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Something to avoid

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Review by KnickKnack posted 03-06-2011 11:03 AM 3269 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Something to avoid Something to avoid Something to avoid Click the pictures to enlarge them

Prefix: I should say that I’m not a very experienced woodworker, so I’m not comparing this machine with anything else – I have no idea whether this table saw is better, or worse, than a Griz X, or a Bear Y.

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A couple of months ago it was my misfortune to purchase a Lombarte Combi 260SW. Details of this combination 6 function machine can be found on their company website here.

Here in Portugal machinery is hard to come by, and I was pleased when the local shop pointed me to the Lombarte web site and said they were able to supply me with these “quality” machines. I ummed and ahhed and finally made my decision.

Before proceeding to the details, I should point out that I’m currently taking legal action against the shop that supplied this machine for failing to honour the (mandatory) 2 year guarantee. I reported a raft of defects 4 days after it arrived and, after an email saying they were “waiting for Lombarte” that’s the last I’ve heard from them.

Moulder/Router:
To enable “normal” router bits to be used on the router table you must purchase an adaptor (for 100 euros + VAT at 23%). It’s the black bit shown in the picture. No tool was supplied for tightening the router bits in place. I thought this was strange, but who am I to argue, so I tightened it as much as I could, and tried it. Half an inch into a very thin cut into a piece of pine I hit the stop button. Well, in fact, I had to walk around the machine to get to a stop button. The wobbling of the bit was insane, and, looking at it, the bit had slipped down into the collet. I tightened it with a wrench and tried again. Through force of will I managed a complete cut of about 6 inches. It was terrible – shaggy edge and scary. Basically the whole router motor assembly wobbles and is unusable. The guy from the shop came and tried, in case I was doing something wrong, with the same result.
You can also see in the picture that the circular metal bit around the router head is lower than the table by a few millimetres making it hard to actually run any piece of wood along it without it catching.

Table saw:
Like most european machines, this uses a sliding table. The problem is that the sliding table part is not parallel to the fixed table part, and could not, in my many hours of trying, be adjusted to be parallel. So, depending on the length of wood you’re cutting, you get a different angle on the end.
The riving knife is higher than the blade. Maybe that’s right, but it makes resawing or any kind of dado cut hard or impossible. You can remove the knife, but you have to take the machine apart to do it.
You can see the huge gap around the blade – I didn’t like that so I looked into a zero-clearance insert. But there’s nowhere to actually rest it – there’s no ledge around the blade, just a long drop to the floor.
Adjustment of the height is via a lever – I think I’d expected something a little more subtle.
The perpendicular fence whose angle is adjustable (which you can see under the piece of oak), is flimsy to say the least, and tends to bend when the wood first makes contact with the blade, making a flat cut very difficult. In addition, the back isn’t perpendicular to the table – if you want to cut two bits of wood at the same time they won’t actually be lined up unless you do it by eye yourself.
The slot you see is, I guess, for adding your own jigs, but it’s blocked at both ends making it hard to remove the dust/shavings etc etc that accumulate there.

Planer/Thicknesser:
The planer works fine.
The thicknesser (see picture) is engaged using a lever. Well, that’s the theory. Actually to engage the thicknesser you need to reach inside the machine to engage the gears – an operation explicitly prohibited by the (totally awful) manual. You can wind up the table height using the handle, and then you lock it using a floating knut mechanism. Despite the fact that I barely used the thicknesser, the thread on this nut stripped within less than a week. Once you’ve locked it (using my own pliers now), you need to “knock” at the table to make it settle in a given position – if you don’t, it will drop during the thicknessing operation.
The infeed rollers are not level, and cannot be adjusted – maybe you can see that on the right hand side they are below, and on the left hand side above, the level of the table.

Mortiser:
I thought this might be a nice idea. The bit remains fixed while you move the wood around with levers. In practice the table to which you attach the wood wobbles. I used it once with a small bit and got ragged edges and a serious scare with every thing wobbling around. In addition I could see no way to deploy any kind of stop block to cut mortises of known, or reproducible, width. I recently had to cut 26 identical mortises for a project I’ll be posting next week – the fact that I chose to set up my hand-held router to do this rather than use this machine’s mortiser tells the story.
A nut is missing on the bit guard.

Summary:
Exactly one week ago I sent an email to Lombarte, explaining my experiences, telling them about my legal action, listing (some of) the defects in the machine, and mentioning that I was going to review their product.
Their response as of today – nothing.
This machine is terrible. In my opinion it’s dangerous, badly conceived and the company that manufactures it clearly don’t care once they have your money.

My recommendation – AVOID this machine and anything manufactured by this company

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."




View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2288 days



15 comments so far

View Greedo's profile

Greedo

468 posts in 1682 days


#1 posted 03-06-2011 01:59 PM

sorry to hear about your mispurchase, the price alone on their website tells me the quality can’t be great.
you won’t find a decent 6 operations combi for under €4000. or for under 2000 you should be able to get a good used combi.
have you tried to see if you can get brands like Kitty or Robland delivered?
i got my Robland 2-part combi a few months ago, i had some issues with it aswell, and the factory inmediately contacted me and offered to send someone. but most of the issues were mistakes from my part and there was no need for help.
what i can say is that when adjusting the height of anything, shaper/router, sawblade or planer table, you must always adjust by raising the height. never adjust by lowering, otherwise chances are that the tool will lower some more once you turn it on.

and the riving knife has to be higher on european machines, it is not allowed to make dado cuts with a tablesaw

that hole around the blade does look dangerously big, is it me, or does that planer table look crooked?

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1645 days


#2 posted 03-06-2011 02:52 PM

Wow although not available in the US you very well could have saved someones life with this review. Good job.

-- Life is good.

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sawdustphill

53 posts in 1412 days


#3 posted 03-06-2011 04:00 PM

good grief

View skeeter's profile

skeeter

233 posts in 2063 days


#4 posted 03-06-2011 05:37 PM

Value added tax. God I pray that doesn’t get implemented here in the usa.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View Eric in central Florida's profile

Eric in central Florida

3665 posts in 2297 days


#5 posted 03-06-2011 05:39 PM

I’m kind of glad that machine isn’t readily available here.

-- All glory comes from daring to begin.

View cjohnson's profile

cjohnson

13 posts in 1490 days


#6 posted 03-06-2011 06:54 PM

Sorry to hear about your experience. It is terrible to pay good money and find out the product is poor. One thing that struck me about your post is that you stated that you sent an email to the company and threatened legal action. Was this in your first email to them or was this after you attempted to contact them several times.

The reason I ask, at some companies if you bring up legal action then communication stops. One might think that it would bring a speedier response but in reality they are going to proceed with extreme caution and may even consult with their attorney before responding.

Just a thought as to why they may not have responded.

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2288 days


#7 posted 03-06-2011 07:45 PM

…pay good money and find out the product is poor.
Sure is, and that’s the way of the world – it’s happened to me and after a few tears you move on. The problem in this case isn’t that the product is poor (although there are many parts of it that are poor), it’s that it simply does not work. I was trying to route a 5mm slot with a 10mm router bit in soft pine – my 35 euro hand held says “cool – gimme more” – this machine says “keep trying that and I am gonna hurt you real bad”.

you stated that you sent an email to the company and threatened legal action
The legal action I’m taking is against the shop in Portugal who sold me the product. I didn’t buy it (thankfully) from Lombarte direct. I wrote to them last week because I thought they should know, and I was hoping to find out if the Portuguese shop had been hassling them for a resolution. Since they haven’t replied I am none the wiser.
All communication with the Portuguese shop stopped one week after I took delivery, and 4 days after I reported the problems. I consulted the legal situation, and found out that they had, by law, 30 days to fix the problems. I wrote 4 times pointing this out to them, but got no response. Following legal advice I wrote in their complaints book, and gave them 10 days to refund my money. I got no response. The consumer rights group here (DECO, excellent people), have written to them. Next step – the courts. I simply don’t understand where they’re at – they either don’t know the law (except I quoted it to them), are stupid (which was what DECO thought), or they don’t think I’ll take it to court – very very stupid!

that hole around the blade does look dangerously big, is it me, or does that planer table look crooked?
The gap on either side of the blade is about 1cm.
Yep – the planer table is crooked.

@Greedo
I did realise that, at this price, it wasn’t going to be the “haute couture” of woodworking machinery, but I did expect it to actually work!
I’ve been looking into other brands, but, especially given what’s happened in this case, I need to either buy it here in Portugal, so I get the statutory guarantee, or buy it from somewhere else that will provide some sort of guarantee even though I’m abroad. I go onto UK web sites and I can buy loads of different makes, models etc etc, often at about 75% of the price I’d have to pay here (There’s a JET I can buy locally, but it’s 550 euros cheaper to buy it from the UK and have it shipped – go figure). I’m currently trying to find out from Axminster if their guarantee would work here, but I suspect not.

Value added tax. God I pray that doesn’t get implemented here in the usa
When I had a company trading in the US I recall there was a (different for each state) sales tax – what a headache – isn’t that the same kind of thing? At least if you’re a business (which I am not) you can reclaim the VAT so, in effect, you don’t pay it.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View cjohnson's profile

cjohnson

13 posts in 1490 days


#8 posted 03-06-2011 08:34 PM

Sounds like you are taking all the right actions. I hope that you get a resolution that is to your satisfaction!

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1992 days


#9 posted 03-06-2011 09:52 PM

Probably about the only thing good you can say about the millions of tort attorneys in the USA is that a machine like this would be eviscerated in court….just proves that sometimes there is a bit of gold lining buried in the USA legal system.

Sorry to hear that you have not received any acknowledgment of your correspondence to the company and through your suit against the supplier. I do not know the laws of Portugal on product liability…but I hope they at least will give you some satisfaction for having put up with such a lemon…and LEMON that is…wow….I wonder who engineered that thing? Daffy Duck?

Thank you for your review…..another company on my NO BUY list should they ever try to ship to USA.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View rbterhune's profile

rbterhune

175 posts in 1943 days


#10 posted 03-07-2011 09:33 PM

Sorry to hear your troubles.

I do have to say one thing however, regarding combination machines in general. Have you ever heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”?

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2288 days


#11 posted 03-07-2011 09:39 PM

I do have to say one thing however, regarding combination machines in general. Have you ever heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”?

Surely have, but I have serious space issues so this seemed like a good way to go – one fairly big machine sharing space/motors/table etc amongst the functions, rather than 4 separate machines. I don’t think the concept is flawed (there was an interesting thread elsewhere about combi machines), just this manufacturers implementation of it.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View mcase's profile

mcase

438 posts in 1851 days


#12 posted 03-08-2011 02:28 AM

And people bash Chinese-made woodworking machines! Sounds like Portugal has very decent consumer protection laws. I hope you get your refund!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

389 posts in 2172 days


#13 posted 03-09-2011 07:17 PM

Holy crap! That is a scary looking machine!

View rbterhune's profile

rbterhune

175 posts in 1943 days


#14 posted 03-09-2011 08:07 PM

Dustin…that’s what I thought! Scary looking and scary that I wouldn’t know where the hell the moving parts were going to be. Also scary to think about making tight miters or something similar on that machine.

KnickKnack…I too am cramped for space. I’m in a one car garage but it sounds like you have significantly less. I think the better way to go might have been a workbench, handtools, and a bandsaw…at least until you get to expand your shop space.

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2288 days


#15 posted 04-16-2012 05:30 PM

Update – April 2012 – 15 months in…

The pace of justice in Portugal is very very slow.

We’ve been to arbitration (which is a required part of the legal process) – this consisted of me saying I wanted my money back, and them refusing.
Now we await a court date – who knows when that will be.

But – and this might amuse you – their defense is that, when I attempted my very first cut – a 5mm deep slot with a brand new, decent quality, 10mm bit in soft pine – because I was using my own fence (a straight piece of MDF well clamped to the machine) instead of the supplied fence (which is made of, wait for it, MDF), I broke the router. Yes – that broke the router!
Interestingly, my wife wrote to Lombarte about whether it was OK to use a custom fence and they said it was – that was the last time they replied to anything from me or my wife – customer service to die for or what!

In case you’re reading just this comment – my verdict – steer clear of anything made by this company.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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