What gives with Makita and Hitachi routers?

I was looking at routers on ebay to see if I could get a nice recon or just a good buy. I feel bad buying a brand new one as I already have seven...
BUT... I don't have a lightweight router except my DeWalt laminate trimmer set!
I wanted to buy a router to dedicate to the new Akeda jig I will be ordering tomorrow, one that I can easily set up and adjust. All my other routers have homes and do specific tasks, and that works for me.
I was surprised that the sold prices on the Hitachi and Makitas are almost cheap. Some are outright cheap. Some don't even get bids. I have DeWalt, Bosch, PCs, my first Sears (32 years old and it still runs!) and those first three are my preference in certain models.
I can see NOT buying the Hitachi as I would feel like I was looking at a comic book Martian while I was trying to use the tool. But I have understood from the guy at Lowes that the Hitachi tools sell well and they have little problems with them. And I thought those newer Makitas were supposed to be great with their quiet operation and all.
So why are they so cheap?
I also found out something from a friend of mine, and he's usually right about these things. Sears has switched from the Bosch line for some of their routers to same manufacturer that makes Porter Cable. I may have to drop by tomorrow and check that out. Anybody know anything about that?
I wouldn't doubt it. I remember how stunned I was when I went to Sears for their sanding belt blowout and saw the Bosch 1617 branded as Sears. I contacted Bosch, and they told me it was the EXACT router as the Bosch. They no longer sell it branded as Sears, but I think they do have a couple of other routers made by the Bosch conglomerate.
Robert
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I figure it's the result of the marketing industry thinking that fashion plays a large part in the decision to purchase a product. And, just the fact that you'd feel out of place using one of those comic book martians for your woodworking validates that idea, only in reverse. Consider that the average home owner or neophyte woodworker knows very little about woodworking tools, at least not to the extent that many people here do. They'd be drawn to your green martian just out of (mistaken?) fashion sense because they've got little else to go on. Being experienced woodworkers, we know better, but we too want to be accepted by our coworkers and so in this case, we wouldn't use a green martian whereas the average person would or might.
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wrote in message

I agree. Hitachi, while a decent product, seems to be trying to appeal to all buyers and has to use eye catching design to draw you towards their product if you don't know one from the other. Once purchased the short comings may become obvious. Personally I find that the wild design of the Hitachi products tend to confuse me when I am looking for a particular lever, button or switch. The critical adjustment parts tend to blend right in with the camouflage design. One in particular that is confusing is the Hitachi SCMS. Makita is sorta following with their Lithium Ion drills as is Panasonic.
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On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 23:55:09 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Now that would be a shock. Porter Cable hasn't private branded for at least thirty-five years or so. But they are part of B & D now so.....
Until a few years ago, all PC routers were made in their own facility in Jackson, TN. There was no contract manufacturer. Then I believe they eliminated their winding lines and bought wound components. More recently I think they moved assembly to Mexico but kept the machining of components in Jackson, TN. But I think these facilities are all owned by B & D, not contracted.
I'm glad all my corded PC stuff is prior to this transition.
Frank
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wrote:

It would certainly explain why their products "ain't what they usta be". Not too long ago I know that PC went to great efforts in their manufacturing process to turn out a durable quality product.
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At this point in our globalized world of production, I would be surprised if these guys weren't simply jobbing the whole machine out the way Sears used to do it.
I remember when I had old Craftsman saws that were old when I got them in the mid 70s and the guys at the repair shop told me they were made by an appliance manufacturer under contract to Sears, to their specs.
I am to the point where I don't care too much anymore about where the product is made. I was buying tools when all of us on the jobsite would hoist our pants and spit when someone said their new tools were made in Taiwan. Disgusting. Chinese tools? Please get that foreign piece of crap out of here.
Now Taiwan (yeah, I know... R.O.C.) is preferable to China. But not always. And so few tools are made in the USA anymore. And it is little comfort to me that the recent surge in Eurotools are branded with a certain name, but are not playing under the same rules as US manufacturers. If Metatbo wants to make a drill from parts made all over the world " a la DeWalt " they can still say it was made in Germany if it was assembled there. US companies must say where the parts came from they exceed (help me out - 42% ?) an aggregate number from foreign sources, or are assembled elsewhere.

Me too, Frank. I was actually looking on ebay to see if I could steal another PC 7529. I have had the one I used regularly for years, and it still runs like a top. It took a while to get used to the controls, but that is well made up for by the quality of the machine.
Robert
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wrote:

What i've seen in hitachi and my experience is in cordless so i'll speak from that perspective They are well made and well balanced and when you include the third battery that they keep promoting youve got an impact that is comparative to the Dewalt and makita in price (Usually a bit cheaper) with an extra battery.
They ARE made in china but appear to be well built. I dont think they skimped on quality to drive costs even lower at this point but they did choose to make them in a country with low manufacturing costs. That is a frequent source of complaints on chinese anything and i dont think Hitachi or Makita are skimping.
But another reason over here is that in a sea of yellow tools its very easy to say "Pass me the slime colored impact" and impossible to mistake it. I dont think any of us buy tools to be pretty and the styling on the hitachi is noticeably FUGLY.
I think they're doing some smart manufacturing to keep the prices down and frankly overall the third 18V lithium battery won me over. Heavy users wont pay the extra price for a tool they cant use hard. And homeowners wont pay hundreds for a tool that gets used ocasionally and will still last for years.
I think they also did something REALLY smart too and i need to investigate it more. I think they make one tool body per voltage and allow batteries to be interchanged by voltage (My impact and chanrger will connect to and charge up a NICAD or a NIMH as well as the lithium) if the tools are just as strong then perhaps it might be smarted to buy the nicad or NIMH powered tool and use the litiums in it.
But i have not investigated that yet since i don't intend to go tool shopping soon.
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<snip

You hit the nail on the head as to why Hitatchi went with this wild design. The very thing everyone is talking about (buying tools based on fashion i.e. DeWalt) is whats got them (Hitatchi) to this point. Its the "if you cant beat em join em" thing. DeWalt has clobbered the market mainly due to contractors wanting all yellow and paying less attention to quality. DeWalt has made, and still makes, a lot of crappy tools since B&D sent DeWalt into the consumer market. The vast majority of these tools are sold to people who are far less scrutinizing than the people in this group. Drive onto any jobsite and DeWalt will likely be the predominant tool, but then ask the contractors why they buy DeWalt and they cant tell you. They will default to quality but its usually a reply they stumble to after a few seconds of head scratching. The yellow fever was a marketing masterpiece and has paid dividends a million fold.
I have asked other contractors this question countless times. These are usually guys that come up to me with an 18V cordless weighing about 800lbs hanging off their belt. They carry on all day about their aching back and here I am with a 12 or 14.4v makita impact zipping in screws right along side them. So I swap out an extra battery, I can carry an extra with me at all times and still carry less load then that drill. Forget about when I run around all day with a 10v Bosch Impactor! With battery and motor technology and especially impact drivers, the need to carry around these big drills is diminishing.
Its yet another instance of marketing driving the market and the marketers making the decisions rather than the consumer. I too am in the column of people who just couldnt own a tool that looks like the Hitatchi. I actually looked hard at the SCMS and its a really nice saw, rigid, pretty well designed, the DRO would go the trash, but I just couldnt handle that saw sitting on my job hehe.
Mark
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When you go to look at the new Sears routers, write down the model number. If they still use the three digit manufacture code in the model number (the first three numbers before the ".") you should then be able to google around and find a list of all the Sears manufacturer codes.
I used that methodology when I bought my Sears 14" band saw (clearance priced at $150). I found that the manufacturer code was Rexon so I contacted Rexon and bought the 6" riser kit for $50 (which included shipping).
Wayne
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Good tip, Wayne. Thanks - I'll do that.
Robert
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wrote:

I don't know. I do know that after I bought one Makita to replace a dead Dewalt I ended up buying a second one. Even new they are cheaper. They are pretty much all the same. The main thing I like about them (other than that the motor hasn't gone BOOM like the Dewalt) is that in the plunge base the release is a momentary switch. On the Dewalt it was up is unlocked, down is locked and every once in a while the sucker would just pop up on me because it wasn't completely locked. You do NOT want this to happen with a dovetail bit that is larger than the guide bushing. That would be VERY VERY BAD. The Makita is locked unless you are pressing the lever. I found the handles to be more comfortable too. You do need a screwdriver to lock the motor into the plunge base, but you're going to leave it that way all the time so no big deal.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Apropos the design, I think of it as Rap Design. They look like you ought to get a pair to wear on your feet. I've noticed that a lot of SUVs and trucks have borrowed the same style. Nissan seems the worst in that department.
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I guess this kinda makes the point... no on here is actually admits or claims to using the Makitas or Hitachis, just LEGEND (thanks for the input BTW!).
Still wondering why...
Robert
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Though, I'm no expert on power tools, I believe many shoppers are more familiar with the brand name merchandise of Dewalt, P-C, Bosch, etc. due to being used by construction contractors, whereas Hitachi and Makitas, though, have been around for many years, are considered more of a home buyers tool. Though, I have seen Makita, Hitachi, even Craftsman on job sites and I have used a Makita cordless drill and currently use a Hitachi router and table saw, I can honestly say these tools have been flawless for many years. Therefore, my overall assumption would be the purchasers believe they are buying a better quality product with the Dewalt, PC, etc. This was my line of thinking prior to my purchasing more power tools since I moved into my home a few years back. But, I could be completely wrong.
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No doubt.
due to

Actually, when Makita and Hitachi were introduced to us contractors back around 1980, they were the Festool of the day. I had a Hitachi hammerdrill that worked well for about 20 years and was used hard. It had bronze cut helical gears in the transmission, and it tore through concrete like a champ. Using the Hitachi line of tools was like using a precision machine to perform a task. The tools were made only in Japan, and they were something. They actually cost more than Milwaukee at that time!
I liked that hammerdrill so much I bought Hitachi screwguns (same vintage, 2 of which run today) and a circular saw. The saw ran fine, was very smooth but had a 10.5 amp motor - not enough for me. Then of course there is the venerable M12 router, a design so good it is in production today after about 20 years on the line.
I have had less luck with all Makita tools. I like their 15 amp circular saw and I use it a lot, but other than that, no experience.

I don't think so. I think you are on to something about the idea of those tools being a homeowner/serious craftsman line of tools. The styling of the new Hitachis certainly reflects that. The lower end "affordable" tool lines they both make seems to bear that out.
But I keep beating the bushes, and no one seems to use the newer lines of tools from either Hitachi or Makita.
That doesn't raise much confidence.
Thanks for the reply!
Robert
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I still see a lot of framing crews using Hitachi nailers ... haven't seen a Senco on a framing crew in this part of the country for a few years now.
--
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Last update: 12/14/07
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wrote:

Are you kidding? <G>
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