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Death by a thousand cuts: the demise of a favorite tool

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 06-15-2019 10:53 PM 738 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Okay, yes this a weird post on a woodworking forum. But I swear I use this tool a lot in the shop, not that much on wood, but with wood, Cutting metal things to put on wood, cutting that difficult nail/screw that won’t pull out without damaging things. And I admit doing a lot of cutting of metal when I weld.. some of it incorporated in woodworking projects. All in all my grinder is one of the tools I don’t use all the time but when I do need it it saves a lot of work.

Today, in mid cut my 4” Craftsman angle grinder died. It was pretty special. Let me tell you why.

I inherited a Makita grinder long ago. It had been used a lot, I used it a lot, then it died. So, I replaced it with a Dewalt. I like Dewalt tools. A lot of people do. I used it to cut metal when making a pier for the lake that summer. But by the next summer it just stopped working. Wasn’t the switch, brushes okay, cord okay. power to the thing via the cord. A winding I suspected.

So, I picked up a Milwaukee. Nice grinder. Milwaukee is known for tough stuff. It cost a bit more than the others but hey. If it lasts longer right? It did last longer, by about three months. A little over a year, it was dead. I took it apart. The cooling blade (plastic) had broken and took out a bearing at the same time.

Sigh…...

I said, what the heck. I’ll order a cheap one from someplace. It can’t be any worse. Enter Harbor Freight. $9.95. I ordered three. If I get a few months out of them, not much cost and I can easily replace them. I started a project. Within 20 minutes the first one was smoking then froze. The second the same thing. The third; about the same time. So, thirty bucks for about sixty minutes of use.

Why these brands? Well I’ve got a huge cache of 4” cutoff disks. Don’t ask… Suffice to say that my brother, original owner of this stuff worked in a federal shipyard. Anyway there’s quite a collection. 4 1/2” grinders are more of a standard so there weren’t many 4” grinders around. I purchased what was available.

I was in Sears. A sale on a craftsman grinder. $39.95. And for $7 I could purchase a three year replacement warranty. Ah ha! It will die in one year and I’ll return it for a new one. I’ll never have to pay for a grinder again!

That was seven years ago. The thing ground and ground for seven years. The title says “Death by a thousand cuts”. I say that because it probably made that many. But it suddenly stopped. I took it apart and can’t see anything obvious. Chord and switch are working. It didn’t get hot. I’ve decided to let it go. It did it’s part.

So, where am I at now? I just ordered a Makita. Yup, the original brand I started with that worked good for a long time. Also, the only brand left that is available in 4”. It will be here in two days (Amazon) I can continue my project, a set of supports for my camper, and keep my fingers crossed for longevity. It’s probably not the same as the original but we’ll see.

I’m generally not a craftsman brand buyer in power tools but I am impressed with this tool….

And that’s my kudos story for craftsman. This time they deserve it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.



3 comments so far

View jimm32246's profile

jimm32246

1 post in 44 days


#1 posted 06-15-2019 11:58 PM

I used to be a tool repairman for a mechanical contractor in Jacksonville, Fl. I have worked on hundreds of the 4 inch angle grinders. Dewalt and Black and Decker mostly. They have pretty much the same design, the weak link in all of them is where the field coil plugs in. There are 4 flimsy pins on the end of the field and they break off from vibration after a period of time. Generally they make a high resistance connection that melts the plastic frame, not much can be done to repair after that.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2990 posts in 3860 days


#2 posted 06-16-2019 01:33 AM



I used to be a tool repairman for a mechanical contractor in Jacksonville, Fl. I have worked on hundreds of the 4 inch angle grinders. Dewalt and Black and Decker mostly. They have pretty much the same design, the weak link in all of them is where the field coil plugs in. There are 4 flimsy pins on the end of the field and they break off from vibration after a period of time. Generally they make a high resistance connection that melts the plastic frame, not much can be done to repair after that.

- jimm32246

Ya, just wondered why that craftsman went so long. I would have thought some of the other brands would have held up better. The craftsman lasted about as long as one would hope for.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View palaswood's profile

palaswood

1059 posts in 2173 days


#3 posted 06-19-2019 10:38 PM

Angle grinders are like Grandmas. They eventually die but generally lived a full life.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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