Tool quality.

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When discussing the tools that feller was selling on eBay (That 33K shop) one of our contributors referred to the old Unisaw 'quality'. That got me thinking.... (yes, it happens). I think quality is like art. You know you like it when you see it. The look and feel of things.
Find me something modern that idles like a well-tuned Buick Straight-8 or cruises like a 600 cc vintage BMW boxer, anything that sounds like the shutter of a well-maintained Leica? What sounds like a 350-year-old Guarneri cello?
In 1929, in Newcastle on Tyne, they built a small tanker. It sailed the Great Lakes as The Texaco Brave. It had a triple expansion steam engine. As a summer job, as a wheelsman, I would spend a lot of my free time down below, just listening and admiring that engine as it was putting out that whopping 120 RPM.
All modern equivalents, even if proven scientifically superior, miss something. I think it's a piece of the craftsman's/machinist's heart/guts who made it. Is that what we call quality?
I was looking at a very old Carl Zeiss microscope one day with its replacement, a brand new Wild Heerbrugg, sitting beside it. The proud owner was extolling the virtues of the new Wild, the clarity of the optics, but why didn't the focus mechanism feel the same?
It is mystical.
00
Rob--->who once was removed from under his hat by firing a 'light' load from a 460 WeatherbyMk5, another one of those devices that just felt and looked right. I'm sure many of you here have similar things that would fit that elusive category.
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wrote:

There's an old saying in aviation, if it looks good, it'll fly good. Two of the best looking airplanes ever, in my opinion, were the P-51 Mustang, and the Lockheed Constellation. By all accounts they were delights to fly.
What brings that to mind is watching the TV program that documented the X-plane competition to determine which aircraft will be developed to replace the F-22 just coming on line. Both of the X-planes were the butt ugliest planes I've ever seen (even more so than the F-117) and amazingly, the DoD selected the uglier of the two.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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LRod wrote:

Not amazing at all. Sometimes planes that look terrible also fly very well. The F-4 Phantom II was widely criticized as butt-ugly when it was introduced and the P-47 wasn't exactly considered beautiful. The DeHavlind Comet was much prettier than the Boeing 707 but it wasn't nearly as good as an airliner (even leaving aside the Comet's design flaw).
--RC
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good.
P-51
and
I guess it's all in the eyes of the beholder. I've flown the F-4. I always liked the way it looked, but it only flew well while supersonic. I flew the L1011 which I always thought unnatractive, but some models flew well and others didn't. I've flown the Cessna 750 which flew well but I didn't like its looks particularly. I do agree (and I've been told) about the P51 and the Connie.
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wrote:

From the controller's point of view, the F-4 was great. "Can you be level in 20 miles?" "Affirmative" (Four miles later): "November Kilo 25 level FL 350."
The 1011 had its good points and bad points. After the Arab oil embargo of the '70s all the operators slowed their aircraft down to .83 M. Except the 1011s, which because of the deck angle at cruise actually burned more fuel at .83 than they did at .85 which they all wound up cruising at. They outran everyone else as a consequence.
However, if you were trying to top anyone with a 1011, you better have a lot of room, because they didn't climb worth shit. I had a TWA 1011 one day take all the way to LMN (Lamoni, IA) from ORD (O'Hare) to get to FL310. That's more than 250 miles. And it wasn't even an overseas flight.
It had the best jump seat view of all, however.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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LRod wrote:

have
get
Depended entirely on the model and engines as with all the planes I've flown. I've flown doggy L1011 100s and nice 200s. Same with the 747s. I've flown doggy 100s and fantastic 300s with the GE engines. I've flown 200s with all manner of P&W engines as well as RRs. It all depended on power to weight.

Very nice cockpit - not as good visibility as the DC10, but much roomier than the 747.
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wrote:

The problem was, we could never tell what you had. A three legged '10 looked just like a four legged '10 on the flight progress strip. Also, although we could generally infer that a 747 on its way to Narita was probably not going to climb well, we could never be sure how full the 74 on its way to LAX was and could be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised.
Who'd you fly for? Equipment sounds like TWA or Delta. I don't think Eastern ever had 74s. I don't think AmTran did either. Who else (U.S.) flew 1011s? Of course who said you flew for a U.S. carrier?
I was in Jacksonville Center from '68 to '73 and Chicago Center from '73 until I retired in '97, with a couple of stints at ORD thrown in.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
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Rick Cook notes:
Not amazing at all. Sometimes planes that look terrible also fly very well. The F-4 Phantom II was widely criticized as butt-ugly when it was introduced and the P-47 wasn't exactly considered beautiful. The DeHavlind Comet was much prettier than the Boeing 707 but it wasn't nearly as good as an airliner (even leaving aside the Comet's design flaw).
I have to wonder about the Crusader (F8). We had a couple squadrons of those things at Kaneohe Bay back in the late '50s, and, in one sense, the Marine Corps loved the job their machine guns would do. But the pilots said it was unstable as hell during landing, and had the glide ratio of a rock. Last fighter aircraft built with guns as the main weapons system, by the way. It looked a little more like an old seaplane than a jet fighter from some angles.
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Hi Charlie and all, Sorry to burst in here, but I used to an ADJ in a RA5C squadron. The Vigi shared the same engines as the Phantom. The NPF (Non Powered Flight) Ratio of both birds was horrendous. The Vigi would fall 16 feet for every foot forward while the Phantom would fall 32 feet per foot forward. Some folks would say all the aerodynamics of a bumble bee. Me, I look at it like this, if you strap two J-79's to a shitcan, its going to fly and fast as hell right up to where it runs out of gas. If your mech was good enough, you could get about three and a half to four hours at conserve. You want hustle you can burn the lot (something like 20,000 lbs.) in fifteen minutes at full AB. I always thought your F-8 was a sharp looking bird. Must have been an Hydraulicsman's nightmare though with that tilting wing. Glad I wasn't a bubblechaser in those outfits. I guess someone liked the airframe though. They made A-7 look like a blunt nosed F-8. Though for A-7 they decided to use the Rolls TF-41 vice the PW J-57. Damned shame if you ask me. I was never fond of Turbo Fan engines. Thanks for the listen, and the trip down memory lane. Later, Beej
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"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." <grin>
Military aircraft design considers only as an 'afterthought' how easy or 'delightful' the plane is to fly.
Pretty much everything else pales into insignificance, vs the ability to 'get the mission accomplished'.
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On Sat, 05 Mar 2005 19:49:56 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

I didn't think I was going to have to explain this. "Delight to fly" in the military sense means being able to go into the fight with the fastest, quickest (not the same thing), best armed ship in the fight. The P-51 was always that (in WWII) and didn't require the pilot to have to manhandle it out and back. Thus, "delight to fly" has/had more than one implication.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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First time pilots would sometimes flip on takeoff from the engine torque. Once that was overcome, it was a sweet machine. IMO, it is the best looking, most graceful military plane ever built. At least one step ahead of the Corsair. If I could own any one plane, it would be the 51D
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LRod wrote:
<snip>

I always thought so too, until I learned Richard Bong, the top U.S. ace of WWII did it in a P-38 Lighting.
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wrote:

And #2 (McQuire?) was a P-38 pilot, too, I believe.
However, different theater, different adversary.
Incidentally, of the top ten U.S. aces (and ties) in WWII, three of the fourteen flew P-51s, three flew P-38s, two flew P-47s, two flew F6Fs, two flew Corsairs, one flew a Spit!?!?, and one flew an F4F.
Just to reinforce Chuck Yeager's (and many others') feeling, that it's not the airplane, it's the pilot, Joe Foss, the 2nd highest Marine ace and #7 on the list, flew the F4F. The Wildcat isn't even in the top ten of WWII fighters.
(Top ten WWII fighters, in no particular order: P-51, P-38, P-47, F6F, F4U, Spitfire, Hurricane, BF-109, FW-190, Zero. One should somehow find a way to include the ME-262; maybe a top eleven?)
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
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I believe you are refering to the competition for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which will replace the F-16, F-18 and Harrier, not the F-22. I'll grant you that neither plane was exactly pleasing to the eye, but the losing Boeing entry was downright strange looking. At least the Lockheed entry looked something like a conventional jet fighter.

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wrote:

If you are referring to the JSF competition (it doesn't replace the F-22, merely complements it -- like the F15/F16 combination), the DoD picked the better looking of the two when choosing the Lockheed F-35. The Boeing entry was bad-ugly (IMO), it looked like a sleek fighter was trying to get out, but was trapped by this ugly bulge on the fuselage underside. Kind of like the sleek fighter had landed on top of an A-6.

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Sat, Mar 5, 2005, 2:52pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@pobox.com (LRod) says: <snip> amazingly, the DoD selected the uglier of the two.
I think it would be more accurate to say the selection was done by politicians, not military, and looks had nothing to do with it. Altho to claim a politician actually has "taste" would be stretching it.
But, with politicians involved, their first consideration probably was what possible benefit they'd get out of selecting it, rather than function, effectiveness, etc., or even cost. You just cannot trust politicians to put any priority first, over themselves.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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Sure is.
How often do we see the question, what is the best (fill in: automobile, table saw, gas range, camera, stereo, hand gun, plane, pencil, whatever)?
Invariably, someone will tout a high priced item while another says my Harbor Freight version gets the job done. There is something about quality and craftsmanship that cannot be put into works alone. It is the feel, the sound, the resonance in one's heart that says, "this is quality".
Getting the job done is important, but what make it satisfying in the joy of the journey.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome /




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I think the connection with the tool is important. It motivates and inspires me to do better and more work. Your personal values dictate which tool you find attractive. I like old stuff. I had a 53 Ford pickup and wouldn't even look at the newer trucks which to me were shaped like bricks. I finally did buy a new 98 Ram because it had the high crown hood and prominent fenders that reminded me of my 53. In tools, I have or had a shop filled with what some people refer to as antiques. My tablesaw was a Yates G89 made in 1933. It had direct drive and a top that took 5 men to lift. My bandsaw is a Walker Turner 16 with cast iron everything. I have a South Bend 16 inch lathe shipped on St Patty's day ion 1945. I have a friend that is in to new, Italian, and expensive. His cars, cookware, tools were all the latest and greatest. He had no patience to work with old and clunky. My Yates served me well for 10 years and inspired me to ever more difficult projects. I finally sold it and bought a new Powermatic cabinet saw so I could install a sliding table. Worst decision I've made tool wise. The factory sent me three replacement tops to get one that was right. max

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[snipperectomy]

Zactly! You can't put your finger on it.
I agree with LRod that the P51 was a sexy looking bird.I am attracted to the Supermarine Spitfire for the same reason.
The Mosquito bomber is attractive in the same way Julia Roberts is attractive. In an odd way. *EG*
Didn't know so many flyboys are dorkers. Me thinks the thread spun out a little..LOL
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