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Thread: Junk Tools

  1. #31
    Registered User Jay Kempf's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by KAF View Post
    Now here's a funny story which I can neither confirm or deny: My father-in-law spent many years in post-war Japan and he said you could buy astonishingly high quality items there, even back then, and that they exported junk.

    He wasn't one to make stuff up, so I've often wondered if the same is true in China.
    With the tenants of the Japanese culture it makes perfect sense whether true or not. Japan completely changed modern manufacturing post-war. Well, we felt bad so we kickstarted them to get into modern manufacturing and their culture took what we tried to do and took it places we couldn't even figure out or weren't willing to do not unlike today with China. We taught China a lot about manufacturing by going after their cheap labor. Started with large corporations like GE. People think it is a recent thing. Not even slightly. The funny thing is that people believe that cheap stuff coming from the other side of the planet is different than the stuff we build here. Not the case. They make the same stuff in the same factories a lot of the time. This box of parts goes to DeWalt or Stanley and this box of parts goes to Harbor Freight's assembly facility. It's all in the negotiations of the client. There is a lot of real quality stuff coming out of China, Korea, Malaysia, India, South America, etc... But there is also garbage. Up to the customer to facilitate which they get. Those that get duped don't last long so really are a rounding error in the overall mix. So if you are getting a cheap tool from an American supply company, chances are the American company negotiated the quality specs and knows exactly what they are doing. They know exactly how many warranty claims they get and exactly what they cost and it is acceptable to them within their margin strategy.
    Jay K.

    VT USA

  2. #32
    Registered User BJC's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by ekimneirbo. View Post
    I never was much of a Camaro fan anyway, but I certainly had lots of fun and "adventures" in my Mach 1.


    BJC

  3. #33
    Registered User BJC's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    I have a couple of old Craftsman tool chests that have been good, but I would like to consolidate all of my tools into one chest, and Craftsman doesn't seem to make a good one today in the size I want. I've looked at the HF, NT, Home Depot and Lowe's chests, and haven't seen what I consider a quality chest. I would prefer to continue using multiple chests rather than having a new one whose drawers don't open without wiggling.

    Anyone have a larger size chest that you recommend?

    Thanks,


    BJC

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    Re: Junk Tools

    Surplus military tool boxes?

  5. #35
    Registered User Autodidact's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by BJC View Post
    I never was much of a Camaro fan anyway, but I certainly had lots of fun and "adventures" in my Mach 1.

    http://louisville.craigslist.org/tls/5108855009.html


    BJC

    What is that guy, a TV repairman or something?

    I can't think of a good quote, today.

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    Re: Junk Tools

    My best 1/2" ratchet is a REBUILT Craftsman that I bought in 1963 for $3.00 from Sears. I have went through about 6 Craftsman 1/4" ratchets in the last 4 or 5 years, pure junk.

    Dan
    Pops

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    Re: Junk Tools

    And thats the rub isn't it? You can either pay top dollar today for a quality tool, or many times for lesser ones, but in the end you wind up still paying more.

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  9. #38
    Moderator Topaz's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
    And thats the rub isn't it? You can either pay top dollar today for a quality tool, or many times for lesser ones, but in the end you wind up still paying more.
    And sometimes that trade is worth it. Take my angle grinder. $14.95 on-sale at Harbor Freight. At that price, I decided that if it lasted a summer of light-duty use and I had to go buy another one each year, it'd still be well more than five years before I broke even on a "high-quality" unit that might not actually last much longer than that. And by that time, who knows what might happen, both to my situation and the angle-grinder market? In the end, I'll be darned if the $15 angle grinder isn't proving to be a darned fine little unit, and it's on its second year of use. Light-duty, I'll grant, but the thing still runs like brand-new.

    Now, important tools like my drill-press, band-saw, etc., I'll spend the money for a quality unit. The break-even point on the cheap unit isn't as attractive, and the thing is complicated enough that poor quality may show up much, much earlier. I think my tube notcher is a good example of that, and one where I made the wrong decision. I went cheap and now I'm having to practically rebuild the tool to make it really work. I made a poor decision in that case, but there are definitely times when buying the cheap tool, knowing it will fail more quickly, is still the better option in the long-run.
    "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau

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    Re: Junk Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    And sometimes that trade is worth it.
    It sure is. I have a HF hammer drill that I use occassionally to drill through masonry. It has done a great job for me for 10 years, maybe 150 holes through block, slabs, etc. A Bosch would be a nicer tool, probably less vibration and better longevity in the bearings, etc. But if I'd spent 4 times more for it, it would have given me zero extra utility over the last 10 years.

    If I were earning my living with these tools, and having one die would cost me a lot of dollars, then I'd probably get the better ones. But if I drop it while I'm up on a ladder, I don't expect the Bosch would fare any better than the "Chicago Electric." I think it's cool the way they often include replacement brushes and springs with the tool --and I've used them.

    My favorite HF items are the blue nitrile gloves, the almost free LED flashlights, and the corded, nonprecision power tools. The noisy little pancake compressor I bought there is also holding up well -- but I've gotten tired of compressed pancakes/

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    Registered User Joe Fisher's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    In the 1950's and 1960,s There were foundrys and welding shops every where. Now with the EPA regulations no one can make anything in the USA. In 1967 I worked at Petersons Manufacturing at Dewit Nebraska making Vicegrips. The government drove them out of business. Now the Chinese use there name and those 400 American jobs are gone.

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    Re: Junk Tools


  15. #42
    Registered User Jay Kempf's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Exactly. Naked self-interest. Nothing wrong with it on a level playing field. But the concept of a level playing field is only a theoretical construct
    Jay K.

    VT USA

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    Re: Junk Tools

    That is not the point. Think about it.

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    Re: Junk Tools

    There are tools that are complete garbage from Harbor Freight, and some that are decent. Sometimes they sell both versions of the same tool - They have a set of decent impact sockets I've had for years, and the even cheaper set that is painted instead of hardened.

    Although they may be inferior, there is a definite advantage to cheap tools as long as they are serviceable - it is much better to have an inferior tool you can buy that will get the job done than it is to not have a superior tool that will last longer but you can't afford at all. Many people will never use the cheap tool enough that it matters. There are also a lot of HF tools that work great if you make a few small modifications, if you have more time than money.

    There's a couple of great threads over at Weldingweb.com about Harbor Freight (they actually have a whole forum about HF):

    Harbor Freight Tools that don't suck
    Harbor Freight Tools that suck

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    Registered User gtae07's Avatar
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    Re: Junk Tools

    Some tools from HF are total crap. Others are surprisingly well-made considering the price. It just depends on the tool. I've had very good luck with most of the stuff I bought from them, including:

    Bench-top drill press
    14" chop saw
    HVLP spray gun
    Blind rivet puller
    3-in-1 framing nailer
    Palm nailer
    Free tape measures
    Step drills/unibits (and normally I stay away from their consumables!)

    It all depends on what you're doing with the tool and how long you need it to last. I know the $100 nailgun might not last as long as the $300+ name-brand one, but I only really needed it for the framing portion of my workshop build. That phase is over now and it's still working, even after being left out in the rain once, so I saved myself $200. I use the HVLP gun for shooting primer, and it works just fine--the poor paint job is the user's fault. Would I buy these if my livelihood depended on them? Probably not. But for most of the rarely-used items, their useful life still probably exceeds my total lifetime utilization of them.

    Go in with realistic expectations.
    I reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than I was yesterday.

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