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Are consumer tools getting better or worse

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 10-10-2021 06:24 PM 712 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MrRon

6205 posts in 4525 days


10-10-2021 06:24 PM

Go to Blogs page.


14 replies so far

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corelz125

3868 posts in 2258 days


#1 posted 10-10-2021 06:32 PM

I’m sure they had junk tools back then too. Just they didn’t make it this far. A Kobalt hand plane most likely isn’t going to be around in 40 years but a Lie Nielsen or Bridge city will.

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SMP

4947 posts in 1187 days


#2 posted 10-10-2021 09:11 PM

I think in the old days companies tried to build a rock solid reputation in order to stay in business. If you wanted to be the “Standard Oil” of tools, you had to make a tool from the best of materials with meticulous attention to detail. Now it ls more about make a tool that can last 30 days, and you just change your brand name from Huchi Kuchi, to Chu Man Fu, and nobody on Amazon will know the difference. All the bad reviews of your old brand won’t affect your new brand. And the fake good reviews you made will get people to at least purchase some.

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CWWoodworking

2284 posts in 1461 days


#3 posted 10-10-2021 11:36 PM

There is simply more crap out there now. The ratio has greatly increased to the crap side. Still good stuff out there.

If you stick to the better tools today, IMO, they are better than the older ones in most cases. I have an antique table saw and bandsaw at my disposal at work. Both would be considered heavy iron. They rarely get used. The usability of modern day machines simply out perform them in anyway. Battery tools are lightyears ahead of the older ones. sanding technology has improved. Some tools that werent even around like a track saw are awesome.

as for as stuff like HF screw drivers and wrenches, I mean if you buy 6 screw drivers for 4$, expect 4$ worth of quality.

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SMP

4947 posts in 1187 days


#4 posted 10-11-2021 02:53 AM



There is simply more crap out there now. The ratio has greatly increased to the crap side. Still good stuff out there. If you stick to the better tools today, IMO, they are better than the older ones in most cases. I have an antique table saw and bandsaw at my disposal at work. Both would be considered heavy iron. They rarely get used. The usability of modern day machines simply out perform them in anyway. Battery tools are lightyears ahead of the older ones. sanding technology has improved. Some tools that werent even around like a track saw are awesome.

as for as stuff like HF screw drivers and wrenches, I mean if you buy 6 screw drivers for 4$, expect 4$ worth of quality.

- CWWoodworking

I think the thing is was before certain people made the price of old tools go up, you could get good old tools for dirt cheap as people thought they were old junk. Especially before the internet. People had 80 year old Stanley jack planes and thought I’ll just sell this at a garage sale for $5. Now that Paul Sellers and others have said how good they are, people search ebay for the going rate and sell theirs for the going rate on ebay.

So, an old Stanley plane for $5 is a MUCH better deal than a new LN or Veritas. But now that they are similar price, then yeah I would take an LN or Veritas over the Stanley at the same price.

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jonah

2255 posts in 4580 days


#5 posted 10-11-2021 03:49 AM

Modern metallurgy is far better. Modern electronics are far better. Modern batteries are far better.

Modern cut rate price tools are not better, simply because they’re built to a price not built to last. A tool built to last today, however, will last forever.

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MPython

398 posts in 1094 days


#6 posted 10-11-2021 04:09 AM

In the “old days” people made their livings with their tools. I a guy’s handplane broke, he was ou a day’s pay – or more. Consequently, tools with a reputation for shoddy performance or breaking down didn’t sell. Stanley, Miller’s Falls, Witherbym, Disston and other top manufacturers made their reputations the hard way: they earned them, and they protected them by manufacturing tools that craftsman could depend on to do the job. Today, not so much. The market for hand tools is a tiny fraction of whatbit was in the 1920s and ‘30s the heyday of American hand tool manufacture. And the quality of tools made today is not nearly as critical todat as it ws 100 years ago – few people depend on them for their living today. Simply put, The market for high quality hand tools is not nearly as robust as it was 100 years ago, so manufacture of top quality hands tools today, has dumbed down to the lowest common denominator that sells.

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therealSteveN

9208 posts in 1856 days


#7 posted 10-11-2021 04:46 AM



Go to Blogs page.

- MrRon

Here

https://www.lumberjocks.com/MrRon/blog/132901

-- Think safe, be safe

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AMZ

345 posts in 671 days


#8 posted 10-11-2021 10:11 AM

I’ve been around woodworking long enough (since mid 70’s), to see the same arguments repeated time and again. There was junk made years ago along with good stuff, as there is junk made today. Don’t confuse higher cost with better quality.

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Kudzupatch

324 posts in 2490 days


#9 posted 10-11-2021 12:12 PM

Most of my big tools are Delta, circa 1946-1940. A couple are turn of the century.

I have a hard time imagining most of the new machines lasting 60+ years. Especially those with electronics. And after 10 years most new one don’t offer replacement parts.

Granted you have to know where to look but I find most anything for my old Deltas. Don’t foresee that kind of devoted fans for modern day tools.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

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DevinT

2095 posts in 248 days


#10 posted 10-16-2021 03:53 PM

A little known factoid about Leonard Bailey’s iconic hand plane design is that …

He used tractor parts which were commonly available for the depth adjuster mechanism.

Namely, the clevis yoke. You can still buy clevis yokes today for your tractors and sundry farming needs or for whatever you may need them for.

However, the fact remains that he wasn’t the inventor of the yoke used in the depth adjustment of his plane blades which we all recognize today in a myriad of plane manufacturers that copied Leonard Bailey (who himself was really just using off-the-shelf parts).

Is this related to tool quality? I think so. I think manufacturers borrow from other industries all the time. The issue can quite often be that when you borrow something from an industry that is less concerned about your needs (for example, “failing gracefully” is a feature I like to work into my designs and when I borrow from other industries, I often have to make sure that those industries are dealing with similar forces before I borrow a contraption or mechanism).

-- Devin, SF, CA

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Munin

1 post in 40 days


#11 posted 10-21-2021 09:56 AM

What I have noticed is the chucks in drills, (battery or powered), don’t seem to grip as well as they used too – they slip real easy.

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controlfreak

3046 posts in 883 days


#12 posted 10-21-2021 10:35 AM



What I have noticed is the chucks in drills, (battery or powered), don t seem to grip as well as they used too – they slip real easy.

- Munin


I can remember when you had to tape the chuck key to the power cord so you didn’t lose it.

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bruc101

1541 posts in 4824 days


#13 posted 10-21-2021 10:55 AM

What I have noticed is the chucks in drills, (battery or powered), don t seem to grip as well as they used too – they slip real easy.

- Munin

I can remember when you had to tape the chuck key to the power cord so you didn t lose it.

- controlfreak

Boy howdy that sure brings back memories.

I got into a conversation yesterday with a college kid about when i was going to college gas was $.22 cents a gallon and service stations used to have gas wars. His mind went totally blank when I told him that.

-- Bruce Free Plans & Calculators https://traditionalwoodworking.org

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WilsonLR

39 posts in 38 days


#14 posted 10-21-2021 11:53 AM

Well Dad always said buy the highest quality you can afford. That’s good for some things. But one problem with that is that they last so dog gone long, you miss out on modern features and inventions. Then you get hit by a bus and it’s over. As far as I was concerned, my Makita 9.6v 6095 was the only good cordless drill design I would ever use as you could hold it with your arm lined up directly in-line with the motor/chuck/bit. That is, until I held an M12 Milwaulkee impact driver. That was the day Makita was retired. Hybrid saw developments have my Skilsaw worm drive jobsite saw on the chopping block … you get the idea.

So I kinda think it matters to buy quality tools in any age (both old and modern). My kids and grand kids will still get quality tools from me when that bus comes by.

-- Les

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