As mentioned in another reply to this thread, cast iron
ain't what it used to be. A while back I got a new 8"
jointer from Sunhill and the fence was twisted a little.
I could live with the slight bow but the twist made it
useless for edge jointing. So they sent me another
fence. The new fence had a slightly different color and
while that was a little annoying it wasn't enough to
make me return it for another. I just painted it black.
But when I went to install it I noticed that the casting
was a little different. The webbing was deeper and
the main bolt hole in the center of the fence was in
the wrong place to line up with the fence tilting
mechanism. I decided that instead of returning it I
would just redrill the hole. It was about 9/16" and I
was wondering how it would drill in my drill press. I
lined it up and turned the chuck and bit by hand to make
sure it was aligned properly. I couldn't believe when
just turning the bit by hand started metal curls peeling
up from the fence. The bit wasn't new or exceptionally
sharp but the metal was so soft I could've drilled this
hole with a brace and bit! I didn't even bother using
the drill lube I had on hand and the hole was cut like
it was hardwood. The counter sink went just as easily.
I asked a friend of mine who owns an automotive
machine shop about this and he said that most of
the cast iron on cheaper car engines and many tools
is made from scrap metal that's just thrown together
and it's not seasoned like it used to be. He said
a lot of engines he machines cut just as easily.
And it's not just the Chiawanese stuff either so the
people who slam the import stuff are doing so without
knowing the whole story. Sure, there may be other
quality control issues involved but most of the cast
iron is worse than it used to be.
Are there any major tools, (TS, DP, jointer, etc.)
that are anywhere close to being affordable that are still
made in the USA? For me, Canada and Chiawan are
about the same politically or any other way when it
comes to tool purchases and supporting USA
companies. All of the major power tools I own are
made overseas and when I bought them there was
nothing that I found that was made in the USA that was
an option. The last tool I bought was the Smart Miter
made in the good ol' USA by Jointech. It's the worst
tool I've ever bought combined with the worst customer
service I've ever experienced. Just unbelieveable!
Close to $300 down the drain. For that looong ugly
story look here:
So what can ya do? Suck it up and get used to
hit-and-miss quality. While my experience with the
Sunhill jointer contained numerous screw ups and
quality control issues, (others I didn't mention) at
least they paid a bundle of money in shipping each
way for a new jointer and then the defective fence
and they threw in a bunch of free stuff to keep me
happy. Hard to overlook the quality control issues