Corded and cordless. Spring-loaded riving knife and anti reverse (in
It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the Festool.
Since it has been out in Europe, has anyone seen any comparisions in
the EU press?
I got the press release on this a week or so ago. Impressive sounding.
I've got the Festool, with track, and it is a wonder. I'll be using
that later this week to slice some 20 year old oak faced plywood, a
job I won't leave to just any tool. I'd love to get one of the
DeWalt's for a comparison.
My guess, though, is that all the mags already have that lined up.
Dave - Parkville, MD wrote:
Not exactly on topic, but I would like to see someone like you get a
hold of that thing myself.
I am pretty sick of "product testers" checking out new tools in these
magazines. Guys that might be testing screwdrivers one week, blenders
and toasters the next, are testing tools for specific use when most
have no knowledge of the tool in general.
As tool costs rise for quality tools, I want to see in depth,
practical use tests for the tools, not tests set up by a committee
after talking to the manufacturers to see what their specific design
Many times "field guys" have a different set of specific requirements
than "shop guys". For example, I am all for huge battery life, but
not if the tool is so flimsy that if it falls off the tailgate it
smashes into a million pieces. Yet how many times, other than tools
that were specifically designed and sold with this as a feature, do
they drop the tools on concrete? How waterproof are the workings?
They have been doing those tests with laptops for years, and I'd bet
money more people are careful with their laptops than they are with
their cordless tools.
And while I am glad table saws are tested with Forester blades and
their equivalents, I want to see how saws test out with a simple good
quality blade on it, one you can buy at a local machine shop.
Forester blades can make just about any saw look good.
Same with sanders. I would love to have a $500 disk sander, but how
much actual difference would you see if I took my $250 Swiss made
Bosch with super premium paper in it as a comparison? No matter how
premium it is, $250 difference will buy you a stack of sandpaper.
Before someone starts up, I want to make it clear I am not bagging on
someone's sander, the tool was used for purposes of illustration
only. Same with the saw.
The point is that most of the nitwits that design and test the tools
in these reviews have no more business doing so than I do building a
I just want practical tests, that's all. How about taking two sanders
and clicking the retaining button on the trigger closed and let them
run all out for an hour, rest an hour, run an hour, rest an hour,
etc., for a month and THEN test the output? After all that's only 80
hours of work time based on an 8 hour day in the lab. Even for a home
shop guy, that's pretty low mileage for a sander, maybe replicating a
year or so work.
To me, that would constitute a more valid test since you would know
how much tool you will have in the long run.
But you know... they just don't ask me.
Anyway, back to work.
Robert! You might be happy to know that I heard Consumer Reports is going
to put power tools, washing machines, and cam corders in the same test and
see how they all stack up against one another. LOL. I hear you!
I think Charlie is our man of choice for the job.
Oh, great. Now they have have found out a way to take it to the next
level of silliness. I can't wait until we see the "router shootout"
and the "cordless drill showdown" articles. And while Consumer
Reports means well, they use tests that are designed around parameters
specified by their team of product testing engineers.
I am sure that they will have some tests that have merit; but still,
no more than some of the woodworking magazines.
I quit reading almost all tool reviews as they always end with trying
to soothe the feelings of the crappy product manufacturers. I can't
stand to read the reviews like these;
"If you want a tool that allows you to set it up to <your> own
specifications, this may be the tool for you". READ: This POS was so
screwed up when we pulled it out of the box we had to take a couple of
hours just to adjust it to usable standards so we could try to test
"We found the manufacturer's instructions to be difficult to
understand, but a call to tech support helped us sort things out".
READ: A Chinese mathematician couldn't decipher the instructions, and
after a day of trying to figure them out, we called tech support.
Thankfully, one of our assistants spoke Kurdu, so he was able to get
us squared away with an hour and a half of long distance time.
"We were unable to test this product at this time due to a glitch in
the product which the manufacturer assures us has been addressed and
won't be a problem in the future. READ: Due to piss poor quality
control, we were shipped a machine with a cracked work surface and a
dead motor. We didn't see the crack until the next day since we
worked late into the night because we had so much trouble putting this
POS together. And we had no way to test the motor to know it was dead
until we had it mounted on the assembled machine with its mounts.
Come to think of it, Consumer Reports can't do much worse than the
woodworking magazines, could they?
As a field sales guy, my comment to the product engineer was always
the same when a new product was to be introduced and an O&M manual
needed to be written.
The conversation would go something like this:
Me: Are you either married or have a S/O?
Me: Are they technically trained?
When you are finished writing the manual. give it to your wife and/or
S/O and have them read it.
If they can understand it, you have written a good manual.
If not, you have work to do.
All of which begs the question, What ever happened to tech manual
writers, much less tech manuals?
Again, I've written manuals, and I think they were pretty well done.
The problem is, most distributors do NOT want to spend the price even
for printing a new manual, never mind photographing and writing it.
When they do pay, the amount is so small the time put into manual
writing has to severely limited. Not only do most distributors also
have their own ideas of what a manual should like like, the writer/
photographer runs into a lot of "givens," l'il items that the
distributor thinks MUST be done a certain way. It takes more than a
week to write a good manual, and there's a lot of different kinds of
work involved, from studio photography of the tool and its parts to
setting the tool up, running it, adjusting it, repairing it (or
simulating repairs) that may double that time, IF a complete manual is
done. Most are incomplete, covering assembly, adjustment and operation
and can be done in about a week. But that still requires amortization
of tools, photography gear, shop, etc., being included in the fee.
I've got relatively low end DSLRs ($1,000 each) and relatively cheap
($400 each) studio flash units, but outfitting all that for use has
cost me well over $15,000 in the past three years. Basically, I have
to get around $2,000 per *incomplete* style manual to make it worth my
while...that's for a stationary tool, such as a bandsaw. Obviously,
it's faster and cheaper to do such a manual for a drill, cordless or
corded, or a circular saw or similar small tool.
The stationary tools need a lot of heavy lifting, too, something I am
beginning to avoid. At this moment, my right knee is panting,
"Oxycodone, oxycodone, oxycodone" while I try to feed it Tylenol
instead. Age and battering take their toll, and the thought of setting
up and adjusting 24", or even 18" bandsaws, is not one I really want
to entertain too often.
If you can show distributors where a better, more comprehensive and
understandable manual might help him grind the faces of the
competition, he might jump for it. But that's an iffy proposition. Do
any of us buy tools because a manual is great or because the tool is
great? Some of the worst manuals I've ever seen came with someof the
best tools--Laguna's 18" bandsaw was an example. The manual was close
to being an atrocity, aimed at serving for five different saws, some
from of a totally different set up, which was never explained.
Some of the worst manuals I've ever seen came with someof the
Agreed here, however in very recent years starting about the time I bought
my Laguna in the spring of 06 IIRC, Laguna began shipping a DVD with set up
instructions. It all worked out real well with out unanswered questions or
misinterpretations of what the manual meant.
Couple of things.
First, the advent of using modern electronics to create and distribute
information rather than the more costly printed matter format is a
great improvement IMHO.
Second, I'm confused. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to
produce an O&M manual. How does the distributor fit into the process
other than as a critic of past performance?
I'm a technical writer. There's quite a few of us around, they just have to
hire us. Unfortunately, many businesses feel satisfied with the office
secretary writing their limited manuals or letting the Asian to English
translations stand as delivered.
An old high school..jeez, junior high school...friend used to say (he
was an engineer at IBM, who finally moved into management where the
money was) that he had a secretary to straighten out his writing.
These days, he's retired and using Dragon. He's one helluvan engineer,
but he has some difficulty getting a tech point across in writing,
even though he holds it very clearly in his mind and can talk it out
quite well. I find a lot of engineers are like that. The best manuals
I ever wrote were those I did for a company that built assembly line
units for things like motherboards. The things are complex, but I had
them on the floor in factory for as long as needed, with engineers to
explain the quirks. One necessity: the ability to figure out WTF the
engineer is telling you. After that, at least with a digital camera,
all else falls into place easily...in the days before digital, getting
pictures was a real PITA. I had my own darkroom, but reached the stage
I hated to go near it.
Enough. This semi-retired old fart has an article due out Monday, and
wants to spend the weekend shooting photos of light planes, so needs
to get that done.
That reminds me of the argument I usually get into with engineers or some
other exceptionally brilliant person when I'm telling them of their need for
a technical writer. They have degrees and smarts up the yin yang, but just
can't understand that their English language deficiencies mean that they
often fail to properly get some idea across to the layman. And, they
certainly don't understand that their imperfect English makes them look less
intelligent to potential customers.
Kind of tough to get a truly objective evaluation of a product by an
employee or group of employees of a publication that has the product
manufacturer as an advertiser.
Consumer Reports tries, but is a mixed bag on results IMHO.
Practical Sailor tries to evaluate sailboat equipment, but high test
costs make it very difficult to keep afloat with only subscription
revenues as the source of income.
Pushing on a rope has a better chance over the long haul, IMHO.
I did tool testing, round-ups and reviews for Popular Woodworking many
years ago, and for WWJ more recently. At no time did an editor suggest
I ease up. Now, subconsciously, I might have done so, but I sure
didn't do it consciously. We did NOT do drop tests and similar
durability checks, because those tools were tested for shop use, and
because the expense is higher all around for that kind of destructive
testing. First, you have to design something meaningful. I've seen
carpenters screw up a cut on a second story job, and kick the saw out
the window so that it dropped on concrete. Imitating that isn't
sensible. Once you design the durability tests, you have to talk both
the manufacturer and the editor into paying for them. First, instead
of one tool that might or might not get returned, you'll find you need
at least three (we're talking power hand tools here: ain't no one
gonna send you three table saws, same model and specs, for one test).
Second, the tester/writer/photographer has to spend much more time--
and I mean MUCH--doing the durability or destruction testing, after
locating or building what's needed for the test. That means your two
to three week article is now going to take eight to ten weeks. Is the
editor, and by extension the publisher and the advertisers, willing to
pay for that? They may be out there, but I know of NO woodworking
magazine ever that has paid 8 or 10 grand for an article.
I've mangled a tool or six in my life, some by accident and some
deliberately, but generally no one is willing to pay for that
particular knowledge. Yes, they'd like to have it. Yes, I'd like to do
it. But the money simply is not there, or at least it wasn't. It
probably still isn't, especially in a down economy that appears likely
to last for some time. I haven't done tool testing since taking a job
I regretted ever hearing about, but I'm open for offers on
replications of things like how a new Unisaw compares to an old
Unisaw, which was the workhorse of decades of cabinet and furniture
and hobby shop (damned saw is older than I am, at least in its basic
model, and there's not much I can say that about these days). I'm also
open to offers for destruction testing of things like circular saws
(but not the two I have, a Festool and an old Porter-Cable), drills
and various cordless tools. But I doubt I'll get the assignments, nor
will anyone else.
Was told this story when I was a rookie by a senior design engineer.
Seems there was a guy who was all thumbs.
No matter what he picked up, he broke it.
Finally, plant supt had an idea.
Rather than fire the guy, he made him chief product tester and gave
him his own lab space.
He got to play with every new product as part of the design process.
If he could break it, the design engineers had to "fix" the problem.
Don't know if it was just a good story or not, but it sure sounded
When at uni in the 80's, I had a lecturer who'd been a design
engineer at Hewlett Packard. HP had a couple of guys who's sole purpose
in life was to test all products/equipment to destruction in as many
ways as they could devise.
The engineers called them "Frankenstein and Egor".
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