Brothers and sisters in shavings, splinters and dust, I ask about the following:
A 3 x 21 inline belt sander just showed up at the local HD.
Looks nice...heavy...flush-sands.. 3 year warranty.
A free 1/4 sheet sander tossed in and....wait for it....a bag!
Turns out that I actually need a 1/4 sheet sander, the deal seems pretty good as
my 3x21 Porter Cable is starting to do it's motor-bearing thing again..and I'm
REALLY tired of fixing it.
I'm not prepared to invest in the fabulous 'choo-choo' PC sander at this point,
but it is clear that the Ridgid belt-sander designers have closely looked at the
So... what do we know about this sander?
This thing (R2720 Ridgid) has a soft start 10-amp motor.
That's a lot of balls for a belt sander.
The Ridgid sells for $219 Can. (PLUS I get a freebie 1/4 sheet sander),
I can't find the choo choo for under $800 Canadian.
Do I want a choo-choo? Yup! Do I want to eat? Yup!
Okay... twice the money I can get my head around.
THREE times the money starts messing with my common sense... I mean come
ON!......but... If I had a great week and made out like a bandit on a
few fast granite deals...okay...at $599...maybe.... but at
EIGHT_FRICKIN'HUNNERT????... Lew.. I just can't make myself do it.
$ 800 buys a lot steel to build a 4 x 8 router table.
I say buy the HD and try it out. If you don't like it, they will take
it back and either credit your acct., credit card, or give you back
As a contractor that burns tools up, I am tired of paying 2 - 3X as
much for a tool that performs as well or maybe 10% better than a big
time name brand. I am beginning to buy today's crappy tools not
because of what they do as much as the warranty they carry to protect
their sorry product. I don't believe that the PC sander is actually
THREE times better than the HD.
And speaking of warrany, doesn't the HD line carry either a 2 year or
lifetime warranty (depending on the tools) a this point? What is the
PC warranty these days?
They have actuaries calculate all this stuff. A lot of warranties are
handled by companies that do nothing but warranties.
(They sell 10,000 sanders, 1 ends up in a solid surface shop and needs
to be replaced 3 times...so what??)
That's pretty much where I'm coming from as well, Robert.
There is no doubt that the PC 504 is an incredible sander, but how good
can it be? Or.... how good does it need to be?
There's a 3-year warranty on the Ridgid R2720.
I used to do that sort of thing all the time. Now with all the nonsense
at the border, the exchange rate, stuff you pay on the way back....
still 3 times as much as the R2720 Ridgid.
I'm going to take another look at it next time I'm at the Borg...I need
some 1/2" MDF to make some templates anyway...soooo
Well Robatoy, after reading the review from your link, I know what I
would do. Especially if it came with a small finishing sander. I have
two sanders from them, one is the 6" ROS that looks like the Bosch with
the extended handle, and 5" that you hold the housing. Both variable
speed. The 6" even has a variable stroke.
I bought these when they had the famous "lifetime" warranty on them,
which I understand is back. I bought these because I had torn up my
last PC sander, and I found the DeWalt sanders I used to be nothing but
crap. Expensive, but crap. I was glad when they died out so I could
throw those rattling bastards away.
So I put the guys out on a house with the 6" HD sander with 60 and 120
grit to sand fascia. I was determined to really show my commercial rep
at HD how crappy his tools were, too. He did not care; he said "go for
it.. what do I care?" His reasoning was yours; most tools they sell
are weekend tools, some heavy weekend use, and lots of one project
tools. How many actually wind up in the hands of contractors? While
they were told at training that they were trying to tap the contractor
market, they wanted pricing to be homeowner friendly.
To sum it up, the sanders work better than any other I have owned. I
am disgusted. I wanted these to be crappy tools as I would like to buy
SOMETHING that is an old school branded tool that works better than
Chiawanese tools. But they built these tough. The 6" has sand MILES
of fascia/siding and trim to prepare for paint. Yet it still hums
right along and does good finishing on a new cabinet preparing for
The 5" gets the worst of it. The guys drop it, throw it in the tool
box (the carrying case long destroyed) and generally use the damn thing
as a grinder. Runs like a champ. As much as I hate seeing these tools
on my job (I want my clients to think I am using something they can't
just walk down and buy at the lumberyard equivalent of WalMart) I have
bough another one of each of these sanders and they stay in my truck in
their cases for me to use as needed.
I think you and I are the same vintage and remember when you bought a
tool, you used it hard on the job for a couple of years, and you took
it to the job for new bearings and cord. Then a couple of years later,
new bearings, cord and switch. Then repaired as needed. I have an old
Rockwell saw (long retired) that I bought in 1975 that has had 3 sets
of bearing put in it and it still runs like a sewing machine. I have a
Milwaukee saw that I bought in 1977 that has had 5 sets of bearings,
several cords and now has a heavy duty hammerdrill switch in it. It
was worth rebuilding years ago, and it was cost effiecient.
Now, the saws cost what they did 30 years ago (Rockwell 315 and 346C
were $125) and rebuilding costs as much or more than a new saw. My old
Milwaukee that served as me so well is no longer worth rebuilding. The
trigger is a little iffy (this one lasted 10 years though) and the cord
is frayed at the housing and literally smoked last time I used it, and
it really needs new bearings. Cost from Milwaukee repair here was the
same as our little tool repair shop: new bearings $85, new trigger
$42, new cord made to fit but not OEM is $22. All prices include
labor since they would have the saw apart anyway for bearings.
So the "old school" brands have us where they want us. Use the tool
until it breaks or it needs maintenance, and it is time to throw it
away. And they secure this position by having shorter and shorter
warranties on them. They are trading on their name, and that is an
account long overdrawn with me.
So if a tool pops up that has any kind of "lifetime" or one/two year
warranty, I would really be inclined to try it, especially if I could
take it back, if it was aggressively priced, and there was a good
chance that I could actually wind up with a good tool in the process.
And if this sander now comes with a 1/4 sheet sand as a "gimme" for
trying out the new product, I would probably go for it. (Yup, after
buying the 6" and the 5", I bought the 1/4 too, and it has outlasted
the Dewalts and kept up with the PC.)
PLEASE do us all a big favor and let us know what you think if you buy
and use this machine. I would love a tool review on this machine if
you could take a few minutes and commit your thoughts to writing.
I've been using the PC 333 and 334's the same way--did every square inch
of a the old barn which is 38x66x40 at the ridge/14 ft side walls 90 yr
old fir and SYP siding...one set of bearing replacements in each of two
and a repair on the lead to the windings on one which was dropped from
the very top of the barn to a concrete slab...
I think the PC 5" ROS is still primo -- only problem I've had is that
the plastic wing on the inside of the dust collection flange eventually
wears a slot into the housing and then loosens so it vibrates. I've
added a large diameter o-ring inside the housing to tighten them back
Replacement bearings for the PCs are $18/full set from local bearing
supply altho I think PC wants something like $15/ea. Switches have been
reliable and only other electrical failures were repairable. If a
winding or rotor were to fail the sanders are so inexpensive that it
probably wouldn't pay. I would save old ones for parts for others if I
were in the large volume usage.
Some of that is probably true. I think the big problem is that the
current consumer mindset is on initial cost to the point that no
manufacturer can stay in business on top end tools alone any more.
Not trying to get anyone defensive about their favorite tools here. We
all have some tool or another from some manufacturer that we love to
death and are as protective of the tool, manufacturer and reputation as
if they were a loved one.
I have owned so many tools over the last 30 years I have no emotional
attachment to them anymore. I don't really care what I pay for a tool
(within reason of course) as long as it is reliable, especially when I
consider my labor cost of having two of my guys out on the job. It is
nice if it is maintainable by me, but not necessary. I don't care
whose name is on the case.
If there was a magical brand that made good tools across the board, I
would only buy that brand. Call it a "no brainer".
As it is now, my tool box and shop are like a rainbow coalition.
Milwaukee saws, PC recip saws, DeWalt drills, Makita saws, PC and
DeWalt routers, Bosch sanders, Ridgid sanders, etc.
For me, it is whatever works. As always, just my .02.
You echo my sentiments exactly.
When it comes to tools, I will sleep with anything that gets the job done.
Having said that, I have burned up enough belt sanders, at least 6, to
know that the only one worth a hoot is the choo-choo.
IMHO, the only other must have, there is no equal tool is the Fein
Unless it's the Bosch jigsaw. I have mixed feelings about what you've written.
As I get older, I'm more inclined to try to buy better tools. I still have to
balance bang for the buck with just bang though... since I haven't won the
lottery yet. I am highly cognizant of the fact that one enjoys cheap tools only
on the day he purchases them.
I generally try to read tool reviews in respectable WW rags and go for their
"Best Buys". And for what it's worth, I've had pretty good luck with Ridgid in
the past. I own their 6" ROS, 15" drill press, and table saw (which is tricked
out beyond what's reasonable).
Building a fiberglass boat exposes tools to more abuse in a month than
most woodworking applications will in a year.
Fiberglass and fairing putty dust are unbelievably abrasive.
As a result, cheap tools are doomed to failure in my application.
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