All Replies on Are Porter Cable Tools Doomed?

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View Woodbum's profile

Are Porter Cable Tools Doomed?

by Woodbum
posted 02-22-2013 05:28 PM

25 replies so far

View Sundowner's profile


40 posts in 1903 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 05:44 PM

I’m going to screamed at for this, I just know it, but the downfall of brands comes from us, the consumer for criticisms of cost like you just made. 20 years ago, I bought a DeWalt 996 pistol grip 14.4v cordless drill for $219. I also bought Dewalt DW611 router for $189. Increase those prices forward today with 3% inflation to get an idea of what you really paid back then and you get a $400 drill and a $350 router. A festool OF1010 router will run you $410 and a T15 drill will run you about $460, and they come with a ton more features and power than my old Dewalt tools. Doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal anymore, does it?

Now, do the same process in reverse: that $189 De Walt router that you see in the big box stores today that probably cost about the same 20 years ago is about $100 in current terms. Waht kind of quality professional grade router do you think you’re gonna get for $100?

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1932 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 05:54 PM

PC and Senco are just two examples of companies playing to the lowest common denominator. They dropped their quality and prices to appeal to folks at HD. I have several of the PC tools that have the “Made in USA” labels on them and will keep fixing them as long as I can, they are far better tools than anything PC currently offers.

Unfortunately, we’ll all be buying disposable tools as time goes on.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Loren's profile


10276 posts in 3616 days

#3 posted 02-22-2013 06:08 PM

PC was acquired by Black & Decker. They gutted the brand
reputation in order to sort fill in the middle between the
now pretty badly reputation damaged B&D line and the
Pro Dewalt line.

Old PC never had leading edge technology but the tools
were made well and sensibly designed.

I think Dewalt, Bosch and Milwaukee are the lines to look
at if you’re looking for tradesman quality stuff. All three
lines seem to have stinkers in them still though. Makita
is good too. Hitachi has some good stuff and some lame

View SCABrown's profile


18 posts in 2510 days

#4 posted 02-22-2013 06:09 PM

PC and Dewalt are owned by Stanley/Black&Decker. Enough said

-- Aaron

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 02-22-2013 06:13 PM

PC was bought by B&D who owned the Dewalt brand for decades. I think part of that deal was to eliminate some competition in that price class (you probably notice a lot more “yellow” stuff in the past few years ago). As far as I can tell the Dewalt brand in many cases is the same machine as the old PC gray. PC is being relegated to the “value” category. I would have probably done the opposite but PC was the “acquired” so to the victor goes the spoils.

Some of the tool historians here might correct me on this but I think prior to being acquired by B&D, Dewalt made some nice tools. Then just like PC, B&D moved them to the “value” category in an effort to prop up the once respected B&D brand. Owing to a number of mistakes, the B&D brand went south so they “flipped” their brands. We’ll see if history repeats.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2216 days

#6 posted 02-22-2013 06:23 PM

I have written off PC except for the old standby – the 7518 speedmatic. I am about to write off Dewalt. I just made a face lift to my cordless tool collection, and I went Milwaukee. Man am I glad I did. They are amazing tools. A tad pricier than DW, and A LOT pricier than PC, but the quality is still there.


View Woodbum's profile


808 posts in 3033 days

#7 posted 02-22-2013 06:40 PM

No screaming or blowback directed at you Sundowner. I’m not bitchin about price really, but quality=value. Festool =quality= value. I am glad to pay for a quality tool that has a reasonable cost, but I don’t expect to buy a $100 or $1000 router. My ‘88 model Craftsman Drill Press was $250. My 2012 PM DP was $1100. Again as you ponted out, a fair price…to me; inflation adjusted with a whole sh**load more features. I gladly paid $300 for a PC 7518 motor only 5 years ago, which is the roughly the same price as today, but I’ll bet the quality is not the same.
I was just wondering what is/has happened to the Porter Cable brand. From the sound of the bounceback, Black and Decker strikes again.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2405 days

#8 posted 02-22-2013 06:49 PM

@ lumberjoe – Millwaukee is owned by TTI, the company that makes Ryobi and Ridgid. They were smart though and kept the quality on the Millwaukee brand.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3581 days

#9 posted 02-22-2013 07:09 PM

…but the downfall of brands comes from us, the consumer for criticisms of cost like you just made. 20 years ago, I bought…

Yeah, but 20 years ago, you weren’t paying for this:

John F. Lundgren, CEO of Stanley, Black & Decker, which owns such brands as DeWalt and Porter-Cable and recently sold off the Delta Machinery brand. According to an analysis by S&P CapitalIQ of company proxy statements, Lundgren was paid total annual compensation of $32.7 million…

Rather than spending money on design or quality, all US companies are spending it on CEO’s now!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2216 days

#10 posted 02-22-2013 07:43 PM

Tom, you are correct. However, Milwaukee is still HEAVILY involved in the QC aspects. As an example, look at this:

That is not a cheap bag with a crappy zipper. It’s a huge, heavy duty blow molded case

Crappy plastic slide latches that never work or cheap tabs to break off? Nope. Metal toolbox latches

What is inside, 2 drills, 2 batteries and a changer that you need an engineering degree to get everything back in without cords sticking out everywhere?


A very compact Li impact driver. This tool is SOLID, well thought out and has amazing features (brushless, digital clutch and speed selection, the light comes on and stays on with a trigger pull, built in battery meter, amazing battery life, a half hour charge, and 2 batteries)

It may be made in china, but it’s not Chinese crap


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3928 days

#11 posted 02-22-2013 08:30 PM

I too hate to see the demise of the once-great U.S.A. made brands, but ya have to keep in mind that the Tiwan and Chinese companies can, and will, produce tooling to specific designs. Price points vs: quality designs are the criteriion (or is that criteria?).


View Loren's profile


10276 posts in 3616 days

#12 posted 02-22-2013 08:39 PM

DeWalt was acquired by B&D in 1960.

Later B&D acquired the Swiss company ELU in order to
get patents and tooling for ELU’s superior plunge router
designs. They badged these routers as DeWalt in
the N. American market.

B&D has developed and acquired a lot of cool technology
and many of the present line of DeWalt tools are very
well designed, imo. Many DeWalt tools are still made
in Europe as well, particularly Italy.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2643 days

#13 posted 02-22-2013 08:40 PM

Keep the quality up along with the customer service and you don’t even need to advertise. We will buy it. Festool is an expample. They don’t advertise much, have good quality and I think good customer service. We will buy it. That is what it takes. you might buy the cheapie the first time but you seldom get stung twice.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3126 days

#14 posted 02-22-2013 08:52 PM

I have the following DeWalt tools:

DW735 Planer
DW611 trim router combo
DW55140 air compressor
Biscuit plate joiner
5” RO sander
1/4” sheet sander
pneumatic brad nailer
pneumatic finish nailer
stacked dado set

Each one of these are high quality tools and I believe represent nothing short of a professional tool.

-- jay,

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2216 days

#15 posted 02-22-2013 09:18 PM

Jay, I am a little less than impressed with my DeWalt 5” ROS. It’s not bad, however at $100 I feel there much better options. Not to sound like a fanboy but Milwaukee being one of them.


View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2761 days

#16 posted 02-22-2013 09:23 PM

@ Lumberjoe – I have that driver. It’s great.

Funny I was in Lowes today and as always made a pass thru tools. I noticed a couple of PC tools and thought the same thing. Their circular saws are disappointing.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2652 days

#17 posted 02-22-2013 09:56 PM

tefinn…Milwaukee tools were originally bought by a German company that tried to do exactly what B&D has done to PC…they had there own brands and wanted to eliminate some of the competition. Unfortunate in that the old Milwaukee quality took a big beating. Fortunate in that they realized it before the brand value went to zero. There are without a doubt that some people bought Milwaukee tools in that short 3-4 year window and will never buy another. They seem to be making quality again.

They never made “sexy” stuff (I still have an older sawzall and a right angle drill and a “hole-hawg” first cordless drill was their 12V model but that went to tool heaven years ago).

View pintodeluxe's profile


5623 posts in 2781 days

#18 posted 02-22-2013 10:12 PM

P.C. tools never seemed very ergonomic to me. At least a few years back their tools were usually heavier and somewhat clunky compared to other brands.
Dewalt has made a concerted effort to make ergonomic tools (618 router, 12v Li-ion drill).
Bosch and Bostitch make some nice stuff too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View MrRon's profile


4719 posts in 3211 days

#19 posted 02-22-2013 10:23 PM

Do you remember the last time you went out for a steak dinner? If it was 5+ years ago, and you went out today to find that it now costs around 25% more than what it cost 5+ years ago, you would write it off to inflation. But, if the price of that steak dinner were about the same as it was 5+ years ago, you may find that something had to change and that would be quality and/or quantity. The same goes for tools and anything else.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#20 posted 02-22-2013 11:54 PM

There’s a lot of factors involved with the tools we like and don’t like, For example we have owned a PC router for years and expect their ROS to be just as good. Not all tools stay the same or are of the same quality as another type of tool the same company makes. Along with brand names changing ownership so has the economic climate changed, companies have to make a product they can make money on,and in many cases with far less sales ,so something has to give.This means that advertising is increased and cost saving changes are made in tool we were perfectly happy with for years. As all of us have different backgrounds regarding the tools we have used and what we expect from our tools based on that experience . A new wood worker may love a mouse pad sander because they have always sanded by hand,were a pro woodworker may think it’s the worst sander he’s ever used because they are used to a high end sander. Another factor is prejudice, such as” dad always used Milwaukee tools therefor their the best so that’s what I’ll use” or the most logical IMO is past experience with a brand that has a buyer rule out all other brands.This is evident in threads here on Ljs , someone ask what is the best (-fill in the blank__) and in short we will all say my type and brand is the best. When it comes to price that could have something to do with what generation your from or economic bracket your in as to what you think of tools. So all said and done manufacturers will do what they think is best and for all of the reasons listed above(and more) we will do what we think is best when we buy tools.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3126 days

#21 posted 02-23-2013 12:48 AM

Yeah, Joe, the sanders aren’t perfect, though I got them very cheap on CL. But, they work to my needs. Even so, they are all good tools of fine quality.

-- jay,

View glass's profile


25 posts in 2042 days

#22 posted 02-23-2013 01:11 AM

I do not mean to be a wise guy and I like the plastic suitcases but does anyone think it costs more than a dollar in china to make. I am basically disappointed in the direction we all have let the tool companies go. I remember paying $350 plus for my tank of a 15 gauge senco gun(what ar hy no$150?) Seemed like it could last forever just needing new seals from time to time. New stuff just breaks and you buy new as repairing isn’t worth it. The profits these companies are making is ludicrous. The reason we cannot spend the right money on tools is because our wages have fallen or stayed flat. I own all makes of tools. It is remarkable th difference in quality between my made in Italy and Switzerland (elu design) dewalt routers and dewalts made in Mexico and china stuff. I know it’s unlikely that manufacturing will com back here so I would like to see th jor companies come out with a higher grade line that’s made overseas bu priced between their current offerings and festool.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2405 days

#23 posted 02-23-2013 03:55 AM

”Not all tools stay the same or are of the same quality as another type of tool the same company makes.”

+100 on this!
There are certain tools I swear by from a manufacturer but others by the same that I’ll never use.

I have several PC routers two 690 fixed base, one 8529 plunge and a mint 1100 with the 1101 and 1102 bases that belonged to my great-grandfather. A left hand saw from a few years back and a couple of sanders. I’ll never buy one of their cordless tools or any of the new stuff they have now.

I love my Bosch barrel grip jig saw, but can’t stand their D-handle saws. They don’ track right and their awkward for me to hold.

Millwaukee IMO has some of the best stuff around. However I think those M12 LI cordless tools are sh*t.

I could do this with every tool company I’ve ever used.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2323 days

#24 posted 02-23-2013 03:58 AM

This is where going by name brand favorites rather than researching bite you….

Some lines of some companies are awesome, others not so much…
Dewalt’s random orbital sander can be beaten by ryobi’s any day of the week, better qualtiy faster rpms, more ergonomic… cheaper….
Ryobi’s chopsaws… good for someone who doesn’t do woodworking everyday, but blown away by Dewalt’s, though 4 or 5 years ago they were having trouble producing square fences for their saws….

Just a couple of examples, but the thing is name brands are what they are sure some things they are known for, others they aren’t, and that’s just the way it is.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View oldnovice's profile


6773 posts in 3336 days

#25 posted 02-23-2013 06:36 AM

Black and Decker is a scourge to quality as it was from the beginning and always will be!

I used to have quite a few as I won them in a drawing at Kmart about 25 years ago. All I have left is the Workmate and a heat gun which is used very rarely.

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

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