Reply by AHuxley

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Posted on They Don't Make Them Like They Used To? Weigh In.

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652 posts in 3287 days

#1 posted 08-01-2012 04:22 AM

The reality is high end tools and machines today are better than the old tools and machines they are just expensive and rarely seen in hobby shops, however the same was true of high end machines back when the “old iron” was being built. Except for a very few machines that are destined to go the way of the dinosaur (NA cabinet saws for one) it is easy to find a new machine that is the equal or better of anything built 50 years ago. The difference is some hobbists can afford a Oliver jointer or a Buss planer but you rarely see them buying new top end stuff from Martin and Altendorf. A high end Martin shaper and a high end Altendorf slider will run you into 6 digits for the pair and they are FAR better in most every respect than anything made “in the old days” but if you bring the old iron prices to todays dollars (or Euros) you will see they are priced in the same ballpark.

The difference is we have a ton of inexpensive tools that lets hobbists equip shops in a way almost no hobbists could 40-50 years ago, even in their dreams so yes the inexpensive tools aren’t built to the standards of the industrial machines of the past but corrected dollar for dollar you can buy better and with an unlimited budget you can buy much better. However, the industrial tools (even the stuff from light duty manufacturers like Delta, Powermatic and Walker Turner) from the past are bargains now, the bigger stuff often sells for pennies on the dollar. case in point my most recent addition to the shop is a Northfield jointer that sells for over $15,000 today and I paid less than 1K and it is pristine, compare it to a Grizzly 12” jointer and it makes the Grizzly look feeble and weak.

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