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Forum topic by tvrgeek posted 02-17-2020 10:24 PM 575 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tvrgeek

621 posts in 2329 days


02-17-2020 10:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

I was not really shopping for a lathe but thought I’d take a look. WOW. The number of terrible experiences is incredible. Broken parts, really bad finish, bad machining, bad design, and to describe customer service as terrible is sugar coating it. It sounds like IF you can get a Jet or Grizzly that is not defective, they’re decent machines. Big if! I expect a Powermatic, for the price of a decent used car, is like most of their machines, a tank. Not for a first time hobbyist. I have seen similar complaints on Jet and Grizzly drill presses. Casting sand in the quill, bad bearings etc. Rikon being decent, but again terrible customer support. It does not look like picking one up from a dealer, for the few brands you can, does not help any. Seems most retailers just say contact the manufacturer.

Come on, a lathe is about as simple a tool as you can make. Customer service is not a mystery and is one of the most important factors in happy customers. Treat one right, and the tell someone. Treat them wrong, and they tell ten.

So I’ll keep watching CL. Maybe sometime something that is not broken, missing parts, or asking more than a new one I’ll pick one up. I would almost be tempted to buy a HF , hone the way, replace the hardware and bearings, except reports of them flying apart and casting cracks. In the meantime, deep thought convinced me to go up one step and get the fancier Laguna bandsaw with the brake. Probably a Palmgren drill.

As a former manufacturing quality engineer, this is most frustrating. It is CHEAPER to implement process control and not make bad parts than to make crap and have to replace it.


14 replies so far

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SKMoss

17 posts in 48 days


#1 posted 02-17-2020 10:36 PM

I guess I’m lucky. My Jet 1221 and Laguna Revo 1836 have been gems since the day I got them both home. And the couple of times I’ve had to call Laguna (for a question about, not a problem with another Laguna tool) their CS has been stellar.

-- Thanks, Steve

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1381 posts in 3473 days


#2 posted 02-17-2020 10:44 PM

I called Laguna about a used sander u bought, and they were great. No complaints. I usually buy older used tools, like my powermatic 90 lathe from the 1970’s. Built like a tank. And it weighs in like a tank as well. We had to get it out of a 12’ deep basement. I had to totally disassemble it. And there are always 90’s for sale because so many were built.

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MrUnix

7838 posts in 2879 days


#3 posted 02-17-2020 10:57 PM

I would never buy new. The machine will depreciate about 25% just walking out the door with it. The majority of warranty service that is discovered/performed occurs within the first 90 days, and customer service is also a non-issue. Plus, while you generally pay just a fraction of what the machine costs new – you also typically get a bunch of extra goodies thrown in for good measure.

It’s not that I don’t have the money to go out and buy a fancy new machine – it’s just that I don’t want to spend a lot more to get a lot less :)

Cheers,
Brad

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

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CaptainKlutz

2701 posts in 2174 days


#4 posted 02-17-2020 11:44 PM

IMHO – Using online customer reviews improperly can be depressing. SO DON”T DO IT!

1) Everyone making machine tools occasionally makes a lemon, or has a bad run of components.

2) There will also be a 2-5% problem with low volume machine tools. It’s an industry standard goal to be < 1%. Some just take longer for parts to wear out prematurely to see the big picture.

3) Thanks to mfg quality increases since 1900’s, many folks expect perfection in everything they buy. But they forget that controlling quality when making 1000’s per day (cars) is much different than making couple per day (tools).

4) There will always be folks who are never satisfied, even with the best a company can offer.

5) The more expensive the machine, the louder the customer screams regardless of the results.

6) Less than 20% of folks who buy tools that work right, leave online reviews. So multiply the number of 4-5 star reviews by at least FIVE times, for more fair comparison of bad .vs. good.

7) Most OEM that allow online reviews are edited, or simply won’t publish bad reviews. Rockler is worst IME, they won’t even let negative comments on their products inside 4 star reviews get published.

Hence: reading online reviews need to learn to ignore the beginners, complainers, whiners, and idiots with unreal expectations. How do you do that with online reviews?
Unless you have experience designing, making, or selling tools of interest; it’s very hard to know what to ignore. :-(

Suggest you treat online reviews as ‘numbers’ game.
- If item has less than 100-200 reviews, then results will be heavily skewed more negative.
- If item has less than 10% 1 star reviews, it should work as described by mfg. Any item above 20% 1 star reviews be worried.
- If item has less than ~25-30% of reviews with 1-3 stars and decent total number of reviews, it’s probably decent to own, ASSUMING it meets your needs.

Read all the < 3 star reviews.
- Ignore any with shipping or delivery issues.
- Look for lemons or common flaws in machine performance where tool does not met the specifications. Those can be a real issue.
- If you find a common component issue, check review dates.
Takes 3-6 month to make machine, 3 months to shop overseas, 1-3 months to sell it, and several months for bad reviews to appear. Mfg do fix problems, and can usually ignore 1-2 year old reviews on early component failures. If in doubt, call the mfg and ask about failure rate of part in question, and when any improvements where made.

Read all the 3-4 star reviews.
- These are folks who think tool works ok, but there are minor issues. Might see quality issues, might see performance issues, or might see complaints about design not working as well desired. These reviews are generally most honest, and telling of true machine performance.

Read all 5 star reviews.
- Ignore any review that used the tool less than a month.
- Look for any with subtle complaints that might impact your use.

This is how I read online reviews, Thanks for reading.

Best luck digesting online reviews.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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bigJohninvegas

741 posts in 2142 days


#5 posted 02-17-2020 11:54 PM

My Jet 16X42 lathe, and 17” drill press are spot on. And so is my Grizzly GO513×2 band saw. All great working machines. I also have a Jet air filter that I got used. Customer service has been a non issue for me as well.
Never needed it so far.
Brad, I agree with you. I got a mix of new and used tools. Would all be used if I could find them used.
Seems like I’m not in the right place at the right time to score the better used tools.
I shopped a year looking for a used lathe, and not a month after I bought my jet on a 15% off sale a big PowerMatic lathe popped up. Dam the luck. lol

-- John

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tvrgeek

621 posts in 2329 days


#6 posted 02-18-2020 01:47 AM

1% issues? Gad, that is horrendous! Two “9s”. How about 5? FWIW, I used to be a manufacturing quality engineer and much of our production was human adjustments and error prone. It’s not hard to do better be it 1000 a year or 10,000 a day.

Maybe I live in the wrong area, but used workable tools seem to be very hard to find. “Just missing the tailstock”

Yes, I read all the reviews where posted, good and bad. I have been able to glean valid issues on design that are helping with selection from both good and bad reviews. Some bad reviews are not actually the quality, design or service, but buying the wrong tool or fault of the shipper. Some are just nasty people. But even in some 5-star reviews, one can find some serious problems with both quality and CS. What I see is an overall trend across manufacturers. Kinds of problems differ between brands but seem common within a brand.

I understand a HF lathe for $400 is not the same as a $1000 Grizzly or $2000 Jet, let alone a $5000 Powermatic. HF CS is help getting it in your truck. No more and I expect none. ( Though I have ordered and received parts for 10 year old “Chicago” tools with no problem. ) I judge all in perspective. On something as simple as a lathe, by the time you lay out a grand, I do not expect manufacturing defects. Layout more money, I expect not higher quality as it should already be there, but heavier, smoother, and better features, or more durability.

There’s never any excuse for dismissive let along hostile CS no matter how a blankety-blank a customer may behave. That is their job. When a replacement part comes and is the same or worse than the original defect, it can happen, then a responsible company jumps into overdrive to get things solved as they clearly have a production/source problem that is going to cost them more money. There is nothing as stupid as knowingly making bad parts. We did failure analysis and drove corrective action on EVERY SINGLE field failure. It was cheaper to find the problem as quickly as we could and quit making bad ones. Phil Crosby was wrong. Quality is NOT free, it is PROFITABLE.

I seem on a rant. I am ready to put out several thousand dollars of my negative cash-flow retirement money for several machines. I can’t afford to do it twice. Having been in manufacturing quality and in field service, I imagine my tolerance is lower than some as I know how to do better and be even more profitable at the same time. ( And when someone advertising their manufacturing is under ISO certified processes, someone is not watching when their tools arrive with casting sand in the head, missing parts, cracked castings, and it does not say their suppliers are also using proper process control. )

We found the easiest way to get a hostile customer is with automated multi-tier support. They are already upset when they are calling by definition. It is actually cheaper to have a few highly trained (and paid) single tier support with the correct resources and authority than the typical automated front end three-tier. Proof? Ask FedEx.

Am I mad at everything? Heck no. Can’t say enough positive how the $18 Olson band instead of the $9 Bosch band improved by Delta. I can complain about the replacement guide bearings that lasted only hours. ( switched to ceramic) I still want to replace it because it is the wrong tool. Too light. But it had no defects. Same with my Craftsman drill press. Cheap chuck as a good one costs more than the entire tool and not rigid enough as that is the design. 25 or so years, no defects, no reliability issues. Just the wrong tool. Both were made off-shore. I was thinking about a lathe as an upgrade to my black pipe tool rest upright in my drill press. ( modified old Forsner bit as a drive spur, bolt as a dead center. )

I have quite a few HF tools of various kinds. Fit and finish really poor, but that is what I paid for. I have never had a defective HF tool. Their quality is very high as in they make exactly what they intend to make. Some ( much) of it is garbage, but that is what they intend to make and the price reflects it. Actually my favorite socket wrench is a HF plastic one. Never let me down where I have had more than one Craftsman pop loose and almost broke my hand once. Their screwdrivers open paint cans just fine and I have made more than one jig handle out of one. I only use hex bits as the flats are hollow ground and Phillips are cheap enough to keep good ones ( Milwaukee 25-pack)

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MrUnix

7838 posts in 2879 days


#7 posted 02-18-2020 01:57 AM

I shopped a year looking for a used lathe, and not a month after I bought my jet on a 15% off sale a big PowerMatic lathe popped up. Dam the luck. lol
- bigJohninvegas

OWWM Rule No. 7: Your quest machine will find you shortly after you’ve found its lesser equivalent.

Cheers,
Brad

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

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tvrgeek

621 posts in 2329 days


#8 posted 02-18-2020 02:31 PM

Brad, absolutely correct. Sub-Note for Murphy’s law: Murphy was an optimist.

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Richard Lee

282 posts in 1455 days


#9 posted 02-18-2020 03:19 PM

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tt1106

147 posts in 3748 days


#10 posted 02-18-2020 05:38 PM

I just bought a new Nova 1624. I had my eye on a Laguna 1216. My only other Lathe, was a HF 3470 that I bough used in 2011 for 75 dollars off Craigslist. I turned on it, until 15 months ago. It always sounded rough, but it worked well until it didn’t. Really the best 75 dollars I ever spent(alhough my wife would say it’s the worst 75 dollars I’ve spent, since it’s led to thousands of dollars, since then) I got a Nova 1624 delivered last weekend. A couple selling points for me. Reputation, the time on the model. The cost and the simplicity. The Laguna was on the short list, but if I had to be honest, I feel like I would have been mostly paying for the EVS.
Because I don’t make a living at this, and the only people I’m turning for is myself, I decided to save the money and deal with pulley changes and the non self-ejecting tail stock. :)
I agree that quality comes at a price and good manufacturers stand behind their products and attempt to satisfy their customers. I read alot of reviews before I buy a major purchase. But I always read them with an eye towards, is the criticism accurate. Often times, you can read unreasonable expectations into the reviews.

-- -Todd

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moke

1510 posts in 3456 days


#11 posted 02-18-2020 06:00 PM

I recently was shopping for a garden tractor and snow blower. I read a ton of reviews…..if I was going to go by that I would never buy a machine….ever. Husquvarna had a 45% approval rating. Two of my neighbors have one and love it! Same for John Deere….lots of bad reviews.

As for lathes, I bought on of the first 18-36 Revos in this area. Now there are lots of them…..I took a chance and I think it is a nice lathe. There is a guy in my turning club that bought a used one and absolutely hates it. I know him well and I am sure his reasons are legitimate to him, but I have not had a lick of problems except for the ones I have created myself. I have all kinds of brands of tools and can’t really say any are bad. ( I don’t buy anything from HF or similar brands that has a cord or charger)

It is all in the eye of the beholder. I guess after reading all these reviews about tractors and snowblowers, I have come to the conclusion that very few folks ever really make a review unless they have an “axe to grind” and want to get back at the company. This seems to be the chief motivator. Not all are bad or pi$$ed off, but that seems to
push folks to review in a lot of the cases. And maybe most of those bad reviews are legitimate…who knows? What I have been looking for in reviews is recurring problems…this part wears out quickly or that part breaks in shipment because it is packed in bad spot….etc…
Just my .02

-- Mike

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xeddog

282 posts in 3687 days


#12 posted 02-18-2020 06:00 PM

What I have started doing is first, see what percentage of the reviews are one star. If more than about 10% (assuming a reasonable number of total reviews), I will look for something else. If my 10% number is close, I will look at all of the one star reviews. I ignore all of the ones that are not about the product itself, which can reduce the number significantly. Ignore shipping problems, or some moron broke it while trying to assemble it, or the ones that say something like “it worked”. Lastly, ignore the ones that are for a completely different product. It’s sometimes surprising just how many don’t even apply to what you are looking for. That should get you to around 40-50% or less remaining, and you can see what problems people are having with the product or customer service.

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controlfreak

568 posts in 281 days


#13 posted 02-18-2020 06:24 PM

I read a few 5 star and then a few 1 or 2 star. After that I get into the 3 star reviews. Most of the people there will get into the pros vs cons which is more meaningful info to my needs. I am always amazed by the people that expect a large tool to have perfect setup out of the box after UPS or freight company has abused it for a week.

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tvrgeek

621 posts in 2329 days


#14 posted 02-18-2020 09:01 PM

When my “Scotts”, ne JD Saber, trans started to slip, I researched the heck out of tractors. Seems ALL Of then until you reach the $5000 Deere use the same light weight flat yard trans, T47 if I remember, except the Hus. Good engine too. Only thing I don’t like is it has trouble staying a even cut. If I had one of those perfect yards, I might hate it, but I just want it to whack the weeds on my steep hills for two acres for a long time.

I don’t need to shop for a blower any more as I moved South! ( most of them can be greatly improved with adding rubber flaps to the impeller. )

I’ll keep watching Craig’s list. I don’t really have an excuse for a lathe except what woodshop does not have one? Who knows. I used my bandsaw maybe once a month until I recently got a decent Olson blade and got it tracking. Now, I use it for maybe 1/3 of my cuts. What I have learned is the basic tool is cheap compared to all the bits you need to go with it. Chucks, gouges, rests, etc.

The trend I see that upsets me is the CS reactions. Sure, answering the phone with folks who are upset is not an easy job, but if you can’t take it, get a different job. I can remember back when I was a systems admin and the mail server crashed. You quickly learn a lot about your sisters profession and you family heritage. The answer is “finished?” If you can’t to that, you should not be an SA or in CS. I also believe the attitude of CS says a lot about the management of the company. If you research business forums you may find a lot about how the company treats it’s workers. Bad attitudes are contagious and show up immediately in the product. If the owner does not care, the workers won’t.

Concern: Official policy “Laguna does not accept returns. If damaged, do not accept. ( as if you know when it is still in the carton) Contact your retailer”. Not a very friendly policy. Now there has to be a reason more than someone did not like it or got a better deal elsewhere. But if it is defective and can’t be easily repaired by the consumer, they should be taking it back. We are NOT their end of line repair station. Setup and adjustment are of course our problem. Just taking a 3oo Lb tool cross town is not something we should be expected to do. They don’t fit in a Honda.


I recently was shopping for a garden tractor and snow blower. I read a ton of reviews…..if I was going to go by that I would never buy a machine….ever. Husquvarna had a 45% approval rating. Two of my neighbors have one and love it! Same for John Deere….lots of bad reviews.

As for lathes, I bought on of the first 18-36 Revos in this area. Now there are lots of them…..I took a chance and I think it is a nice lathe. There is a guy in my turning club that bought a used one and absolutely hates it. I know him well and I am sure his reasons are legitimate to him, but I have not had a lick of problems except for the ones I have created myself. I have all kinds of brands of tools and can t really say any are bad. ( I don t buy anything from HF or similar brands that has a cord or charger)

It is all in the eye of the beholder. I guess after reading all these reviews about tractors and snowblowers, I have come to the conclusion that very few folks ever really make a review unless they have an “axe to grind” and want to get back at the company. This seems to be the chief motivator. Not all are bad or pi$$ed off, but that seems to
push folks to review in a lot of the cases. And maybe most of those bad reviews are legitimate…who knows? What I have been looking for in reviews is recurring problems…this part wears out quickly or that part breaks in shipment because it is packed in bad spot….etc…
Just my .02

- moke


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