Consensus on tool brands

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I'm a newcomer to the group. Used to do a lot of woodworking, but for one reason and another dropped out almost twenty years ago. Now I'm trying to rebuild my shop and buying new tools is confusing.
I stick to name brands: Craftsman, Milwaukee, DeWalt, etc., but wonder whether off brands are good products as well.
For instance, someone on another thread mentioned the Ridgid has a good reputation here, so I'll expand my search to that brand.
Is there a summary anywhere of the group's opinions on the relative merits of various brands?
If not, is there a simple list of good, bad, and indifferent brands?
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No brand has/does it all. Any particular tool in mind?
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I have my original Craftsman table saw, vintage 1975, Craftsman radial saw, vintage 1969, and a DeWalt 12" chop saw with kick stand. I have an assortment of power hand tools, both corded and cordless.
At one point, when I thought I'd never get back into woodworking, I sold a Delta drill press (no big loss, it's replaceable) and I also sold a Craftsman lathe of uncertain vintage, but it was 30 years old when I bought it circa 1975. Solid cast iron, cast iron pedestal, 3" solid oak bench top, every accessory Craftsman made for it. That was one of a kind. Also sold a Craftsman shaper, also cast iron with a 1.5hp motor.
I've recently bought a Craftsman belt sander and Craftsman pad sander, a Milwaukee circular saw, a DeWalt biscuit cutter, a Milwaukee half inch router, a cheap delta shaper, a bunch of new hand tools - screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
My next tool purchase will probably be a drill press, a bench model, as I don't foresee a need for the depth of a floor model.
There is a Woodcraft store near me:
http://www.woodcraft.com/stores/store.aspx?idS2
They sell a line called Jet.
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I have a Ridgid drill press. Floor model. It did well in a FWW comparison, and is a good deal. I don't use it enough to be too concerned about longevity..... it's really accurate.
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wrote:

You typically can get a lot of bang for your buck with a DP.. "Tools of the Trade" compared the Powermatic 2800 and the Delta 17-959L. The Delta is 1/2 the price of the Powermatic and won the toss.

Jet has been arount for quite a few years, IIRC 20 or so. Good stuff. Jet & Powermatic are owned by the same company.
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Good tools. But all are now made offshore--that holds true for virtually every major power tool made, and most minor ones, these days. The model 66 Powermatic used to be made in the USA, but that was several years ago.
Check out Steel City Tools, too. I have their 16" bandsaw, and, except for being a bit short to the table, it's a wonderful tool.
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Woodcraft also charges super premium prices. I have one of the new 17" Delta drill presses, designed specifically for woodworking. It ain't lovable (too damned heavy to assemble for a fat old man; in fact, two of us had to use an engine crane hoist to get the head onto the tube), but it is good, with features no found on a machinist's DP. I'm not enamored of the laser all that much, but, hey, it's on there and it can be useful.
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wrote:

Charlie,
Congrats on your new role as President of National Association of Home & Workshop Writers.
John
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On May 23, 2:28 pm, "John Grossbohlin"

Thanks, John. Just what I needed at this time, but they couldn't find another sucker...not true, but I'm up past my ears for the next two months, yet I have to start wheeling and dealing to gather more members, and some more sponsors, as well as straight company members. Mostly, we're aiming at writing members. A lot of the new kids on the block don't belong; they should. It can be handy.
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Charlie Self wrote: [snip]
as well as straight company members.
Ummm. Naaah, too easy.
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wrote in message

Well, I'm sure that Doug left you in a good place to start from... I'm also sure it will take effort to sustain and grow. The next 5-10 years will probably see a new generation come into it's own as the "old" guys retire. Hopefully the new guys don't run out of material and see the merit of NAHWW...
John
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Why do you think that is? Lou
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Craftsman is a well recognized name and has been in the spot light for decades. Sears is relying on the name to generate the sales and not necessarily the quality of the power tools.
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"a few dollars more than Craftsman, and get a better tool outa the deal."
What part is tough to understand? Craftsman generally not top of the line stuff. Your money is better spent with the other brands I mentioned. Greg
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Most of the time that is correct. Once in a while though, you find something with the Sears, Kenmore, Craftsman name so on it that is the exact item as the "brand" name, but Sears sells it for less or on sale at a bargain price.
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wrote in message

Agreed. I said in my previous post hat Craftsman has some winners too, but odds are you would be better spending your money elsewhere. Greg
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No one builds the best of everything so brand loyalty only benefits the manufacturer.
I would not consider Craftsman unless the tool is made by an reputable tool company like DeWalt, Bosch, etc.
Decent brands include Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, Festool, Panasonic, Hitachi, and a few others, in no particular order. Porter Cable used to be much better but has not got the good repudiation it once had.
You might indicate which particular tools you are interested in and solicit brands or models from there. For example Bosch and Milwaukee probably make the best jig saws. Bosch, DeWalt, and Festool probably make the better routers. Any of the above mentioned for drills.
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Not to start a Craftsman bashing thread, but the old Craftsman stuff is generally pretty good, 30-40 years old. The new stuff I try to avoid, although there are a few keepers in the bunch, you just need to be careful. IMO you can buy DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, and a few others for the same or a few dollars more than Craftsman, and get a better tool outa the deal. Greg
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Greg O wrote:

With tools these days you are likely to get less than you could with brand loyalty. What you need to do is decide on the tool and what features it needs and how much you are willing to spend. Then look at individual tools that fit your criteria for what is well made. I hapen to think DeWalt is overpriced tor what you get, a few years back Milwaukee was bought by somebody and I don't know of their current quality, Bosch, Makita and hitachi are generally good but may not be the best value for the money. As for Craftsman, they built really good tools for a while and had a good reputation. Then for a coulpe of decades starting late 70's or early 80's they started cutting costs and the quality went down. Recently they started building a "professional" line (don't remember if they call it professional or contractor or what) that is well built. They are not the only company today with a "homeowner/hobbiest" line and a "professional/contractor" line. The hobbiest lines are suitable for occasional use but that is a few times a year. There are some lesser known brands like Jet and Grizzly that sometimes give decent quality without the brand name cost. So to sum up, don't worry so much about brand and learning what to look for in a well built tool and then hunt for those.
ron
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Name brands also include Black & Decker and Skil, but I don't want their tools. There are many names that are not as well known to the non craftsman types that make good tools, such as Festool, Kreg, Triton, and more. Reputable stores such as Rockler, Highland Hardware, Lee Valley only carry decent brands.
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