Steel tariffs and new tool prices

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Charliefreak posted 03-02-2018 07:38 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charliefreak's profile


11 posts in 123 days

03-02-2018 07:38 PM

First off, let me be clear that this post is not intended to start a political discussion. Please don’t comment on whether you think steel / aluminum tariffs are a good idea for the USA or not!

My question is, I have a number of quite pricey new tool purchases planned in the next six months or so (new table saw, band saw, jointer). All USA-available tools seem to be either manufactured in the far east and imported, or are manufactured in the US using raw materials imported from the far east. Either way, I am worried that the 25% steel tariffs might mean significant price hikes on these tools in the near future.

Does anyone know enough about how the stationary tool business works to know whether this tariff is likely to impact prices from e.g. Grizzly, Sawstop, Rikon etc. And does anyone know how quickly this might happen?


49 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10081 posts in 3578 days

#1 posted 03-02-2018 07:45 PM

Machinery prices have gone up before due
to increased steel costs. I remember reading
about it in an industry journal several years

View BoardButcherer's profile


134 posts in 24 days

#2 posted 03-02-2018 08:43 PM

Already saw an 8% increase in raw steel prices at my workplace this year and we’re anticipating another 5-6% by June.

The thing is raw materials aren’t what’s pricey about tools, and the tarriff mostly effects raw goods such as ingots, beams, piping, tubing, etc….

Also you’re not likely to see the full “25%” as a consumer. Canada and Mexico make a lot of steel for us, and an increase in their volume will see their prices come down to be competitive and eventually cheaper than China.

But more importantly certain Golden Maned individuals are going to get their backside handed to them in the international trade arena before a 25% tarriff becomes final. Raw materials have gone up 12% this year and in some cases will be 20% by the end of the second quarter just because of people talking about a tarriff. There are a lot of people with pockets just as deep as his who are putting pressure on Washington right now to see that this train doesn’t continue to go off the rails.

View Fresch's profile


169 posts in 1851 days

#3 posted 03-02-2018 08:56 PM

See if you can preorder to lock in the price.

View Charliefreak's profile


11 posts in 123 days

#4 posted 03-02-2018 09:00 PM

Thanks guys. I guess the actual raw material cost of the steel in e.g. a bandsaw isn’t that big a chunk of the price.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


189 posts in 1424 days

#5 posted 03-04-2018 11:19 AM


Changes to list prices of machine tools based on raw materials is actually a slow process, supply chain for machine tool is at least 2-3 months long. Complex machine tool supply chain can be 6-9 months long (or longer when demand exceeds supply). Another factor to consider is all tools have a retail markup that is large enough to absorb small changes in material costs (as costs are ALWAYS going up).

So you have a few months before wood working tool mfg actually need to react, and start blaming tariffs for price increases. :(

Companies like Grizzly with fancy color catalog that clearly states “prices good till XX/XX/XXXX DATE” on catalog, must issue a new catalog that supersedes the old one to change prices, or they can be subject to unfair price advertising legal claims.
Changing prices is little easier for tool manufacturers that commonly sell through dealers (Rikon), as they publish a catalog without prices, and then typically publish a new retail price list as needed (monthly/quarterly/annual). Printing a new price list is easier than an entire 300+ page catalog. :)

Every company is different. Only time will tell if increases in market price of steel due tariff is enough to require price increases this year. Can not forget that US corporate tax rate was significantly reduced for 2018, which increased profits and might counteract the impact of raw material prices?
Plus, when you add the political aspect of the how the new tariff was created, I would suggest that price increases based on steel costs will be slow to reach consumer, and likely will be administered during normal annual new catalog releases?

BTW – Enjoy your cool new tools, and thanks for spending money that keeps economy running!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View woodworm1962's profile


145 posts in 31 days

#6 posted 03-04-2018 12:48 PM

Well if the tariffs are for STEEL that wont effect goods made over in China. I do not know what they make tools out of over there BUT IT AINT STEEL!

-- No one likes the truth...

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4099 posts in 2339 days

#7 posted 03-04-2018 03:44 PM

Well if the tariffs are for STEEL that wont effect goods made over in China. I do not know what they make tools out of over there BUT IT AINT STEEL!

- woodworm1962


-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View woodworm1962's profile


145 posts in 31 days

#8 posted 03-04-2018 03:54 PM

I had a welder as a freind back in Evansville IN! They were part of a group tha tgot a contract for fabricating and installing COAL shoots fro power companies there. HUGE SILO looking things and at the bottom was a cone like funnel. They were manufactured over in china Then shipped here then in stalled by them

I was looking out back and these huge 2 inch steel cones were out there being hammers cut belt welded…

I ask my buddy what up with those. he said NONE of the parts to mounting and installing these were near the right location and had to be cu off and re welded in the Proper location. HE grabbed a piece of waste laying and the ground and it was CRUMBLY!

He said, “I don’t know what this material is but is it not any steel I can identify.” he said it was also slightly radioactive!!!!

Seem when they make steel over there they toss in anything of any type of metal they got laying around.

One would think at leas ta few of these political Prisoners would have more pride in their work!

I would like to get as Geiger (sp) Counter and run it over my tools someday!

-- No one likes the truth...

View corelz125's profile


360 posts in 906 days

#9 posted 03-04-2018 05:05 PM

woodworm, I am a structural steel welder and like your friend mentioned I have come across steel that came from “cheaper fab shops” and while welding you will hit parts of the steel that wiil just turn into liquid and drips right out of the weld. I haven’t come across that problem with canadian steel which we use a lot of. I have heard in China they take anything they find thats metal and melt it. throw in the empty beer cans, an old wok whatever is laying around.

View corelz125's profile


360 posts in 906 days

#10 posted 03-08-2018 10:47 PM

Forget the price of tools going up the price of beer will go up now also

View Jimintomahawak's profile


65 posts in 406 days

#11 posted 03-09-2018 02:15 AM

When demand is high like it is right now prices will go up. Machine Tool sales are crazy right now some lathes and grinder deliveries are out a year. The economy is building up a head of steam. If it were me I would try to lock in prices as soon as you can. On the other hand locking in delivery may be more critical.

Our neighbors across the Pacific always face raw material issues. The gov there controls output. News from there says they are cracking down on foundries creating part shortages for castings.

Time will tell…

-- Laziness drives creative thinking...

View splintergroup's profile


1923 posts in 1152 days

#12 posted 03-09-2018 04:23 PM

One would think at leas ta few of these political Prisoners would have more pride in their work!

- woodworm1962

I think they literally are “in their work”

View BoardButcherer's profile


134 posts in 24 days

#13 posted 03-09-2018 05:17 PM

Tools that likely will see a big increase are Made in the US hand tools.

Trying to collect as many Klein and snap-on/Mac odds and ends as I can at a reasonable price. By this time next year I don’t expect anything about them is going to be reasonable.

View bbasiaga's profile


1154 posts in 1925 days

#14 posted 03-09-2018 08:01 PM

This tarrif talk is really more of a negotiating strategy anyway. It’s a strategy I’ve seen many times in corporate America. “I am going to say something that I know will tick you off. I have little to no expectation it will really happen, but I know by saying it you will start to talk to me. “

But that aside, it would have a bigger effect on tools and a here with steel from abroad than tools made abroad and imported. The way I have heard the tarriffs reported, it is about making the raw materials industry in the US competitive. Only time will tell if it expands beyond that.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Jimbo4's profile


1636 posts in 2693 days

#15 posted 03-09-2018 11:42 PM

somebody afraid of a little political banter – you know it ain’t me !

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

showing 1 through 15 of 49 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics