FInally got to use my fancy new Delta (14-651) mortiser last evening.
The set-up and all the other stuff associated with this toy was
relatively straightforward. I did a few test mortises and found the
chisels sharp, easy to swap in and out and simple to fine tune.
After lining up my first actual workpiece on the machine (the leg for
an outdoor bench), I switched on the machine and began to lower the
chisel into the wood. After entering the piece, the handle broke off
the machine. Yikes. I shut off the machine with the chisel half
inbedded in the wood. After closer inspection, the gear that holds the
handle and manages the raising and lowering of the chisel had broken in
half. The cast iron piece had cracjed into pieces. Metal fatigue?
Delta is shipping a new piece, no questions asked.
Not meaning to sound cynical or anything, but shouldn't you be asking some
Like how is it a simple part like this broke in the first few minutes of
using the machine?
And perhaps most importantly, was this part produced in china by prison
I would be willig to bet that this sort of thing is much more common now
than it used to be. And it will become even more common in the future.
I anguished over whether to buy it at Amazon for $140 last week. Didn't
really need it, but such a buy!
The reviews said that the casting wore out real quickly, so I let it go.
Feeling good about that.
Delta's "best" benchtop mortiser. So much for B&D ownership improving the
.... and welcome to the United Corporations of America, where, until lawyers
are no longer allowed to hold public office and MBA's are shot on sight, you
will continue to see an increase in shoddy goods and services.
Piss poor casting in China.
Why I will no longer consider Delta products of any type in my shop. Sooner
or later one of the pot metal hold down handles will break on this model ...
count on it.
They should reimburse you for your time. As of 2004, I would take it back
and upgrade to a PM ... you may have better luck, maybe.
Good luck ...
Sadly, most of the tool manufacturers are going down that road. Make it
as cheap as possible. Who cares if it only lasts 5 minutes or a year.
Although as consumers, we are to blame. I remember when the imports
started getting popular.. people would say, "Well, it's not as good as
an American Made Delta, but I saved 5-10%, it will probably be good
Well, after every company did a few iterations of cutting corners to
save another %5, we're left with crap, for the most part.
I wonder if there's going to be any decent machines for my sons to buy
when they get old enough to start the hobby?
Well - partially, but not completely. The delta between the cheap stuff and
the better stuff was much more than 5-10% and that's what gave the cheap
stuff a toe hold. In most cases it was closer to 40%. That made a pretty
compelling argument for either the uninitiated, or the very occasional user.
Often times this user didn't know what to even look for and didn't realize
the difference in quality. Their workmanship standards were lower and
simply producing a finished product was all that was important to them, with
no focus on fine fit and finish.
Beyond that are drivers that have nothing at all to do with the consumer.
Corporate profit motives are much different today than they were 20 years
ago. Today everything is measured and analyzed by the day. CEO's are being
paid insane amounts of money to do one thing - improve shareholder equity.
We all have to give up on the daydream that satisfied customers will result
in improved earnings/profits. Over the long term this is true but
corporations no longer look with an eye that sees that far ahead. It's all
about today's profit today. Increasing profit margins begins with and often
ends with cutting cost. Customers are cost. Cut the cost in the product,
run up the margins, bail out. Instant money and move on to the next raid.
Distance yourself from the cost of the customer by outsourcing customer
support to India. Treat the customer like an idiot and stall him until he
just goes away. Remember P.T. Barnum's famous saying. There's a long line
of customers waiting behind the ones that get fed up and walk away.
There is no corporate investment today beyond corporate profit increases.
There is no investment in the employee and there is no investment in the
customer. It was these two investments that built corporations that held
esteemed names in the past, but those names are now only subsidiaries of
hack shops like Black & Decker and holding companies.
Human endeavors are cyclical, so as it once was, once again you can now look
toward Europe, where at least some manufacturers are starting/continuing to
make quality tools.
You have to pay the price, but that is as it should be if you want quality
instead of the crap most Americans are willing to put up with out of
I have an MBA. I also spent a number of years on the factory floor
actually making things. And I've had many face to face contacts with
the end user customers. For educational value, I consider them
So, you are possibly a rare exception to the concepts that foster corporate
greed, the idea that managers need no in-depth experience with a product in
order to "manage", and taught by those who can't spell "Adam Smith",
resulting in what you see happening today in corporate America?
Congratulations for escaping a national shame/disgrace.
Have an MBA myself, and work for a manufacturer that employs almost a
third of a million people. I think Adam Smith was probably the single
most influential human being who did not appear in the Good Book. (I'd
throw our Founding Fathers in there, but then you're talking about a
group, and I specifically said 'single.')
Not a day goes by that I don't want to bitch-slap fully half my
company's product planners.
I don't really have a point here, other than I guess to say not all
MBAs are bad people, Swingman. Although I was a very messy baby...
Right, like lawyers, it is the 98% of them that give the other 2% a bad
reputation. Too many people that have great book learning have never had
any practical experience. Some of the blame is to the companies that give
them a nice office and neglect to give them a few weeks on the factory floor
to see how things are really made.
I could go on for hours with real life examples of that sort of thing and
no, it does not have to be an MBA, just a person with no "practical"
education. You know you are in trouble when a conversation starts out with
"on paper this will . . . . . ".
It needs to go beyond that; they need to be made to actually *use* the
things they are building -- to the point that their livelihood or at least
comfort depends upon the product. You can make absolute crap buildable and
a pleasure for the folks on the factory floor -- it's the end user who pays
the ultimate price for so-called "value engineering"
It's not just machinery: "Modern Marvels" had an episode on Coffee. The
part I saw was talking about how after the original founders of Maxwell
House, Folgers, and Hills Brothers retired and left the business to MBA's,
the MBA's started blending more and more of the low-cost Robusta coffee
beans with their product. One of the show's commentators made the comment,
"basically people were drinking swill".
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
Is that any different than expressing the sentiment that anyone who
buys crap should be shot on sight?
It's not simply a supply side myopia. People don't sell what people
don't buy. There are many people who believe that squeaking by with a
purchase is a cost effective way of buying. People who rely on their
tools and equipment, or other item, to not let them down and hold their
purchases to a higher standard than just being acceptable, are willing
to pay a premium.
It'd be wonderful if the higher standards were prevalent, and the
quality of merchandise greatly improved. Unfortunately that would come
at a price. Far fewer people would be able to afford and/or justify
the purchase at the increased price, economies of scale would go down,
the price would go up further...
It seems to me that it's just another example of the bell curve. The
majority is willing to buy the lower cost, more easily affordable item
that is of acceptable quality (acceptable to them). I'm not about to
restrict other people's right to spend or squander their money. So
who's fault is it, really? The buyer's or the seller's?
You are right on this. I don't know how many shows I've worked and
had small cab shop owners talk machines. They were interested in
absolute reliability, longevity, accuracy and repeatibility, safety
and compliance with safety standards, and service back up. The machine
is just a means to an end. Purchase price rarely came up and only in
reference to comparison to someone else's premium machine.
Unfortunately, they are the smaller market component. The market is
driven by lust for shelf space at the big box and that is all
manufacturers focus on.
Manufacturers have forgotten that they built their reputations on the
what today is the small part of the market.
We are just now beginning to really experience the downside/pain of that
lack of understanding/foresight in the woodworking tool market, but we've
been feeling it longer in other areas.
An excellent example is highly visible in the Oil and Gas business today.
There is one thing that you MUST do in order to survive as a viable energy
company ... you MUST replace your reserves ... NO exceptions ... otherwise
In the past twenty five years management and the virulent crop of MBA's have
succeeded in elevating their own positions, while firing all the experienced
scientist and technicians capable of performing that one function absolutely
necessary for survival ... to the point that they must now rely on
acquisitions to replace reserves.
Shortsighted stupidity is putting it mildly ... the shame of it is that, as
a result, we are going to suffer mightily as a nation and people.
When Rome got to the point where it was so corrupt and so bone idle as
to outsource even the military, the empire was marked for death.
The entity that had the best inventors and mechanics of that age
elevated the concept of the person to the degree that only management
was worthy of a Roman.
An MBA may not admire the distinction between a Roman Legion and a
Germanic Legion with Roman officers, but History has told the result
of that misunderstanding.
If we allow ourselves to be directed by our governors to create a
world where real strategic goods are no longer produced within our
boundaries, we will suffer the results of the sin of those who ignore
the lessons of History.
In a previous war we were not better than our competitors in a
tactical sense, but we had the strategic resources to outmanufacture
A Panzer Tank may be better than a Sherman - but a Panzer Tank can
never be better than twenty Shermans.
When we went to Midway we risked our entire fleet, but we replaced
that fleet by one and one half times over the course of the next year
and a half.
The History of America in modern warfare is written in our ability to
outmanufacture anyone on earth.
And we are giving that away.
We need to make things in order to survive.
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
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