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Forum topic by MrRon posted 06-30-2013 07:12 PM 3160 views 0 times favorited 110 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5991 posts in 4249 days

06-30-2013 07:12 PM

I have always been of the opinion that U.S. made tools have always been the best. That may have been true 50+ years ago (even though we did make some junk). I’ve come to realize over the past 20 years or so that what I thought to be true, no longer is. With very few exceptions, foreign (typically Chinese) made tools and machines have replaced what we formally thought to be the best available. Whether it be metalworking or woodworking machines, we have to accept the fact that foreign is here to stay. Instead of bashing places like Harbor Freight, we now have to realize our options are getting less and less each month. I have noticed over the years; more complaints about Sears tools and a corresponding acceptance of HF tools. Not that there is anything wrong with buying foreign (other than national pride and American jobs); I now have to base my opinions on foreign made. It may have an American brand name, but underneath it’s exterior, it is now foreign made. This goes for automobiles, appliances, electronics; just about everything we use. Even the building materials, nails, nuts and bolts in our houses are foreign made.

We can no longer say “made in America”. The best we can say is “assembled in America from foreign parts”.

110 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3976 days

#1 posted 06-30-2013 09:33 PM

Not entirely true. Some stuff is still made here. But, you’re correct that the list is getting smaller; and it will continue to do so.

We can’t compete with competitors who have no restrictions related to environment, no overheads for all the crap our government requires, and no regulations for just regulations sake. Sad thing is, all the tree huggers and environmentalists and such don’t seem to have any qualms about shopping for and buying all those cheap products that are made in the most environmentally un-friendly places on earth.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3974 days

#2 posted 06-30-2013 10:00 PM

Define “Best” MrRon.

If “best” means affordable, then China wins hands down, if “best” means highest quality then you are wrong.
Look at Festool, LN, Mafell, the list goes on.

Blame society as a whole for wanting everything as cheap as possible. Quality that endures doesn’t seem as important as affordability today.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2871 posts in 3927 days

#3 posted 07-01-2013 12:40 AM

It is not just the consumers to blame. I understand that Grizzly wanted to sell US made tools and many of the tool manufacturers just refused to sell to them. They were too busy making for the retailers they already had so Grizzly went overseas in order to get tools to sell.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View HorizontalMike's profile


7912 posts in 3919 days

#4 posted 07-01-2013 01:07 AM

Never mind that real wages for Americans have fallen since 1970. This has nothing to do with just “wanting” cheap products as people can no longer afford to buy anything else. They do not have the $$$ to do so, on any large scale across the nation.

New York Times

When we consider all working-age men, including those who are not working, the real earnings of the median male have actually declined by 19 percent since 1970. This means that the median man in 2010 earned as much as the median man did in 1964 — nearly a half century ago. Men with less education face an even bleaker picture; earnings for the median man with a high school diploma and no further schooling fell by 41 percent from 1970 to 2010.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4440 days

#5 posted 07-01-2013 02:51 AM

MrRon and others,,
Facts first: 50 plus years ago, American made tools, autos and the like were the ONLY products available to other countries due to WW2 devastation. To a large extent, the US just sat on it’s laurels and kept on churning out the same stuff because it had a ready made market, not that the products were not good, but after a period of time, other country’s manufacturing came back online, and because their previous tooling was destroyed, they produced and designed updated products, whereas the US was stuck in a “don’t bother” attitude because it had become accustomed to selling anything it manufactured. The Japanese and German industries produced and manufactured the new (and better) designs, the US sat on it’s hands believing that the huge profits from a captive buyer would go on forever.
American tools and products were good in their day, but the lack of wanting to invest in newer products and tooling and preferring to just get rich from the huge profits helped to bring the current status home to roost.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20239 posts in 4681 days

#6 posted 07-01-2013 04:26 AM

Don’t forget the effects of NAFTA, GAT and Most Favored Nations Status. Remember Ross Perot and the giant sucking sound of jobs leaving the US?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View waho6o9's profile


8995 posts in 3582 days

#7 posted 07-01-2013 04:32 AM

And why was robotic technology sold overseas?

View mandatory66's profile


202 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 07-01-2013 04:53 AM

“The quality will long be remembered when the price is forgotten.” Buy American.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3869 days

#9 posted 07-01-2013 05:06 AM

Competition is almost always, not a totally bad thing. As others have touched on, the global economic situation has changed. Focus and priorities have changed. Some american jobs were shipped overseas to increase profits. Its the nature of the beast if you want to survive in the business world.

Losing so many manufactoring jobs across the country,especially in the heartland, definitely stings. But there are other opportunities in this vast versatile economy. Just about every economy is sitting on some sort of bubble. Important to have your eggs spread around so when that bubble finally bursts, it doesn’t have a devastating impact
on the economy as a whole.

When labor was relatively cheap and raw materials seemed to be everlasting, it made sense to build tools like tanks and to last generations. Thats a recipe for disaster nowadays, from a business as well as practical view-point.

While the economy may have shrunk and the standard of living has went down for some,(quite a few actually) I don’t know that there has ever been such a wide selection of woodworking tool price points, for a woodworker to get into the hobby.

I like to buy American when possible. But honestly , its not always the wise thing to do.

View EdwardR's profile


66 posts in 3259 days

#10 posted 07-01-2013 07:53 AM

If you do your homework you will find that the raw materials like steel and plastics that are used in the best of the foreign products are produced here.

I can tell you for a fact that 90% of the fuel injectors in the world are made from US steel. The plane manufacturer airbus is 2 miles from a steel mill but buys it high strength specialty steel in the US. The problem was that American companies reaped the profits and did not keep their facilities up to power and went bankrupt.

ITs called Greed ashamed to say but true. We as consumers created our own um-doing. We enjoyed cheap products and all of a sudden puff no work

View biglarry's profile


76 posts in 3693 days

#11 posted 07-01-2013 10:52 AM

I still think that if tools were still built in this country the quality would be better. I don’t know if the American worker takes more pride in their work or quality control is better. Look at tools made in USA and then compare them to the same products once the manufacturing is shipped overseas and they don’t compare.

I’m also confused about the price of some made in China products. Sometimes I will find comparable tools, one made in US and the other made in China, and the prices are the same or within a few percent of each other. My question is if a product can be made here and sold for the same price, why did we send the jobs to China?

P.S. If I can still find items made in the good old USA I will buy them even if they cost more.

-- "When the going gets tough, switch to power tools." - Red Green

View Belg1960's profile


1125 posts in 4070 days

#12 posted 07-01-2013 11:30 AM

Since I’m coming after the changes have already taken affect, I rely on recommendations from more seasoned folks like the men and women here on what to buy. As a rule of thumb I always try to buy the best tool I can afford or need. If I think it will see very limited use I might sacrifice on this rule.
That being said I buy most of my stuff online and can’t see the quality or lack thereof until they arrive at my door. I want to buy local but the local tool guy never has anything in stock and has to order it as well so why pay the middle man?? I’M DEFINITELY for supporting US based products, finding though that having to pay as much double or more for a US product like names mentioned above is really hard. If it was my livelihood I would do it in a heartbeat but as a hobbyist I have more time than money or sense to spend the time to set up a not so perfect tool.
I was reading a thread here not to long ago about some router plates which had problems, were these American made products? Also companies like Woodpecker have taken up the mantle in certain areas and I think they are worth the extra money when you can buy them on sale.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Bampei's profile


48 posts in 4349 days

#13 posted 07-01-2013 12:59 PM

While thinking of buying USA is a nice idea, there are simply other companies worldwide that can manufacture much better products that what can be done here, or have been manufactured in the USA….ever. And that is referencing quality, design, and manufacture to extreme tolerances.
Classic examples are Festool, Mafell, ACM, Agazzani, Bessey, BMW, Bosch, and other European companies.

Certainly the same can’t be said about Chinese manufacture, except where the U.S. Companies are heavily involved in the process, from design, setup, manufacture, and finally to quality control. Sawstop Tablesaws come to mind.

That being said, we DO have a design lead in a number of areas (Apple computers for example), but can’t manufacture in the USA with the same quality control, economics, government regulation, taxes, and other factors that would allow for products to be offered at a cost that Americans could afford.

Here’s a couple of examples: Nike Shoes… great design, but manufactured in Thailand. Same for Adidas.
Hard Drives, designed by U.S. firms, but manufactured in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Memory chips, designed by U.S. Companies, and most produced in Korea.

The companies mentioned above, especially Apple have an army of quality control engineers in the plants overseas that manufacture their products. You might be surprised to learn that more than 15% of iPads coming off the line are rejected for example. And what you get is a quality product at a price you can afford, or are willing to pay.

The question the “Buy American” folks need to ask is if they would be willing to pay $60.00 for the same polo shirt that they recently purchased at WalMart for $15.00. That’s the current reality of manufacturing in the USA.
Unions, Taxes, OSHA, EPA, Taxes, Workman’s Comp, ObamaCare, Taxes, Regulation, Taxes, Minimum Wage, Taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Occupational Licenses, Taxes, Etc… all contribute to moving mfr overseas.

Even Apple computer has announced that they will be building the next gen Mac Pro desktop in the USA… but what that really means is it will be “assembled” here, because the vast majority of the important components will come from Asia.

-- "Winter is Coming"...Game of Thrones is BACK! Season 5

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4440 days

#14 posted 07-01-2013 01:38 PM

Very interesting discussion here.
The US does have the ability to invent great products, but unfortunately chooses for reasons of greedy profit to manufacture overseas, where these products can be copied, and in some cases improved upon. Our companies choose to keep major profits by manufacturing overseas in foreign banks and territories in order to circumvent US taxes., which is a major problem for our home economy.

I think the current Aplple TV ad says it best with the last line on the screen:

”Designed in California, USA”
(But manufactured elsewhere, and large portions of profits banked elsewhere.)

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Bampei's profile


48 posts in 4349 days

#15 posted 07-01-2013 01:44 PM

If you were a shareholder in Apple, you would want your company’s funds protected as well.
The USA currently has the HIGHEST business taxes in the entire world. We used to be #2, but Japan recently cut their business taxes and left us at number one. It’s pure, unadulterated theft by the government and is killing jobs, and innovation.
Fed business rate = 35%
Then there’s state and local taxes.

Would you pay 50%+ of your income willingly on taxes and regulatory requirements?

That’s the problem with us today. Big Brother wants to be the ultimate Nanny. Soon we’ll all be dependent on the government for….everything! Meh!!

-- "Winter is Coming"...Game of Thrones is BACK! Season 5

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