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American Made vs. Cheaper Imports- what to do...

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Forum topic by StumpyNubs posted 02-01-2011 03:29 PM 3793 views 0 times favorited 117 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


02-01-2011 03:29 PM

(Edit) I wrote this thread a long time ago to gauge woodworkers’ feelings on buying American made tools vs. foreign made. It ran its course, became a little more political than I would have liked, and died. Over a thousand days later it came back to life. So I am pulling out. Not because I disagree with your right to talk politics all you want, but because I don’t like to get involved in it personally. So feel free to carry on the conversation with each other, I am just withdrawing myself. Thanks!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com


117 replies so far

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

399 posts in 1852 days


#1 posted 02-01-2011 03:39 PM

My first objectrive is not where it’s made. I look for the quality of the tool then buy the best I can afford plus a little. (But sometimes plus a lot).

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1732 days


#2 posted 02-01-2011 03:40 PM

If all you bought were new tools made in America you would not have many tools in your shop. I’m sure there are more, but the only true “made in America” tool brands I can think of are Lie-Nielsen and Bridge City. The cheaper tools are made in Asia and the high quality tools are made in Europe or Canada.

I regret this and I wish I could be more supportive of American manufacturing but what is one to do when the products don’t exist?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


#3 posted 02-01-2011 03:42 PM

If we all bought American Made, Harbor Freight would go out of business! What would they do with all that plastic?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6939 posts in 1572 days


#4 posted 02-01-2011 03:47 PM

Just as the Japanese of the post WWII era, China is/was/still busy building its manufacturing infrastructure. During the early stages vast amounts of junk are created and the rest of the world gasps and jests about just HOW junky every product is.

Consider this:
1. China factories still expand while unloading junk on the world
2. China workers are still employed and being paid (though poorly at the moment)

AFTER China’s infrastructure is in place:
1. China works on improving quality (think American Deming working with Japan after WWII)
2. Quality improves followed by world domination of manufacturing

You can thank the American capitalists (as well as some other countries) who outsourced as many jobs as possible to China trying to make a quick buck. It is going to or actually IS biting America in the sphincter and I don’t think the CURRENT crop of American capitalists care or will do anything but speed up this transfer of manufacturing superiority to China.

My 2-cents… unfortunately.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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cornflake

36 posts in 1348 days


#5 posted 02-01-2011 03:50 PM

i think richgreer is right trying to buy and american made tool is like trying to buy and american made electronics.

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ellen35

2570 posts in 2090 days


#6 posted 02-01-2011 04:00 PM

This is always an interesting discussion….
This site is a worldwide site. We never know what people buy and where they come from.
I often wonder what any of our Asian LJ woodworkers think about this kind of discussion!
Not saying that anyone is right or wrong… just that I am wondering!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

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StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


#7 posted 02-01-2011 04:05 PM

Mike- Your points are well taken. But I also find that we have Walmarts full of cheap imports from China for one reason- Americans DEMAND cheap stuff. The Chinese can make good stuff if we’d buy it. They are just as smart and capable as we are! But Walmart tells them what we want and how much we will pay for it, and they make the crap accordingly.

Sadly the American employeer/union relationship, which used to be all about forcing employeers to give workers decent wages and safe working conditions, has grown out of control and now a lot of American products are so expensive because the workers get paid $40 an hour and a lifetime of expensive benefits. I had some company uniforms made once. An american made polo shirt cost $40 each. The import of the same quality was $15. That’s why we import so much stuff, and that’s why I will have to buy imports rather than American products. It’s all I can afford!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

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StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


#8 posted 02-01-2011 04:09 PM

ellen35- I don’t think a Chinese (or any other nationality) LJ should take offense at this discussion. We get junk from them because we demand junk. If we would buy quality products, they’d make those instead. I think too many people assume the Chinese live in a society that only values junk. That’s not true. They just know Americans value junk!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2876 days


#9 posted 02-01-2011 04:15 PM

I’m sure this post will generate a lot of discussion.

The bottom line, IMO, like it or not, is that we are moving towards a global economy. China is becoming more competitive in terms of quality, and will continue to do so. But as their economy grows and their middle class grows, their labor costs will slowly rise over time. In the short term, American workers will have to work for somewhat less if their companies want to compete.

What I’m saying is that, sooner or later, national economies throughout the world will begin to look more and more alike. For some, it will be a step up… for others, a step down. Economic isolationism is a thing of the past, and it’s not coming back. For that reason, “buying American” just for the sake of keeping the dollars in our own economy is a doomed strategy. I believe you are only hurting your own wallet.

My solution is the same as Jeff’s…. When I buy a tool I try to assess its quality, and buy the best I can afford (or at least the best I am willing to pay for) regardless of where it is made.

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

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1641 days


#10 posted 02-01-2011 04:27 PM

I agree with Mike’s post and remember growing up seeing it change from one country to another. Since you brought up Wal-Mart Here’s some more on Wal-Mart and how their way of doing business as well as other companies have hurt the American economy. While this Clip is on Wal-Mart other companies are just as guilty.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/
So in as much as we are limited in our selection of origin of manufacture. I judge tools on their own quality rather than origin of manufacture according to my income.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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jeepturner

920 posts in 1450 days


#11 posted 02-01-2011 04:30 PM

I am at work where we build American products, (assembling outsourced sub-assemblies). I don’t like what
corporate America has done to our job market either. I do think that the choices we make as consumers is a big reason for the cheapness of our products. But the reason I am posting here is to relay a personal story.
We had a Chinese(Mainland) exchange student who lived with us for a while. Her English was impeccable, her main goal was to do good in school so that she could move to America one day. She meant the US of coarse. The funny thing was that when we took her shopping she would complain about the poor quality of the textiles in our stores. She would get even angrier still, when she found the Made in China label on the shirt she just complained about.

-- Mel,

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tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1644 days


#12 posted 02-01-2011 04:31 PM

The reason why this discussion bites is because, as Ellen said, we have LJ’ers from all over the world. I’m not from Michigan myself, though I’ve lived here for quite some time. There’s more choices in the world than just the US or China. What about Canadian jobs? I bet if you buy dimensional lumber you support a fair amount of them….

we’ve got a pretty fantastic world around us, and I like to support all of it. I choose based on quality, my needs and my budget. Wherever the three line is up what I buy. I don’t care if it is US or China or New Zealand or Morocco.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1816 days


#13 posted 02-01-2011 04:32 PM

Jim…take it from me as somebody who has always owned both “real” $40 Polos and “fake” $15 polos…they are NOT the same quality.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6939 posts in 1572 days


#14 posted 02-01-2011 04:40 PM

Jim Hamilton SAID:
”Sadly the American employeer/union relationship, which used to be all about forcing employeers to give workers decent wages and safe working conditions, has grown out of control and now a lot of American products are so expensive because the workers get paid $40 an hour and a lifetime of expensive benefits. ”

Please check your facts Jim. Current union membership, as a percentage, is just 11.9% of the total American workforce. To put this in perspective, the last time union membership in the USA was ever below 13% was in the year 1936.

With unemployment remaining high and ascendant right-wing Republicans—joined by far too many Democrats—now attacking organized labor’s main strongholds among public employees, the prospects are not bright for 2011 either.

Read the article in the attached link and you may realize that you have been misinformed by the massive amounts of politically based media sound-bytes.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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lilredweldingrod

2495 posts in 1764 days


#15 posted 02-01-2011 04:45 PM

One world economy, next step; one world government. It’s coming whether we like it or not.

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