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"I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for"

by b2rtch
posted 02-05-2010 07:00 PM

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60 replies

60 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4146 days

#1 posted 02-05-2010 07:06 PM

I believe it’s possible to get what you pay for, but paying more only tends to improve your odds of getting something good….it also improves your odds of paying too much. Discounts on tool prices don’t necessarily mean that a tool is cheaply made. Good tools sometimes get sold at a deep discount, and sometimes it’s just wise to take advantage of that. Sometimes formerly well respected brand names sell at a premium but are no better (sometimes no different) than a less respected name.

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

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3826 days

#2 posted 02-05-2010 07:08 PM

I don’t think that higher price is always a sign of higher quality… But I also know that producing a better product costs more than producing junk regardless of the continent on which it’s being made.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Raspar's profile


246 posts in 3919 days

#3 posted 02-05-2010 08:49 PM

First of all I love reading the reviews on this site for whatever tool. I know when I purchase a tool I look at a number of things. I look at how much I will use this tool first, this lets me know if quality or price is more important. From here I look for the price and quality on that end of the spectrum. I have both high and low quality tools, sometimes I have to get in at a HF, crafsman level and then upgrade later. Or sometime the HF is good enough for some. I have not found HF good for tools I use allot. I have had issues with the Chicago brand so if i can I stay away from the drills and reciprocating saws. I guess to sum up I get the best quality for the price at the time.

-- Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.

View Mark's profile


1817 posts in 4044 days

#4 posted 02-05-2010 09:07 PM

when it comes to woodwork yes…people always complain that handmade woodwork is too expensive but its the handmade woodwork that lasts forever and go down generations. not like prefab or made in china crap that snaps once theres too much weight on it. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AND CRAFTSMEN KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT WORTH IT!

-- M.K.

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4592 days

#5 posted 02-05-2010 09:12 PM

Bert, I have never shied away from spending money on tools. I believe in spending the most money my budget will allow on a tool. The times I have bought a more economical tool solely because of its price I have always come to regret the decision later. So I guess you can label me as another “I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for”.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4259 days

#6 posted 02-05-2010 09:15 PM

I am torn on the subject. I bought a Grizzly bandsaw and love it. It cost a LOT less than a Powermatic or Laguana or even a Jet. But I also bought a Powermatic Lathe and love that too. I have a Sawstop (please, no arguments!!) too.

I think if you go ‘rock bottom’, then yes, you get what you pay for. I would not buy a Harbor Freight tablesaw, but would buy one of their inexpensive welders.

So, I think if you do the research and really check out what you are buying, sometimes you can get a deal.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View PurpLev's profile (online now)


8572 posts in 4419 days

#7 posted 02-05-2010 09:15 PM

Generally speaking – yes – you do get what you pay for.

But – just like with anything else in life- there are exceptions to the rule.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4017 days

#8 posted 02-05-2010 09:33 PM

Yes, you do get what you pay for. It’s a package deal though, not just the tool. Customer support, parts availibilty and resale value are part of the package. So that HF router may be the same as the PC (just an example), but try selling it or finding parts in 2 years.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3825 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 09:49 PM

I have found, in my contracting business, that HF tools are ok. Ok, if you are using them occasionally, not continually. I will never buy another HF airtool and probably will stay away from most of their power tools, just because I have found they don’t hold up to the kind of work I do daily.

That said, I hate most DeWault tools, but love Makita and Hitachi. Porter cable is alright, but bulky and no different than the lighter makitas.

DeWault is no better than it’d Black &decker counterparts, IMHO.

--, Making design and application one. †

View PaulfromVictor's profile


230 posts in 4116 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 09:57 PM

Nothing is more true than you get what you pay for with tools… you’ll pay now or you’ll pay later.

I find that the best quality tools that I have are USA made, and there are still some of them (Incra, Whiteside, Forrest, and even Delta Unisaw is back). There are also some great tools made in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.

Personally, I am making an effort to avoid tools made in China. (Warning Politics Approaching). We all know about the potential quality issues, but look at everything that is happening there. First relating to China exports there has been melamine in baby formula, lead in toy paint, toxins in drywall, pet food poisoning, toothpaste poisoning, etc… You REALLY don’t know what you are getting. Add to that the governments lack of concern for human rights, the government not allowing their currency to float and creating an unfair trade environment, piracy of intellectual property and branding, the government’s support of Iran through trade and U.N. veto power, government sponsorship of electronic espionage… it goes on and on. I think the Chinese government needs to step back a bit and make some regulatory and human rights advances, and then come back with a more free trade approach to doing business.

Sorry for the rant. I’m not sure what got me started.

Carry on…

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 3961 days

#11 posted 02-05-2010 10:25 PM

I generally believe that paying more, up to a point, will get you a better tool. Early on in my woodworking, before I decided it was something that I really wanted to do, I purchased much Ryobi stuff from the Borg. Six years later I don’t have a single Ryobi item that I use any longer. I had one of their RO sanders which died in the first week I used it, replaced by a Dewalt that is still going strong five years later. I had two Ryobi routers, a hand held and a table mounted, that worked okay for several years until the both the depth lock and collet gave out on the handheld and released a spinning bit to drill through a project I was routing, just missing my foot. Other items worked and still work but, all things being equal, they don’t provide me the same level of accuracy that my more expensive items do. While I think that experience and determination can help overcome many obstacles buying more expensive/higher quality tools reduces the obstacles to be overcome in the first place. And to answer the OP, I think HF tools fall into that Ryobi category. They work but usually aren’t the best at what they do. Of course my Dad’s HF sliding compound mitre has done a good job for him for six years and doesn’t need replacing..but I tend to look at the tweaking he did to get it good and the mods he made to improve the saw and wonder if there was really much tradeoff with the lower price vs buying a more ‘reliable out of the box’ saw.

I usually read many reviews on a particular item before I buy it as no company seems to make ‘the best’ everything with the possible exception of Festool..they usually seem to be highly regarded across the board. For example Jet makes decent equipment but there are levels even within Jet, the lower pricepoint equipment doesn’t tend to have the nicest features so just filling your shop with white (or older green) gear doesn’t always ensure you’ve gotten the best deal. I like the rainbow shop effect: I’ve got yellow gear, white gear, black gear, grey gear, blue gear, etc, whatever got the best reviews within my price range. The thing to watch for is personal or endorsement-related bias in the reviews; if several reviews tend to speak well about a product it becomes easier to objectively assess why a particular review might have been negative.

I believe that B&D bought P-C several years ago and I tend to believe that when the parent company made their mark on ‘weekender project’ tools that the philosophy will trickle down no matter what brand they market under. Hence the reason I purchased my P-C router before the company was purchased and before they could potentially cheapen up a good brand.

Padre, I also have a Sawstop and was impressed that it wasn’t just a mediocre saw with a nice safety feature but it was a nice quality saw with a nice safety feature. Nothing I’ve encountered in the past three years of ownership have made me regret spending the extra money for the brake, even customer service has been very responsive in anwering questions via email or phone.

More than two cents worth but there you have it…

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3825 days

#12 posted 02-05-2010 10:32 PM

DynaBlue, you are correct about B&D buying P C, but they previously bought DeWault, probably 2 years or so prior.

I do not hate DeWalt completely, just don’t think it is as worth the money as some of the other tools in my box. I think they are overpriced on most of their stuff.

Although, that said, I love their contractors tablesaw, it is easy to use, lightweight and has some cool features. Someday, I will probably own my own, but for now, my craftsman does a great job, just heavier when i have to load and unload it.

--, Making design and application one. †

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 3813 days

#13 posted 02-05-2010 10:37 PM

Bert, You do get what you pay for. If you constantly buy cheap tools you’ll be buying (replacing) them constantly. Even if the cheaper tools look like their more expensive counterparts, they’re not the same. I personally won’t use HF routers because of the vibration in the few I’ve tried and the overall cheap plastic feel. You don’t need to go all the way to the other end of the spectum, either. It boils down to reseach and trying out someone else’s tool if you can. Get the best you can justify to yourself spending for the intended use. HF has some good deals. All the major brands have some tools I like, Some you couldn’t give me. There are twice as many opinions as tools to choose from out there, it comes down to safety, budget, preference; in that order.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4146 days

#14 posted 02-06-2010 12:00 AM

Dennis – I’m not a fan of most B&D tools and don’t have much allegiance to DW either, but regardless of our opinions for or against, most of the DW tools are built to a higher standard than their B&D counterparts.

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

View Raymond's profile


683 posts in 4498 days

#15 posted 02-06-2010 12:13 AM

I agree to a point that we get what we pay for. However having said that I have puchased several tools from Harbor Frieght, and to this point have not had one failure. I have there Mini Mill, Band saw, dust collector and several power tools, mostly sanders, and several air tools. At 19.99 for a 23 guage nailer with a 20% coupon if it fails I can throw it away. I have found there service to be very good. All in all I know for myself, I purchase what I can afford. When there is only so much money to spend I believe it is all about getting value for our hard earned dollars and making that money go as far as it can

-- Ray

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4347 days

#16 posted 02-06-2010 05:39 AM

I’ve bought a band saw that was about $1200 more than say Grizzly and wished I’d bought the Grizzly .Did
I get what I paid for?


View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4014 days

#17 posted 02-06-2010 08:20 AM

I believe you get a better product for a higher price. Before I had my own shop, I worked for five years out of the wood shop at Hickam Air Force in Honolulu. They had a huge shop with mostly Delta, Powematic, and Jet tools in addition to a Hitachi resaw bandsaw. I watched those tools fail over and over again. On any given day, there were always pieces of equipment that weren’t working. When I bought my own tools, I purchased General (the machines made in Canada) and Laguna. Ten years later, they are still going strong. I could have purchased cheaper stuff and then purchased it again when it failed. In the end the cost would have been the same. I’d rather have reliable equipment and good customer service than a contemptible tool that slows me down. To me having dependable equipment is worth the cost…........

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View spkelly1102's profile


7 posts in 3802 days

#18 posted 02-06-2010 08:26 AM

I think if you do your research you can tell if you are paying for quality or maybe just a name

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3961 days

#19 posted 02-06-2010 09:34 AM

I don’t think I have one american made tool in my shop. I know that had money been no object, I would have bought something else. Everything I own is upgradable. Every tool I have has limitations. As Clint Eastwood, said ” A mans got to know his limitations.” Knowing those limitations has been key to my satisfaction with the tool purchases I have made so far. I got what I paid for, and most the tools exccedded my expectations. I feel lucky to have been born in a time where wood working tools are inexpensive (compared to the days of my father), and they do an exceptional job. My $300.00 band saw will never cut veneers, I have to pay someone for that, but it will cut shapes & contours in 4/4 stock. I got what I paid for. No less, and maybe a little bit more as my skills improve.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4776 days

#20 posted 02-06-2010 12:55 PM

The thing about good tools is if you never experience them you don’t know any better. A fellow might think his craftsman jigsaw hes had for years is a top notch saw until he stumbles onto a Bosch jigsaw and grins from ear to ear :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3819 days

#21 posted 02-06-2010 03:16 PM

Thank you Miles,
I had a Bosh jigsaw, years ago, I was not too crazy about it.
I do not like jigsaw in general.
I was never able to do a good job with them.
I am glad that you are happy with yours.
I now use a cheap cordless Skill, the saw itself is OK but the battery is junk, it does not last at all.
To answer Bob; many times I would have wanted to buy something else than an HF tools but the price is the determining factor for me.
A while ago I was looking for an angle drill, I looked the Dewalt ( made in China) it cost close to $200.00. I could not afford it for the job I wanted to do.
I went to HF , I bought an angle drill for $29.99. I abused it remolding my house and it works like a champ.
I bought wood chisels at HF, they were not too good. My wife bought me set for Christ-mas, she spent well over $120.00 for it, something that I would have never done myself because in my opinion I do not use them often enough to justify the price.
Before buying something I “hesitate ” a long time, I shop around” to death, but when I decide to buy then I buy it right away (if on sale, I very rarely pay full price for anything).
Some say that I am cheap, well may be.


-- Bert

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3825 days

#22 posted 02-06-2010 03:29 PM

Bert, I’m with you on price, but I also have to regularly put some funds aside to replace tools. I use a lot of them daily and they just wear down.

I love Bosch’s jigsaw, wish I could afford one. I have a DeWalt that I am alright with, but it is not my favorite. I have to get a new guard, but have put it off for a while, now.

Most of my tools are upgradeable, as the ones I have do a fine job, so I definately got what I paid for.

--, Making design and application one. †

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4664 days

#23 posted 02-06-2010 03:40 PM

Ignorance is Bliss.

I am from the group where 99/100… get what you pay for.

What I dont understand is why some folk who have little money, buy a tool brand new paying full price when they could buy five times the tool…......”used”

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 4390 days

#24 posted 02-06-2010 03:48 PM

All part of being a smart consumer. Do your research before you buy, and buy what’s in your budget. If it’s going to be a single use item, then yes go cheap. You’ll probably never look at it again. If you shop around, and research (not just on the item, but the manufactuer customer service etc) then you will more than likely be more satisfied with your purchase. My .000002

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Craftsman on the lake

3335 posts in 4208 days

#25 posted 02-06-2010 04:12 PM

It’s not an issue of you get what you pay for… If a tool is $100 but a better quality one is $150 then the extra might be worth it. What I don’t like is that some tools are known to be worth it. So instead of $150 it’s listed as $350. You have to weigh the quality with the price too.

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

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3819 days

#26 posted 02-06-2010 04:18 PM

I too believe in buying “used ” tools but there are two problems with that: often I cannot find what I need when I need it (I have been looking for a drill press for months) and sellers most of the time believe that there tools are made a solid gold. When I was looking for a table saw, I saw ( sorry) many of them but the sellers where asking more money for their used saws that I could buy a new one for (Ridgid)
I research t death.
Thank you guys for your replies.

-- Bert

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4664 days

#27 posted 02-06-2010 04:54 PM

auctions…............they are a dime a dozen in this economy.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 4989 days

#28 posted 02-06-2010 05:20 PM

The internet is your friend in this case. It makes research easy.

I think it’s true that in general you get what you pay for. But that’s certainly not always the case. I think there are times when a company develops a reputation for quality and commands a high price for its products, then lowers its standards or gets bought out, quality goes down, and the products are no longer worth the price. Conversely, there are times when a new company comes along and offers a good value to get its foot in the door with consumers, or an established company is trying to break into a new market and offers good prices on high quality merchandise.

There are situations where a top-of-the-line tool is slightly better than a cheaper competitor, or has a couple of extra features, but is twice the price. Most of us would choose the better tool if money was no object, but how many of us can say money is not an object? In those cases it comes down to weighing the advantages against the initial cost. It is a highly individual decision based on our own needs, expectations, and budget.

In short, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4645 days

#29 posted 02-06-2010 05:40 PM

View SPalm's profile


5335 posts in 4652 days

#30 posted 02-06-2010 06:00 PM

I do not like ‘cheap’ tools. The feeling of a quality tool is so great. Like has been mentioned, you don’t know until you have tried one. Ask the hand tool guys.

Case in point;
That Bosch jigsaw that Miles mentioned. I have never heard of anyone down-playing it. Are we talking the same tool? It was just a pivotal moment for me when I realized what a good jigsaw could do. It is an absolutely cool tool that I haven’t seen anyone touch.

Batteries. Dewalt sells cheap batteries with their cheaper tools and tool sets, it is very easy to miss. The good ones have XRP printed on the side. They look the same, except for XRP and the specs. If you did not know this, you would think that Dewalt batteries sucked. But the problem was you bought the cheap tool and expected more.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4139 days

#31 posted 02-06-2010 06:12 PM

For the most part I agree with higher cost for better products, but I don’t like the gouging that goes along with some companies. I know and agree that Fein makes some of the finest tools on earth, but I wont spend the money for thier little vacuum to hook to thier tools, HD has the little one they put on sale for $20 that does a perfect job on my ROS, and Multimaster. Another one that I wont even consider buying is the green monster Festool, I have never tried one and will never, They cost too damn much for what it is! MHO

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5085 days

#32 posted 02-06-2010 06:25 PM

Roman said it. Some of the best values come in old tools. I saw a 32 inch 3 phase band saw in perfect working order sell for $350.00. I’m still kicking myself. I no longer trust brand names. Especially HF.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4066 days

#33 posted 02-06-2010 07:25 PM

I see my review on the HF TS has sparked some controversy over getting what you pay for.

I just want to say…buyer beware. Do your research.
HF is not a brand name, it is a store name.
HF sells brand names such as Chicago and Central Machinery.
Just as Home Depot sells Rigid and DeWalt, brand names.

I thought long and hard about this TS myself and this was my conclusion before purchasing as is with any tool I buy…
1. What are the functioning parts of this tool that could cause me problems. The table saw has motor, pulleys, trunnions, and arbor. The motor can burn out on any unit, pulleys can be replaced as well as the arbor. Accuracy, took a chance on this one, this was really my biggest concern. Low and behold this was not an issue. The tolerances for arbor runout and surface flatness may not run out to the .00001, but the tolerances of this unit are within acceptable ranges for accuracy with wood which moves anyway. We are not sawing or milling steel castings for aircraft parts, we’re cutting wood.

2. Service and replacement parts. I purchased the two year service plan through HF. So for two years they will send someone here to my house to fix my saw if I have a problem…to my house. And since Central Machinery doesn’t manufacture trunnions or gears, I feel it is safe to say that these can be purchased as replacement parts from the same suppliers as the big brand TS’s purchase theirs.

3. Will I get what I am paying for ? Absolutely !! and then some. With any brand there is always a chance that quality control slipped up and sent you a piece of junk, I’ve seen plenty of this in the forum section how the machine was defective and customer service won’t work with the buyer.

I shared the review hesitantly with my fellow LJ’s because I know alot of folks are stuck on
Brand/Price =Quality
Here is an example-
If I purchased a Nissan Quest minivan over a Mercury Villager minivan, I have purchased a better quality vehicle right ? Wrong….both vehicles are made in the same factory, same engine, same drive train, all the same specs, except when they roll them out the back door Nissan adds their luxury touch. A little fancier trim package, the faux wood dash, and their “name/reputation” to the vehicle. I bought a Mercury several years ago, but paid about $3000.00 less for the difference in the plastic and name tag.

Did I get what I paid for? Yup ! I got a Nissan Quest for a lot less than those people hung up an a brand name.
Agree or don’t agree I’m cool with that…and I love my TS. : ) and I saved about $500.00 – $900.00
More tools to buy!!


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4014 days

#34 posted 02-06-2010 07:36 PM

Ahh, Festool now that has to be the biggest rip off on the planet! After a consider amount badgering by my local Woodcraft store, I finally bought a Festool random orbital sander. This sander was a lot more money than my Makita, but it didn’t even come with a cloth dust collector. I comes with a paper BAG which blows off the machine ever two minutes! Of course, you could waste more money on their vac-are you kidding me! Then there is the issue of replacement sander paper-no shocker, theirs has a unique number of holes and locations, so only Festool paper will do, which cost more. Outrageous!!!!!! I do enough sanding to know that a sander is only a vehicle for the sand paper and their paper is again expensive and not half as good as the regal gold that I get from Woodworkers Supply. I don’t use the Festool sander-got one if you’re interested!!!!!! My little Makita random orbital has been a dependable friend for years. When it finally dies, I’ll buy another Makita.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View SteveMI's profile


1157 posts in 4065 days

#35 posted 02-06-2010 07:42 PM

I am in the middle of this. I consider myself frugal: “Avoiding unnecessary expenditure.. of anything.. which is to be used or consumed.” Doesn’t mean buying the cheapest, but the lowest cost with adequate performance. I bought a Bosch jigsaw 5 years ago that I believe is a perfect lifetime tool and nearly $150 for a jigsaw was pretty steep at the time for me. My TS upgrade went from a direct drive craftsman to a used belt drive craftsman/emerson/rigid TS. Rigid 13” planer is working well after 6 years. All of the current tools have adequate capability for what I am doing at this time.

I build for consignment or retail, where the customer makes their decision to purchase only after the item is completed. No custom work except maybe color of stain, which is chosen from samples of same wood. Even then, the customer has a right to refuse it after completion. Out selling my inventory (LOL) is my risk with only me having the downside. Tools and quality are tied to the market price I get.

If someone is building fine furniture on commission or has a robust wood working business that cannot tolerate down time, then the top end equipment is necessary. Those have customer expectations for quality and timely delivery that won’t be met without risk by anything less. The market price is related to that equipment.

And don’t let me forget to comment on the gouging (pappadon) mentioned. I covet Sawstop/Powermatic/Grizzly TS, Laguna/Grizzly/Jet BS, Delta/Jet/Powermatic Mortiser… tools but cannot rationalize them for my personal level of use at this time. (I only chose some names to make the point, don’t take offense that I missed one.) The Fesstool and Fien price points just don’t make sense to me with most every component or option being a special proprietary size.

Lastly, most every tool you are going to buy has some portion, usually major, made in Southeast Asia. It may have final assembly in North America, but stamping, forging, casting and initial machining are probably done in Southeast Asia due to cost of materials and environmental laws. It is really up to the individual companies quality requirements as to the final quality of the product. Even in North American or Mexican plants that I have been in for audits, the “same” part being made for different customers are treated differently due to the unique customer requirements.

Sorry so long.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51459 posts in 4251 days

#36 posted 02-06-2010 08:12 PM

I also agree that you get what you pay for. Are they the quality that we once knew years ago? Probably not. I try to stick to the name brand tools, and I often buy them at a good tool store rather than a discount store. Many tool makers, and even makers of lawn and garden equipment have a line that is specially made for the discount market so often the tool you might buy at a discount store isnt the same one you would buy at a good tool store even though the name is the same. I am also a believer in buying used if you can find a good deal but you have to do your homework.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 4218 days

#37 posted 02-06-2010 08:14 PM

The only HF power tool i own is a belt/disk sander combo. It works great but it was only a $40 purchase. I own several of their clamps and i am happy with them. The only measurable difference i have seen in products that i have purchased from HF is their bits and blades. When i bought my steel city ts and first used it i learned just how valuble a quality blade is. I also adopted the idea that my tool arsenal is sufficient to get me by therefore when I want or need something new i can wait until i can afford a quality tool. I read alot of reviews and consider customer service. Amount of use is also something i consider. When i first built my router table i bought a $80 set of bits that included 80 various bits. They get the job done but dont last very long. What i have learned from this is what bits i use the most often and i replace those bits with quality bits. One last consideration, when i bought my ts and more recently a steel city drill press i was telling myself this would be the last purchase i make on these particular tools. Therefore i spent the money on what i wanted and looked for something midrange. So far i have no regrets in my more expensive purchases.

-- RKWoods

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4664 days

#38 posted 02-06-2010 08:42 PM

I’m going to stick up for Festool. Awesome tools, albeit very pricey. I could never justify the sticker price if this was a hobby on my income…............period. But

I dont do this as a “hobby”. I wsih I did woodworking for a hobby (and in fact I do, .just dont have that much time to play). I get paid what some might thinlk is “huge” bucks, to do this professionally and as such, can only say this as a professional woodworker. Please refer to my fisrt sentence should anyone become confused.

Festool is “unmatched”, “top dog” “number one” when it comes to dust extraction systems aend while not mentioning the health benefits gained, I speak purely from a “profit” perspective.One must keep in mind that me, I personally DO NOT WORK ON AN HOURLY BASIS, unless I am consulting, advising, documenting, etc so everything I build is on “contract”. The faster a contract is completed, basically,the more profit I make. It isnt rocket science, quantum physics, just basic mathamatics based on time motion studies vs price tags.

If I am coffereing a ceiling in crown mould I could set my tools up outside, lug that big heavy ackward miter saw, grab the vacumn, the sanders and work “in, measure, shoes on, shoes off, cut,measure, cut again, shoes on, shoes off, cut measure…...............because no client wants the clouds of dust in their home…......period, no option… work outside. Festool’s miter saw is light, exceptionally accurate, and when used in conjunction with “their” vacumn…............dustless. I can cut inside….........the customer is happy, the job goes faster and there isnt any dust, and I maximize my “profit”........sometimes paying for the tool in a single day….........and the best part. I walk into a clients home, get to work, do a good job with as little “inconvenience”to their life as possible which is extremely important to my clientelle.

Festool sells many different types of sanders, electric and air driven and all of them are some what “job specific” so it is entirely possible to purchase an expensive sander and be dissappointed with its performance but with the right sander used for the right application and attached to their vacumn….......dust is gone. I can sand inside some ones home,some bodies multimillion dollar summer cottage and there is NO DUST. Again, my profits rise,my customer is happy! As for the rediculas “you have to buy their sand paper”...........maybe, but right in the center is an allen screw, remove their head, replace with a generic head…...and you can once again use “cheap” sand paper. For what its worth….............not all sandpapers are created equally?

Festool toys come in an over priced container system too. pricey stuff but the nice thing about that over priced container is that they all bolt together in countless ways, just like LEGO, and professionally speaking…....that can also be very advantageous! I could go on forever about the good merits of buying Festool but I remember sentence number 1…...............there isnt much point in my giving a review about their routers.

I have a 60’s/70s era Cabinet Saw. I think its a rockwell. I bought it an an auction for around the 500 dollar mark and I am quite sure it has thousands of hours on it and it works like new!!!! Its not shiney, it has paint splashed on it, a few dents, a few grooves in the cast top but its a whole lot better then anything presently being sold at HD, Lowes, HF.

The only time I buy a new tool, is when I cant find a used one so for the most part, I always get what I pay for and more.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3819 days

#39 posted 02-06-2010 09:07 PM

Certainly many good and interesting things said here.
Thank you all for giving your opinion.

-- Bert

View SteveMI's profile


1157 posts in 4065 days

#40 posted 02-06-2010 09:23 PM

Roman – You made a perfect point. For any contractor, a tool that optimizes your ability to complete one job and go to the next has a pay back. Depending on what type of work you get into, depends on where to spend the tool money.

I had to chuckle about your reference to job prices not being as relative to income as some people think. Many people think the billing amount has a magic percentage each time that is profit in the pocket. Overhead and consumables are a constantly changing cost which can only come from that profit percentage after the fact. That is why I went the way I did, at least I know up front if I won or lost.


View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4539 days

#41 posted 02-06-2010 09:30 PM

i would say that if you’re buying new you get what you pay for…. take a look at the Northfield tools as opposed to delta or any other manufacturer really. even with the exports though they may be made out of the same factory or the same machinery or molds are used to make them but it is the quality of the materials as well as the quality control that make some tools better than others… also the quality of the motor has A LOT to do with it… in most cases you’re paying most of your money for the motor and if its a bench tool the table top.

When you’re buying used really its you get what you search for…. if you really search for a good tool you may find it even if it does require a rehab.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4066 days

#42 posted 02-06-2010 09:35 PM

Hey Roman,
HD and Lowes don’t sell cabinet table saws, the best they have is a hybrid 1 1/2 hp motor.
So, yes your cabinet saw is probably better than any contractor saw sold at HD or Lowes.
If you are willing to cough up some specs on your table saw to compare it to the CM table saw
then maybe you would have a leg to stand on with your statement
”its a whole lot better then anything presently being sold at HD, Lowes, HF.”
I am sure any PROFESSIONAL woodworker would invest in a Delta, Powermatic, Jet…..
for a hobbyist woodworker, with limited funds, CM 3hp cabinet saw cuts wood better than any TS from HD or Lowes

Have you had the opportunity to cut lumber on the CM cabinet saw ?
That’s why I did a review, not many have tried it.
I have used a Delta unisaw, and a Craftsman Professional. I don’t see much difference.
3hp, good tolerances, and arbor speed somewhere around 5,000rpm the blade is going to cut wood like butter.

Just my opinion,


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3877 days

#43 posted 02-06-2010 09:46 PM

I believe you get what you pay for through experience. I spent 30 odd years welding, fitting, manufacturing, research and developement etc in the metal field. I believe that this industry is much harsher on tools and equipment than woodworking. I have bought tools and equipment that turned out to be junk and through experience I never bought that brand again. In like manner after using every brand of air tool on the market, I settled on Ingersol-Rand. I have never been disapointed in they products, same with Makita, Snap-on, Mac etc.Then again since I no longer have the cashflow of when I was in business, I have bought HF and found satisfactory tools that I still use and others I have taken a lot back to them. I must say they never question why I am returning anything. After looking at most of their products, there is a lot I don’t even consider.
It is like the man says, “Buyer beware.”

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3944 days

#44 posted 02-06-2010 09:47 PM

It’s’ my considered opinion that … the more you spend on a particular tool … the less likely you are to ever admit to its shortcomings ;-)

-- -- Neil

View jimofsanston's profile


36 posts in 3915 days

#45 posted 02-06-2010 09:56 PM

I agree Neil with your statement. I have personally done it too.

-- Jim LaCourse

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3819 days

#46 posted 02-06-2010 09:59 PM

” It’s’ my considered opinion that … the more you spend on a particular tool … the less likely you are to ever admit to its shortcomings ;-)”

I fully agree with that.

-- Bert

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3945 days

#47 posted 02-06-2010 10:08 PM

Bert,Here is a loophole to your question, Make sure when you buy any tool that they have a good return policy. High price or low they can all have lemons. Then if you see a (good Deal) try it out and if you aren’t satisfied return it. Most times you can tell if a tool is going to be what you want or not just by a short trial. If the company doesn’t have a clear return policy I avoid it even if it looks like a great deal.

View studie's profile


618 posts in 3917 days

#48 posted 02-06-2010 10:48 PM

OK here I go, I’m a tool freak. I spend my vacation money on them. Most of my Levis have holes in the knees, But I have 5 Festools. When sanding some very dark stained beams overhead My Rotax was about 3 times faster than another brand and super clean. You should have seen the other guy covered in dust! The Domino makes joints faster than other M&T, the track saw just about replaces the table saw & is about the same price as the Makita or Dewalt track saws now that they are out. If you compare the quality of bearings & the cost difference you can see why they cost more. Innovation has a price too. Dust collection is a huge issue, not just sweeping up but dusting everything after a cloud of sawdust. I got some great deals on used Festools & because they are made so well I’m not reluctant to buy them used. I bought some Milwaukee stuff lately too & like them as well but are all made in China. Even the big burly wormdrive made in China. I want to buy American but until we start making tools again what choice do we have? I’m hard on my tools tho I treat them with care. I make my living with tools so faster, more accurate, cleaner and longer lasting is better for me. Any down time I don’t get paid for hurts my budget.

-- $tudie

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4146 days

#49 posted 02-07-2010 12:02 AM

Here’s a theoretical situation that I think is pertinent to this discussion. Which of these $750 table saws is the better buy?

One is a Taiwanese made Powermatic PM64a contractor saw with the old style connecting rods and table mounted trunnions, with the Accufence (Beise clone) and 1-1/2hp outboard motor hanging out the back. It’s offered from one of the most respected names in the industry. The other saw is a 3hp Chinese made HF item with cabinet mounted industrial style trunnions with a massive swing arm and triple belt drive, and a no name Biese clone fence. It’s sold by one of the least respected names in the business.

I’m sure the PM is made to tighter standards, possibly with better grade materials, bearings, pulleys, etc., but is lighter duty, and utilizes a 60 year old design that’s known to have some alignment issues with heeling and twisting when the motor gets tilted…it’s also difficult to align in the first place, has about half the horsepower, and has problematic dust collection, along with taking up more space, etc.

The HF is likely to have a less impressive fit and finish, possibly a higher defect rate, and lower quality bearings, pulleys, etc., but once setup and running well, it has a what is largely regarded as a superior heavy duty industrial style cabinet saw design, plus offers more power, more mass/stability, better DC, and is easier to align.

Which saw do you get your $750 from?

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

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3819 days

#50 posted 02-07-2010 02:00 AM

Knotscott (which kind of name is this?)
I am not sure that what you write about the HF saw it true but I know that I go with the HF saw anytime.
By the way the HF saw is just above $500.00, much less with 20% rebate or when on sale.
If I did not buy a R4511 for $299.00, I would buy the HF saw.

-- Bert

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