I am familiar with the "back story" on you and this lathe from your
postings to another group. For those who are not, Mr. Hamler has been
a well respected editor/writer in the woodworking publishing end of
this business of many, many years. He was of late a senior editor at
the WoodCraft magazine, and apparently came to blows with management
over this very machine. My understanding is this (and if you are
following this A.J., please correct me where I am wrong):
Mr. Hamler did not like the machine for a mulititude of reasons. He
actually tested it hands on for more than a month, and carefully
evaluated the lathe as he knew this was going to be something that
WoodCraft was going to push as a lower priced, higher capacity lathe
(and something new to sell) to be an alternative to the Jets and
Deltas. Pressure from the WoodCraft magazine owners wanted a good
review, and Mr. Hamler couldn't give one to an inferior pieced of
equipment. Although this is only a reworked Fisch turning center which
itself is looked at as an questionable piece of equipment, this is to
my knowledge the first of the production models that were made in
China, not Taiwan.
(To appreciate the difference in this, look at the all Chinese bandsaws
sold by Delta compared to the Taiwanese saws sold a few years ago.)
The details are heresay after this, so maybe Mr. Hamler could set the
I had heard that he valued his reputation too much to soft sell the
review, and simply would not give the lathe a good review. I had also
heard that he suggested that they wait until production kinks were
ironed out and the lathe be reviewed at a later time to ensure that it
got as fair a shake as possible, especially in light of the fact that
WC was pushing for a >good review<. WC declined, and wanted the lathe
- however it needed to be done - to be well reviewed. Again, Mr.
It should be noted that this is something that is entirely credible.
WC magazine reviews are kind of like having the marketing guys for the
company you are reviewing write the reviews. Why would you review very
many products you don't carry? Why would you give poor marks in a
review for products you advertise, promote and sell?
Well, obviously, you wouldn't, and you couldn't. The WC magazine has
some neat stuff in it and is certainly priced right as a subscription
magazine, but let's face it, it should be considered a strong
advertising vehicle for their parent company with a few woodworking
articles along the way. >>> It is no small coincidence that WC has an
exclusive on these lathes, and will have for probably another 24
months.<<< It is the same deal that the cooked with Jet on the minis
many years ago.
So go figure.... would you print a bad or even questionable review
about your new prize bull? With woodturning being the fastest and
strongest segment of woodworking (according to the manager at our local
WC that was studying company info) I think not.
That being said, apparently (again from what I heard through the
Mr. Hamler drew the line in the sand, refusing to do something he knew
was wrong. Then, in famous corporate jargon, WC decided to "take the
magazine in another direction". In other words, Mr. Hamler was
politely let go. So it seems to me they wanted more of a
mouthpiece/shill rather than a reviewer with skills and integrity.
So if you are still with this thread A.J., how close was I?
I went to WC and looked at the machine when they go them in, and simply
was not impressed. I was suspicious as they would not let anyone demo
a machine, not even the staff. They wouldn't even plug in the display.
So my experience as I posted earlier was from simple observation, then
conversation with the only real woodworker at the store. Like me, he
does woodwork for a living (WC is his second job so he could get some
benefits), and doesn't want to spend his hard earned dough on something
that could be "store credit" later on.
If all this is true, I applaud your sense of personal integrity and so
should others. As a full time woodworker/remodeler/cabinet builder, I
a tired of bland, watery reviews that say nothing. How many times do
we read reviews and think "well hell, that was a lot of nothing. What
a waste of time." Some of the magazines (between the reworks/reprints
of articles from sister publications) seem to fill their pages with
blather so they can actually have more pages on which to sell
I do not have time to look at all the tools out there when I need a new
one and I at least partially rely on a good, in depth review of
machinery from a competent writer. Although we know this happens all
the time, think how pissed off we are when we know we are deliberately
duped. There is a fine line in advertising that splits highlighting
the good points of something and just flat lying about the low points.
But a tool review is not supposed to be an advertising vehicle. I want
a fair and honest review for my money, warts and all, with no regard
for the seller's bottom line.
Once more, if you are following this A.J., let us know where you land
and set up shop again.