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Forum topic by 8iowa posted 01-08-2010 04:54 PM 2564 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8iowa

1489 posts in 2420 days


01-08-2010 04:54 PM

Woodcraft used to be one of my favorite places. Last week I purchased their 20 piece router bit set. The description extolled high grade German carbide and Japenese bearings. The package arrived yesterday – I opened it up – guess what…......it said “made in China”.

I called Woodcraft’s customer service and they admitted that the description was deceptive. I put the router bit set back in the box and sent it back to them the same day. They are nice enough however to also refund the shipping both ways.

While I was packing the box for return, I also included their set of seven Forstner bits, which wouldn’t even drill in relatively soft walnut, and a set of tapered countersink drills that were so soft that they bent upon contact with a maple board. I told them they could do anything they wanted to do with them so long as they didn’t send me any replacements.

Guys, I’m not trying to start a political discussion. I merely want to purchase quality tools – which ain’t easy in today’s market.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"


48 replies so far

View Robert Herring's profile

Robert Herring

38 posts in 2038 days


#1 posted 01-08-2010 05:01 PM

Good points! Thanks for the heads up. By the way, who makes really good bits that you would trust every time? There are so many out there and all manufacturers say theirs are the best.

-- Robert M. Herring

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2680 days


#2 posted 01-08-2010 05:05 PM

I fully agree with you.
Chinese manufacture spans the entire realm of good and bad manufacturing.
Most of what I have purchased from China is marginal at best in the wood tool area.
I have also seen products that are more than adequate in other disciplines ( cooking for instance)
I feel the problem now is that we as consumers do not have the opportunity to buy better quality as the merchants cannot or will not carry both quality and entry level or worse inventories.
Somebody along the supply chain knows full well that the merchandise being sold is garbage but remains silent.
That’s a real shame too.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2356 days


#3 posted 01-08-2010 05:11 PM

That is a really good point to post I would do exactly what you did thanks for letting us know.

View NathanAllen's profile

NathanAllen

376 posts in 1803 days


#4 posted 01-08-2010 05:44 PM

I’ve had great luck with Freud and CMT. While I’m not opposed to China manufacturing their metal manufacturing methodology (pot metal) needs another couple decades to achieve the quality needed for fine cutting.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2650 days


#5 posted 01-08-2010 06:06 PM

So did the German carbide and Japanese bearings simply get put together in China? Or was their description completely incorrect?

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Don's profile

Don

514 posts in 1731 days


#6 posted 01-08-2010 06:10 PM

I’ve had great luck with Freud and CMT also. Woodcraft brand products tend to be lower quality in my experience but I have to say that wood craft will probobly always be my favorite supplier for the simple reasonm that when I go in the store I don’t have to ask for assistance and the assistance I get is from friendly experienced, and knowledgeable, woodworkers. Rockler and places like home depot are a whole nother story.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15699 posts in 2877 days


#7 posted 01-08-2010 06:28 PM

I just wish I had a Woodcraft or Rockler to shop at. With the pitiful selection at Lowes and HD, I have to purchase the majority of my woodworking supplies on line, sight unseen.

As for Woodcraft, I find I get what I pay for pretty much. I ordered a whole s-load of brad point bits, a bunch of each size, in a nice metal case for like $29. Fantastic price, but the bits will scarcely drill warm butter. lol.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PaulfromVictor's profile

PaulfromVictor

220 posts in 2004 days


#8 posted 01-08-2010 06:43 PM

Where ever cost becomes a factor, manufacturers almost have to use China. Labor there is too cheap. There have certainly been lots of improvements, but still a long way to go. Whiteside and Incra are two great U.S. manufacturers. Leevalley sells a lot of Canadian stuff if I am not mistaken, but there is a pricetag that comes with it. If you want the 80 piece router bit set for 49.95 you get China. Maybe okay for some, but if you want quality, I think you still have to seek out a manufacturer focused on quality. For that you need to look primarily to North America and Europe.

I am a huge Amazon.com fan. The selection is unmatched, price is often the best, and user reviews are immensely helpful for a buying decision. There is a wealth of information there.

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2726 days


#9 posted 01-08-2010 06:45 PM

It is tough these days to find, well, to find almost anything that is not made in China. And the prices tend to be significantly lower on Chinese made goods. Which makes it hard to find and then to make the choice for the higher priced, non made in China, item.

I have two problems with buying Chinese made goods, the first being the catastrophic flow of money out of my home country into China, and second is that my uniform experience with Chinese made goods are that they are of significantly lower quality, pretty much equivalent to junk.

I’m not a poverty stricken 20 year old just starting my family anymore so when I can I try to buy made in USA, or Canada, or Western Europe, pretty much trying to stay shy of china. I have repeatedly not made purchases when I could only find a made in China option. I would rather not have it than to have a piece of junk in my life.

I needed a couple rasps the other day, nothing special, so off to the home center I went. They had a whole range of Nicholson files and rasps, all about $8 to $10 USD each. Handles were separate for about $2 each. The Nicholson files were made in USA and Brazil.

Right next to the Nicholson files was a packaged bundle of files and handles made in China. I think 8 or 10 files, maybe 3 plastic handles, all bundled for $9, less than the price of a single Nicholson rasp. AND the Chinese set had the rasp and file I was looking for.

I was tempted, 10 files for $9, how could you go wrong. But the reality was I only needed 2 out of the set, a rasp and a file. The other files would just roll around and get in my way, even if there were “free” as part of the set. I just didn’t need them and really they would just be more unnecessary clutter in my shop. And back to my experience with Chinese products, I did not trust at all that the files would be of any quality at all.

So I picked the two Nicholson files I needed, grabbed a new file card, and ended up $30 plus dollars into it.

I could have bought the cheap Chinese set and still had money left to stop at Starbucks and buy another latte. And I know Starbucks would be open because that and Walmart are about the only places left for displaced workers to find jobs.

Trying to take the longer view…..

View Shopsmithtom's profile

Shopsmithtom

780 posts in 2853 days


#10 posted 01-08-2010 06:50 PM

Thanks for the heads-up. It’s interesting that they admitted the error (deception) and did what was right after the fact, but at some level must have made a decision to DO the deception in the first place, and if some customers did not catch it…too bad for them & money in the pockets at Woodcraft.

On a related note, I did a review here a while back on a set of Grizzly forstner bits that were made in China, and they were given a “best Value” designation in a test by “Fine Woodworking’ mag & they do work great. The cost of the set was about $30 .

On another related note, I’ve used Chinese made Harbor Freight stuff (knowingly, not like the things referenced above) and, for the most part, have been happy. While I’m not categorically endorsing Chinese stuff, There certainly some fine items available at reasonable cost…as long as we know going into the deal what we are getting.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2544 days


#11 posted 01-08-2010 06:57 PM

coloradoclimber FYI – I learned a 35 years ago from a friend that builds flintlocks from scratch and restores English Shotguns. DO NOT buy any file that isn’t Nicholson. I was lucky enough to find them at a going out of business sale for a dollar apiece and bought every one they had…..a life time supply…..gloat. ;-)

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

651 posts in 1789 days


#12 posted 01-08-2010 07:12 PM

I have both a Woodcraft and a Rockler near me, but rarely shop at either. If I need something in a hurry, they can be very handy, but shopping online gives me a far larger selection and better prices. The only times I typically shop their is when they send me 50% off, or $20 off of $50 coupons. Then I’ll usually buy a few clamps. Yesterday I got a 4” dust hose from Rockler for about 40% off.

I should point out, though, that a Unisaw, Jet 6” Jointer, Delta 16” Drill Press and Delta Sanding center all came from my local Woodcraft, but all over 10 years ago. Over $3200. I think they are still pretty competitive on machinery, but their selection of other tools is rather small.

-- Gerry, http://home.comcast.net/~cncwoodworker/CNC_Woodworker.html

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2423 posts in 2186 days


#13 posted 01-08-2010 07:27 PM

I learned my lesson about cheaper drill bits. I bought a set of brad-point bits from Rockler and did not get around to really evaluating them for quite a while. When I did, I found many of the bits to be unacceptably out of true. They were long past the usual return period. I called Rockler anyway and they immediately sent me a replacement set at no cost and did not want the old ones back. The bad news is that the new ones were even worse. The good news is that when I called Rockler again, they refunded my original purchase price. I have always been impressed with Rockler’s customer service.

I bought a set of bits from Lee Valley, which are much more expensive, but completely worth it.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1489 posts in 2420 days


#14 posted 01-08-2010 07:32 PM

Damian:

I also wondered if the “German carbide” and “Japenese bearings” were shipped to China to be assembled on their router shafts. However, Woodcraft transferred me to one of their technical reps, and while he admitted that the description was deceptive, he didn’t offer any further information. I was left to wonder if he also suspected that the router bits were 100% Chinese.

PaulfromVictor:

You are absolutely right, I’ve seen 80 and 50 piece Chinese router bit sets for a lot less than Woodcraft’s $169 tag. I sent them back because I couldn’t be sure that at $169 I was getting any better quality than found in those cheap sets.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1841 days


#15 posted 01-08-2010 07:34 PM

At my local Woodcraft store, I used to go in and if I had a question I would get a quick and accurate answer, but over the last year I’ve noticed new faces working in the store and when asked a question about a specific tool or a technique I get the deer in the headlights look. I’ve also noticed a decline in the quality of some of their tools that are carried, with that said Rockler and some of the other suppliers suffer from the same flood of Chinese junk that has found it’s way into our favorite suppliers inventory. I especially noticed this at the Woodworking show last November. In years past I would see the majority of tools displayed at the show to be of high quality and this years show was a total disappointment. I didn’t see one INCRA jig and several of the suppliers just didn’t show up.

The problem is the demand drives the market, If we demanded it and are willing to pay the price then they’ll carry it but we are in the minority of consumers. The majority haven’t quite figured out it’s better to buy a quality tool once than a cheep one two or three times and until we are in the majority again they will continue to make, distribute or sell garbage. We need to be selective in what we purchase.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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