2006 Contractor Tablesaw Upgrade- Enco?

I'm considering upgrading my cheapy table saw to a better contractor's saw. Before this turns into a bashing of brands let me start by giving my price limit = $400. I'm familiar with most of the saws in this price range and, from past experience with ot,her tools, am leaning toward Bosch or Delta (the fence on the Dewalt portable just seems too limited). One maker I'm considering is Enco. I like that they're an industrial supplier and they're used to making machines for metalworking (i.e. tighter tolerances). Has anyone tried the Enco 10"? If so, tell me what your thoughts.
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Enco is not a manufacturer - just a distributor/ re-seller. They contract with Chi-wanese companies who put Enco's name on anything from machine tools to, well, anything. I don't think that their name alone speaks for quality. They handle it all.
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I wasn't aware of that C&E. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. At the same time, not to sound too nationalistic, but does America make anything anymore? :-( I hear all the time that we're a 'service economy'. Is this "service" maintaining equipment made everywhere else under the sun.
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wrote:

Sure. But things like the high end Powermatics. $3,000 or more.
I just bought a TS at Woodcraft. Made in Taiwan. What's interesting is the fence (a Biesemeyer clone) is made in Canada as well as the aftermarket miter gauge.
Enco has good stuff (Starrett, Mitutoyo) as well as not as nice stuff (Fowler)
I really can't speak to any of their house brand table saws and such, but my initial expectation would be quality similar to Harbor Freight. Maybe I'm wrong and could be pleasantly surprised that the Enco stuff is actually pretty good.
Anyway, if $400 is the your limit, why not search around for a good used TS? Check your local paper, community papers, the bulletin board at the grocery store. Or ask around. Someone always knows something. You could also go to Sears and look at the Craftsman (gasp!) table saws.
My own first table saw was a Craftsman. Over time, it became a really decent saw mostly due to the addition of a Biesemeyer fence. And all the other usual updates - zero clearance insert, steel pulleys and link belt. I never did get around to upgrading the motor. The guy I sold it too loves it. For him, it was an upgrade from benchtop machine. Mind you, I started with a *stock* Craftsman saw and upgraded it over time. In the end, I think it all came to around $900 to $950 in total. From one point of view, it would have been better to spend the $950 up front and get a better overall machine, but let's be honest, sometimes the bucks aren't there and ya do what ya gotta do.
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wrote:

Yes, America still makes things. The trouble is largely at the home consumer level. There are a lot of fine options for American industrial equipment, and even a fair number of consumer products still made right here- provided you're willing to pay for what something is actually worth when it's made by a free person earning a living wage.
I'm with you on the "service economy" nonsense- I don't think that even includes maintenance in most cases. As far as I can tell, it's referring to short-order cooks and shelf stockers, though I have to hope for all our sakes that it means something else.
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On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 05:10:35 -0600, Prometheus wrote:

Hate to tell you but it most assuredly does include maintenance. IBM considers itself to be a service company and is considered to be part of the service economy, and if you've ever had anything fixed under an IBM service contract you'll know they're serious about it. Doctors and lawyers and most other "professions" are providing services. If it's not making something or moving something then it's probably a service.
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wrote:

Nope- never had anything fixed by IBM. I guess I was thinking of the FANUC maintenance guys that all seem to be from other parts of the world (at least going by the very thick accents I've heard from most of them, though YMMV) and the delightful Indian voices that answer the phones whenever I try to get a problem with just about anything resolved.
Here's the problem with doctors and lawyers as the basis of an economy, though- it's too circular and localized. While they're jobs that pay well and are valuable in their own right, not everyone can do them. We're not (as far as I know) outsourcing medical personnel and legal advice to other countries on any signifigant basis. Hence the comment about cooks and stockers- those are the service industry jobs that the great majority of displaced factory workers are doing, and they do little or nothing to bring money into our country. When those people were making things, money was coming in- now, it's going out.
So, the professionals are making money, and that's good for the folks who are providing these services- but what happens when we're dependant on the rest of the world for all our tangible goods, but they decide that they can provide thier own services and don't require those of the US? All the money in the world won't buy even a box of nails if there is no one around to make them. Services are important, sure- but given the choice between that or food, clothing and housing, I'll choose the physical requirements for survival first every time.
Hell... I've even been hearing radio ads about a new "exciting and rewarding career opportunity" selling crap on eBay. Didn't anyone learn the lessions of the first internet bubble? We can't all be rich, and we can't all be peddlers- somebody has to produce wealth in the first place.
No matter how far our society progresses, and how different it becomes, we will always need the basics- I don't know about you, but I am not comfortable with the idea of everything I need to survive being produced in another country. Especially when we've got a government and citizenry that seems to think that the rest of the world doesn't matter at all, and we can treat anyone and everyone else like shit with impunity.
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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 00:00:41 -0600, Prometheus wrote:

"Doctors and lawyers" are not the only examples. Try to _think_ about this. Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, all of those are in part "service sector".

We aren't outsourcing plumbers either. If it's a job that has to have a warm body on-site and the site can't be moved then it can't be outsourced. You can outsource camera repair--shipping a camera to Elbonia costs peanuts--but shipping an 18-wheeler to Elbonia for repair is hardly a viable proposition.

The only jobs that "bring money into our country" are jobs involving exportation. Since the US is the largest single economy in the world (four times the size of the next largest national economy and about the size of the entire EU put together) it's little wonder that more gets imported than exported. You want to "bring money into the country" then bring the rest of the world up to the US standard so that they can all afford our goods.

How do they service something that is installed in the US? Do they fly somebody from Elbonia to do a $50 repair?

And if you insist on making them locally when they can be made for a tenth the price in Elbonia all you do is price your goods out of the world market.

Housing? Construction is one industry that cannot be outsourced--you need warm bodies on site to build something. As for food, you were complaining earlier about "cook" as line of work.

What does snake oil have to do with anything? There are always radio ads about get-rich-quick schemes.

"Everything you need to survive"? What specific item that you "need to survive" is produced in another country?

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wrote:

I guess to my mind, the trades are not part of a "service sector", because they produce tangible goods as an end result- Though I can see your argument, and if that is what people are referring to when speaking of the service sector, then I'm a little more comfortable with the idea.

All right, how about we rephrase my original rant to "keep money in our country.". The same basic principle applies in either case, and if I'm wrong, I wouldn't mind being enlightened about this, as the "service economy" seems to me like a buzzword concept used to justify a whole lot of things done to increase quarterly profits that aren't necessarily in our best interests. Might be a load off my mind if I can see the underlying nuts and bolts of how it is supposed to work.
I know that I have a very simplified version of the system, but sometimes there is a virtue inherant in simplicity that is only complicated by spin. So if you can tell me where the reasoning is flawed, I'll be happy to listen.
Here's what I figure-
If we are making things from our own (or imported) raw materials, we add value to them by virtue of the manufacturing process- a finished pulley is more useful and valuable than a raw lump of iron ore, right?
If we are moving finished product from elsewhere around, we are adding cost to them, but the value is unchanged, correct?
As a by-product of the manufacturing process, we give local people a way to earn an income, and those people spend that income locally- which in turn supports those people who are providing services rather than goods.
As an added benefit, we know that those products are produced under the regulations of our social contract, and that in buying them, we are not supporting child labor, forced labor, or the wholesale destruction of another area of the world's environs.
We also have an advantage in times of war, when international trade becomes more complex and difficult. If we make most things inside of our own borders, we have a renewable supply source for our armies. This does not just include munitions, but things like cookpots, shoes, clothing, and computers- along with anything else an army or our own population requires.
What we're seeing now is that much of our manufacturing has already been outsourced to Asia- China in particular. While I have nothing in particular against the Chinese (indeed, I really like the ones I have met, and enjoy thier food and cinema,) their (if I may remind you) communist government has not always been on the best terms with our own.
China is the #1 ally of North Korea, who has recently declared itself a nuclear power, and has detonated a nuclear device- following that action with the declaration that it will attack our country with their new weapons if we pursue any punitive actions against them for it, including international economic sanctions. If that happens, I don't see us apolgizing to Kim Jong Il, and laying down arms- it's far more likely to result in total war against the North Koreans.
While China may not choose N.K. over the US market, we cannot know for certain that that will always be the case- especialy if the US uses a ham-fisted unilateral approach to subduing the Korean threat. If that, or another, incident brings us into an armed conflict with China at some point in the future, we're no longer going to have the huge discount on imported Chinese goods that we enjoy today.
So where are we then? We do not control China. They can do basically anything they like- despite our military strength. They control over 1/6 of the world's total population, and most of the means of production. We might eventually win a war against them, but it would surely hurt us- a lot.
Sure, we could rebuild American manufacturing capabilities- but why wait until it's do or die time? We can compete with the rest of the world- one American with modern equipment can produce as many finished goods in one shift as a village full of rural Indians (for example) can in a week's worth of toil with hand tools.
What I don't understand is why we don't. We send away our equipment, materials, and expertise. And after years of this, we're coming to the state where there are is a majority of people who can run a cash register with pictures on the buttons- but can't read a tape measure. These are the people who will need to learn to produce tangible goods when it becomes necessary- it may not be that hard to train someone to deburr a part, or reload a shell, but it takes time and money to teach someone to act independantly to adjust offsets in a CNC controller or use instruments to maintain quality levels.
Don't believe the lie- we're not all going to be doctors, lawyers, rock-stars or famous actors. Nobody on this list is likely to be President some day, and few of us are going to be rich. Anyone that punches a time clock every day should understand that at a viseral level. The sucessful are always held up as examples for everyone else- and there is nothing wrong with that, but that doesn't mean that every Joe six-pack is going to make it there. To him, the "service economy" probably means that he's going to be bagging groceries (if anywhere still does that) instead of running a press- and probably for a lot less money and self esteem. Good thing there's cheap Chinese stuff at the discount store for him to buy, so he can furnish his trailer and still buy anti-depressants, right?
In the 1950s, a guy could work in a manufacturing job and use that money to buy a house, own a car, and support his family- while his wife stayed at home and took care of the kids. (I don't care if women are working or not- that's not my point.) Can we really say that the rise of the "service economy" has improved the lives of the middle class? Both I and my wife work full time- I as skilled trade labor, and she as unskilled factory labor, and barely keep our heads above water- without any children to look after. If one or both of us were depending on the income from service jobs, we'd be forced out of our home within six months. Most people I know are so far in debt (including professionals in the much touted "service sector") that they're choosing between decent food, gasoline, or an ever growing credit-card balance on any given week. If that's what this brave new world brings us, I think we have a right to question it.
What I'm advocating here is not rocket science, but it does require a bit of education amongst our population. I'd like to see vocational education restored to our public schools, and people at least making an attempt to support American manufacturers and products. That doesn't mean you can't buy toilet paper at the Walmart- just don't buy everything from China. As long as we retain some manufacturing capabilites, we have a pool of workers and experience to draw from if we need it- and it's likely that some day we will.
If we produce and enhance weath here, wealth is what we have. If just move money around on computers, it will eventually all be in the pockets of people on foreign soil.

Why do we need to be in an unbalanced world market? Why not impose tariffs on foreign importers who abuse their workers, and only allow free trade with those who increase the standard of living for thier populations?
I've heard the argument that a rising tide raises all ships- but I don't believe it is true. Seems more like it raises the ocean liners, and sinks the fishing boats.

A cook is not the same thing as a manufacturing plant that processes raw food and grain into finished product.

The whole damn country is being continually sold snake oil in shiny packages.

Textiles.
Gasoline/heating oil.
Tools.
Building materials (though most of those come from Canada in my area, and I'm comfortable with that)
Cooking utensils.
Food (some, not all of it)
Electronic/communication components.
Those are a few examples, and there are probably better ones. The short and non-specific answer is "almost everything."
Look- I know that I could get together a pile of scrap metal, make my own knives and axes from it, and eke out the bare necessities for life by hunting and foraging for my own food and cutting down trees for heat and shelter, but that's not what I mean by "needs" in a modern world.
Like I said, I'm open to a clear explaination of how American services produce tangible wealth. It's quite possible that I'm entirely wrong, and I'm more than willing to learn something new here that might help me sleep a little better at night.

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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 22:45:25 -0600, Prometheus wrote:

Trades go both ways--the plumber who's plumbing new construction is part of the construction industry, but the same guy when he fixes your sink is service sector.

Much of our manufacturing of _what_? Our manufacturing of cars and airplanes hasn't been outsourced to China. Certainly we get a lot of plumbing supplies and other low-tech items. Woodworking machines apparently, but how many Chinese made machine tools do you see on factory floors?

I suspect that if the North Koreans actually use a nuclear weapon on _anybody_ they're going to find the Chinese Army across their border faster than they can say "Kimchee".
Saying that China is the #1 ally of North Korea is kind of like saying that a remora is the #1 ally of a great white shark--it's not that they're good friends so much as that North Korea doesn't _have_ any friends.

If the North Koreans nuke anything belonging to the US and the US nukes back, I suspect that the Chinese will do a little posturing and secretly heave a sigh of relief that they don't have to worry about those idiots in Korea anymore.

Uh, China hardly controls "most of the means of production". If they did then _they_ would be the world's largest economy instead of being half the size of Japan.

What makes you think that that village full of Indians is using hand tools? If the US could compete with the Chinese making low-tech goods then we would be doing so. Simple fact is that it just plain doesn't take all that much expertise to make pipe nipples, and for that kind of product in that kind of volume there isn't any "high tech" solution that will significantly reduce costs.

And get paid for it.

Don't get me started on education.

And when the US was a manufacturing economy we weren't all Andrew Carnegie or John D. Rockefeller, most of us were working on an assembly line for low wages or providing services to those who were.

If he can't find anything else to do then perhaps he'll be bagging groceries, but most of the grocery baggers I've seen lately have been as the politically correct expression goes "intellectually challenged".
There are many alternatives to being doctors and lawyers. What do doctors and lawyers _need_? Give them that and you'll make a living.
If all you know how to do is run a press and there aren't any presses then you have to learn to do something else. The problem there is not that there are no jobs but that he doesn't have the skills to get them.

People working on an assembly line today aren't making all that much either. And yet there seem to be plenty of people around with money for houses and Hummers.

From _what_ "service jobs"? If you're looking for a service job that you can get with no training or experience you're going to find yourself on the bottom of the ladder. Your problem there is not that you're being forced into a "service job" but that you're unskilled labor. Try to make ends meet on the kind of manufacturing job you can get with no training or experience and you'll find that the situation isn't any shinier.

The inability of a given individual to manage his own finances has nothing to do with the "service economy". Professionals are deep in debt mostly because of the loans they had to take out to get their education and start their business, not because the pay is low. In any case, none of the physicians I know are making such choices.

To what purpose if there are no "vocational" jobs?

So where can one buy a Chinese car anyway?

And their wages will increase and eventually we'll be able to compete in the low-tech manufacturing sector again.

Fine, impose tariffs. What do you think that will accomplish other than that they'll impose tariffs back and we'll be able to export even less than we do now.

So other than ethnic specialties what "finished product" commonly sold in the US is imported?

Such as?

Thats news to Malden Mills. Yes, there are many imported textiles but that does not mean that there is no US textile industry.

This may come as a shock to you, but the US doesn't have enough oil in the ground to meet our needs on an ongoing basis--we could run for a while on the strategic oil reserve but that is there for the war scenario that you seem to be worried about. There isn't anything that can be done about this except to stop using oil.

What tools? "Tools" covers a huge range of products. Are you talking about hammers or about semiconductor fabrication lines?

So let's see, we import Douglas Fir from China? Do tell.

Well, let's see, in my kitchen the crappy stuff says "China" and the good stuff "Toledo, Ohio" on the bottom.

Well, now, the US doesn't have the climate to grow bananas and if you want fresh fruit in the winter you don't have a lot of choice. The US has _always_ imported a certain amount of food, but the US exports far more than it imports.

I'm sorry, but I don't put this under the heading of stuff I need to survive. I remember when the only "communication components" in the house were one telephone.

Why would you want to do such a thing?

The same way that Chinese manufacturing produces tangible wealth. You find something that somebody is willing to pay for and you provide it.

So which is it, does it matter or doesn't it? Sounds to me like you want to close the US borders to all foreign trade and let the rest of the world go hang.
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Prometheus wrote:

The argument has been made that int'l trade makes war less likely, as governments would be loath to lose that income. Firstly, that assumes that governments act logically. Suuure they do :-). And secondly, such trade is always going to have winners and losers - and sore losers can start wars.
So I'm agreeing with your statement. Int'l trade makes any country involved in it more vulnerable in time of war. And it does not make war less likely.

Very true. I grew up in such a household. My mother never even learned to drive, nor did she want to. My father, a linotype operator, bought a new car each year (for his old car and $600).
As I've said in other discussions, the loss of manufacturing jobs imposes a heavy penalty on those of us without the education, intelligence, or inclination to adapt to high-tech, 9-5, suit and tie, cubicle dwelling jobs. And that's a good percentage of the population.
I've entered this discussion late, so if I'm repeating points that others have recently made I apologize.
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