Monster Tool Hollowing Sys Review

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Forum topic by Woodstock posted 04-19-2011 04:08 AM 8840 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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258 posts in 4141 days

04-19-2011 04:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hollowing instructions lathe monster tool

Update May 01, 2011-

I wrote a detailed review on what it took just to order a combo package, and the hoops I had to go though to physically get my grubby hands on a fully operating system for my Oneway 2436. It’s about 8 posts down and long. But it’s what you need to know if you want one. Great tool, but there’s a catch. Actually many catches and gotchas.

Posts 1-3 and 5-7 are short and worth reading.

Because of his history of chronic late delivery times, you should do one or more of the following, or look elsewhere:

This is a MUST at the time of the order: Tell Randy you want the COMPLETE set of (3) .pdf files and the Youtube link emailed to you within 24 hours from when you hang up the phone. Otherwise you will call your credit card company and cancel the order. Else you get it almost a week AFTER he decides to ship the tools. (I was left for three days with a pile of parts and no manual and 8.5 weeks after ordering. Completely unacceptable.)

-Be sure you use a credit card as was suggested below so you can get out if it takes longer than what is promised when you place the order.

I used a debit card and there is no way to back out. I was stuck till it arrived. And stuck some more after it did arrive.

-Insist on payment upon shipping, not at the time of order.

-Or tell Randy he’s got the exact number of weeks he originally quotes when placing the order to you to get it into your hands or you’ll tell your credit card company to reverse the charge for undelivered product.

-Or tell him there is a 10% penalty per week, each week that it isn’t in your hands, starting the day after the lead time he quotes you ends for delivery when you place the order.

And whatever you decide, stick to your guns. No matter what.

So buyer be aware (or beware).

See below.

A customer who loves the tool, but is absolutely appalled at the (non-existent) customer service.

Sorry to bug you all but I’m having a real problem with Monster Tools. I’ll save all the gory details about the total lack of customer service for a full review of the combo hollowing system in a few days after I cool off..

Right now I’m looking for all the docs for both the articulating arm, and the captive hollowing systems. (Full sized, not the mini.)

After a LONG wait to receive the equipment it finally arrived today, sans ANY packing list and/or docs. I called Randy (call #5 since placing the order) and basically he couldn’t be bothered. (He told me he was “standing in the shop watching the sun set in the west”, and that he was “back logged 100’s of e-mails” and didn’t know when he’d get to it.)

So I’ve got 10 small plastic bags full of loose parts, some long metal assemblies and a whole lot of frustration over this whole mess. Some of the assemblies obviously go together but there’s lots of smaller parts that are not so obvious on how they fit together. Or the proper use of the equipment once assembled and aligned.

Does anyone have a copy of the docs Randy sent you that I could get emailed to me?

BTW -The laser sighting device doesn’t work -right out of the box. Doesn’t he test any of this stuff before sending it out?

Any help on docs would be VERY helpful!


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

11 replies so far

View Richard's profile


1940 posts in 3543 days

#1 posted 04-19-2011 05:39 PM

This kind of response to a customer “(He told me he was “standing in the shop watching the sun set in the west”) and he could be looking at the sun setting on his business soon. I would pack it back up and send it back to him COD and call my credit card company and have the charge removed. But I really hate customer service people that act like [email protected]!* Holes when you call with a problem with thier product. I would look for another source, Someone else out there must make the same kind of tool.
Just did a quick Google search for lathe hollowing tools and found this one plus a bunch more. Looks like it cost’s a lot less too.

I don’t do any turning but with support like you are getting I would very quickly be going to a different product, evenif it cost more. Just my opinon.

View Woodstock's profile


258 posts in 4141 days

#2 posted 04-25-2011 09:35 AM

Follow up-

I finally got the instructions sent via e-mail 5 days after he shipped the two boxes, and 3 days after I received them.

To avoid anyone else having to pull their hair out like I did. I have them available (3 .pdf files) if you will send me a private e-mail. Just so you have them on hand BEFORE the equipment (finally) arrives 5 weeks longer than originally quoted at time of order. (8 weeks total.)

Unlike what Randy quoted me over the phone when I called to ask where the heck were the packing list/docs on assembly and use, it’s NOT as intuitive on how to optimally setup or use as one would think. Several points on adjustment I wouldn’t have considered on the first two pieces I tried hollowing before the instructions arrived. With it set up per the docs, it was indeed much easier to use.

But it baffles me still. Randy had my $904 cash in hand (per my bank) for eight weeks. So he could not have emailed them to me till 4 days AFTER arrival?

I’ll do a review in detail of the equipment, the missing docs, the non working laser, the multiple excuses, and a few of the hollow turning I did the last few days here on LJ soon.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View K7WRH's profile


1 post in 3441 days

#3 posted 04-26-2011 06:47 AM

Hey Dave,

Give me a call – Kelly wants your address for the wedding invite. Last SnailMail addy we had bounced.


K7WRH (you might remember me as KD6BEA or KC7EUV)

View abrowndesign's profile


2 posts in 3437 days

#4 posted 04-29-2011 08:24 PM


I’m on 5 weeks, 1 day since my order was processed and have yet to get a response from Superior/Monster regarding the status after two emails sent to them. I’m hoping it will be less than your 8 weeks (I was quoted 4 weeks…)! I’d love to have a copy of the documents prior to arrival. Unfortunately, I just joined the forum (after reading your post), and the system won’t let me PM you until I hit 5 posts. Can you try PM’ing me and I can send you my email address?

By the way, how is the hollowing rig?


View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3982 days

#5 posted 04-29-2011 10:16 PM

+ cr1 Always use Amex and get some protection from clowns like Monster. Hey, maybe the company name was a warning.

View abrowndesign's profile


2 posts in 3437 days

#6 posted 04-29-2011 10:32 PM

I don’t want to bash Monster yet, as a lot of serious turners swear by the hollowing rig. Many feel that it is right up there with Jamison’s tool and Kobra. If you search the AAW forum, many people are also quite satisfied with their level of support as well. Other than the constantly extending lead time, and the lack of response regarding shipment date, I’d like to give Randy at Monster a chance.

View Woodstock's profile


258 posts in 4141 days

#7 posted 04-30-2011 03:51 AM

Preview of the review? Naw. I’ll write it up here.

The Good:
The machining of the tool itself, and what it is suppose to do, is as advertised. In fact MUCH better than I thought it would be. I’ve turned a half dozen hollow vessels and am VERY pleased with the outcome, considering I am just slightly above being a beginning wood turner. So an experienced turner should really fly.

I only stopped due to the fact I ran out of large “real” wood”. My interest lies in segmented turning so everything else I have is flat wood and it takes forever to cut/glue up a large segmented blank. Time to grab the chainsaw go execute a condemned tree somewhere for more practice pieces…..

The Bad:
Well to start. The “electronics” (laser) assembly was something I’d expect from a 6th grader science project in quality and craftsmanship.

As taken right from the box, the laser pointer was dead. I called and did receive a replacement in about five days. To their credit the second one worked. But build like the first. So I expect it to fail in the future.

Upon visual examination of the dead unit, The wires coming out of the back of the laser diode were crimped/cut by the small short tube that held the diode itself. This tube had been pinched into a oval at the far end and this end was folded over with the wires inside. The negative wire had its insulation cut through exposing the wire underneath. The positive wire was completely cut into two pieces at the “fold over” point, by the sharp edges of the pot metal the tube was made out of, rendering the whole unit useless.

Farther down the added wire extension that goes from the laser to the battery pack (about 16” or so away) had loose electrical tape covering the wire joints at each end, which is very unreliable over time. The sticky tape glue will dry out and unravel and become loose with time. And at an even faster rate when vibrated as happens when turning wood. Better to use heat shrink tubing. Or at least add a very small cable tie over the tape to keep it from unraveling and allowing the wire(s) to short out. Lots of room in the plastic spaghetti sleeve tubing for either option.

And yes I do know a bit about electronics, manufacturing, prototyping, failure analysis, etc having started out 35 years ago building/testing HP spectrum/network analyzers, sweepers. Then moving on to testing atomic clock based time and frequency standards for scientific/commercial/military uses at Truetime, and I ran a R & D lab at Marinco where I got paid to “break stuff” and do failure analysis as well as test prototypes, and customer returns and warranty field failures.

As for the mechanical, the laser mount does an exceptional job in stopping the laser “dot” from bouncing all over the place even in aggressive cuts.

One of the knuckles on the articulating arm was loose and I had to go out and buy an over-sized Allen wrench to snug it up myself to match the others. (And it was noticeable when hollowing, the knuckle would flex vertically dramatically when cutting away from the tool rest & deep inside a turning.) After it was tighten the arm worked perfectly.

The paint wasn’t even close to a Oneway color as was ordered. (see below)

And The Ugly:
Almost zero customer service. On placing the order I was told there was a 3 week lead time. That’s fine. I was told at ordering that each one was made to order as needed.

But after 4 weeks of hearing NOTHING, I started calling at least weekly because EVERY TIME I called for an update I got nothing but excuses and major run-around, and zero usable information as to when the delayed order would ship. Or even why it was delayed.

Now having been in manufacturing, unexpected and unplanned things happens. Workers don’t show up, suppliers fail to deliver on time, process equipment and materials fail, too many orders come in for the capacity of the manufacturing plant, etc. That’s not good, but it happen. That’s life. Can’t fault the guy for the unexpected beyond his control.

But you NEVER leave the customer in the dark hanging in the wind when you take their money up front and make a promise to deliver by a certain date -and then disappear. If you can’t meet the deadline, fine. BUT LET THE CUSTOMER KNOW!! 3 weeks grew to almost 8 weeks w/ NO updates even when I called and asked. And no info as to why. Just double talk. (As shown above in an earlier post.) That’s just plain sloppy customer service. All he had to do was call/shoot off an email to let me know.

As I briefly mentioned above, As ordered, the paint was to match my Oneway 2436. And it wasn’t even close. It is “canvas white” as Randy called it and he admitted his suppler of paint for the last 7 years had changed color was sending something other than the cream color that Oneway uses. (And I called Oneway to confirm the color tint.) As Randy put it I was the first person in 7 years to complain about this (known color mismatch). So he knew for 7 years it wasn’t even close? Heck it is almost whiter than my Jet 1220. Why did he advertise it would match my lathe color?

I told him that if he said it was color-matched to my Oneway and I paid him over $900 up front for the combo package plus shipping, I’d expect him to correct the problem. His response was “He’d send me a can of paint.”

I do have to laugh now. (sigh) He has since changed the text on his website to say the color is “close” to the color of the lathe. Whereas when I ordered the website said the color matched to the manufacturer’s color.

And to wrap it up, as I mentioned in my original post, no packing list. And no instructions. In my LAST call amongst all the above, I wanted to know where the packing list/instructions are? I got two boxes. One had many large parts, and the other had about ten small bags of hardware and small parts. Both box contents were all unlabeled. I still don’t know if the 100 or so bits and pieces are what I ordered, and whether the order is now complete. I did get the instruction via email sent some five days after he sent the equipment. But if you read this far you already know the results.

So If you want a GREAT hollowing tool I would recommend this system. Very impressive as to what it can do.

But you have to go to Hell and back to get everything in place before you can start hollowing. And you are still left with unanswered questions. And with no real customer service and realistic delivery times. Once you have pull the trigger and place the order you are now speaking another language. There is no way to get the questions answered. (Well I take that back. There’s always Lumber Jocks.)

As with what I use to tell folks in any ISO900 quality audit: In any process “Say what you do. Do what you say.” Manufacturing, sales, or customer service. It makes no difference. Be up front and keep others down the line informed.



Don’t make the same mistake I did. He has a special price break for a “custom” tool handle when you buy the captured “D” handle hollowing setup. (Actually the handle is very nicely made up.)

I made the mistake. (And it was mine alone.) I assumed that since the offer was listed at the bottom of the Captured “D” hollowing system web page that it was an option for the Captured “D” hollowing system. (There is no picture on the website as to exactly what it is.) Well it isn’t.

The custom handle is completely separate from the hollowing system itself. It DOES let you use parts of the arms and tool tips, but only as a “HAND HELD” hollowing tool rather than as a part of lathe mounted hollowing system. But if you do both types, you save $15. I don’t, so I have an unused handle for conventional hollowing that I blew $30 on.

-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View ProgrammerGeek's profile


2 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 01-24-2012 06:02 AM

I would avoid the monster set up. I have had many issues with his stuff. I ordered one and Randy was behind and never sent me the whole system I am still waiting for it, but he was happy to charge me in full. I also had a bad bering in mind and he would not stand behind it or warntee it. A friend ordered one and he had several of the items snap he buys his steel from enco or the cheapest place around and there is not quality or garentee of strength. As nice as it looks run away run from this set up.

View dmcsjp's profile


1 post in 3132 days

#9 posted 03-30-2013 10:29 PM

Wher can you purchase a Kobra Hollowing system?

View Woodstock's profile


258 posts in 4141 days

#10 posted 03-31-2013 01:12 AM

“Wher can you purchase a Kobra Hollowing system?”

Google the item name and ask Ray Thompson.

-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View taffchedzoy's profile


2 posts in 2407 days

#11 posted 02-23-2014 09:21 AM

Having read these posts about the Monster Articulated Arm I’ll think again. I was going to visit the USA on holiday, and pick one up whilst I was there to bring back to the UK. If any body has the instructions it would be appreciated, just to see what its all about before I gamble with my cash.


Taff Chedzoy

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