Quality of the past is long gone.

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Review by Lotidus posted 10-04-2011 06:46 PM 6978 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Quality of the past is long gone. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have noticed that more often the brand names of tool I have trusted over the years have slacked on the quality they produce. In particular the Stanley FatMax coping saw. I had extreme faith in this tool at first mostly because of the Stanley name. I have owned the tool for about a year and used at most four to five times so it was in relatively new condition. I was using the tool to cut out a curved section on a chair leg. The stock was about 2” thick. I got through the first two legs and noticed the handle was start to bend to one side. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I got halfway through the third leg and the blade snapped. I have snapped coping saw blades before no biggy that’s why they sell them in packs of five or more. That’s my logic on it anyway. I quickly changed out the blade and was back to work. I finished the third leg and was onto the fourth. I had cut out the first curve and was about an inch from finishing the cut and the handle broke off of the coping saw. The handle was attached by a bolt with a slotted head that holds the blade. The bolt had snapped midpoint leaving half of the bolt in the handle. The bolt screwed into the handle allowing one to tighten the blade tension. The metal used for the bolt appeared to be nickel or some other soft metal definitely not a good tool grade steel. This is the kind of quality I have noticed from Stanley since they have put more of their manufacturing into the hands of China. Yes the made in stamp on the tool I found after the fact was ” Made In China”. That’s not even the most disappointing part of it. When I bought this tool I had a choice to buy a cheaper version for half the price but I put faith in the Stanley name as I had so many time in the past I think next time I’ll just buy the cheap version since they probably both will be made in the same Chinese sweat shop anyway. This is what happens when corporate greed is put ahead of a tradition of quality. Greed + cheap materials + poor construction=broken coping saw and a dissatisfied customer.

-- Lotidus

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110 posts in 3446 days

12 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4421 days

#1 posted 10-04-2011 06:52 PM

that’s pretty low. thanks for the review. I wonder what would make the handle break that way though. very strange.

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

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258 posts in 4261 days

#2 posted 10-04-2011 09:42 PM

Got to agree here, bought this same saw to replace an older cheaper one that came up missing. Although mine hasn’t broken off at the handle yet… you cannot tighten it very well which leads to wandering cuts. I’m just glad I’m finished coping the crown molding.

Its a shame, in the past you could rely on the Stanley name for some quality.

-- James

View Hartmann's profile


39 posts in 3662 days

#3 posted 10-04-2011 10:25 PM

A excellent german-made coping saw, from Lee Valley:,42884,42902

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3582 days

#4 posted 10-04-2011 11:11 PM

Your not alone. It seems that many handtools made in the past twenty years are not made to really use. In recent years the condition has become acute. Buy pre 70 s vintage and buy once.

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3419 days

#5 posted 10-04-2011 11:20 PM

I got an old Disston coping saw from a Habbitat for Humanity ReStore for .50. New blades for 4.00. Works great.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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Jim Jakosh

24794 posts in 3878 days

#6 posted 10-04-2011 11:35 PM

Quality and China do not equate!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ChuckV's profile (online now)


3307 posts in 4300 days

#7 posted 10-05-2011 12:47 AM

At Amazon, these saws are available in 4 and 6 packs. They cost less than $4 per saw. There was a cheaper one for half the price?

The packages make me think that these saws are intended to be disposable, just like the blades.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4008 days

#8 posted 10-05-2011 02:44 AM

I bought a Kobalt coping saw, before learning about good places to buy tools. I had only used it here and there for some dove tails, but I just used it a LOT for some crown molding. It worked well, and the blade has held up for a year with light use and still cuts well.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View willie's profile


534 posts in 3227 days

#9 posted 10-05-2011 03:22 AM

Last Christmas I put together a tool box for my son and his new wife. It was just basic stuff he would need around the house. Other than some Craftsman wrenches, everything else was Stanley. When I unwrapped the tools to put them in the box, EVERY Stanley tool was stamped “Made in China”. I think I’ll go back to buying old tools at the garage sales. Why pay more money for less tool?

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View thedude50's profile


3611 posts in 3251 days

#10 posted 10-05-2011 07:25 AM

that lee valley tool looks just like my very old craftsman saw and an old Stanley. i hate coping saws cause when i was a kid it was the only say my dad left behind when he walked out. i still have his damn saw its 45 years old now maybe older.he died when i was 13 i never forgave him for his being a jerk i believe marriage is for life. my wife wants to leave me after 25years i am pissed about that life isn’t a bowl of cherries take the saw back and tell them you found a good tool at lee valley ill work on the wife id like to keep her

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Wes Giesbrecht's profile

Wes Giesbrecht

155 posts in 3584 days

#11 posted 10-07-2011 11:39 AM

Do you guys remember when made in Japan meant the item was crap? I sure do.

Give China a couple more years.

I recently bought a Chinese made Fender guitar. Comes as what they call a Strat Pack.
A Strat style electric guitar, case, strap, picks, extra strings, electronic tuner (with battery) and….
a practice amp.
Bought it at one of those liquidation/dollar type stores for $139.95.
I had to set it up, but that’s standard for new guitars.
I didn’t like the satin finish on the neck so I redid it in gloss lacquer. But that’s it.
The neck is straight, the intonation is right, the pots and switch are smooth, it sounds and plays exactly like a Strat should.
I’ve owned two US built Strats in the past. Play this guitar blindfolded and I defy to tell the difference between it and a US built one, prices of which range from $1400 to $2600.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one day soon we’ll be looking for ‘Made in China’ as a sign of high quality.

-- Wes Giesbrecht

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2524 days

#12 posted 07-21-2014 10:15 PM

+1 on the shitty saw

Mine broke after 3 uses. I think I had it… a month?

The mechanism that holds the blade on snapped and fell off, I lost it. Bought a vintage Disston/porter for 13 bucks on ebay. Don’t make them like they used to…

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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