Here is my beef – the hobby woodworker that is looking for machinery that is of good quality, safety and performance often has to buy machinery designed for commercial shops and pays a large premium as the that calibre of equipment often has much longer duty cycles and is more heavy duty than required by a hobby woodworker.
Here a couple of examples…
Jointers typically have two cutterhead options – flat knives and helical cutterheads. There is a hefty premium for a helical cutterhead. Flat knives in jointers are a PITA to replace and reset. Helical cutterheads are extreme overkill for a hobbyist in terms of duty cycle. A logical alternative would be a cutterhead with disposable knives that are self-setting like those in most lunch box planers. Yes, you can buy aftermarket versions but they are so expensive you might as well go helical to start with.
Dust collectors. How many HF single stage dust collectors with cloth filters are out there? You want to step up in terms of safety and performance. Well you must go into the + $1000 price range for some sort of cyclone setup that offers better filtration and the convenience of a barrel to separate most of the waste. The funny thing is there are countless articles in magazines and builds in the project section on this website on how to take a single stage collector and make safe and perform well. Why can’t a vendor license the Thien baffle and sell a single stage collector with a separator all on a single moveable stand? There have been to project builds feature here lately that do just this. I’d love to be able to just go and buy something like that.
Mitre saws. Now I know they aren’t considered real woodworking machinery but rather a contractors tool. But why or why does every model out there have to spew dust like its a feature? You want a well designed one, well go buy the Festool Kapex and pay its ridiculous price.
So here you see right off the bat, a hobby woodworker can buy a cheap jointer, dust collector and mitre saw and deal with poor performance, excess dust and tools that are frustrating to work with, or they can be pay 2 to 3x the cost and buy equipment that is normally used by production shops. This just doesn’t make sense. There are real business opportunities for companies that want to roll up their sleeves, invest in engineering and make products targeted at hobby woodworkers.