spray guns, needles being stainless instead of steel, needle seats being brass instead of steel, polished air/fluid ports, nylon or stainless cups instead of aluminum. Cutting tools and bits, carbide hardness or steel hardness… the list is endless.
All of these seemingly unimportant details are major differences in how a product performs. It’s like stains. Stains are basically “dirt” mixed in a transfer medium that allows it to stick to the wood. The big difference is in the quality of the “dirt” (pigments). It’s like the old cliche of “Good fresh oats, or oats that’s been through the horse once”.
And alot of expensive, pretty, polished-up tools don’t perform or hold up any better, and often not as well, but they have those “bragging rights”.
All I’m telling you is that you may see a product from one company and see what looks the same from another, but there can be big differences in performance, and usually alot cheaper for a reason.
What happens is that the products that do not meet the specifications of a higher-end company simply pass on down to the less particular ones, and so it goes.
I will also tell you that alot of the higher end guys have programs where the off-shore manufacturers must buy back any returns, and have their own staff people on site inspecting the products. And well some, they take the leftovers, and you get a deal (well, maybe).
Just thought you would like to know how it works. I will also tell you that alot of the higher end guys require each and every machine to be ran and tested, that’s why you may find wood chips in your new machine.
Well, it’s back to the shop and the stepback, got alot to do.