On the weekend, I attended the Woodstock Wood Show (see blog entry for more information) and during my time there I had the opportunity to speak with a few company representatives – including Keith Potts, Trainer, from Techtronic Industries North America, Inc.
Amongst other product lines, TTI acquired the Ryobi brand for North America in 2000, launched the RIDGID professional tools for The Home Depot in August 2003, and in January of 2005 they acquired the Milwaukee brand.
Although Keith and I didn’t talk a lot about the different lines of tools I think the following may be of interest to woodworkers. The Ridgid tools have a life-time warrantee; the Ryobi line is high-end tools but priced more for hobbyists, and the Milwaukee line comes with a five-year warranty.
With being “the fastest growing tool company ever”, the goal for the future is to continue to invent innovative products that meet the needs of woodworkers, with the “best tools” and the “best warranty”.
One of the new tools to look for is the Ryobi nailer that will be part of their 18-volt line of tools. In this series, one battery style is used with many different tools.
This question usually has people pause and think but they always have an answer! Keith’s favourite products are the sanders (because there is no vibration) and the saws because they are designed so that the motor is out of the way and the base is designed to maintain its accuracy.
What Makes the Company Unique
According to Keith, what sets this company apart from others is that it is the fastest growing tool company due to its innovative engineers. Keith states that the extensive product testing includes prototypes being given to woodworking groups to test and provide feedback. Products can go back to groups several times as the improvements are identified and tested. They keep going through the process until they get it right and only then does the product get ready to be marketed.
As an example, they are, now, just coming out with a 3-blade thickness planer. Why? Because they wanted to maintain the quality results that their 2-blade was already achieving. They needed the 3-blades to maintain the sheering action needed and nothing else would do. The process was not about adding another blade just to sound good, but to create something that was guaranteed to do what it was supposed to do.
The Ridgid website currently has an online forum and more resources are in development at this time.
One key piece of information that Keith wanted to clarify was the ”life long warranty”. It is FREE to the original owner of the tool. This means that if the tools breaks down, they will fix it. If the O-rings go on the nailer: they will fix it; if the brushes die on the drills: they will fix it; when the battery life is over and is no longer rechargeable—yes, they will replace it! It’s all part of the warranty.
Tips to Woodworkers
When asked about tips for woodworkers, Keith quickly responded with the word “Safety”. He also said that his tip will raise a few eyebrows as he recommends not using earplugs. Why? Because as you get to know your tool you can hear when it starts to not work right. You will hear a problem before something happens and you can react to the sound before something goes wrong.
On a lighter note, Keith shared a tip on sanding: move the sander 1 inch per second and you will get a beautiful finish. You shouldn’t have to work at sanding. The tool is build to do the job for you. He also said to not use a tack rag because it leaves stuff behind. Vacuum the dust off instead.
Thanks to Keith Potts for taking the time to talk to me about the products available as well as the woodworking tips he shared with us.
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)