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Not sure what to think of these, but felt misled by Lee Valley

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Review by funchuck posted 1648 days ago 2886 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not sure what to think of these, but felt misled by Lee Valley Not sure what to think of these, but felt misled by Lee Valley No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have mostly seen high praise of Lee Valley, but I bought these 2 items and felt that their website was misleading. The 2 pictures above are from their website. They are:

1. Pocket Folding Squares – they have a 45 deg, 90 deg and 135 deg setting. They are supposed to be accurate to within 0.06 deg. I bought the 6” version.

2. Engineer’s Squares – they are machined to 0.001” deviation per inch. I bought the 2” and 4” versions.

If you look at the website for these items, nowhere does it mention what brand it is. I thought that they would be Veritas, or Lee Valley, or at least made in Canada/USA.

When I received them, I found out the Pocket Folding Square is made in Sweden by Nobex. It is called the Quattro 200. In the picture on the Lee Valley website, the folding square is turned around so that the label is not showing. If they took a picture of the front of the square, it would show the brand name and model number.

The Engineer’s Square is made in India. It is made by a company called “SOBA”.

I really wish Lee Valley would show us the name of their products. This would make it easier to comparison shop… but I guess that would mean they may lose some business… For example, when I looked up Nobex square on Rocker, I found that they were 19.99 there. Lee Valley’s price was 24.50.

When I compared the engineer’s square to each other, they both matched the angle, but when i compared the folding square to the engineer’s square, it was off from each other. I am not sure which is correct.

The folding square is pretty nifty. It locks into each of the positions very firmly with no play. It is easy to carry around and I don’t have to worry much about getting it bent out of shape. I find I trust the engineer’s square more though. The folding square’s base seems a little flimsy. It is made of aluminum and not solid, unlike the engineer’s square.

I like Lee Valley’s Veritas line of tools, so I think I will stick to those and assume the other things they have are not worth buying.

-- Charles from California




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funchuck

119 posts in 1656 days



14 comments so far

View Jeison's profile

Jeison

947 posts in 1706 days


#1 posted 1648 days ago

When it comes to tools I’ve found that when the name isn’t explicitly stated its 99% of the time a generic or off-brand model. On the major trusted brands, the name is a big selling feature so it rarely gets left out. Not that the product can’t be a good one, its just taught me to never assume when buying thru online/catalogs.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View DiamondWW's profile

DiamondWW

84 posts in 1831 days


#2 posted 1648 days ago

I enjoy buying tools from Lee Valley and have been pleased with all my purchases…got a box delivered today..
I say you can contact their customer service and they will take care of you. I would be greatly surprised if they don’t work with you.

-- There is no such thing as scrap wood, only smaller projects.

View funchuck's profile

funchuck

119 posts in 1656 days


#3 posted 1648 days ago

DaveR: I know, I can contact LV’s customer service, but there is really nothing I want from them. I don’t want to ask for compensation, I wouldn’t feel right about that. I think that even though the folding square seems a little off, it turns out to be very useful for non critical tasks, ie. I would not use it for setting up a jointer, but I would use it to check square of a cabinet, or something like that. It is very handy since it folds up.

My real beef with them is that they could have taken a picture of the front of the item instead. Or, they could have taken a picture of the box. Most online web stores do one or both. This seems to be done on purpose… if you were selling an item, wouldn’t you want to show a picture of the front of the item? The folding square description on the LV website has a long description about it’s accuracy and how it folds up. It even has an additional picture showing the various angles.

If you look at the Rockler website for the Nobex square, the title of the item lists the manufacturer, and it has a picture of the front. The weird thing is, the listed accuracy is different. Rockler lists the accuracy as 0.04 degrees… I wonder if the different sizes have different tolerances? I should check mine.

-- Charles from California

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2287 days


#4 posted 1648 days ago

Engineer’s Squares – they are machined to 0.001” deviation per inch. I bought the 2” and 4” versions.
So you’re saying that the 4” square is out by .004” in its 4” length….my tablesaw fence is only .002” over 38”, and that is intentional : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Routerisstillmyname's profile

Routerisstillmyname

679 posts in 2108 days


#5 posted 1648 days ago

Just return them, If you want quality accurate squares or even German squares to 0.0001, email me.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1773 days


#6 posted 1647 days ago

“My real beef with them is that they could have taken a picture of the front of the item instead. Or, they could have taken a picture of the box. Most online web stores do one or both. This seems to be done on purpose… if you were selling an item, wouldn’t you want to show a picture of the front of the item?”

As a former retailer, here’s my guess:

They offer a generic product—in your case, squares. They do NOT put name brands on either the photos or the text because they are probably constantly on the lookout for different, cheaper, better sources for that product. They may have had supplier problems, at some point (quality issue, production issues, unstable pricing, etc.), and decided not to paint themselves into a corner.

I look at that sort of item as a bit of a grab bag/crap shoot. Not a bad thing, but … you should understand that, when considering the purchase.

If they sell the name brand, then—whoever said it was right: they’ll tout that name as a selling point, and charge a relatively higher price for it.

-- -- Neil

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2287 days


#7 posted 1647 days ago

I recently purchased some 6” steel rules from Rockler and they used the same m.o.. The rules that I received were nothing like the ones in their photos. I believe that NBeener hit the nail on its head with his comment.
Generic , generic , generic. They didn’t lie to us …I got steel rules and you got squares : (

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View RedShirt013's profile

RedShirt013

219 posts in 2260 days


#8 posted 1647 days ago

If it’s Veritas you bet you’ll see that name in its description. And expensive. Whenever I see something in LV catalogue with prices close to what I find in other tool stores, I do expect those to be imports, and I’ve bought enough from them and it’s always the case. Plus if it’s made in Canada there will be a red maple leaf beside the description anyway. While some scoff at LV selling import tools, I do trust that LV always sell a functional product which works for what it’s intended for, so even if they sell chinese made tools they wouldn’t be junk.

-- Ed

View randyb's profile

randyb

119 posts in 1926 days


#9 posted 1647 days ago

I’m with you, if I want cheap tools i’ll go to Harbor tool and freight. I have become very picky where I spend my tool money. you should send them back with you thoughts. squeaky wheel get the grease. maybe they will get the message and up there quality.

-- I was going for that distressed look

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2332 days


#10 posted 1647 days ago

I’ve never had issues with anything I’ve bought from Lee Valley and have found their customer service to be superb. If I had purchased the adjustable square and it didn’t seem to be accurate, you bet I’d be in contact with them and I’m sure they would rectify the situation. I just checked their online listing and it says right at the end of the description “Made in Sweden”. As for other items with no names listed, I’m sure that Lee Valley specs their items that are made in Asia. The completed item, if it passes quality control, should meet the specs provided. I have noticed in many of their listings that they mention that ‘this’ is a product found by their buyers – in this case they wouldn’t have provided the specifications but their buyers are in the business of finding good products at decent prices. I have many tools that I’m sure have been made in China, Taiwan, or India, and it bothers me not one bit as long as they do the job! If they don’t do the job, I expect the company that sold them to stand behind them and in Lee Valley’s case they always have.

I don’t work for Lee Valley but I do respect their company and their name. When I receive superb service from a company, I stand behind that company.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View sikrap's profile

sikrap

988 posts in 1958 days


#11 posted 1647 days ago

If it were me, I would call them and tell them that at least one of the brands is off. My experience is that vendors would much rather you speak with them about your displeasure than other customers. I agree that they should have been more “open” with the photos and/or description.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2176 days


#12 posted 1647 days ago

Thanks for the review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View funchuck's profile

funchuck

119 posts in 1656 days


#13 posted 1646 days ago

Dusty56: LOL! I did not think about that! 0.001” deviation per 1” means the square can be off by 0.004”...

Jim Crockett: I also still like Lee Valley, like I said, I really like their Veritas line of tools. Actually, that is all I buy from them, but this time, I bought a non-Veritas product. What I did not like was that they did not specify the manufacturer. I think NBeener’s explanation can account for why the description of the Engineer’s square is generic. LV may have a box full of these engineer’s square and they may have been made by different manufacturers. But, the folding square is pretty unique. They could at least have put down a manufacturer for that one. This way, I can look up reviews or comparison shop.

-- Charles from California

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1763 days


#14 posted 1645 days ago

Thanks for the review, and the discussion about brands and advertising, pretty useful…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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