Reply by DamnYankee

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Posted on A convention for the "stars" on the review

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3301 posts in 2590 days

#1 posted 07-29-2012 10:56 AM

I think b2rtch and whome are essentially saying the same thing.

For me there are a couple of factors at work, some of which will NEVER be satisfactory to every LJ due to the wide range of experience and abilities. – price is a factor in ratings, or at least in terms of price-value. That said what I think is reasonable price range may not be for others, due to budgets, amount of woodworking they do, type of woodworking, hobby, pro, etc. I buy a $1000 tablesaw, that is doable but on the limits of my budget as I am not much more than an exagerated hobbiest. To my fellow LJs this might be in the “junk” price range, to others far outside their means. Additionally, let say I did end up with the “mac daddy undeniable best in the land” table saw (say I won it) and the retail price was $10,000, given my capabilities or needs as a hobbiest I might not really notice (or care) a $9,000 increase in perfection. I’ll take this to the other extreme. You can buy a 6’ tape measure for 99cents or you can spend $20. Is there really a price-value differenct of $19? Yes, no, maybe, depends. All of those. Depends on purpose for which it was purchased. If I am measuring for rough dimension, no there is nor value added. If I need the absolute precision the $20 provides then maybe. I would suspect though that for most of us $20 is overkill and is not worth the extra $19. That said for most of we probably want say the $10 tape for its addd durability, accuracy, etc and a more reasonable price.
-Capabilities and experiences. This was mentioned above but it goes beyond price. I got into woodworking from DIY to carpentry to woodworking. So most of my background was in circular saws, bench saws and hand drills. So for me to rate my firstever experienced/used planer probably would not mean much. Now, that said, I am not stupid, so I can probably recognize poor junk soon after I put it to work, I can probably tell you if the set up manual was useful, and hopefully I can tell if the tool appears to do what it was intended to do (this assumes I knew what a planer does before I purchased it). However that limited (non-existent) experience probably wouldn’t mean much to the owner of multiple planers.

This kind of reminds me when a while ago someone asked me what the difference between carpentry and woodworking was, and I answered the difference between a 1/16” and .0001”. A matter of precision. Doing carpentry (such as when I framed out my screened in porch) 1/16” was nothing and so a miter saw that was not very accurate was not a major issue. Whereas when I make boxes with mitered corners its EXTREMELY important and so is the tool. If all you have known is carpentry then your expetations of a miter saw is different than if all you know is woodworking. If you do both you can see value at both ends. Doing carpentry on a job site I want relative accuracy but almost more import in durability of the tool. Doing woodworking in my shop durability is not likely as much of an issue where as repeatability is.

So I can see where an HF tool bought for $20 could end up with the same rating as a Festool for $300 provided the reviewer had a reasonable set of expectations between the two. And really that to me is the problem when I read reviews, a lack of reasonable expectation. A lack of reasonable expectations is often tied to a lack of experience/knowledge about the tool they bought.

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