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What companies have power tools not made in China?

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Forum topic by Big_T posted 09-10-2014 12:27 PM 5854 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Big_T

119 posts in 820 days


09-10-2014 12:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press router brand american

I have only been on this site a few days but every affordable tool I want to buy is made in China. These tool manufacturers all have 40% of its buyers making complaints of shoddy quality everywhere I look. Can someone point me in the right direction to get tools made in any other country other than China? I’m sure US made is rare but there has to be other countries that have pride in their workmanship with better pay and working conditions. I am looking to get a drill press, band saw, router, table saw, sander, dust collector, and a full assortment of hand tools (pretty much everything) – any ideas? Thanks

ps. I don’t mind buying used but I am a noob and can’t tell the difference if I am being scammed.


50 replies so far

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JayT

4778 posts in 1674 days


#1 posted 09-10-2014 12:45 PM

If you are looking for power tools, good luck. There is almost nothing for the hobbyist or even light contracting/commercial that is made in the US any more—most are made in China, but also other parts of southeast Asia and some in Mexico. There are a few European brands that manufacture in Germany, though those tend to be higher priced (and higher quality) than the more mainstream/big box tools. Those include brands like Festool, Metabo and Fein and I’m not sure if they meet your definition of affordable or not.

There are a few DeWalt tools being assembled in the US, but you’ll have to look at the package to see which ones or try to find what you want on the list here.

Used is a good route, just do your research as to what to look for and take your time going over a used tool to make sure it is in working order. Wouldn’t be too hard to come up with a checklist to take with you to make sure you don’t forget anything.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1882 posts in 1597 days


#2 posted 09-10-2014 01:03 PM

Not sure going to find any woodworking tools not made in China today unless go back to 1960’s-1970’s and maybe 1980’s era tools whether US or foreign brand.

Have not looked in couple years but had a Chinese web site that listed most popular woodworking brands for US and European markets. May not see exact brand names today but it is all about how many units fit into a container.

http://www.made-in-china.com/products-search/hot-china-products/Woodworking_Tool.html

Think big problems from buyers comes from lack of spare parts or long waits, and poorly trained customer service. Some tool vendors here good about spare parts and some not so good.

So if looking for new, try and read service manual before buying and check user reviews on line. Check out You-Tube videos for a particular tool interested in. Magazine reviews almost worthless.

If buying used have to educate yourself or bring along someone that knows more than you. Never buy a tool you did not hear run or with parts missing.

-- Bill

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hairy

2384 posts in 2995 days


#3 posted 09-10-2014 03:04 PM

Woodpecker tools are made in the USA. http://www.woodpeck.com/aboutus.html

Robust wood lathes and accessories. http://www.turnrobust.com/

-- stay thirsty my friends...

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#4 posted 09-10-2014 03:07 PM

Chinese doesn’t mean shoddy, unless you think iPhone construction is shoddy. it depends on the brand and their QC measures. There are some dang good things made in China.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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OggieOglethorpe

1211 posts in 1573 days


#5 posted 09-10-2014 03:09 PM

Festool, Fein, Felder…

Bring money.

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1398 days


#6 posted 09-10-2014 03:11 PM

You won’t find many new. I would go to craigslist if you want to buy quality American power tools on a budget. They won’t be super cheap, but they are there to be had.

If you are new at this, I’d like to give you a few pointers that hopefully other LJ’s agree with. This may help cover some more questions of yours.

1. It sounds like you have a budget of some sort, like 99% of us. You should pick projects to build and buy the tools you need as you work through specific projects. For instance, you might not need a bandsaw for a little while. If you go out and try to buy all the tools that you listed right now, you will be in the hole $3000 to $4000 if you’re LUCKY. My guess is that you don’t have that kind of cash on hand, so I would suggest slowly accruing tools as you need them. $200 here, $400 there, $50 here, $800 there, over a long period of time. If you are wondering, the tool order naturally runs at least close to this order:

1. tablesaw
2. planer
3. jointer
4. dust collector
5. router
6. drill press
7. bandsaw
8. drum sander
9. etc

Also, there will be hand tools and handheld power tools in that mix. Hopefully that is a relatively decent representation of what most feel like is a good progression through purchasing large power tools. In the end though, like I said, pick a project and figure out what you can make due with. Slowly accruing tools helps to teach you about how to work on tools and identify good tools, decide what tools you actually need, and in the end is insurance should you decide that you don’t really like this woodworking thing.

2. About Made in China tools – you’ll probably find that there are lots of warm-blooded Americans on this site, myself included. We would all love to have shops full of channel-locks, Walker Turner saws, and Lie Nielsen planes. The issue is that it is expensive and nearly impossible to fill a shop entirely with American tools. So, you have to take what you can get and move on. I buy American when I have the chance, but I am not going to refuse a good deal on a tool that is well made just because it isn’t American made. We all have to assess tools based on quality. Often, country of origin has a lot to do with quality, but not always. I own a taiwanese planer that is very high quality. So in the end, be wary of import tools, but if you have any sort of monetary budget, you are going to have to buy import tools at some point. Plenty of them work just fine, and often they are what we can afford.

3. Being scammed on used tools – Post a forum topic before you go to look at used tools on craigslist. Say “Hey what should I look for in a used tablesaw?” You’ll get lots of responses that will help you feel more prepared to look at what you are buying. There are lots of old forums on this topic to sort thru as well.

Hope this helps. Good luck

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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mramseyISU

419 posts in 1008 days


#7 posted 09-10-2014 03:11 PM



Chinese doesn t mean shoddy, unless you think iPhone construction is shoddy. it depends on the brand and their QC measures. There are some dang good things made in China.

- CharlesA

Couldn’t agree more. Poor quality is a decision made by the company making the product not the country of origin.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#8 posted 09-10-2014 03:15 PM

In my lifetime “made in Japan” has gone from being a joke to being a symbol of quality.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1211 posts in 1573 days


#9 posted 09-10-2014 03:15 PM

Chinese doesn’t mean shoddy, unless you think iPhone construction is shoddy. it depends on the brand and their QC measures. There are some dang good things made in China.

Along with the iPhone, I’ve also seen some extremely high-quality Chinese-made bicycle parts. I agree, it’s what the purchaser wants to pay…

Cessna was even building a light sport aircraft in China, the Skycatcher.

View Andre's profile

Andre

1022 posts in 1269 days


#10 posted 09-10-2014 03:22 PM

General tools had some tools made in Canada, now its General International. Looked at there Drill press made in Canada, $2000.00, same press made in China under $400.00. Quality difference not that different for that price difference. Did buy the Laguna jointer, Italian but still made in China? Hey my Band saw and Table saw still made in the U.S.A. good old Delta !

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1193 days


#11 posted 09-10-2014 03:44 PM

WW is right about 1960’s-70’s and 80’s being the last time good American tools were produced.

Stay on this site and ask questions about the older tools. You should be able to glean some information on whether a used tool is good or not. If you are mechanicaly inclined, and know someone working as a machinist, you are home free on making an old tool like new again.
Try going to swap meets and looking at the old tools some people have. You would be surprised at what you can find dirt cheap if you know what you are looking for.
Just 2 weeks ago I finally went to a swap meet, and found a guy that had a couple of 505 Rockwell sanders. In 1981-82, the prices were near $200 each. He had one at $20, and the other was $30. The twenty dollar one didn’t have a cord, so I asked to test the one for $30. The bearings were a little stiff at the start, but it reved up pretty fast, and felt smooth when under full rpm.
Well, my “cheeep” self said to the vendor, “The bearings are no good. I’ll give you $20.” Well, he still has it. The sander is worth twice what he was asking, but I tried to get him to accept my price, and he shook it off.
Next week end, I’ll eat some crow pie and give him the $30 for the sander.
The tools are out there and if you know the right people, you can repair them for a few bucks.
What I see here and other sites I belong to, when a tool’s bearings go bad, most people will go to the dealer they got the tool from, and pay up to 40 bucks for bearings, or more to have the dealer make the repair for what the tool originally cost in some cases. If the problem is just bearings, for under $15 you can repair your tool yourself by getting the bearingss from a bearing house or online.

I’ve been looking for a Rockwell/Porter Cable 360 belt sander working or not. I need the armature. ......Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Loren's profile

Loren

8302 posts in 3111 days


#12 posted 09-10-2014 03:55 PM

Several DeWalt products are made in Italy. I’ve had
Dewalt routers and a sliding miter saw from there.

Makita and Hitachi still make some products in Japan.
Portable planers for example.

Bosch still makes sanders in Germany and/or Switzerland.
Probably other stuff too.

You can get band saws and table saws from Europe
but they are generally larger, fancier models than
basic American style ones made in Asia now so
the prices will be higher. I’ve owned many
European machines I got used.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2399 posts in 2346 days


#13 posted 09-10-2014 04:09 PM

I’ve been committed to not buying “Made in China” products for about the last 18 months. This is not a decision based on quality, as others have pointed out, there are some excellent products that are “made in china”. Rather, I can’t justify contributing towards the economy of a country that is not a democracy and that also could be a significant threat to world peace. After 18 months of consciously trying to not buy “made in china” here’s what I’ve found:
-it is possible to find most tools that are not made in China or Taiwan, you just need time and sometimes deep pockets.
-Dewalt makes a lot of their tools in Mexico
-most handtools have excellent made in N. America equivalents, eg. Lie-Nielson, Veritas, Woodpeckers, Bridge City
-machinery is extremely difficult to get!!! I spent months looking for somewhere that still manufactures a jointer that is not made it either China or Taiwan…couldn’t find anything that is new and affordable. That said, Minimax, Felder and Hammer all manufacture amazing machines that are not made in China and are top of the line quality.
-there are a number of companies in Canada that sell refurbished older machinery, I’m sure there are many USA equivalents. I ended up buying a refurbished older 12” Minimax jointer for a reasonable price, it is excellent and should last me a lifetime.
-not buying “Made in China” usually means not running out to your local big box store, it usually takes a bit of time and research.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#14 posted 09-10-2014 04:12 PM

Manitario,

Given your criteria, why not “made in Taiwan”?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2399 posts in 2346 days


#15 posted 09-10-2014 10:25 PM



Manitario,

Given your criteria, why not “made in Taiwan”?

- CharlesA

Taiwan retains a semblance of independence from China, although not officially, in fact a unilateral declaration of independence by Taiwan is one of the “criteria” by which mainland China has stated it would use to immediately declare war. It is complicated; Taiwan does in fact have separate democratic elections, and maintains that they are the legitimate government of China, however, I think in reality Taiwan is closer to being a semi-autonomous state rather than a separate country.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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