LumberJocks

New vs used tools

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by MrRon posted 12-26-2018 03:56 PM 1130 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5975 posts in 4207 days


12-26-2018 03:56 PM

Anyone who has read some of my posts and replies, will know that I am an advocate for good used machines. I have bought new machines, but prefer to find a good used machine, especially one made here in the USA. There are those who prefer things brand spanking new, but may be sacrificing quality for “features”. Of course that is their money and their decision which the sellers love. The sellers would probably condemn me for advocating used over new, but that’s OK. It just means there are more opportunities for me to get a fine old machine. There are people who agree with me, but mainly over hand tools, like planes and handsaws. A fine old machine has value and can be fixed up like new if it needs fixing. I think there could be a market for used machines that have been refurbished to like new condition; not good news to manufacturers. There are machines 100 years old and still performing like new. Back in their day, they were built to last indefinitely. Today’s machines are designed to last only a specific amount of time based on cost. Manufacturers depend on tools to fail at some time in their life for repeat sales. I would be regarded as a heretic for speaking as such.

There are so many posts on this forum and others asking advice about buying a new tool or machine. There are many replies that favor a certain new tool and a few replies that say to look for a used tool instead of new. There are many reasons why people buy new. It is because they want something that works right out of the box; they don’t want or have the time to look for used and then have to fix it before using it; features that don’t exist on a used tool. These are valid reasons. A fine old tool/machine to me is a solid investment. New tools can and will fail at some point and require you to buy another one. This of course is true for all consumer products from toasters to SUV’s.


26 replies so far

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1233 posts in 867 days


#1 posted 12-26-2018 04:34 PM

Manufacturers do not design their products to fail. They are in competition with other manufacturers for your business and are trying to reduce cost vs improved quality/function. Woodworking machines are not like cars where we’re constantly bombarded with claims of “all new, revolutionary design.”

I have purchased and refurbished used machines to save cost, but they are subject to the same failures as new ones. Those failures were not the result of some evil plan to extend the manufacturer’s sales. The failures were a result of use or misuse.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2706 posts in 2953 days


#2 posted 12-26-2018 04:59 PM

I buy used tools when possible and actually enjoy refurbing them, but finding the right used tool within reasonable driving distance, especially at the right time (when I need it or I’m ready to add that tool), that can be had for the right price, doesnt happen often. I dont have the luxury of allocating floor space to a future rebuild to sit for 6 months or more until I can get to it. I just saw an CL ad for a great TS set up at a reasonable price, but I dont have space for it yet. Also, while Im willing tospend some time looking, Im not at all willing to allocate an hour or so a day to look for various sales etc and spend a day going and missing it for whatever reason. There isnt that much available to me within a 1 or 2 hr drive. I envision that changing when I retire and have time on my hands, but for the next several years thats not the case.

The aspect of features can have a lot to do with it for me as well. I wont have a great old TS that doesnt have an integrated riving knife – too important to do without and Ive read too many tales of retrofits that arent that great. No interest at all in old belt/pulley lathes – newer true VS drives are just too nice, and while a vfd can be fitted in some cases, there are other features that arent there.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3029 posts in 1567 days


#3 posted 12-26-2018 05:25 PM

Manufacturers depend on tools to fail at some time in their life for repeat sales. I would be regarded as a heretic for speaking as such.

- MrRon

People say this all of the time but I don’t really buy into the “planned obsolescence” concept. I think competition has forced manufacturers to use less expensive (ergo lesser quality) components but not with a dubious plan to force you to buy another one. Harbor Freight doesn’t sell inferior power tools so they can sell you another one, but they do fill a niche as a source for a less expensive belt sander vs a Festool. Then there’s everything in between. You get what you pay for IMO. If Chevy sourced their parts from BMW then a Cruz would cost $60K but a well maintained Cruz will still be good for 150K miles.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Orvile Baker's profile

Orvile Baker

272 posts in 1642 days


#4 posted 12-26-2018 06:35 PM

I guess I have been lucky, my dad gave me my bandsaw around 40 yrs ago, I paid for my floor drill press ,belt sander, and shaper about 30 yrs ago. Radial arm saw about the same time and with the right care and service They all be be passed to one of my sons or grandsons , heck maybe one of the girls. If I ever decide to pass. lol. Just saying with a little love and care some of the older tools will be around for a long time. New or used makes no difference to me as long as I can spend time in the shop. I am a lucky man once in a while my wife looks around the shop and get me something new because she knows how long I have had some of my tools and she thinks they need replaced. I guess what I am saying is use what you got and replace them with what you can afford , take care of them and they will do what you need done.

-- Bud Baker , Ojibwa, WI. http://papabudswoodtoys.webs.com/

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5975 posts in 4207 days


#5 posted 12-26-2018 06:50 PM


Manufacturers do not design their products to fail. They are in competition with other manufacturers for your business and are trying to reduce cost vs improved quality/function. Woodworking machines are not like cars where we re constantly bombarded with claims of “all new, revolutionary design.”

I have purchased and refurbished used machines to save cost, but they are subject to the same failures as new ones. Those failures were not the result of some evil plan to extend the manufacturer s sales. The failures were a result of use or misuse.
When they reduce cost, quality/function usually also reduces. Take a tool like Festool. You pay a lot for it’s performance and long life. Cut the cost and you will see quality/performance also come down.
- Phil32


It is true what you say, but when an old machine fails, it can be fixed. When a new machine fails, it’s usually not economical to fix, or parts are no longer available. Delta may be the only company that still carries parts for old machines. A “tool” as the name implies is just that, a tool to do work. It is not subject nor should it be something that may fail. It might be considered in the same category as a firearm. When you need it it must not fail.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5975 posts in 4207 days


#6 posted 12-26-2018 07:07 PM


Manufacturers depend on tools to fail at some time in their life for repeat sales. I would be regarded as a heretic for speaking as such.

- MrRon

People say this all of the time but I don t really buy into the “planned obsolescence” concept. I think competition has forced manufacturers to use less expensive (ergo lesser quality) components but not with a dubious plan to force you to buy another one. Harbor Freight doesn t sell inferior power tools so they can sell you another one, but they do fill a niche as a source for a less expensive belt sander vs a Festool. Then there s everything in between. You get what you pay for IMO. If Chevy sourced their parts from BMW then a Cruz would cost $60K but a well maintained Cruz will still be good for 150K miles.

- Andybb


Call it competition or anything else, but I call it planned obsolescence. They depend on their product to fail sometime so they can stay in business. Like Henry Ford and his model T; he had to change models so he could stay in business. His model T was so reliable that people kept them and fixed them when necessary; didn’t have to buy a new one every year.

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

6634 posts in 3230 days


#7 posted 12-26-2018 07:11 PM

I have bought both used and new tools. A good quality used tool is many times a better buy than a cheap new one.

Some of the H-F tools I have had; have been absolute junk! SO have the battery Craftsman tools that that I had! Not a decent one and I was dumb enough to try several!

But the mini-lathe I bought from H-F—much cheaper than I could even find a semi-decent used one is a GREAT LITTLE machine.
I guess you can get good or junk in about anything!

I am not a brand snob either. If it works it is like my jeans, I do NOT CARE what the label says as long as it does the job!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View steve104c's profile

steve104c

52 posts in 2202 days


#8 posted 12-26-2018 07:57 PM

When I first started buying woodworking tools, my wife and I agreed buying the best. One thing that has really pissed me off is the well known manufacturers have recently turned to overseas to build their tools, I have lots of Delta and Rockwell tools. They no longer make some of the models I have and can’t get replacement parts. There are a few places out there that have grabbed all the replacement parts and sale on line. I have had some luck and found parts. Have had to fix some with different ways. Have a Delta 1” belt sander(USA made). The rubber tire came off the wheel, in pieces. Had to take a piece of bandsaw wheel tire and glue onto the wheel of the sander. Has so far worked. Bought a 12” RAS at an estate sale for$300.00. Needed several parts. Need an electric brake switch. Can’t find anywhere. Need to redo power cord. Can’t find the right diagram to rewire. Relpaced broken gear that raises and lowers the saw. Also bought a second bandsaw from same estate sale. Got it back in service real quick. I do try and buy USA and not a cheap one. It’s getting very hard to find USA made with out having to get a second mortgage to pay for it. I have a lot of tools that are no longer made or the company is no longer in business. The tools are wonderful and would not sell them for anything. I’ve been woodworking for 35 years now and Norm my even say “Where did you get that?”.

View MPython's profile

MPython

329 posts in 776 days


#9 posted 12-27-2018 12:42 AM

I don’t believe manufacturers plan obsolescence. On the contrary, I think they want their products to last and that their brand will benefit. What I know from having worked in manufacturing is that the manufacturing engineers are always looking for a way to cut production cost. If they can eliminate a polishing operation here or a deburring operation there, they can save a few pennies on the cost of production. Over time, that amounted to serious money. Also, overt time, those cost cutting measures damage the overall quality of the product. We have been subject to these cost-cutting measures for a long time and we’re seeing the effects. The machines that were produced in the golden age of American “old iron” are remarkably and demonstrability better built than top-of-the- line machines today. It’s hard to argue with the manufacturing ethic that existed when the builders built for consumers that depended on their products for their livelihood. That ethic doesn’t exist in today’s disposable culture.

View Eric's profile

Eric

830 posts in 837 days


#10 posted 12-27-2018 02:23 AM

Many good commits and views, at one time I inherited some floor tools from my father, they were very well constructed and built to last. Replace shoes, bearings, ect. Not sure if those parts can still be obtained. If so it would have to be from old hardware stores that had everything in stock, and thoes are getting harder to find also.

New tools seem to be built with a lower quality than what was built years ago. Sad to say, but you do get what you pay for.

I still have a few old tools, but lost most during a divorce a decade ago. So I am in the process of obtaining replacements and build up a woodshop. I will have to hit the flea markets in the spring. But also determine what needs to be refurbished and consider the availability of those parts.

So, old befor new, is my thought.

-- Eric, building the dream

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1483 posts in 1780 days


#11 posted 12-27-2018 02:57 AM

The problem with buying old tools is a person may have to wait 5 years to find one, depending on the location. For example, cabinet saws in my area come to market at the rate of about 2 per year. Unless you are one of the first people to see the ad after it comes out, the item will be sold before you can even call about it if the price is reasonable. Often, the price of old iron is near the same price as an equivalent modern tool delivered to your door in perfect working order and with a warranty.

There are a lot of people who enjoy restoring old equipment. I understand completely but I am not one of them. I prefer to do woodworking instead.

By the way, Delta was bought out by a Taiwanese company that no longer stocks old parts. They went so far as to announce that they would no longer support older equipment.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

8348 posts in 3163 days


#12 posted 12-27-2018 03:15 AM

There are a lot of people who enjoy restoring old equipment. I understand completely but I am not one of them. I prefer to do woodworking instead.

That is a misconception many have – but there is no reason you can’t find a plug-n-play used piece of equipment that requires nothing more than plugging it into the wall. They are harder to find, but they are out there, and it is completely up to the Buyer to decide at what level of ‘readiness’ they are willing to accept. Obviously, the more work you are willing to do, the less you will usually pay – but not always. Surface rust and dead motors are worth their weight in gold :)

By the way, Delta was bought out by a Taiwanese company that no longer stocks old parts. They went so far as to announce that they would no longer support older equipment.
- ArtMann

The parts availability problem started with Pentair and Black and Decker, not the current owner. Here is an insiders description of the problem and how it originated: Delta Parts Availabilty?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View crowie's profile

crowie

4215 posts in 2915 days


#13 posted 12-27-2018 03:19 AM

In Australia one has to be lucky to find good old/secondhand tools and or machinery as we have so many less people in this vast country. At least in Canada and the USA you have so many more people, suppliers, stores to choose from. On average we pay 50-100% more for similar tools and machinery than what I’ve seen in stores in Canada and the USA.
For me I’ll always look for an older good secondhand machine or tools as they were built to a quality standard when people had a pride in there workmanship; today most seems to be built to a price with way too many sucked into a throw away society.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3573 posts in 2762 days


#14 posted 12-27-2018 04:57 AM

Boy I wish I had the internet when i started building my shop.. Anyone Just starting out would be wise to look toward the used market.
The CL out here near me in Inland empire is full of great machines. Planers ,jointers ,bandsaw big and small.
I don’t care about tablesaws but probably a few of those too.
Nothing beats knowing your machine inside and out. It will change your attitude this will reflect on your work if your passion is woodworking. The used market is hot right now might not last.

https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/

-- Aj

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5975 posts in 4207 days


#15 posted 12-27-2018 09:15 PM

Having grown up in the 50’s, I can appreciate and see the difference between tools at that time and tools of today. There is no comparison to be made despite the features and safety available today. Today’s younger woodworkers haven’t been exposed to the fine old tools of the 30’s to 50’s. I doubt if any of today’s tools will be around 20+ years from now. In general, I’m talking about machines, not necessarily hand tools which have a longer life span.

Cars and trucks are a different story. Without exception, today’s cars are better in every way over cars made earlier than the 60’s.

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com