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Forum topic by MrRon posted 02-15-2019 02:06 AM 828 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5364 posts in 3545 days

02-15-2019 02:06 AM

I was browsing over on Alababa for woodworking tools and came across a question that was asked by a potential customer. The question goes as follows:

If I want cheaper quality, can you produce?
A5.Yes, just send us your quality details, such as the material, what cheaper parts instead etc, we will do that as your request and calculate the price.

This answers why very similar looking machines under different names and varying prices can vary in quality. For example a Harbor Freight wood lathe looks identical to one sold by Grizzly, but if you read the reviews, Grizzly will get a good review,but the HF one may not get a good review. So it appears that vendors of Chinese made tools can specify the quality. I always thought this was the case, but up to now, I didn’t have proof; now I do.

13 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5510 posts in 2022 days

#1 posted 02-15-2019 02:09 AM

That’s interesting that the questions are responded to in such a way that anyone can read them like that, I would think the manufacturer and the person/corporation posing the question would want a little less of that kind of publicity.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View GrantA's profile (online now)


1341 posts in 1709 days

#2 posted 02-15-2019 02:12 AM

This is nothing new, the same manufacturer can produce multiple levels of quality, and different customers can inspect differently.
Pretty much like this

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


954 posts in 1796 days

#3 posted 02-15-2019 10:36 AM

Having spent a major portion of my life designing, buying, and installing automated mfg equipment made all over the world into next best low cost mfg country (mostly Asia); can tell you that cost reduction with a sacrifice in quality is not unique to China. Everyone does it to different degrees, even USA.

Reason you see cost cutting more often from China is due to varying quality standards used, and willingness to do what ever is required to get new foreign business.

Capitalism has created this behavior for well over a century. Japan assumed low cost mfg leader for a few years, then Singapore/Philippines, then Taiwan, then China. Latest fad is Chinese companies outsourcing mfg into Africa, as the labor cost are lower and low cost shipping is available for cheap India raw materials passing along into products targeted for European markets.

Volumes of textbooks have been written on global mfg location trends in 19th/20th century and specific reasons different industries become specialized in different regional locations. If you think wood working equipment is interesting, look into garment sewing industrialization. They chase a penny cheaper every new clothes season, and have driven garment operations into some bizarre remote locations just to save a couple bucks. Walmart creates and then stops using ‘new’ mfg centers for cheap goods about every 3-4 years. Chasing low cost labor is a vicious cycle.

PS – Try a search for hand planes. India actually has more small cast iron hand plane mfg than China these days.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1689 posts in 464 days

#4 posted 02-15-2019 11:46 AM

Grant – EXCELLENT example !!



-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View Phil32's profile


461 posts in 205 days

#5 posted 02-15-2019 04:59 PM

Sometimes it is not wise to shop for the cheapest tools.

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

View MrRon's profile


5364 posts in 3545 days

#6 posted 02-15-2019 07:00 PM

There was a story once where Sears was accused of getting a company to manufacture an item exclusively for Sears at a certain price. The company would provide all their output to Sears. Sears would then find another company who could beat the price deal of the current company and would then cancel the contract of the current company and make a new contract with the latest company. This move would put the old company in a position where they could no longer compete and would eventually go out of business. It was said Sears had destroyed many small companies by this policy. After hearing of this, I changed my opinion of Sears and would not buy from them again. Their current economic problems shows that their questionable ethics is now coming back to bite them in the a**. It sounds to me that Walmart is doing the same thing. The ethical line appears to be a very thin one. I know the world of commerce is very competitive, but I try not to deal with companies that display questionable ethics.

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


954 posts in 1796 days

#7 posted 02-16-2019 12:05 AM

questionable ethics.
- MrRon

HaHa – Ethics are not a consideration for true capitalist pig.

You will be hard pressed to find a single US company that hasn’t fallen prey to lowest cost contract mentality when it comes to manufactured goods. Doesn’t matter if production is overseas, or moves from one state to another. Business is cold, cruel, and not for those with weak stomach.

American history is full of stories of company towns built entirely to support mining, petroleum, or various heavy industries; all that are allowed to wither and crumble when consumer decides to buy something else made cheaper, or they learn about how the actual product is made/sold and rebel against the company. :)

My favorite capitalism horror story is TV production. There are hundreds of victim cities/countries in that story book, mostly created thanks to new technologies and greed.
Like when Puerto Rico was center for glass blowing expertise, and in 40-50’s radio and CRT tube mfg raced to build plants to use the local raw materials and talent; only to have semiconductors wipe out the entire industry in late 60’s and crush PR economy back to stone ages.
Japan no longer makes any TV products in country, and had entire regions dedicated to it for many years. They moved most of production to Philippines. But flat screen technology wiped out old glass tube TV industries/economy in both countries in 21st century. Even LCD technology is cruel, the last LCD mfg plant in Japan closed a couple years ago.

Big ‘company town’ story these days is how Samsung grows a new company town in South Korea about every 2-5 years. Building new is cheaper than retrofit of old factories, especially has LCD panel sizes grow. The Samsung chaebol includes companies that: convert most raw materials like glass, plastic, & steel to usable forms, handle how products get to consumers via shipping & warehouse distribution, provide industrial construction and create skyscraper ‘homes’ for employees to rent, and ALL products sold they make under different company divisions. Best way to describe Samsung is combining the big 3 mfg in every US industry, plus a dozen different electronics and semiconductor divisions, and Amazon; all under one board of directors run by a single family.
Yes, Samsung is definition of an vertically integrated monopoly in today’s world. Are they evil, some say yes, and others say no? Outside of S. Korea don’t hear much about Samsung ethics, but locally it is big deal.
I give them credit. When work at one town disappears, they give moving bonuses so people can follow work; sort of like GM or Ford in USA. For most part, the old infrastructure left behind survives when economy is booming, or when Samsung back fills the area with non-electronics mfg. Otherwise the once small farming community becomes a ghost town after production moves to next cheaper place.

Thanks for supporting capitalism by wanting more, while at same time only willing to spend less for it.


-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View TheFridge's profile


10844 posts in 1787 days

#8 posted 02-16-2019 02:28 AM

Many of the large tool castings come from the same place. It’s the tolerances that dictates the price. I could be wrong but I seriously doubt you’ll ever have to deburr a powermatic like you would a grizzly upon setup.

Maybe we should go with communism. Its worked great.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View fuigb's profile


552 posts in 3259 days

#9 posted 02-16-2019 03:13 AM

...but if you read the reviews….

Remember, though, that a review is on person’s opinion. Give us data, not subjective, prejudice- bound nonsense.

Every Chinese-made tool I’ve encountered to date is second-best, at best, to the alternatives. That’s an opinion, of course…

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile (online now)


1726 posts in 1516 days

#10 posted 02-16-2019 03:38 AM

Many of the large tool castings come from the same place. It’s the tolerances that dictates the price. I could be wrong but I seriously doubt you’ll ever have to deburr a powermatic like you would a grizzly upon setup.

Maybe we should go with communism. Its worked great.

- TheFridge

But can the machines cut ALDER properly?

-- Desert_Woodworker

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5938 posts in 2710 days

#11 posted 02-16-2019 06:20 AM

But can the machines cut ALDER properly?

- Desert_Woodworker


-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View OnhillWW's profile


165 posts in 1534 days

#12 posted 02-16-2019 02:54 PM

See below

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View brewhappy96's profile


5 posts in 103 days

#13 posted 02-24-2019 07:01 PM

Going through school, we did at least one case study a week on this phenomenon – Wal-Mart has an entire small town worth of people whose only job is to make their suppliers increase productivity, cut costs, or find a new supplier. And they are just the biggest culprits because they are the biggest retail company.

-- Life sucks. Revel in the suckiness. - Captain Faust, USMC

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