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Steel City Tools, Opinions please (Lets try again)

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Forum topic by Ryan Shervill posted 03-12-2008 12:19 AM 15805 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2499 days


03-12-2008 12:19 AM

Being as my initial thread was highjacked, and has now spun off into a depressing array of insults, innuendos , conspiracy theories and discussions on things that are completely unrelated to the thread, let’s try agin.

If a certain member feels the need to berate my choice of tools, wishes to debate my understanding of electrical capacity and dynamics, question my personal ethics or generally just wants to stir the pot (You know who you are), please refrain from posting here….I’m asking nicely, so lets keep on topic shall we?

I would appreciate info from those that own, have used, or have usefull information oon the Steel City Brand.

Here’s my post again.

Hello LJ’s, I’m hoping you may be able to help me out a little. I am considering a swap-out of the stationary tools in my shop and selecting another brand. Without going into too much detail, I need a brand that maintains a consistant level of quality.

Anyway, I am considering the SC brand, and curious to know your experiences. I looked over their tools at the CHW show, and they seem to meet my criteria (recognizable, unique, priced in the mid portion of the market, large variety of models and price-points), but I’m looking for real-world opinions. Essentially, would YOU recomend them to a friend or family member? Are you happy with the performance, fit/finish, support?

Some/all of the tools I’ll specifically be looking at replacing are :
Cabinet Saw
Band Saw
Thickness sander
8” jointer
15” planer
Dust collector
Mortiser

I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Cheers,

Ryan Shervill

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055


27 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2674 days


#1 posted 03-12-2008 12:27 AM

Hello Ryan,

You can check out my review for their bandsaw. I have been using it for about a week now and it’s
doing a great job so far. Fit anf finish is great.

I know that others have reviewed other SC tools here also. There is a review of a Dust collector and a drill press, and yet another of a band saw.

Good luck

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2454 days


#2 posted 03-12-2008 12:33 AM

I’ve heard so far that they are really good well thought our tools. i am right now trying to get them to sponsor the Teenage Woodworker as i figure that the most that they can do is say no. if they do amazingly say yes than you’ll be the first to hear how they work.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6663 posts in 2666 days


#3 posted 03-12-2008 02:59 AM

Hi Gary;

By SC I’m assuming you’re referring to steel city tools.

My personal experiences have been limited to a few of the tools in their line up.

Obviously the table saw is of importance to me because of my business. I get a considerable amount of requests to advise on which table saw I would buy.

My first choice would be saw Stop, due to the safety features. As this saw is out of reach of many, price wise, a very close second would be hands down, Steel City.

A friend of mine owns a couple Woodcraft Stores. whenever I visit him, we tend to end up sitting in his office talking tools. His experience is far more valuable to you than mine, although they are the same, the reasons are many fold.

Number one, if you look a the shipping containers of the major manufacturers, you’ll see that two stand out as almost indestructible. You guessed it, Saw Stop and Steel City. Additionally, from a retailers point of view, the customer service of both of these companies are without a doubt the finest possible. He couldn’t say enough about how responsive they are. Even when the problem is customer caused, there were no questions asked.

The other major brands have left a very poor taste in his mouth regarding customer service. Some make promises that aren’t kept, in a effort to buy some time. Others have such a slow response the customers get angry with him, thinking it’s his fault. The worst one, who’s name I won’t mention, will put him on hold until he gives up, and hangs up the phone. Once his stock is gone, he’s dropping the line.
As an individual your chance of customer service would be far less important to these companies.

My opinion has been taken on a number of occasions, and I have received calls, thanking me for recommending steel City. This includes a number pieces in their tool line.

Hope this helps Gary;

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2440 days


#4 posted 03-12-2008 03:18 AM

I own a 3 hp cabinet saw with 50 inch rails. I have been very pleased with the saw’s performance but I am not quite sure about their quality control. My switch went bad and I called and they shipped a new switch immediately. Put the new switch in and no go. Call them and they ship a new motor immediately. Install the motor and still nothing. I decided to open up the old switch and see what I might be able to find and I find a loose connection. Make the connection fast and the saw works fine. Still the new replacement switch still doesn’t work. All that aside, the saw is awesome when it works. I just got a feeling that my case was a fluke. Their customer service is incredibly responsive, their sales personnel in Murfreesboro were great. I would still buy SC tools in the future.

View Greg3G's profile

Greg3G

815 posts in 2772 days


#5 posted 03-12-2008 03:29 AM

Hi Ryan,

I posted a review of their 1.5 hp dust collector and I like it a lot…the more it gets used the more I like it. My only big complaint was the switch location, but that can be solved with a remote. It comes wired 110 and I will probably switch it over to 220 when I rewire the shop.

I am selling my current tablesaw to my brother and am in the market for a new one now. I have it narrowed down to either a Grizzly or SC. Both have received good reviews in most of the mags and here on on LJ. I am planning on going to The Woodworking Show this coming weekend and I am really hoping to see their granite top saw…but I think it may be too early for that.

I am also looking at their jointers. I will probably go with the 6” model due to space issues. I do like the granite fence option on those. We’ll see how they do on the pricing when I go to the show.

If you have time, I would like to know what you are replacing and perhaps I can help you find a home for some of them :-)

Take care and good luck.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6663 posts in 2666 days


#6 posted 03-12-2008 04:12 AM

Hi Ryan;

I sent this response to Gary, who was kind enough to let me know.

So I’ll repost it to you. Hope it helps.

By SC I’m assuming you’re referring to steel city tools.

My personal experiences have been limited to a few of the tools in their line up.

Obviously the table saw is of importance to me because of my business. I get a considerable amount of requests to advise on which table saw I would buy.

My first choice would be saw Stop, due to the safety features. As this saw is out of reach of many, price wise, a very close second would be hands down, Steel City.

A friend of mine owns a couple Woodcraft Stores. whenever I visit him, we tend to end up sitting in his office talking tools. His experience is far more valuable to you than mine, although they are the same, the reasons are many fold.

Number one, if you look a the shipping containers of the major manufacturers, you’ll see that two stand out as almost indestructible. You guessed it, Saw Stop and Steel City. Additionally, from a retailers point of view, the customer service of both of these companies are without a doubt the finest possible. He couldn’t say enough about how responsive they are. Even when the problem is customer caused, there were no questions asked.

The other major brands have left a very poor taste in his mouth regarding customer service. Some make promises that aren’t kept, in a effort to buy some time. Others have such a slow response the customers get angry with him, thinking it’s his fault. The worst one, who’s name I won’t mention, will put him on hold until he gives up, and hangs up the phone. Once his stock is gone, he’s dropping the line.
As an individual your chance of customer service would be far less important to these companies.

My opinion has been taken on a number of occasions, and I have received calls, thanking me for recommending steel City. This includes a number pieces in their tool line.

Hope this helps Ryan;

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View johnjoiner's profile

johnjoiner

160 posts in 2579 days


#7 posted 03-12-2008 05:35 PM

Hi Ryan.

Since you’re in Canada, I’m surprised General isn’t on your short list. I’m referring to the “General” (built in Canada) not “General International” (built in Asia). I don’t own any General tools. But I used a number of them at a week-long class. That included a cabinet saw, large jointer, stationary planer, and band saw. These were all the built-in-Canada variety and I was quite impressed with them all.

I’ve also been eying the SC tools. They seem to be smartly designed. FWIW, the SC tools are built in Asia just like almost everyone else’s tools.

-- johnjoiner

View Mike309's profile

Mike309

11 posts in 2474 days


#8 posted 03-18-2008 06:36 PM

Ryan,

I recently did what you are planning to do. I went all Steel City. 18” BS, 5 HP cabinet saw, 12” jointer, 20” planer and 26” duel drum sander. I could not be happier with these tools. My grandchildren will be using these machines long after I am gone.

Mike

-- Mike

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 2582 days


#9 posted 03-18-2008 06:44 PM

I checked out the SC mortiser, and was impressed by the quality. The introductory price was great, too, but I got spooked when a moth flew out of my wallet. I should have bought it.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2561 days


#10 posted 03-18-2008 07:01 PM

I’d like to second johnjoiner’s suggestion of taking a look at General. I had a 3hp left tilt cabinet saw and 24” dual drum sander from General, and the quality was very good. The drum sander needed some fine tuning and the folks at General were very patient and helpful every time I called.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Phildo92027's profile

Phildo92027

53 posts in 2485 days


#11 posted 03-29-2008 04:36 AM

I have looked at the Steel City tools at the AWFS show in Las Vegas. I was impressed by the fit and finish. I do wonder however how useful a granite table saw table or drill press table is. Sounds like over-kill.

I can attest to the quality of the Saw Stop table saw. I purchased one at the Vegas show. It by far the finest saw I have ever used.

-- Phil, Near San Diego, CA

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2561 days


#12 posted 03-29-2008 10:37 AM

All reviews I have read about SC have been positive, none negative.

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2778 days


#13 posted 03-29-2008 06:02 PM

I bought a SC shaper a few weeks back. I’m very happy with the machine. The fit and finish is excellent. When I was shopping, I looked at a comparable Delta shaper and price was the deciding factor. I’d recommend SC.

-- Nicky

View scott1942's profile

scott1942

4 posts in 2396 days


#14 posted 03-29-2008 10:28 PM

Hi, Ryan:
This is my first post on this forum, so let me start out by saying that I have enjoyed woodworking and turning for about 15 years (off and on), carving (my icon is a Northwest Coast mask that I made), and that I currently work part-time for Rockler Woodworking & Hardware.

Several months ago, i decided to buy a good quality, mid-priced bandsaw that would allow me to prepare blanks for turning, resaw exotic hardwood into veneers, and make bandsaw boxes. I did a lot of research and looked carefully at the brands sold by Rockler (Jet, Delta, and Powermatic), Woodcraft (Jet, Delta, General, Rikon, and Steel City), and other brands including Grizzly and Laguna Tools.

Based on my needs, I eventually eliminated 14” bandsaws from consideration, and decided that a bandsaw in the 16”-18” range was the best choice. In examining the various models, I noted that some were better built than others: trunnion design (beefier, wider, cast iron vs. stamped steel); drive wheels (heavier, carefully balanced, cast iron vs. aluminum); guide bearings (I preferred the American-style roller guide bearings and face-on thrust bearing); dust collection (several models have an enclosed “diverter” box just below the lower bearings); mass of the spring tensioning system; quick-release blade tensioner; size of the work table; foot brake, or lack thereof; table-tilt mechanism; and operating voltage.

After a LOT of looking and comparing prices, I decided on the Steel City 18” bandsaw. I concluded that it offered the best build quality and performance for the money, although Rikon and Grizzly also sell good models for lower cost. The 2 HP motor operates on 220 volt, and the saw will accept blades up to 1” wide, all of which make the saw well suited for resawing.

Based on about a month of use, I am very pleased with the Steel City 18”. I have used it to successfully resaw a variety of hardwoods into veneer, and it produces very clean cuts. I have only 3 minor “complaints”:
1. the fence that comes with the saw could be better quality (this is not a deal-killer, as it’s easy to make a fence);
2. the table tends to tilt when much weight is placed on the front (right) edge (I am currently trying ideas to stop the table from tilting, such as gluing a strip of 400-grit sand paper in the lower trunnions to increase the clamping friction);
3. there are a few topics that should have been covered in the user manual, but weren’t (e.g., how to change speeds).

With these caveats, I can enthusiastically endorse the Steel City bandsaws. Steel City has a winter/spring promo sale with rebates on a number of their tools, including the bandsaws. The sale ends on March 31st, so you should act quickly if you plan to buy a Steel City. No matter which brand of saw you buy, however, be SURE to invest in good quality blades – they make a BIG difference in the saw’s performance. I have been using the Wood Slicer blades sold by Highland Woodworking and been quite impressed with them. Steel City’s bandsaw blades, made from silicon steel, appear to be made by Timber Wolf, which also have a good reputation.

-- Scott1942

View motthunter's profile

motthunter

2141 posts in 2485 days


#15 posted 03-29-2008 11:14 PM

Steel city is a good company and people I know who own it are very satisfied.

-- making sawdust....

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