|Forum topic by MrRon||posted 08-09-2014 10:50 PM||2133 views||0 times favorited||54 replies|
08-09-2014 10:50 PM
I know this will get some negative press, but what I have to say is intended to educate and save you some hard earned cash. I direct this thread towards anyone who is just starting out in woodworking and/or has little experience with machine tools. Those who are over the age of 50 and have been active with machine tool usage will probably know what I’m talking about. I have been involved with machine tools most of my life (around 70 years). I grew up with the big name brand machines. My first machine was a Delta drill press around 1946. It wasn’t the most expensive, but it worked flawlessly. I have other machines that date back to the early 40’s and are still in active duty today.
The point I want to make is; anyone who is not familiar with old American machines, will think that newer is better. Naturally the manufacturers will disagree with me, but that’s because they have to make money so they have to sell a machine (any machine). There was a time when you went into a shop and a salesman would tell you everything you wanted to know about ant machine. Today, machine salesmen know very little about the tools they sell. They can read off a crib sheet, but know nothing more about the tool. There are many on this forum who advocate buying used American machines and I am one of them. Critics will say; an old machine may need parts that are not available. That is true to a certain extent, but a lot of parts are generic, like bearings, fasteners, belts. Used parts are available also. Some machines may be very ancient, so parts can be a problem, but not insurmountable. Manufacturers who are still in business still carry parts for older machines. Just the fact that a machine has been in service for a long time is testimony of the quality of that machine. Good examples of machines that are worth considering used over new are the Delta Unisaw, Powermatic’s, Atlas, Oliver, Tannewitz, Northfield. Many of these are hard to find because they are so good, owners don’t want to part with them.
I read most of the forums here and notice the negative comments people have about their newly acquired “iron”. Taiwanese made machines do get good press. I have found that Chinese made machines have many quality control issues, so I would never recommend a made-in-China to anyone. I know you are hyped up and ready to go for that 10” cabinet saw that is only $995, but I would reconsider if I were you in favor of a good used American machine. Not having experience with good American machines, puts you at a disadvantage and victim to those who hawk Chinese machines.
Maybe someday, China will realize that quality control is most important (they do have the capability). When that day arrives, that $995 saw will cost $1600, but it will be a better saw. It’s the U.S. companies that put profits before quality.
One has to realize that machine tools used to be a long time investment. If a machine (like a car) lasts too long, the manufacturer can’t make money on repeat sales and that is the name of the game. The old machines have already paid for themselves over-and-over and they still have lots of life left. You can say whatever you like, but I am solidly convinced the old machine is the way to go.
As a disclaimer, this thread is intended for those who have a serious interest in woodworking and are in it for the long haul.