Any reason to not buy machinery from Amazon? Other than we like to support local store?

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Forum topic by Sark posted 09-22-2020 03:03 AM 1496 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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341 posts in 1246 days

09-22-2020 03:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: amazon internet purchase exchange brick and mortar local store

There is a Rockler 1/2 hour drive from here, but if you order from them, all shipments are coming from some warehouse somewhere else. So they are (for my purposes) just another internet vendor.

Having studied Amazon reviews at great length, it seems that the ability to return a malfunctioning piece is relatively easy to do even if that sucker weights a couple hundred pounds. Naturally the buyer was unhappy to have to make the swap, but Amazon seemed quite accommodating, and the ability to “easily” exchange seems like such a benefit. Don’t know about other brick and mortar stores with their own warehouse/inventory control systems. Are they as ready to exchange merchandise as is Amazon?

Insurance: Have any of you ever insured a large piece of equipment? Say a $1,000 item? My guess is that once a piece of machinery is up and running, it will continue doing so for the next 10 to 20 years…assuming decent initial quality.

I know that this topic is batted around on LJ quite a bit, but now I’m getting ready to make some purchases, and just want to hear what your experience is. Thanks.

19 replies so far

View CWWoodworking's profile


1093 posts in 1065 days

#1 posted 09-22-2020 03:25 AM

If there is a rockler that close, and they have what I want, I would get it there. This is if the price is the same.

I don’t really consider Amazons return policy when buying stuff, or anyone’s return policy for that matter.

Bigger machines generally have parts that can be replaced. Unless it’s completely f$&cked, I wouldn’t send it back anyway. I’d want it up and running ASAP. Usually the path to that would be replacing parts.

Local vs internet-

Sometimes it’s better to buy local. Other times not. Depends on circumstances. For instance I can get kreg stuff locally for really good prices. But decorative pulls I can’t even find local. 100% internet

View SMP's profile


2678 posts in 791 days

#2 posted 09-22-2020 04:01 AM

Rockler (and woodcraft) is a major nationwide chain that charges exorbitant prices and then tries to pressure you to buy more at the register. I only buy there if I need something immediately or to buy turning blanks so i can pick out.

I will try to buy stuff at the local mom and pop places if they can come close to matching prices. Sometimes this means buying accessories too. Small businesses have an easier time eating margin on accessories and leaving the big items as is. So sometimes they can get close on a “package” deal. I come in prepared, ask nicely what I would accept, and if they say no, i just tell them ok, and walk out with my amazon printouts.

You’ll get mixed reactions. One time when trying to buy a welder and a bunch of accessories, i actually brought a mask, gloves, wire etc to the counter and asked about the welder. The manager said there was no way they could match RuralKing’s price on the welder, so I thanked him and started walking out. He asked “did you still want to get all this other stuff?” And I said “no I’ll just get all the consumables there as well” and walked out, letting him realize that not only did he lose the welder sale and accessories sales, but all future consumables sales. The smart managers know better, better to eat the $20-30 now and make it up later. Oh well.

I buy from Amazon all the time. If its a small vendor with their own site and an amazon site, sometimes I’ll ask if they would rather me order direct and i get mixed responses there too.

View Rich's profile


6000 posts in 1475 days

#3 posted 09-22-2020 04:04 AM

My Amazon purchases have been positive. I’ve never ordered any freight items from them.

If you’re looking at making purchases—as in plural—get to know the owner or manager of stores in your area. You’d be surprised at how accommodating they can be regarding price when you’re making a large order. This includes Rockler, Woodcraft, etc.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View WoodenDreams's profile


1164 posts in 797 days

#4 posted 09-22-2020 06:31 AM

I try to purchase things locally if they have what I need and their price is fair. Easier to deal with someone in person verses phone or thru emails if you have issues. Also I try to purchase thru companies I know of. I have purchased thru ebay and amazon, but always crossed my fingers hoping I get what I wanted and in a timely order. Amazon seems to take two weeks to get the product. Once it took two months thru Amazon. I do check prices with Amazon, but I end up ordering from Lee Valley, Peachtree, Rockler, Woodstock, Menards, Grizzly, HD, HF or Penn State Ind. I try to wait for sales. The bigger equipment, I’ve gone thru Grizzly and Menards knowing the have good customer support. With Amazon says next day delivery, it only means it’s ready to ship by the end of the next day. It in no ways means you receive it next day. Shipping company may not pick it up for several days. One time it took two months. Another time it took a month for me to get the stuff. These Amazon purchases was shipped out of China. The time it took two months, US Customs returned it back to the shipper in China.

View Robert's profile


4058 posts in 2367 days

#5 posted 09-22-2020 10:07 AM

Does Rockler have a “free shipping to store option?” I know Woodcraft does. Rockier sells stuff on Amazon, no Amazon Prime, most have a shipping fee.

As for Amazon, I wanted to buy a Superman sander.

After checking around, including Laguna, Amazon shipped it free & I got it in 3 days. 2 people showed up in a Budget lift gate truck.

One site “not in stock”, another one $25 shipping, most were 7-10 days for shipping.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6512 posts in 3379 days

#6 posted 09-22-2020 12:57 PM

There is not a reason to avoid Amazon in my opinion….I’m not all that big on the buy local mentality. Around me you can’t buy that much stuff locally anyway. but let me say: I haven’t bought anything really big from Amazon although all my stationary tools (except one) were bought from the internet. Even so, I wouldn’t be afraid to buy them from the ‘zon.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View LittleShaver's profile


695 posts in 1505 days

#7 posted 09-22-2020 01:19 PM

I buy most of my woodworking tools and supplies over the internet, mostly Amazon. Local suppliers are limited to the Big boxes. My time is too valuable to drive 60+ miles each way to visit a “better” supplier. If I need something, Amazon has it at my door in a day or two. The few returns I’ve had have been a snap.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Rich's profile


6000 posts in 1475 days

#8 posted 09-22-2020 01:31 PM

As for Amazon, I wanted to buy a Superman sander.

- Robert

Just don’t get any kryptonite near it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Axis39's profile


357 posts in 483 days

#9 posted 09-22-2020 01:35 PM

I’d love to buy locally…

But, I don’t really have a truly locally owned shop that sells any sizable equipment. There’s a Home Depot (which my wife found the best price on a Jet lathe for me for Father’s Day this year) and a Do It Best, which has no shop style tools. They’re both within ten minutes drives. There’s a Harbor Freight just over ten minutes away. There’s an Ace about 30 minutes from the house. Rockler is about 35 minutes away. Woodcraft is about an hour and 45 minutes away. There are also a number of commercial equipment places that I haven’t gotten all figured out yet (only lived here a year).

Being a small guy, who makes his living at woodworking, price is key. Once I figure out what piece of equipment I want, it’s time to shop, obsess, find a sale and pounce.

My table saw, I bought through Amazon. It was delivered via truck.
My bandsaw, I bought through Woodcraft. Had to go pick it up, but I had other business in the area, so it worked out.
My dust collector came from Harbor Freight. I had to drive an extra 30 minutes to find one in stock…
Other stuff I brought with me.

I don’t mind driving to save a buck or two (if it really is saving after gas and time, etc.). Everything is about ROI for me…. I am also not above shopping on Craigslist or eBay, or any other place online.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View pottz's profile


11736 posts in 1870 days

#10 posted 09-22-2020 03:11 PM

i buy from rockler, sometimes through amazon but i do most of my purchases through amazon because well they do a damned good job at what they do,and with prime most of my orders are free and fast.ive done returns and they make it very easy,no hassles.i guess thats why there as big as they have to reserves buying anything through them.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View MrRon's profile


5943 posts in 4129 days

#11 posted 09-22-2020 03:27 PM

I always want to examine any large machine before buying. Things can get damaged in transit and even if the machine is insured, it will be a hassle to return it and wait for a replacement; especially if the item comes from China.

View jmartel's profile


9077 posts in 3036 days

#12 posted 09-22-2020 03:41 PM

Rather than either Rockler/Woodcraft/Amazon, I’ll buy from a good woodworking company. Like Highland woodworking for instance. Same price, better company.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View therealSteveN's profile


6475 posts in 1460 days

#13 posted 09-22-2020 04:52 PM

Sometimes the locals can’t “price match” but this is not to say they can’t offer many perks to entice you to buy, but you have to ask prior to paying.

As far as returns. I never make the decision to buy, with return in mind. If the machine is flawed, I feel you have MUCH better luck looking a guy in the eye, as opposed to talking to someone who could care less on the phone, forget about doing a return completely online. I have had disasters with Amazon, and they aren’t your friends.

Plus when the local has that going out of business sale, it won’t be there for you in the future.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Aj2's profile


3422 posts in 2684 days

#14 posted 09-22-2020 05:04 PM

It’s not good to have only one place to buy from. It’s also not good for everyone including me to be looking for the best price. If we don’t support local smaller business near us our community that we live in suffer.
Haven’t we not learned a lesson from China’s one belt one road. Do we really want to be stuck with only on line choices.
I think Ron hits the most important rule for buying machine inspections before you buy it or take it home.
If I can find it local I go the extra step to buy it.
I do know a lot of you guys are living in the sticks don’t really have a choice. God bless you.
Good Luck Always

-- Aj

View JAAune's profile


1888 posts in 3203 days

#15 posted 09-22-2020 05:37 PM

If it’s possible to buy direct from the manufacturer, I’d recommend that over purchasing from Amazon. If you want customer support, buy from a local dealer that offers the service.

Mega-corporations already get enough bailouts and tax breaks. They don’t need our money too. These days, I prefer buy from localized chains or small businesses so long as the prices are within reasonable market values. Small businesses are more likely to return the money to their communities. Big corporations will use it to lobby for government and societal changes that benefit themselves.

-- See my work at

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