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Cast iron is cast iron, Right?

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Forum topic by Troy Cleckler posted 12-11-2014 01:22 PM 790 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 837 days


12-11-2014 01:22 PM

fixing to order a cast iron router wing for my table saw. I know BenchDog is the forerunner on this item but Mlcs has one that is cheaper and comes with a fence. So does anyone have this one or do you have an opinion on it?
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/router_table4.html

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....


12 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2099 days


#1 posted 12-11-2014 01:48 PM

I have no experience with this product, but I have ordered several items from MLCS in the past and have never been unhappy with the product I received.
You should beware that their return policy does include a restocking fee and you might be on the hook for return shipping (except for defective items).
I’d say the overall risk is minimal though.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1980 days


#2 posted 12-11-2014 02:37 PM

I’m sure MLCS is using a good grade of cast iron, but not all cast iron is born equal. For instance, the cast used on a bandsaw trunion is NOT the same as the cast used in say, sewer pipe. Sewer pipe would be made from whatever scrap they had in the mill.

But I cannot imagine MLCS using that cheap of a grade. They would be out of business.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View rantingrich's profile

rantingrich

372 posts in 811 days


#3 posted 12-11-2014 02:55 PM

AS per your question… Cast Iron is Cast Iron, Right?......

Not if it came from China

I have a couple of friends in the Welding business. The Are in Evansville Indiana, and work for a company that fabricates/welds HUGE metal objects. two year ago the got these HUGE steel/iron funnel like 30 feet across used by the electric companies in coal chutes. The basic fabrications came from China. My friend company was hires to FIX them.

Most if not all the attachment points, openings. ect were all off not even close to the sepcs. They were to HEAT them up belt them and/or move them if possible. Remove them and reattach them if needed.

He told me they had to turn the state down because he said, that they were suppose to be a certain kind of steel. He stated… “I do not know what metal the Chinese used to manufacture these nightmares but it ain’t steel”

I would image any METAL products that came out of China are a mixture of what ever they consider METAL. Be it old cars, sunken ships, or spent uranium rods, they pile it all up and melt it all down. After all the americans will buy anything.

By the way have you run a Geiger counter over this object

-- Rich

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1980 days


#4 posted 12-11-2014 03:10 PM

Having lived and worked in China for 16 months on a day-to-day basis for the furniture industry, I have said it many times but will say it again…they build to our specs or the specs of the company that owns them, no more, no less. If we don’t quality control it, they drop junk like most other companies.

Whatever electric company ordered these funnels obviously used some sort of bidding system that only looked at the bottom line, not the possible quality issues. They got junk.

They should have also known that the Chinese do buy up just HUGE amounts of scrap iron, steel, etc., from around the world and recycle it. You are right, without a metallurgist to look into the composition of the castings, it probably was absolute trash. But then again, I bet the price reflected it up front – only to pay the piper on the back end when they got trash.

And that goes to my one other point. In most large American companies, almost no one can see the entire value stream from purchase of raw to final product. Things like your story are the result.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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knotscott

7216 posts in 2842 days


#5 posted 12-11-2014 03:23 PM

There were/are some superior grades of cast iron in some of the higher end machines at one time….the PM66 and General 350 were said to use a “meehanite” process that was better. I can’t imagine that there’d be much difference in two similar router tables if both are made in in Asia.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1817 days


#6 posted 12-11-2014 04:21 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised if they are made by the same company.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Redoak49

1956 posts in 1455 days


#7 posted 12-11-2014 04:30 PM

No…not all cast iron is the same. There are four basic types each with different properties.
There are four basic types of cast iron and each with a lot of variations…kind of like all the types of steel

white iron
gray iron
ductile iron
malleable iron

Some manufactures will tell you which type that you have but typically, one is interested in the main issues such as is it flat or warped, is the machining done correctly, and are there any defects in the casting.

I really like the comments about products from China. Everyone who buys from China or anywhere else will have a list of the specifications for the product such as dimensions, machining , tolerance, etc. The companies in the US that are having things made in China are giving such specifications and the tighter the tolerances, the higher the costs. That is why you see the same basic thing sold by different companies for different costs. Sometimes, you get what you pay for and sometimes you pay more than what you really need.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2709 days


#8 posted 12-11-2014 04:41 PM

Tennessee is 100% correct. If you work for the U.S. government, everything is bought according to very strict guidelines. What you specify is what you get, no more, no less. Of course one doesn’t know what MLCS’s specs are for their router table. Ever wonder why 2 identical hammers can cost say $20 for one and the other made to spec costs $400? It’s the specs that cost the money. I know; I worked in the defense industry for almost 50 years and knew what things cost the government.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#9 posted 12-11-2014 08:43 PM

Infinity Tools has the benchdog cast iron with fence for 299. I have the same fence and table and it is really nice.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#10 posted 12-11-2014 08:52 PM

I have the MLCS one and my only complaint about it is the plate opening is not a standard size. The only place you can get plates for it is MLCS which means if you want a lift you will be getting theirs. I’m probably going to sell mine as soon as I get around it. The table itself is fine and I, heard decent things about their lift and if you are going to do something like use a plunge router with a conversation kit it probably doesn’t matter much but it is something to keep in mind.

From the site “Choose either 3/8” thick Phenolic or 1/4” thick Aluminum 9-1/32” x 12-3/32” Router Inserts with removable rings that allow 3 different size openings “

Standard router plates on lifts for instance are 9 1/4” X 11 3/4”.

If you lived in the Denver, CO. area I would make you a deal on a used but well taken care one.

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 837 days


#11 posted 12-11-2014 08:58 PM


I have the MLCS one and my only complaint about it is the plate opening is not a standard size. The only place you can get plates for it is MLCS which means if you want a lift you will be getting theirs. I m probably going to sell my as soon as I get around it. The table itself is fine and I, heard decent things about their lift and if you are going to do something like use a plunge router with a conversation kit it probably doesn t matter much but it is something to keep in mind.
the z

- Richard Hillius

the size for opening says 9-1/32” x 12-3/32” – my Freud plate i’m using now is a 9×12 and I’m currently using a Freud router with on board hight adjustments. this works ok in my current table. one of the reasons that i was looking at this top so i could use my current set up.

i did go ahead and order it so i’ll know for myself when i get it.
thanks for all the information.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View Loren's profile

Loren

8313 posts in 3114 days


#12 posted 12-11-2014 09:00 PM

It is far from all the same. Industrial machines are made from
better grades typically to forestall grooving of the iron from
feeding enormous quantities of wood over a machine.
For hobby use machinery, well, it probably doesn’t generally
matter how good the iron is as long as it is adequately
ground.

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