I'm considering upgrading my cheapy table saw to a better contractor's
saw. Before this turns into a bashing of brands let me start by giving
my price limit = $400. I'm familiar with most of the saws in this
price range and, from past experience with ot,her tools, am leaning
toward Bosch or Delta (the fence on the Dewalt portable just seems too
limited). One maker I'm considering is Enco. I like that they're an
industrial supplier and they're used to making machines for
metalworking (i.e. tighter tolerances). Has anyone tried the Enco 10"?
If so, tell me what your thoughts.
Enco is not a manufacturer - just a distributor/ re-seller. They contract
with Chi-wanese companies who put Enco's name on anything from machine tools
to, well, anything. I don't think that their name alone speaks for quality.
They handle it all.
I wasn't aware of that C&E. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
At the same time, not to sound too nationalistic, but does America
make anything anymore? :-( I hear all the time that we're a 'service
economy'. Is this "service" maintaining equipment made everywhere else
under the sun.
C & E wrote:
Sure. But things like the high end Powermatics. $3,000 or more.
I just bought a TS at Woodcraft. Made in Taiwan. What's interesting
is the fence (a Biesemeyer clone) is made in Canada as well as the
aftermarket miter gauge.
Enco has good stuff (Starrett, Mitutoyo) as well as not as nice stuff
I really can't speak to any of their house brand table saws and such,
but my initial expectation would be quality similar to Harbor Freight.
Maybe I'm wrong and could be pleasantly surprised that the Enco stuff
is actually pretty good.
Anyway, if $400 is the your limit, why not search around for a good
used TS? Check your local paper, community papers, the bulletin board
at the grocery store. Or ask around. Someone always knows something.
You could also go to Sears and look at the Craftsman (gasp!) table
My own first table saw was a Craftsman. Over time, it became a really
decent saw mostly due to the addition of a Biesemeyer fence. And all
the other usual updates - zero clearance insert, steel pulleys and
link belt. I never did get around to upgrading the motor. The guy I
sold it too loves it. For him, it was an upgrade from benchtop
machine. Mind you, I started with a *stock* Craftsman saw and
upgraded it over time. In the end, I think it all came to around $900
to $950 in total. From one point of view, it would have been better
to spend the $950 up front and get a better overall machine, but let's
be honest, sometimes the bucks aren't there and ya do what ya gotta
Yes, America still makes things. The trouble is largely at the home
consumer level. There are a lot of fine options for American
industrial equipment, and even a fair number of consumer products
still made right here- provided you're willing to pay for what
something is actually worth when it's made by a free person earning a
I'm with you on the "service economy" nonsense- I don't think that
even includes maintenance in most cases. As far as I can tell, it's
referring to short-order cooks and shelf stockers, though I have to
hope for all our sakes that it means something else.
On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 05:10:35 -0600, Prometheus wrote:
Hate to tell you but it most assuredly does include maintenance. IBM
considers itself to be a service company and is considered to be part of
the service economy, and if you've ever had anything fixed under an IBM
service contract you'll know they're serious about it. Doctors and lawyers
and most other "professions" are providing services. If it's not making
something or moving something then it's probably a service.
Nope- never had anything fixed by IBM. I guess I was thinking of the
FANUC maintenance guys that all seem to be from other parts of the
world (at least going by the very thick accents I've heard from most
of them, though YMMV) and the delightful Indian voices that answer the
phones whenever I try to get a problem with just about anything
Here's the problem with doctors and lawyers as the basis of an
economy, though- it's too circular and localized. While they're jobs
that pay well and are valuable in their own right, not everyone can do
them. We're not (as far as I know) outsourcing medical personnel and
legal advice to other countries on any signifigant basis. Hence the
comment about cooks and stockers- those are the service industry jobs
that the great majority of displaced factory workers are doing, and
they do little or nothing to bring money into our country. When those
people were making things, money was coming in- now, it's going out.
So, the professionals are making money, and that's good for the folks
who are providing these services- but what happens when we're
dependant on the rest of the world for all our tangible goods, but
they decide that they can provide thier own services and don't require
those of the US? All the money in the world won't buy even a box of
nails if there is no one around to make them. Services are important,
sure- but given the choice between that or food, clothing and housing,
I'll choose the physical requirements for survival first every time.
Hell... I've even been hearing radio ads about a new "exciting and
rewarding career opportunity" selling crap on eBay. Didn't anyone
learn the lessions of the first internet bubble? We can't all be
rich, and we can't all be peddlers- somebody has to produce wealth in
the first place.
No matter how far our society progresses, and how different it
becomes, we will always need the basics- I don't know about you, but I
am not comfortable with the idea of everything I need to survive being
produced in another country. Especially when we've got a government
and citizenry that seems to think that the rest of the world doesn't
matter at all, and we can treat anyone and everyone else like shit
On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 00:00:41 -0600, Prometheus wrote:
"Doctors and lawyers" are not the only examples. Try to _think_ about
this. Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, all of
those are in part "service sector".
We aren't outsourcing plumbers either. If it's a job that has to have a
warm body on-site and the site can't be moved then it can't be
outsourced. You can outsource camera repair--shipping a camera to
Elbonia costs peanuts--but shipping an 18-wheeler to Elbonia for
repair is hardly a viable proposition.
The only jobs that "bring money into our country" are jobs involving
exportation. Since the US is the largest single economy in the world
(four times the size of the next largest national economy and about the
size of the entire EU put together) it's little wonder that more gets
imported than exported. You want to "bring money into the country" then
bring the rest of the world up to the US standard so that they can all
afford our goods.
How do they service something that is installed in the US? Do they fly
somebody from Elbonia to do a $50 repair?
And if you insist on making them locally when they can be made for a tenth
the price in Elbonia all you do is price your goods out of the
Housing? Construction is one industry that cannot be outsourced--you need
warm bodies on site to build something. As for food, you were complaining
earlier about "cook" as line of work.
What does snake oil have to do with anything? There are always radio ads
about get-rich-quick schemes.
"Everything you need to survive"? What specific item that you "need to
survive" is produced in another country?
I guess to my mind, the trades are not part of a "service sector",
because they produce tangible goods as an end result- Though I can
see your argument, and if that is what people are referring to when
speaking of the service sector, then I'm a little more comfortable
with the idea.
All right, how about we rephrase my original rant to "keep money in
our country.". The same basic principle applies in either case, and
if I'm wrong, I wouldn't mind being enlightened about this, as the
"service economy" seems to me like a buzzword concept used to justify
a whole lot of things done to increase quarterly profits that aren't
necessarily in our best interests. Might be a load off my mind if I
can see the underlying nuts and bolts of how it is supposed to work.
I know that I have a very simplified version of the system, but
sometimes there is a virtue inherant in simplicity that is only
complicated by spin. So if you can tell me where the reasoning is
flawed, I'll be happy to listen.
Here's what I figure-
If we are making things from our own (or imported) raw materials, we
add value to them by virtue of the manufacturing process- a finished
pulley is more useful and valuable than a raw lump of iron ore, right?
If we are moving finished product from elsewhere around, we are adding
cost to them, but the value is unchanged, correct?
As a by-product of the manufacturing process, we give local people a
way to earn an income, and those people spend that income locally-
which in turn supports those people who are providing services rather
As an added benefit, we know that those products are produced under
the regulations of our social contract, and that in buying them, we
are not supporting child labor, forced labor, or the wholesale
destruction of another area of the world's environs.
We also have an advantage in times of war, when international trade
becomes more complex and difficult. If we make most things inside of
our own borders, we have a renewable supply source for our armies.
This does not just include munitions, but things like cookpots, shoes,
clothing, and computers- along with anything else an army or our own
What we're seeing now is that much of our manufacturing has already
been outsourced to Asia- China in particular. While I have nothing in
particular against the Chinese (indeed, I really like the ones I have
met, and enjoy thier food and cinema,) their (if I may remind you)
communist government has not always been on the best terms with our
China is the #1 ally of North Korea, who has recently declared itself
a nuclear power, and has detonated a nuclear device- following that
action with the declaration that it will attack our country with their
new weapons if we pursue any punitive actions against them for it,
including international economic sanctions. If that happens, I don't
see us apolgizing to Kim Jong Il, and laying down arms- it's far more
likely to result in total war against the North Koreans.
While China may not choose N.K. over the US market, we cannot know for
certain that that will always be the case- especialy if the US uses a
ham-fisted unilateral approach to subduing the Korean threat. If
that, or another, incident brings us into an armed conflict with China
at some point in the future, we're no longer going to have the huge
discount on imported Chinese goods that we enjoy today.
So where are we then? We do not control China. They can do basically
anything they like- despite our military strength. They control over
1/6 of the world's total population, and most of the means of
production. We might eventually win a war against them, but it would
surely hurt us- a lot.
Sure, we could rebuild American manufacturing capabilities- but why
wait until it's do or die time? We can compete with the rest of the
world- one American with modern equipment can produce as many finished
goods in one shift as a village full of rural Indians (for example)
can in a week's worth of toil with hand tools.
What I don't understand is why we don't. We send away our equipment,
materials, and expertise. And after years of this, we're coming to
the state where there are is a majority of people who can run a cash
register with pictures on the buttons- but can't read a tape measure.
These are the people who will need to learn to produce tangible goods
when it becomes necessary- it may not be that hard to train someone to
deburr a part, or reload a shell, but it takes time and money to teach
someone to act independantly to adjust offsets in a CNC controller or
use instruments to maintain quality levels.
Don't believe the lie- we're not all going to be doctors, lawyers,
rock-stars or famous actors. Nobody on this list is likely to be
President some day, and few of us are going to be rich. Anyone that
punches a time clock every day should understand that at a viseral
level. The sucessful are always held up as examples for everyone
else- and there is nothing wrong with that, but that doesn't mean that
every Joe six-pack is going to make it there. To him, the "service
economy" probably means that he's going to be bagging groceries (if
anywhere still does that) instead of running a press- and probably for
a lot less money and self esteem. Good thing there's cheap Chinese
stuff at the discount store for him to buy, so he can furnish his
trailer and still buy anti-depressants, right?
In the 1950s, a guy could work in a manufacturing job and use that
money to buy a house, own a car, and support his family- while his
wife stayed at home and took care of the kids. (I don't care if women
are working or not- that's not my point.) Can we really say that the
rise of the "service economy" has improved the lives of the middle
class? Both I and my wife work full time- I as skilled trade labor,
and she as unskilled factory labor, and barely keep our heads above
water- without any children to look after. If one or both of us were
depending on the income from service jobs, we'd be forced out of our
home within six months. Most people I know are so far in debt
(including professionals in the much touted "service sector") that
they're choosing between decent food, gasoline, or an ever growing
credit-card balance on any given week. If that's what this brave new
world brings us, I think we have a right to question it.
What I'm advocating here is not rocket science, but it does require a
bit of education amongst our population. I'd like to see vocational
education restored to our public schools, and people at least making
an attempt to support American manufacturers and products. That
doesn't mean you can't buy toilet paper at the Walmart- just don't buy
everything from China. As long as we retain some manufacturing
capabilites, we have a pool of workers and experience to draw from if
we need it- and it's likely that some day we will.
If we produce and enhance weath here, wealth is what we have. If just
move money around on computers, it will eventually all be in the
pockets of people on foreign soil.
Why do we need to be in an unbalanced world market? Why not impose
tariffs on foreign importers who abuse their workers, and only allow
free trade with those who increase the standard of living for thier
I've heard the argument that a rising tide raises all ships- but I
don't believe it is true. Seems more like it raises the ocean liners,
and sinks the fishing boats.
A cook is not the same thing as a manufacturing plant that processes
raw food and grain into finished product.
The whole damn country is being continually sold snake oil in shiny
Building materials (though most of those come from Canada in my area,
and I'm comfortable with that)
Food (some, not all of it)
Those are a few examples, and there are probably better ones. The
short and non-specific answer is "almost everything."
Look- I know that I could get together a pile of scrap metal, make my
own knives and axes from it, and eke out the bare necessities for life
by hunting and foraging for my own food and cutting down trees for
heat and shelter, but that's not what I mean by "needs" in a modern
Like I said, I'm open to a clear explaination of how American services
produce tangible wealth. It's quite possible that I'm entirely wrong,
and I'm more than willing to learn something new here that might help
me sleep a little better at night.
On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 22:45:25 -0600, Prometheus wrote:
Trades go both ways--the plumber who's plumbing new construction is part
of the construction industry, but the same guy when he fixes your sink is
Much of our manufacturing of _what_? Our manufacturing of cars and
airplanes hasn't been outsourced to China. Certainly we get a lot of
plumbing supplies and other low-tech items. Woodworking machines
apparently, but how many Chinese made machine tools do you see on factory
I suspect that if the North Koreans actually use a nuclear weapon on
_anybody_ they're going to find the Chinese Army across their border
faster than they can say "Kimchee".
Saying that China is the #1 ally of North Korea is kind of like saying
that a remora is the #1 ally of a great white shark--it's not that
they're good friends so much as that North Korea doesn't _have_ any
If the North Koreans nuke anything belonging to the US and the US nukes
back, I suspect that the Chinese will do a little posturing and secretly
heave a sigh of relief that they don't have to worry about those idiots
in Korea anymore.
Uh, China hardly controls "most of the means of production". If they did
then _they_ would be the world's largest economy instead of being half the
size of Japan.
What makes you think that that village full of Indians is using hand
tools? If the US could compete with the Chinese making low-tech goods
then we would be doing so. Simple fact is that it just plain doesn't take
all that much expertise to make pipe nipples, and for that kind of product
in that kind of volume there isn't any "high tech" solution that will
significantly reduce costs.
And get paid for it.
Don't get me started on education.
And when the US was a manufacturing economy we weren't all Andrew Carnegie
or John D. Rockefeller, most of us were working on an assembly line
for low wages or providing services to those who were.
If he can't find anything else to do then perhaps he'll be bagging
groceries, but most of the grocery baggers I've seen lately have been as
the politically correct expression goes "intellectually challenged".
There are many alternatives to being doctors and lawyers. What do doctors
and lawyers _need_? Give them that and you'll make a living.
If all you know how to do is run a press and there aren't any presses then
you have to learn to do something else. The problem there is not that
there are no jobs but that he doesn't have the skills to get them.
People working on an assembly line today aren't making all that much
either. And yet there seem to be plenty of people around with money for
houses and Hummers.
From _what_ "service jobs"? If you're looking for a service job that you
can get with no training or experience you're going to find yourself on
the bottom of the ladder. Your problem there is not that you're being
forced into a "service job" but that you're unskilled labor. Try to make
ends meet on the kind of manufacturing job you can get with no training or
experience and you'll find that the situation isn't any shinier.
The inability of a given individual to manage his own finances has nothing
to do with the "service economy". Professionals are deep in debt mostly
because of the loans they had to take out to get their education and start
their business, not because the pay is low. In any case, none of the
physicians I know are making such choices.
To what purpose if there are no "vocational" jobs?
So where can one buy a Chinese car anyway?
And their wages will increase and eventually we'll be able to compete in
the low-tech manufacturing sector again.
Fine, impose tariffs. What do you think that will accomplish other than
that they'll impose tariffs back and we'll be able to export even less
than we do now.
So other than ethnic specialties what "finished product" commonly sold in
the US is imported?
Thats news to Malden Mills. Yes, there are many imported textiles
but that does not mean that there is no US textile industry.
This may come as a shock to you, but the US doesn't have enough oil in the
ground to meet our needs on an ongoing basis--we could run for a while on
the strategic oil reserve but that is there for the war scenario that you
seem to be worried about. There isn't anything that can be done about
this except to stop using oil.
What tools? "Tools" covers a huge range of products. Are you talking
about hammers or about semiconductor fabrication lines?
So let's see, we import Douglas Fir from China? Do tell.
Well, let's see, in my kitchen the crappy stuff says "China" and the good
stuff "Toledo, Ohio" on the bottom.
Well, now, the US doesn't have the climate to grow bananas and if you want
fresh fruit in the winter you don't have a lot of choice. The US has
_always_ imported a certain amount of food, but the US exports far more
than it imports.
I'm sorry, but I don't put this under the heading of stuff I need to
survive. I remember when the only "communication components" in the house
were one telephone.
Why would you want to do such a thing?
The same way that Chinese manufacturing produces tangible wealth. You
find something that somebody is willing to pay for and you provide it.
So which is it, does it matter or doesn't it? Sounds to me like you want
to close the US borders to all foreign trade and let the rest of the world
The argument has been made that int'l trade makes war less likely, as
governments would be loath to lose that income. Firstly, that assumes that
governments act logically. Suuure they do :-). And secondly, such trade is
always going to have winners and losers - and sore losers can start wars.
So I'm agreeing with your statement. Int'l trade makes any country involved
in it more vulnerable in time of war. And it does not make war less likely.
Very true. I grew up in such a household. My mother never even learned to
drive, nor did she want to. My father, a linotype operator, bought a new car
each year (for his old car and $600).
As I've said in other discussions, the loss of manufacturing jobs imposes a
heavy penalty on those of us without the education, intelligence, or
inclination to adapt to high-tech, 9-5, suit and tie, cubicle dwelling jobs.
And that's a good percentage of the population.
I've entered this discussion late, so if I'm repeating points that others have
recently made I apologize.
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