A fun day at Woodcraft

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The new Woodcraft store had its grand opening yesterday and today, they have been open about 2 months. Have you ever seen 80 cars and trucks parked in front of a Woodcraft store before? I talked to the owner of all the Texas Woodcraft stores and he indicated that with 2 cash registers the line went to the back of the store on Friday. Apparently one customer camped out Thursday night to save $75 on a Jet mini lathe. Delta had their large trailer on the lot showing their tools with few people looking, walking into the store however it was packed with at least 100 customers and probably 20 reps and employees. Oh yeah, that Scott guy from American Workshop was there but no one seemed to be interested. I finally found a hose reducer to adapt my Kreg pocket hole jig to my Festool vacuum for $4, less a 10% discount. I got to see that bench top planer looking machine that carves wood surfaces with a router type bit. Very Noisy! It was located at the end of a hall in the back of the store but you could here it clearly every where in the store. It sure was nice then they turned it off. Delta's new Omni jig comes in a box no shorter than 48" long. It must be very well packed in the box. Kreg was there showing all its new stuff. Fein was there showing its new Fein Multimaster. Steel City was there showing everything and the Steel City stuff looks very well built with attention paid to details. Jet was there but not showing any thing new, I was surprised that they did not have the new planer/jointer combo machine on hand.
And then glowing brightly in the front corner of the store was the FESTOOL rep and display.... AAAhhhh! He was demonstrating the circle saw, Domino, cordless drills, the Rotex sander, the smaller less expensive ROS sander, vacuum cleaner, router, etc. He showed the single hand held ROS and I was impressed. He turned the sander on, sat it down on some wood, and put his index finger on top to guide it and to hold it in one spot. I gave the Rotex a spin and it indeed is a fantastic sander. I sanded about 1 square foot of "splintery rough cut" cherry down to almost "ready for a finish" smooth in about 20 seconds using 120 grit sand paper. The aggressive setting has to be seen to be appreciated. Dust was only detectable on the edge of the board and there was so little that a wet finger would have removed it all. Sooooo I bought one, the 125, and the rep threw in 2 Festool Polo shirts and 2 Festool caps.
and then my wife and i headed straight to the quilt store.. '~(
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SNIP

LMAO... X 2!
Now that's life in the big city. It's all about compromise, eh? I am sure Kim doesn't mind - she'll get some good stuff out of the purchases today, no doubt.
Robert
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Just another comment, Leon. I went to Woodcraft last week, and I had not been in about a year or so. I used to go about twice a month, now I go a year without being in there.
I still have some amigos there, and we got to talking about the Festools, Feins, etc. He told me that they literally couldn't keep the Domino machines or their planer in stock.
Planer: http://www.btisupply.com/detail.aspx?ID 23
He said that they get in the Domino machines six at a time, and they are all either spoken for, or gone in less than a week. It has been that way for about the last 3 - 4 months, according to him.
As for the planer, he has a furniture maker that he sells them to, and he is in turn selling them to his friends, and recommending them to other furniture makers. He is selling them as fast as the Domino machines. When selling them, his cutomers often ask for another cutter head as well, so they can keep on planing by simply removing the cylinder with the blades on it and changing it out. Wow...
Oddly enough, he said that in the Festool (and Fein) brand sales weren't to professionals. At their price point I thought the mix (based on absolutely nothing of course) would be something like 80% professional and 20% other. According to him, it is exactly the other way around. The pros love the tools, but there aren't as many of them as their are of the others purchasers.
I remember when Fein was the king of that store. No longer so; Festool has a really large display that takes up more than any other single brand in the store. I guess the Domino put the way over the top the way the Fein Multimaster did for its company.
I had no idea there was such a hunger for high end (and expensive!) power tools on a consumer level.
Shows what I know!
Robert
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Snip

I was talking to my wife about that situation. I have noticed that Festool is certainly going after the hobby market by being offered by Woodcraft and the like stores. Seems you can buy Festool in any national wood working store these days and the better known commercial stores. I am not sure I had even seen a Festool 3 years ago although I had heard of them many years ago. With so many tool manufacturers dumbing down their tools it leaves a void for the hobbyist that wants a quality tool. Festool probably recognized that void. Either way I am impressed with their pricing policy that protects the dealer and requires the dealer to "sell" the product. And hope that they are around for a very long time. The 3 Festool tools that I have are a cut above any brand tool that I have ever owned. My old PC tools were very close but not any more.
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wrote: [snipped for brevity]

What you are observing, is what my grandmother used to say: "We are too poor to buy cheap stuff." People are sick-to-death of garbage.
My countertop sales prove that time and time again that people want something real and are willing to pay for it. This town is full of Volvos, Hondas, BMW's and Toyotas. And it is not that the garbage is cheap either. Those manufacturers aren't satisfied by selling you shit, they want top dollar for their shit.
r
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There is also the class of people who have money, but not free time. And they would rather spend 10 times the price on a tool that will save them time.
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Maxwell Lol wrote:

I have a lot of money, but it's all tied up in debt! (Not really - the money or debt)
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That gave me a chuckle, its an absolute sin that that guy has a national show in the first place. I remember when he first started about 10 years ago and thought it was bad. I recently forced myself to watch a couple of the recent episodes and I cant figure how but they have actually gotten worse, way worse. He is really bad. What really ticked me off was the episodes a long while back when he was clearly using the show as a way to bankroll his own house and surely got thousands and thousands of dollars in sponsor donations and or discounts. Several of the home/wwking shows have been doing that in past years, Hometime is another.

With regards to the other coments about Festools quality and sales I too find it interesting. Our nearest woodcraft (over 2 hours away) doesnt seem to move quite as much as I have heard others do. We are in a bit of a rural area so perhaps thats a part of it. Though we havent put any Festool in the shop yet several items are on the list for our next batch of major purchases.
I did some side work for a company a long time ago that was a distributor for Metabo tools. Real high quality, german made, you just about couldnt kill them but they cost more. Back then Metabo's reps and engineers were outspoken in stating that they would never focus heavily on the US market due to the fact that it was a disposable society. Coming from germany Metabo's customers were of the lot that handed down their tools from generation to generation. They had a circlar saw like the old PC that had a grease resivoir to grease the main bearings. They said every saw that came in for service in the US, though the option was readily accessible, had never been greased. They use to always reference how tradesman in the US would buy cheap saws and throw them out when they needed an $8 replacement cord. Thats not me, I have completely rebuilt a couple of our Milwaukee saws several times. Brushes, bearings, and so on. A good tool should last a lifetime but will still require maintenance.
While I am a super fan of high quality tools Festool has them priced right out at the edge where we really have to ponder which will make the best additions to the shop.

Whats worse is that my wife works almost full time with me and she is just as much of a tool hound as I am. When we walk into a place like that it usually turns out to be a really bad day. Last time we went she almost walked out with the RO150, and the CT33, and I was an inch away from the TS75. Thankfully we talked ourselves down from the ledge but it will happen one of these days.
I havent quite seen the rage with regard to the Domino, while it does seem like a fantastic system, it just hasnt really caught my attention.
Mark
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BDBConstruction wrote:

I think what got me when I was watching his show 10 years or so ago was seeing him do some cut with a plunge router, complete the cut and unplunge the router, then sit there for about a minute lecturing that one should let the router come to a complete stop before moving it. Pretty much tuned him out after that.
I stopped watching after the Dallas PBS station started running bi-monthly begathons and kept preempting Norm, Roy, and Scott for such top-shelf classics as "Why Naomi Woolfe is an American Phenomenon" and the like. Pretty much made coming back into the house on Saturday afternoons a waste of time, so I stayed in the shop.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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I remember a couple of commercial vendors/suppliers here started to carry the Metabo line. None of us knew anything about them, their support system, their parts inventory availability... nothing. The Metabo spokesperson I met had the attittude "we're a company of German engineers so our product has to be good" so he had trouble with us nuts and bolts guys. I couldn't give a rat's ass about the promotional brochure, I KNOW my tools will need servicing and probably parts. I don't want a tool down for 90 days while they send it from some far off place to the only authorized dealer in town that can order parts. If it is a tool I depend on, that part is out of the question.

or me. That's more of that arrogance. None of my partners in crime are that wasteful either. In fact, we used to get together and buy a couple of cases of beer and rebuild our saws with new bearings, guard return springs, brushes, and put on 20' power cords on instead of the factory 8'. We rebuilt and maintained everything we had. In fact, I remember buying tubes of that white grease for my old Rockwell 346 and 315 saws.

I have a 30 year old Milwaukee saw that has been rebuilt about 5-6 times. Don't know how many brushes or triggers, but it has been more than a few. Probably about 10 cords, too. But it has seen its last rebuild. Milwaukee not longer has some of the parts I need, nor does our local supplier. BUT... I did an end run and bought a "vintage" Milwaukee like mine that was in perfect condition. Paid the same $125 for it that I did for the old one in 1977.

Well said. If they made a tool that I HAD to have to work on a job, I wouldn't think twice about it. If I knew it would make me money and get on the job and be put to work immediately (and stay there!) I wouldn't bat an eye. My tightfisted squarehead ass simply won't let me have tools that don't pull their weight. I am not a collector; but I do love using nice tools, and like to own them. ONLY if they pay for themselves though.
I have enough tools that get used once or twice a year that I thought were going to be real home runs.
I really like the idea of buying a tool you know is going to be a quality tool that is worth the investment. That's why I bought my Milwaukees 30+ years ago when I could have bought two of any other "professional" saws for that price. I knew it would last, and I knew I could get parts for it.
I hope Festool is here to stay, and that some of the other companies making tools will take note of their success. It couldn't do anything but good for all of us.
Robert
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or me. That's more of that arrogance. None of my partners in crime are that wasteful either. In fact, we used to get together and buy a couple of cases of beer and rebuild our saws with new bearings, guard return springs, brushes, and put on 20' power cords on instead of the factory 8'. We rebuilt and maintained everything we had. In fact, I remember buying tubes of that white grease for my old Rockwell 346 and 315 saws. *****************
You really know how to throw a party!
I used to take heavy duty extension cord and wire them directly into my tools. I also had a spare to two around in case any of the cords became damaged.
I wonder how much of the present problem with waste disposal could be addressed by rebuilding and repairing things instead of making everything a throw away or disposable product.
A true craftsman always takes good care of his tools. Any idiot can throw something away.
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On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 06:26:14 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

Right on...
You mentioned extension cords. Cut cords easily become two shorter cords with two new plugs from a hardware store. Some of my handiest cords are 6 and 8 footers that used to be part of a longer cord. <G>
The same goes for air hoses.
Sometimes, when the cost of repairing an item is high, I have to remind myself of the hidden costs of waste as I make the decision.
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On Jan 27, 8:50am, "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)"

Costco had a 100' 12 ga extension cord on for really cheap. I have no use for 100' of cord, but bought it anyway with the intent to cut at 25, 25, and 50. Those get use all the time. I bought proper industrial grade plugs as well. I guess it is a modular 100' cord now? <g>
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For me personally I just have a thing for molded ends. I dont mind the replacements in a pinch but I have always had trouble with clamp ons comming loose, they are bulky, and they catch on everything and some of them can scratch stuff if you are not carefull and they get yanked on a job. I wouldnt mind them at all in a more static (not moving them around a lot) application. If you dont mind them its a great way to go and you'll surely be ahead on price.
What really ticks me, and just happened to me, is when I special order some nice cords and then the cord still pulls out of the molded end. I just ordered some, what I thought were, really nice #12 50' cords from the local DeWalt factory store. I mainly wanted the SJEOW cover that stays soft even in cold weather. The cords themselves are fantastic, they lay nice even in single digit temps, but the ends have already pulled off the jacket. I paid like $65.00 a piece and now I have $260.00 worth of cords that I am not happy with.
Mark
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wrote:

More than you could imagine, but it aint gonna happen until there are copious quantities of personal and financial pain to motivate the average US consumer. They are just too lazy to do it out of conscience alone and too short sighted to see that it is a benefit for them to do so. After that you have to deal with the marketers getting people to throw away a perfectly good product just because the newest one has come along. Upgrading is a fact and will never go away but it has been taken to an all new level in these days of cheap goods. Recession (hard)/Depression may be the only things, at least that I could think of, that would change the mindset on mass. That probably isnt going to happen so we will likely stay the course.
Mark
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On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 06:26:14 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

A very large part. If americans as a whole would value quality and maintain / repair instead of throw away and replace cheap, mabee we would still have a manufacturing industry too. Business built their business model on selling a LOT of CHEAP product, rather than good quality - and to keep up in that world, they had to outsource - so we get Chinese Junk, and it is getting extremely difficult to find decent tools, or ANYTHING made in North America.

--
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<clare at snyder.on.ca> wrote:

Actually you can lay the blame for that business model at the feet of Andrew Carnegie.
He is the one who gave birth to the idea of buying a piece of machinery, running it 24/7, without any maintenance, until it died, then replace it.
Lew
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wrote:

I think that was one of their big problems in the early stages and perhaps even today. It seemed like, through training, Metabo corporate, got that snobbery into their US reps. Saddly, Metabo is and was, much like Festool. They inovated many of the things we see in todays tools. They built tools that would rarely need to come in for service. They were the inovators of electronics in tools. We have used their electronic grinders for years, there is no comparison. One of the reps told me some funny stuff about the electronics when they first came out. An electronic tool idles consuming only about 90 volts/ low amps, as load is applied to the tool it applies whatever of the remaining power needed to maintain a constant operating speed. This is whether its a drill, grinder, belt sander, whatever. Of course many of todays tools have this now, routers, DW's belt sander, etc.. They confuse a lot of people to hear a tool spin up, then spin back down slightly to idle. Well when Metabo would give a shop a few grinders for a trial the guys on the floor would think the grinder was not removing any material because subconsciously they always gauged the work being done buy the bogging down of the grinder. These were guys that had been grinding for decades. It would wreak havoc on their work having a grinder that never bogged down. A tool that was doing the work for them instea of the other way around. In some cases guys would exhaust themselves pushing harder and harder all day long trying to get the tool to bog. Shops would say they were going through wheels more, come to find out guys were tossing them thinking they werent cutting. Again, though the tool was actually better, it would get sent back or put in the crib. Metabo however couldnt get the knowldge out there and applied. Its that old habbits thing.

Yeah, at least for us, that was never an issue. Even when Metabo first came on line in the US their tools and parts were shipped in on tractor trailers and UPS trucks just like every other tool MFR. The tools and parts were always available through distribution. The funny part was, the distributor I did the side work for did A LOT of tool repair. Some in house and much of it was shipped to authorized service centers in state or perhaps a state away. The piles of tools shipped out every couple weeks was big to say the least. But there was rarely if ever a Metabo in the pile. Back then however, Metabo was not a big part of the market so grinders, and drills, were perhaps the norm. Now they have a lot more tools out and things may have changed.

That was a Metabo standard that no other tool mfr to this day has capitalized on. We too have done that for years. Metabo's standard cord was 15' I believe.

Thats one that should go on the top shelf of your shop with a glass box around it. Hehe.

Thats the way we are looking at Festool. Like I said, it'll happen.

Ufortunately that was, and is not (in my opinion) the norm. When I was introduced to Metabo tools was when Makita was making its big push into the US. They gave birth to the $45.00 skill saw that you took on a roof to cut in a ridge vent and then threw it away because you burned it up. A trigger for that saw (and you may as well throw in a strain relief and cord while you were in there) cost more than 1/2 the purchase price of the saw. Makita and the like started the low cost low quality tool revolution with regard to tradesman, I am not talking the homeowner market (skil, B&D, etc). Sawzall's with plastic parts in the nose, and so on. Shortly thereafter B&D bought DeWalt and made some horribly bad tools in the early days of DeWalt's consumer line. Many of those early DeWalt tools were so sh*tty that today I am still reluctant to buy DeWalt though we own several.
Right around this time was when the general mindset on quality was being taken over by the big box mentality. A move away from local suppliers, knowledgable suppliers, local distribution, and away from quality. That was about 20 years ago and things havent even begun to change though I too think people are finally seeing the light that they have been dooped by the low quality that is todays normal quality.

Here here!
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wrote:

OK... you are gonna laugh.. so sit down. I get REALLY attached to some of my old tools that have served me faithfully for years without complaint, requireing only simple maintenance. So you bet your butt that saw is in the shop to stay, and it has it own little shelf. The red plastic is so old and weathered that it turned purple!
I also have an old Sears router that has 1,000,000 miles on it. Before we could buy "ploughed" or "dadoed" fascia, we had to make our on on site when framing houses. I used that thing as the only safe grooving tool pushing those miserable steel bits for about 3 years. It still runs, and it too is over thirty years old!
I still have my old all metal cased Rockwell 346 circular saw; I don't know how old it is because I got it used somewhere around 1977. It runs to this day.
I have an old Milwaukee "super 3/8 holeshooter" that I got in 1976 when they put me on a commercial framing crew. I didn't need a circular saw, just some good snips and a screwshooter. I used this drill to frame and hang commercial sheetrock for years. I never did anything to it but put in brushes and blow it out on tool cleaning day. It still runs as well, and sometimes I still use it in the shop.
We will never see the likes of those old tools again. That old Milwaukee drill has BRONZE gears in it! No wonder they never worked loose or got sloppy.
But everyone seems to be on the "don't bother to rebuild" bandwagon. Have you taken a tool in for repair lately? Our best local small power tool repair shop (and authrized dealer for all the big names) charges $65 to bench the tool, and will apply that to the labor charge if you want to have them perform the repairs.
I just put a new trigger in an old variable speed/reversible drill. The trigger was $54 plus tax, which put it at about $60. Add in their $65 bench fee, and it would have cost me the same as I paid for the drill a couple of years ago, $125. When I told that to the guy at the shop, he said, "then why would you have it fixed?" It should be noted that those guys do a booming business in used tools that are never claimed once the owners find out what the repairs cost.
I shudder to think what the trigger replacement would have actually cost as this trigger was as close as they could get, but not an EXACT match. I had to cut the leads to the trigger, put on new lugs, and file off a small piece of plastic that was molded into the handle as a guide for the original trigger.
It sure shouldn't be that way, but it is. And I shudder to think what one of these German/Swedish/Finnish wonderments will cost when they break. Ouch!
Robert
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>It sure shouldn't be that way, but it is. And I shudder to think what one of these German/Swedish/Finnish wonderments will cost when they break. Ouch!
It is the military performance model.
As close to !00% performance for a finite time, then drop dead and get a new one.
Pretty decent method for the military when you figure the service life of some military equipment is probably measured in minutes, not hours or even days.
Lew
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