Buy Good Old Equipment rather than new cheap.


I have been in the furniture mfg. business for 35 years and my advise to anyone who does much woodworking is buy good old equipment rather than the new cheap stuff from China. Most of the new stuff is disposable and never gives you good service compared to the old American made equipment. Woodworking equipment is very inexpensive right now due to so many American companies going out of business. You can find good 220 equipment in medium weight sizes. A good measure to the quality is how much it weighs.
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I value your advice and have a question. With the outbreak of flooding due to the hurricanes in the gulf do you think we will have a problem with used equipment flooding the market that has suffered water damage that is undetectable? It is not always possible to "plug it in and try it" with larger equipment and I am not confident I could detect a well hidden problem. Puff

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I value your advice and have a question. With the outbreak of flooding due to the hurricanes in the gulf do you think we will have a problem with used equipment flooding the market that has suffered water damage that is undetectable? It is not always possible to "plug it in and try it" with larger equipment and I am not confident I could detect a well hidden problem. Puff
Well, I wouldn't be too quick on buying used cars for about six months, that's for sure.
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I'm rebuilding a Unisaw that was completely flooded in Katrina. Believe me, at least with that machine you would be able to tell. Every machined surface is completely rusted. All the fasteners, whether they were zinc chromate plated or black oxide were visibly corroded.
Now I'm sure it will be fine when I'm finished but it is taking a complete teardown to recover it. Most would not go through that just to sell it on the used market (I certainly would not) and if you didn't, I believe you could tell.
Frank
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Good advice, but not always practical. If everyone stopped buying new, there would not be enough used equipment to go around as the hobby grown in numbers of participants.
I bought my saw new. I could have waited and bought a good used one, but that wait would have been over two years. Yes, I read the ads every week in a couple of papers. I'd still be waiting for some other tools.
There is some decent equipment coming out of China today. The junk is fading away.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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W. Wells wrote:

Furniture manufacturing and what most of us do are not quite the same thing. Your advice is applicable, but not on too generalized a basis. Taiwanese equipment has now reached a level of excellence that 10 or 15 years ago seemed unlikely. I've recently tested, among other overseas produced tools, the new 8" Powermatic parallelogram jointer, which hits a level of excellence that is equal to anything I've seen come out of the U.S. at any time. It has an excellent price, too, because good manufacturing is not as cheap as it used to be, no matter where you are. IIRC, price is about $1600, a lot of money for a hobby shop, but probably on a per pound basis, it's not that bad--it weighs almost 50% more than any comparable 8" jointer. Longest tables in the group, too.
The demand for woodworking tools seems to be on an ever upward spiral, too, and that creates problems with obtaining old woodworking equipment, which means the price of much of that will do what the price of rusty old (AKA as vintage or antique) cars has done in the past five years...escalate and do it fast.
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I thought Powermatic was made in Tennessee.

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W. Wells wrote:

One shaper and one planer are made in LaVergne, TN. Everything else is out of Taiwan or mainland China.
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Charlie Self wrote:

...
Is _all_ of McMinnville shops now closed? How sad, if true. :(
I remember going down to pick up my brand new Model 66 and getting the cook's tour. The piles of castings in the yard being "cured" were 20 ft high or so...
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You bring up a valid point but I see from your header info that you are in North Carolina where the equipment you describe is probably in relatively abundant supply. Assuming some of the cost benefit of buying used equipment is to obtain it locally and save on shipping costs, you and your neighbors are at an advantage over many of the rest of us.
Lee
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Lee Gordon wrote:

Also doesn't provide any indication of the size of shop or availability of power (primarily 3-phase) for the equipment of which he was thinking. Much of the equipment even from small commercial shops that is available at reasonable cost is far bigger than a home-shop user will have either room for or power to run. By the time one invests in the 3-phase to single converter, etc., much of the advantage is gone, ime.
That said, I keep looking for a large old Crescent or other 16" or larger jointer in reasonable shape close enough to make it feasible.... :)
Unfortunately, there probably have never been more than 10 or so ever in the state, and of those 8 would have been in the farthest reaches of the eastern portion of the state, 400 mi or so away. I attended a bunch of auctions while in TN and VA and saw several, but the process of getting one of those behemoths from there to here is non-trivial... :(
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I had the opportunity to go to a local school auction today. Almost all of the equipment there was of US manufacture. Several (4 I think) Rockwell/Delta 12" drill presses were sold and none went for over $150.00 most around $100. One Powermatic drill press went for $250. There was also an 18" 3 phase 3HP Powermatic planer that went for around $1500. A powermatic 8" 3 Phase joiner with a very long bed went for only $400.00. 6 large scroll saws were sold (4 Powermatic and 2 Delta/Rockwell) and none brought over $100. My partner bought an old Delta/Millwaukee 6" Accu-Set joiner, motor and stand for $130. The bed's not too long but it's a good size to carry on the job.
Getting caught up in the rapture of it all, I may have spent too much on an old 1HP Delta/Rockwell Unisaw at $550 plus tax. It does have a 52" Beis on it with that big ass overhead guard. I took it apart this evening to get at what is probably bearing noise and at least everything is there. That's the biggest damn 1HP motor I have ever seen! No wonder I'm still sore from trying to move it. Some guy at the auction gave me his number just in case I wanted to buy a 3 HP Unisaw motor he had. I'll wait to see how the rebuild goes before I worry about that. I went to the Delta site to look for a manual and I'm pretty sure that I could hear laughing when I punched in the model number. It seems it may be too old to get the paper work.....or maybe printing hadn't been invented yet.
Mike O.
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Mike O. wrote:

You probably won't need the 3 HP motor. That old 1 horse is a solid piece of gear. It sounds like you got a good buy.
But your words illustrate one problem with buying school tools: 3 phase. You're left with the need to convert or change motors, which sometimes (often?) seriously reduces the value of the deal.
The second phase of the problem with school tools is that very soon there will be no more. I live on the edge of what until recently had been a world center for furniture making. The schools in this area have phased out woodworking, for the most part. They'll teach the kids how to build a house, but not how to build a chair or chest or table. From what I hear, this is a problem all over the U.S., at a time when smaller cabinetmaking shops are begging for qualified help. It makes sense to someone, I guess. Everyone wants to go to a 2 or 4 year "college" or "university" so they can sit in front of an LCD screen and earn big bucks, instead of busting their tails making useful items at a decent wage.
Moving from that problem, though, to the coming shortage of used school tools, it won't be long before there aren't any more, 3 phase or not.
Then, everyone will be hoping to buy Taiwanese, because their quality beats mainland China's quality, at least for a few more years.
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Charlie Self wrote:

That's a real shame. I remember woodworking class fondly, although I did get an "F" for putting tacks on the teacher's chair :-).
I took woodworking one year, metal shop another, and print shop another.
Remember heating soldering irons in an oven? Or setting type by hand?
And the only power tools in wood shop were a bandsaw, a drill press, and a big sander (which claimed the tip of one of my thumbs). Everything else was hand tools.
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Do you have any rules of thumb for how much those oldies are worth? In my little corner of the world, the accepted rule seems to be "Pay anything they ask and outbid everyone if you can, no matter what it is or what condition it's in." The end result is that anything used is gone just about immediately, for more than that same model would cost new, sometimes ridiculously more. Lots more money than common sense in these parts.
I like having old stuff. I can't afford what it costs around here, even when I can find it.
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