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

by cutworm
posted 751 days ago


44 replies so far

View jm8's profile

jm8

64 posts in 938 days


#1 posted 751 days ago

I waffle on this as well cutworm. I have an old Sears & Roebuck table saw model #101-02162, circa early 50’s/60’s? There is absolutely nothing plastic on this. Solid as a rock and very heavy. The fence alone weighs about 20lbs. This was built to last. With that said, the fence is not very accurate, does not lock down well, and there is no splitter. But that is part of the fun, as I have to be creative. I feel the tools now, power tools anyway, are much safer to use and lighter. May not last as long, but I will take safety over long lasting anytime. Of course the tool is only as safe as the operator. As far as hand tools, I think older is better.

Peace to all

-- Joe from Western Ma.... Peace to all

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1203 days


#2 posted 751 days ago

In a lot of cases things are made better nowadays. Sawstop (the blade sensing technology), veritas planes etc.
I disagree about hand tools. Older ones are great, just not better than some modern tools (veritas, lie-nielson).

Where things really went downhill though, is that nearly nothing is made in the USA anymore.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1259 days


#3 posted 751 days ago

I think a lot of older tools were built to last indefinitely. And from what I understand, tools in the 40s/50s/60s were comparably A LOT more expensive than they are now. Now I’m sure there were plenty of sub-par tools made in the past, but few of those still survive today. Most were scraped or trashed long ago, leaving only the quality gems for us to marvel over today.
However, the vast majority of modern tool buyers don’t need an incredible level of quality and durability. It would be a waste of money for most of us to spend a week’s pay on a state-of-the-art, $1000 drill press when the $199 Craftsman will get the job done and will likely last a very long time. And people often call modern tools “plastic junk”. Of course, on many levels, it makes sense to use plastic. Its lighter, less expensive, and in many cases offers few disadvantages over metal. I mean, could you imagine using an all metal power drill for several hours at a time?
IMO, there are plenty of great tools still available to thosoe who want the best money can buy. But I think the tool market has learned that most people are looking for value, so they flood the market with mediocre-pretty decent tools with attractive price points.

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 817 days


#4 posted 751 days ago

No, If it was a all electric drill, you’ll be dead already…. There would be no insulation on the wires… and the tool would become like some tazer or something..

-- My terrible signature...

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1064 posts in 1419 days


#5 posted 751 days ago

I thought there would be more nostalgia…. Battery drills, air nailers. Sure beats swinging a hammer. I still like those Yankee Drills but it’s hard to beat a battery drill. Tools have came a long way when you stop and reflect. I guess not all change is bad.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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Tedstor

1369 posts in 1259 days


#6 posted 751 days ago

Well I thought most would take for granted that the wiring would be insulated, but since X is in a literal kind of mood, I’ll clarify. “an all metal power drill with insulated wiring”. LOL.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#7 posted 751 days ago

I think that the tools today are in a class above those back in 50’s or 60’s not in the fact that they are better in functionality and or life span but in design quality.

The tools of the bygone era we’re designed with pencils/paper/drafting boards and the testing involved stressing a part till it broke, and if it did, back to the drawing board. Don’t get me wrong, they used what they had to the best of their ability. Additionally the choice of materials in those days was not what it is today.

The tool today are most likely designed on a CAD system and tested on the CAD station before a part is even manufactured. Changes can be made on the fly.

The is TV show that was called Mega Factories which showed VW, Philips, and John Deere, and how manufacturing technology has changed the products.

At John Deere, instead of punch presses which required too and die makers, they now use laser and plasma cutters and turn around a new design in less than 24 hours.

At the Philips Norelco razor factory the only people there are the machine technicians and the QC people and they turn out more razors than ever before …. and higher quality.

The VW factory in integrated into the city to such an extent it has to be pointed out to visitors. It get it parts on the same rail line that commuter user, new car storage looks like a high rise apartment.

I have a Craftsman TS that is from the 70s’ and I have really no reason to upgrade to a 2010 or better.

So what I am trying to say is that the tools we used before are in fact the tools that make it possible to make the tools we use today!

Does that make sense?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

208 posts in 1947 days


#8 posted 751 days ago

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.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#9 posted 751 days ago

If you buy quality, they are better today. These battery drivers sure beat that Yankee screwdriver I carried 35 years ago ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

244 posts in 1708 days


#10 posted 750 days ago

It amazes me to look at the ads in old magazines. The prices appear to be higher than the same size and brand that is available today. It seems like 8” jointers were selling for around $800 in 1980. That is right around what you can expect to pay for an 8” jointer at Grizzly today. No doubt that the $800 jointer in 1980 is a heavier duty machine than what you can buy for $800 today.

-- Steve

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10641 posts in 1632 days


#11 posted 750 days ago

Im in the thought of it all depending on how you work. For me im a “close enough” kind of guy and sneak up on most of my work with hand tools to finish, old han tools that is. This makes my power tools required to be less than accurate. Im not measuring to .001” the hell with that im no machinist. This lead me to the reason that i like older iron better than most newer stuff but thats not to say the new stuff isnt good, its great, but typically its more than i need. I also really enjoy bringing old iron back to life. Ive always thought of myself as an old soul. I like to make things that will last and i buy things that will last … the disposable society aint much for me.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

473 posts in 825 days


#12 posted 750 days ago

My Boice-Crane 6” jointer sold for $85 (MSRP) in 1937 and was considered ‘low-cost’.. adjusted for inflation, that works out to about $1200 in todays dollars. I would rather have my BC than anything I could get for $1200 today, simply because it’s over-built, over-engineered and works as well or better than anything out there currently. And coincidentally, I bought it two years ago for… $85 :)

1937 catalog listing:

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1064 posts in 1419 days


#13 posted 750 days ago

seems like all of the above is true. The old stuff has cool factor and is built like a tank while new tools bring accuracy and repeatability. @ Old Novice – the place I work has been on that show a couple of times. BMW Manufacturing. Pretty high tech place. I see that jointer weighs 220 lbs. Belt gaurd is optional. Times have changed. That’s about the same weight as the Ridgid jointer. Maybe slightly heaver. I think the Ridgid is about 200lbs. Nice looking jointer though.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#14 posted 750 days ago

cutworm,

DROOL, you said BMW!

I know I missed that show and just got part of the Ferrari show. These are ALL impressive factories, better products, higher quality, greater competetive advantages.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

667 posts in 1062 days


#15 posted 750 days ago

The fallacy in the “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” school of thought is that we only see the examples that have survived. The vast majority of items built 60 or 70 years ago have long ago been relegated to the junk heap.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1064 posts in 1419 days


#16 posted 750 days ago

Good point muleskinner

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

667 posts in 1062 days


#17 posted 750 days ago

Present company excepted, of course. :)

-- Visualize whirled peas

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

473 posts in 825 days


#18 posted 750 days ago

No fallacy.. they don’t make ‘em like they used to. Back in the day these machines were over engineered and mostly hand machined. The fact that there are so many vintage machines still in use, and a lot in production environments, is testament to their build quality. Unfortunately, old machines don’t demand top dollar and in most cases are worth more as scrap metal. I don’t know how many shops I’ve seen go out of business and all the machines, fully functional and in working condition, just hauled off to the recycling plant for their scrap value. The bank don’t care about the machines, they just want to try and recover as much as they can with as little hassle as possible.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2088 days


#19 posted 750 days ago

I agree that they dont make them like the used to. Take my Oliver 232D. Mine is a 1952 model and still in great shape. Luckily it wasnt abused and I was able to restore it to like new condition. the 1956 Oliver price list shows the 232 at $1445 with a standard 2hp 3ph motor. If you want to “upgrade” to 3hp add $70. I paid $125 for the saw but it was missing a few key parts, namely a miter gauge and rip fence. I wound up paying $450 for the fence and $100 for the miter. All together with parts and what I paid I am into the saw for about $1000. But, it will out last me, my kids, my kids kids etc.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

208 posts in 1947 days


#20 posted 750 days ago

@ Mr. Unix You made a good point with the BC jointer and it would be 1,358.54 cents today. The only issue I have with that example (and sorta proves you point in one way) no manufacturer caters to that market any more. The market being an heavy duty table top sized 6” jointer. I think if SCMI made what would be a niche product today they could beat the qulity and longevity of the BC for less money, assuming there was demand for it.

I look at my jointer it is old iron but it isn’t the best, it isn’t a Porter 300 but it is a Northfield, you can buy a jointer as good as the Northfield today, actually you can buy the exact same jointer from Northfield, it just costs $15k. So in my case they absolutely do build one like they used to. Now, SCMI, Felder and Martin to name three build jointers BETTER than the Porter 300 or Oliver 166 but they cost a LOT of money.

In the end your point is well taken, the modern low end market has few machines built to the quality standard of the old low end market like the BC 6” jointer. The average small 6” jointer built today cost less than $20 in 1937 dollars. However, if you compare machines types that were built then and now you can indeed buy machines as good or better today if one is willing to pay for them.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2382 posts in 2063 days


#21 posted 750 days ago

Not a tool but look at cars. Even if you have a lemon. In the 70’s, my first car hit about 100,000 miles and I knew that it had to be replaced soon. By 139,000 it was definitely at end of life. Rusted frame, leaky carb. etc.

today a vehicle at that mileage is just getting it’s second wind. 200k is a given and more is easily possible if you want to do it.

As for tools. The old ones worked and often heavily built. Good quality new ones don’t seem as massive, with cast iron and such but they seem to be well built just the same.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#22 posted 750 days ago

muleskinner,

”The vast majority of items built 60 or 70 years ago have long ago been relegated to the junk heap.”

I have to agree with some exceptions of hand tools which can be much older! Almost everything from cars to machinery made that long ago is in a junk heap … but not always for the fact that it was junk.

A bottle cap manufacturer in the Midwest had a piece of very old, heavy duty, steel roll handling system. Nothing wrong with the mechanics but the electronics were relay based and was causing problems. The original equipment manufacturer did not want to update the electronics but instead sell a complete new system. Fortunately, the technicians there were well versed in PLC controls and replaced four cabinets of relays with 1/2 cabinet of PLC. So a $150K piece of OLD equipment was resurrected!

So I think everything is too strong of a word!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5417 posts in 2001 days


#23 posted 749 days ago

The standards sure were higher in years gone by….everything was overbuilt to last lifetimes. Build quality was simply more robust and there was less regard for cheapening things to increase profits by minuscule amounts per unit….of course the overall number of units tended to be much lower than what today’s plants crank out. On the other hand, today’s technology is superior in many regards if we just keep the greed mongers from cheapening things to ridiculous levels.

Overall, it’s a mixed bag from my view. I’ve purchased several older Emerson made contractor saws that I’ve either refurbed or parted out. They run well and can make for a very good basic contractor saw, but from a design perspective I’d have to say that my 2005 Craftsman 22124 hybrid was a far nicer saw. I’m sure a 1940 Unisaw is built to better standards than my 2008 Shop Fox cabinet saw, but I sure like the modern fences better, and the SF is built well enough for my needs.

My older Stanley Bailey, Bedrock, Millers Falls, and Record planes are clearly built better than most new low cost planes, and not much else has changed design wise.

Modern high quality saw blades seem to be superior in every way from any older blades I’ve seen, but then there are some really poor examples of modern disposable saw blades that I wouldn’t put on my saw if you gave them to me.

The potential is there if the execs aim for higher end markets….but all too often they aim for their pocket books.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 993 days


#24 posted 749 days ago

I like my old tools ,,,an the new ones to…they each have found there place in my shop…especialy the big band saw….

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5508 posts in 2054 days


#25 posted 749 days ago

All I need do to answer the question is compare my 15-20 YO PC routers with the crap B&D/PC puts out today.
But then, the new Boschs are quite nice. So is the new Shopsmith.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2404 posts in 2368 days


#26 posted 749 days ago

Look at cars – today yes there is lots of plastic, but imaging a 1950’s vintage V8 that required no tune up for 100,000 miles.

Things are nearly maintenance free these days. I remember tuning to include replacing points and the condensor, using carb cleaner and adjusting idle and having to fiddle with the automatic choke.

Now with EFI it is easy…. til it poops out, then you may as well be looking at a flux capicitor in Captain Kirks bathroom, as there isn’t anything to be done on the side of the road but wait for a tow.

For tools – I think Lie Nielson’s tools are better than most vintage stanleys…. especially since they typicaly copied them and improved upon them.

New power tools have a shorter life but are safer, with motor brakes on the mitre saws, and riving knives

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1858 days


#27 posted 749 days ago

I wonder, by percentage, what number of old iron machines are still in existence / use today? Yes there are some, but I think the percentage that have been sent out for scrap metal by now is fairly high.

I think the idea that they don’t build em like they used to is based more on nostalgia than anything else. Yes there were some quality advantages of earlier designs, mostly because a lot of older machines were overbuilt. By the same token, safety, and performance features tended to be lacking. I will give you a couple of good examples…

My Dad’s shop when I was a kid had what I believe was a King Seely built Craftsman Table saw, with no splitter of blade guard, nor anywhere to mount one. My Grandfather bought the saw new in the early 1950s, it never had any of those features. It had a 10” blade with no carbide that needed to be sharpened all the time, and the fence was anything but accurate. However it had mass due to the cast iron table. The elevation / tilt mechanism was buttery smooth and was so stoutly built it probably could lift a freight elevator let alone just a simple 10” saw blade.

My shop has a what I figure by now is a 10 year old Ryobi BT3100-1 table saw that has an aluminum top instead of the nice cast iron of my dads Craftsman, the raise / tilt mechanism on mine is more prone to clogging with dust, and I do have some concerns with the elevation screw threading into an aluminum housing. However with a good every 2 years clean and dry lube, I keep it working smooth as butter. My saw is fitted with a true riving knife, with a removable guard, I have a micro adjustable fence that gives me scary accurate cuts my dad could only dream of.

I am sure whomever my Dad sold the old Craftsman to, if they took care of it, most likely by now has it fitted with a modern fence, and splitter / guard setup. But I wouldn’t trade that thing for my Ryobi if it weren’t for the family history on it…

Same goes for the old Crafstman 4” jointer he had. My Sunhill 6” benchtop jointer is a much better machine with the exception of the plastic housing. And that plastic is fine as long as I don’t have it under constant UV exposure. Considering my shop has no windows, that exposure just isn’t going to happen in the next hundred years or so…

Same goes with cars… Sure there is a lot of plastic on my 2004 Ford Pickup. I also remember my first truck. A 1965 Chevrolet, complete with no seat belts, a skull busting dashboard complete with pointy edge to drive your skull bones apart, and a steering wheel guaranteed to impale you if you ever hit anything. I would MUCH rather be driving my newer Ford!

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#28 posted 749 days ago

The original equipment manufacturer did not want to update the electronics but instead sell a complete new system. Fortunately, the technicians there were well versed in PLC controls and replaced four cabinets of relays with 1/2 cabinet of PLC. So a $150K piece of OLD equipment was resurrected!

The basic electrical components are much more fragile today than in the past. The old NEMA relays and motor starters would last a million or more operations. Since everyone has gone to the international standard components,
relays and motor starters are disposable just like many blades are today. The biggest problem with disposable electrical parts is the level of expertise required to trouble shoot and repair.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1694 days


#29 posted 749 days ago

Craftsman-
I turned 16 in ‘61 and remember drooling over used cars. In those days a car with 35k – 40k was on it’s way to the wrecking yard – unless the seller could find some teenaged kid with no sense. – lol

As for tools, the materials and fabrication technology in the “good old days” often required that stuff be way overdesigned and overbuilt. Lots of the metal tools couldn’t have been made from anything else. Injection molding and improvements in strength and durability led to the use of plastics.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#30 posted 749 days ago

TopamaxSurvivor,

Yes, NEMA starters would do that but relay ladder logic would probably switch that many times in less than a year and it is a electromechannical component … !

Solid State PLC have run 24/7 for 25 years!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#31 posted 749 days ago

I have seen relay logic that has run 24/7 for 25 years and beyond without fail . Lots of the equipment I have installed would be simpler, more serviceable and dependable with relay logic. Too bad we are fascinated by the latest technological innovations ;-) Technology does have it’s place, just not is simple applications, IMO.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#32 posted 749 days ago

Topa,

Relays running continually … ? SS PLC is much easier to troubleshoot since there are so many more tools to do the job.

Perhaps we should take this discussion out of this thread and do it with some PMs so we don’t bore the rest of the contributors on this thread!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#33 posted 749 days ago

I think it’s a handtool versus powertool thing for me. Vintage versus modern. I’ve never found a vintage powerdrill that I considered superior to its modern counterpart, lol. On the other hand, there’s the “new” Stanley Sweetheart line.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#34 posted 749 days ago

Not really much to discuss. I think you missed my point about simple equipment.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#35 posted 749 days ago

^I read it now, Topa. I think I need to revisit my post above. I was thinking handtools like drills, circular saws, etc. I’d take a 60-year-old Rockwell bandsaw over a Laguna. In fact, I did. I’m not giving up my cordless drills, though, lol;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2788 posts in 1869 days


#36 posted 749 days ago

50+ years ago, there were many tool companies in the U.S. Some of the tools made were good and some, not so good. Certain tool companies hit it right in designing a tool that was just about perfect right from the beginning. Over the years, these tools survived with little or no improvements having to be made. The Crescent wrench and the Stilson wrench are prime examples. The Delta unisaw and the Powermatic saws were good saws for many years. Overseas competition forced Delta and PM to switch to offshore. I think if Delta and PM stuck with their original design, they would still be a viable force in the tool market. I hear of so many woodworkers who wish they had a unisaw and would be willing to pay for it if still available under it’s original cover. Marketing and corporate profits have destroyed the tool industry in this country. I think if companies would settle for smaller profits, they could still be competitive. If marketeers can persuade the public to buy a Chinese pos, the can also do the same for U.S. made products.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#37 posted 749 days ago

Corp profits are not the problem; most stocks are really not worth owning based on their earning/dividends as compared to comparable numbers from the 70s. Executive compensation is the real problem ;-(

Wood Magazine recently had a survey on US made. Most people said they were in favor, but only willing to pay about 10% premium for that quality. That does not surprise me. I have concluded over the last 25 years in business, people want laws to protect them from fly by night operators but do not really want to pay the costs of compliance. They are looking for some one who will work on the side, then want the gov’t to crack down when there is a problem.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#38 posted 749 days ago

^Totally agree, Topa. I’m willing to pay a large premium for local workers, purchase from local shops, etc. I try to factor in a job failure premium b/c they often do. It’s worth it to me to pay more to deal with local craftsman. I’m willing to pay considerably more for American products. I’m often looked at strangely for this, so I doubt it’s a terribly common request.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#39 posted 749 days ago

I have always been that way too. Matter of fact, when I noticed the assembled in Mexico sticker while I buying a F250 Power-stroke, , I told my local Ford dealer if I wanted a Mexican truck I would be shopping for a Jesus or a Sanchez!

A friend would never buy a VCR until they made one in the US. His wife was laid up for a while. He finally had to give in so she could watch movies during her recovery.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1064 posts in 1419 days


#40 posted 749 days ago

Lots of twists and turns. All seem to be valid. We bought a pizza cutter in Williams Sanoma a while back. One in US and one from China. $10 difference but it was easy to see why. We went with the one from the US. My wife is more of a fanatic than me. I’ve seen her go into tirades in stores…. Problem for me is that I didn’t see prices go down when companies like Nike went to China. Only profit margin increases. I have no problem buying from fair trading countries. France, Italy, Canada and so on. I work for a German owned company. They provide a lot of jobs in this area. I don’t like to see US companies in China exploiting slave labor and skirting around safety and environmental standards. I guess there is a difference between free and fair trade. I am willing to pay as much as 25% more for US products if they are available. I love vintage tools, cars etc but reach for the new saw when doing something critical. I’m not that good and need any advantage I can get.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Brett's profile

Brett

621 posts in 1309 days


#41 posted 749 days ago

Part of the reason that “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” is that a hundred years ago, manufacturers didn’t have plastics and other synthetic materials. They made things out of cast iron, wood, stone, etc. because that’s all they had. I guarantee they would have used cheaper, lighter materials had those materials been available.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3688 posts in 1994 days


#42 posted 749 days ago

Bret,

You are correct, fourty years ago there were no plastic cameras … better materials, not only plastics but also alloy metals, and ceramics.

I used Nitonol as a replacement for a rotary solenoid in my last job … that wasn’t available 40 years ago and proved to be more reliable and in this case file safe.

One other factor is measument/testing capabilities. Digital measurement devices are abundant, reasonably priced and accurate. Materials can be tested to a higher degree for two main reasons; historical data has been refined, and better testing capabilities. I have a load cell that I play around with once in a while and those were not available 40 years ago.

I am willing to bet that a hand plane made today is a better product due to some, if not all, of the reasons above!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#43 posted 749 days ago

Gary Brumfield, the Gunsmith of Williamsburg, demonstrated a notable exception to modern technology and materials. He had some time lapse photos of flintlock ignition. With all our technology and material advances, the best modern flintlocks are noticeably slower than the premium locks produced in the late 16th century. How did those guys figure it out? ;-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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cutworm

1064 posts in 1419 days


#44 posted 748 days ago

I’ll say this. As I remember it tool companies usually supported their products better in the past than today with spare or replacement parts and customer service when needed. That is worth a lot when you need it. I have a nice selection of Ridgid products and have only needed support once and let me say that is was far from a pleasant experience. As luck would have it Home Depot stepped up and is in the process of rescuing me. I have all of these LSA’s with Ridgid but am now concerned that they are not worth one thin dime. I guess it’s the disposable approach in today’s world. I’m ok with that if it’s a $50 item but not if it’s a $500 item. I guess some things change for the better and some things change for the worse.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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