54A Jointer is Great. (Its manual isn't)

I finished setting up my Powermatic 54A jointer yesterday afternoon. I guess after using the 50 year old 4" Craftsman for years I thought you always sanded a few mill-marks from wood.
Not any more! Great machine. Good fit and finish. No vibration. Wonderfully smooth cutting.
The owner's manual really sucks. In addition to several assembly inconsistencies, it appears they deliberately removed all references to rabbeting from the 54A book. The Model 60 book and the similarly formatted JET books are about 6 pages longer with several mentions of rabbet cutting, adjustments, safety etc. They even left one of the illustrations regarding rabbeting in the 54A manual for no apparent reason. I swapped e-mails with their service folks and the best they could do is "The 54A does have rabbeting capabilities of 1/2" built into the table. Unfortunately, the manuals will be different due to the models being different."
I responded!
Why can't these manufacturers understand that the consumers first impression, regarding their product, usually comes from the manual? Oh well - still a great machine. I'll just download the rabbeting section from the Model 60 book --- Or maybe the Grizzly website.
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I've got a 54a also. I didn't buy it for the "quality" of the manual. AAMOF, I've spent LITTLE time with the manual. You should be thankful the equipment is good quality. :) It never crossed my mind to nitpick about any perceived shortcomings with the 54a's manual.
David
RonB wrote:

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David: How long have you had your machine? Was it purchased before or after the JET/Powermatic/WMF marriage? Moreover, was it converted from the JET publicatons format?
I will assure you that the list of problems I sent to WMF went beyond the rabbeting issue and WAY BEYOND Nitpicking. The book contained incorrect assembly instructions, an illustration with no apparent use or text reference, missing instructions that left parts on my bench and missing wire diagrams. They left me wondering which WMF machine the manual was supposed to represent.
In the business I was in for 35 years we took publications very seriously -- they were a direct reflection of the quality and safety of our product. Our tech writers, engineers and technicians spent hours doing publication validation and verification at the sentence and phrase level. This was not evident in this book. Frankly, I think it got hosed in translation.
Again, the finish, fit and operation of the machine is wonderful.
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By the way. I just received a 2nd response from WMF. Their service rep admitted she wasn't as informed as she should have been, recognized the problems and their product manager has been informed of the errors. Regarding the rabbeting instructions, she even went over and looked the the G0500 book on Grizzly's site. Good for her.
She also acknowledged that WE THE USERS are often the best source of improvement to product and literature. But you have to read the literature.
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We men are well known to NOT read directions! :)
David
RonB wrote:
But you have to read the literature.

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My manual has a date of 06/01 (top left corner of back page). I didn't encounter any issues with assembly. What page has missing instructions in your manual, Ron?
The cover of mine indicates it is ONLY for the Model 54A jointer. Maybe you DO have a newer and inferior manual?? The last numbered page (inside cover) is 31.
David
RonB wrote:

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My book is dated 07/02 but it is also 31 pages. If you own any Jet tools the cover and format are nearly identical. (certainly not badmouthing Jet, I own several).

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When I spend $750 for a tool, electronic equipment, or appliance, I expect a manual that is complete. I don't see how that is nit picking. You evidently have more experience and did not need the detail, but many do. Sad, but I've bought $20 toasters with more complete and accurate manuals than some big machines.
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a
I don't either, but this seems to be de-rigour with stationary tools. I was told not to expect much "user" information when I bought any stationary tools. I was really frustrated with the lack of safety information on usage when I bought my table saw. Not only did I miss good documentation, I got home and discovered I had a new saw with no blades!
Bob
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Ed, I was so happy when the truck arrived with my new toy, I didn't give the manual (good, bad, or indifferent that it may be, according to some) a thought... :)
David
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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This a good point. Those of us who used our first table saw 45 years ago don't even look at the manual. The things haven't changed all that much in the interim. What we expect in safety is mostly unchanged. Somebody buying one for the first time expects at least as much as he gets with a cheap consumer appliance and considering the expense of producing the manual versus producing the machine, I don't think that's an unrealistic expectation. Manufactures need to take note. I don't know where this is going to get their attention. Any of you with the inside track, THUMP THEM ON THE HEAD!!!
bob g.
David wrote:

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Bob: I, like you, have been woodworking and putting these machines together for a long time. I guess my main problem is I came out of an industry that demanded first-rate support and publications. When our pubs and support were undermined by accountants years ago, It took about a decade to regain our old Cadillac-type product image (aerospace).
With this background, I had the machine pretty much assembled and noticed the pulley alignment was off. I checked the manual and the procedure they described could not work. I figured it out myself. Then I ended up with a bag of hardware not mentioned. Figured that out too. Then is when I started comparing the book to a PM model 60 book and found several more inconsistencies including the one that caused my original post.
Another poster summarized my thoughts well. When you pay good money for a product, especially premium$ for Powermatic gold, you expect the entire package. Machine, performance, support. You cannot ensure you are getting good support when pubs are bad.

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Shame on you for casting aspersions on a fine company. Your primary assumption is totally without merit, Ron. Powermatic provides exemplary support on their products. I've had more than several issues that have been resolved wholly to my satisfaction. They have done a far superior job than Delta with respect to support. I purchased MORE of their products, knowing that I'd be well taken care of in the event of a problem. So stop assuming and start finding out the facts before you make sweeping statements. I've even received approximately a hundred dollars of free accessories just for a minor "inconvenience" that I had with my last purchase. Their willingness to go well above and beyond the requirements of the written warranty is something that should be commended.
David
RonB wrote:

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I didn't say Powermatic wasn't a fine company. I have used their equipment and the machine I bought appears to be a great machine. Frankly I wouldn't have bought it if I had thought it was bad equipment.
Regarding assmuptions, product support is based on customer support and an accurate and usable product database. When the database fails, the product support begins to fail. My ASSUMPTIONS are based on living knowledge of the failure of a company to provide accurate product support. This is called logistics and when the logistics chain fails, watch out!
I went to work for a company 37 years ago that was considered THE world leader in its product line. We remained so for about 15 years but were aquired by another company (like Powermatic - WMF). Financial pressue from the east eroded our logistics and support efforts and we ended up dropping to 6th among manufacturers of our product. Pretty depressing when there are only 7 companies in the game. We heard customer quotes like "Your company has great people but you are impossible to do business with!" The powers finally woke up and decided to fix the problem, but once you alienate your customers it is a long, uphill battle. When I retired 2 years ago they had climbed back up to 4th (and spent millions doing so).
I am not assuming Powermatic is in that shape!. But look at the host of power tool company mergers going on now and watch what happens. Accountants are replacing engineers in a lot of industries and it shows.
If you don't read the manuals, that is fine with me. My son in law makes good money from folks who don't. He's a doctor.
There!
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I did not mean to imply we were acquired by WMF - only an example. Ours was a completely different industry.
By the way. When acquired we were considered the best managed, most profitable company in the industry. Our logistics suffered because the parent wanted to make us more profitable.
Didn't work!
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:) That was interesting reading, Ron! Thanks!
I DID look at the manual, but I didn't feel it was poorly written, nor did I feel it was essential to the assembly of the jointer.
David
David
RonB wrote:

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"RonB" wrote in message

getting
Now that you've got that figured out, start insisting on better education for your tax dollars and you'll solve both problems.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/04/04
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RonB wrote:

The manuals are usually an afterthought and handed to the person in the engineering department who is least useful for what the engineers consider to be "real engineering".
--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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Certainly not true in my previous life. The technical data that supported products received heavy scrutiny. We kept a full department of tech writers. Engineers checked the manuals in late draft and, in most cases, setup, repair and operations procedures were validated on a phrase by phrase basis. Illustrations were checked to actual hardware and photos. Legal had last review rights.
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