• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

More garbage from China

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Fergie 307

Established Member
Joined
28 Dec 2019
Messages
211
Reaction score
109
Location
Sandy Bedfordshire
Personally I have found that in many cases the quality of individual parts on Chinese products is pretty good. The problem is often that they just assemble the parts in the right order and send it out the door, there is little in the way of fine tuning or adjustment. A little fettling and adjustment and you are good to go. I am quite prepared to put up with that if the price is sufficiently below that of a ' better quality ' alternative. I appreciate that some customers are not going to have the knowledge to do this, so something that isn't necessarily quite right straight out of the box can be an issue. Unfortunately they do also produce some total junk. Bottom line is if you pay £200 for a Chinese machine, and it's American, British or whatever equivalent is £500, then it is unrealistic to expect it to be of the same quality.
 

Rorschach

The end is nigh.
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
5,046
Reaction score
632
Location
Devon
Bottom line is if you pay £200 for a Chinese machine, and it's American, British or whatever equivalent is £500, then it is unrealistic to expect it to be of the same quality.
Again, not really accurate is it. Manufacturing costs in the UK (or USA etc) are much higher than China. I have in the back of my mind from an article that is something like 3-5 times more expensive to produce an item in the UK than it is to produce it in China and ship it over.
Going by that you need to somewhere between £600 and £1000 to get roughly equivalent quality in a UK made product for a £200 Chinese product. If you want better quality, who knows how much more it could cost.

Off the top of my head I can only think of one UK company that actually produces a product that is not much more expensive than a similar Chinese product but is as good as or better and that is Numatic vacuums and I think that is only really because their vacuums are pretty simple being not much more than a plastic bucket with a motor.
 

Distinterior

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2014
Messages
812
Reaction score
107
Location
Colchester, Essex.
I bought a new router table a couple of years back from Charnwood. It was a WO20 model.
The previous table I had was nearly 20 years old with a phenolic plate and an MDF top. The top had sagged a bit over the years and the phenolic plate had developed cracks. It was also a Charnwood model. I really wanted one with a cast iron top.
I had looked at alternatives (Axminster 's UJK offering for example) but ended up buying the WO20.

Now, I had a feeling both companies sourced their products from Asia but the difference in prices for comparable set ups, was staggering.
Albeit, i did expect the overall quality of the UJK offering to be better.
As it's not a machine i use on a day to day basis, unlike most of my other tools, i struggled to justify the additional cost of the UJK over the Charnwood.

The WO20 arrived and was assembled ( had a couple of nuts / bolts missing but Charnwood sent out replacements within a day or so) but the overall quality of the casting, paint finish, nuts & bolts etc, is pretty poor. I spent a fair bit of time fettling the cast iron top and generally trying to improve the quality of the finished top surface ( all the holes on the top surface needed to be deburred as they were sharp and would have marred the work).

My point is, to a degree, I had expected to have to do this! My expectation was not that the Charnwood would be of the same quality as the UJK table.

At nearly 1/2 the price, what else would you realistically expect?

Quote from the Charnwood website......

" The heart of the business has always been in designing new products, striking a balance between offering the latest technologies and maintaining the tradition of high quality our customers have come to expect from the Charnwood brand. We still do the research and design elements of the process here in Leicester, but most of our manufacturing has now been transferred to low cost centres in Asia, where we are able to produce competitively priced, high quality machinery as demanded by the British public "

Charnwood use the words " high quality " twice in the paragraph above but this all comes down to different peoples perception of "high quality". You have to manage your expectations!
 
Last edited:

pidgeonpost

Established Member
Joined
16 Feb 2006
Messages
135
Reaction score
45
Location
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
I haven't bought anything much in the way of tools in recent years, Chinese or otherwise so I can't comment on current quality from personal experience, but 14-15 years ago when looking for a small metal-turning lathe many of the Chinese-made models were being slated by buyers. Reported problems were poor build quality, but more often poor assembly and reports of the presence of sand where sand didn’t ought be! There at least one UK seller who offered the machines in 3 ways - as it was shipped from China, fully sorted in UK prior to dispatch, or as it left China but accompanied by instructions on how to sort it yourself.
Faced with a limited budget and such uncertainty I bought a Boxford, but I'd be very surprised if China hasn't addressed such matters by now. Remember, when Japanese motorcycles began being imported into the UK they were mostly dismissed by British manufacturers as being far inferior to their products, and maybe in a few areas they were, but the Japanese soon sorted that out and it was pretty much bye-bye British bike industry.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
20,567
Reaction score
1,156
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Remember, when Japanese motorcycles began being imported into the UK they were mostly dismissed by British manufacturers as being far inferior to their products ...

The British manufactures were the only people who did.:LOL:
 

JoshD

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2020
Messages
88
Reaction score
90
Location
Norfolk
We've just bought a Tesla, got it yesterday, apparently it's from the Chinese factory, not the US, and that's a good thing:
Tesla's made-in-China cars lead market in quality while US-made Tesla cars score lowest - Electrek

BY and large the world has outsourced its manufacturing to China and as a result the real cost of manufactured goods has plummeted. Whether at the top or bottom end of the quality spectrum China now has the manufacturing talent, the toolmakers, etc to do the job; and by and large the west has focused on design and QC.

QC of course operates on many levels: for best results you need a quality design, quality execution, and careful inspection of the finished product. As a private buyer based in the UK trying to get the best value for money every purchasing decision is an internet research project. The reality is that with patience I can perhaps learn enough to choose a quality design, but understanding the quality of execution on the internet is much harder. And as for the inspection process and manufacturing rejection rate, forget it. You can spend hours puzzling over why there are different price points for similar products: is the more expensive seller ripping you off on price? or the cheaper one ripping you off on quality?

For high quality items we rely more than ever on quality brands: because they can charge a premium price they have the resources to ensure quality at all stages of the process. But quality brands occasionally let you down.

My general experience: you get what you pay for, except when you get less ....
 

dickm

Established Member
Joined
25 Oct 2004
Messages
4,552
Reaction score
28
Location
North of Aberdeen
Like Pidgeonpost, I've not bought much in the tool line for a long while now, but have had what seems to be relevant experience in the photographic world. Having used Pentax kit for 50+ years, when things started going digital, I got one of the early Pentax digital bodies, an istDS, secondhand. Spec was not brilliant, but it served me well, until I decided to go for higher resolution. Probably should have switched brands, but didn't. The best compromise between cost and spec seemed to be the K30, but reading around, it turned out these had a fundamental fault, a single dodgy component. It's a tiny relay, present in nearly all their digital models, including my early one. The early ones had the relay made in Japan; production then switched to China. They would work OK for a while, then distort and the camera would gradually become unuseable. So it's not just end consumers who fall for cheap substitutes.
As an inveterate buyer of secondhand kit, Ebay has been a great resource. But now if one looks for something, the first page of cheap imitations are all from China. Occasional gambles on these have been a disaster.
You pay's yer money and you takes yer choice.
(But the Pentax story does have a happy ending; bought a K30 off Ebay which the vendor admitted had the general fault, gambling that my sight and hands might still be good enough to replace the faulty item. You can buy replacement relays from China for a few pounds, a course of action which is NOT recommended. Or you can still get new Japanese ones for lots of pounds. But a third course is to buy an older, clapped out cheap body, which if you are lucky will have the "proper" relay. It happened that I'd bought such to get a spare for the istDS, and lo and behold it had the right relay. So, with slight trepidation, disassembled the K30, removed the tiny relay and put in the one off the spare body. Result, one fully functional camera for a total cost of less than a third of the price of functional ones)
 

rafezetter

Troll Hunter
Joined
11 Jun 2013
Messages
2,836
Reaction score
115
Location
Bristol
It has been mentioned many times in the past, the problem is the likes of Axminster and Rutlands seem happy to let their customers do the QC for them. They just keep sending out replacement items until the customer gets one they are happy with.

You hear people say it's great customer service when they get a replacement quickly but firms shouldn't be sending out the rubbish (often described as quality and precision) in the first place.
Have to agree here - Axminster seem to have dropped the ball with QC over the years, I bought a secondhand TS200 for £300 from another casual forumite which had hardly been used (I think I might have mentioned this before - getting some deja-vu) only to find the reason why he'd hardly used it - fence was well out of 90deg from the bed, the clearance insert didn't sit in the recess properly (it was proud by at least 1mm so the leading edge kept catching the wood).

Stupid me thought "hey it's an axminster should be just fine" - how wrong was I? now I'm the one who has to fix this before I can even use it (or sell on) - that was 2 years ago now.... still using my age old Kity 419, still purring away just lovely.
 

smugdruggler

Member
Joined
28 May 2019
Messages
9
Reaction score
3
Location
Sandhurst, Berkshire
Just to add my two penny worth regarding the belt/disk sander from Axminster. I have just purchased one and yes it does come with a plastic mitre guide but in terms of quality for the machine it is absolutely fine. Casting is good and no weld spatter or obvious clean up marks. I am very happy with it for the price.

Maybe yours was a Friday job.
 

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
546
Location
North Cumbria
To get back to the topic of this thread, where are Jessem and Incra products manufactured? We know that their quality is what we would like on everything but looking at the Jessem site they say " We take great pride in introducing innovative product solutions for woodworkers around the world. Our philosophy is "deeply routed" in offering the highest quality at affordable prices. " but no mention of made in Canada which you would expect if they were because it's another selling point. So if their products are manufactured in Asia then you cannot really question the Asians ability to deliver quality so then we are back to you get what you pay for, not what we pay but the middle men and the companies selling woodworking machinery in the Uk are maximising their profits by cutting quality and selling us overpriced lower quality goods.

Incra products are also high quality but they do boast they are made in the USA, so now you could conclude that Asian manufacturing can be as good as anyones if you are willing to pay for it, and Incra products like lifts are marginally more expensive than Jessem but that could be down to the difference in manufacturing cost.

A lot of quality issues are due to low production volumes and really too many suppliers, ok reducing the number of suppliers does not help competition but would increase the volume and allow quality to be purchased so long as they are not too greedy on profit margins.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
6,088
Reaction score
627
Location
PA, US
back to the topic at hand - though some of this is taiwanese related. An old friend here reminds me often that when we didn't have a less expensive option, we made the junk here instead, and there was no recourse at the time. You bought the junk, it failed, and you were stuck. He also likes to remind me how expensive stuff was when that was the case, that even entry level machinery was nosebleed cost.

If we didn't have access to imported goods, most of us wouldn't be woodworking. I wouldn't have a lathe, never would've had a bandsaw, or tablesaw.

My dad still has a bunch of the consumer level (hobbyist) tools made and sold here before imports were as common. They're terrible. I don't mean they're expensive for what they are (they are that), but they're poorly made, underpowered, and boldly stamped "made in USA" right on them. The cost of his 12 inch bandsaw was about the same in inflated money that someone would spend for a good 14" saw with riser or low-end 16" saw. We would just have the junk made for us domestically if we had to, but it would be at a higher price and the return policies wouldn't be so generous.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
6,088
Reaction score
627
Location
PA, US
To get back to the topic of this thread, where are Jessem and Incra products manufactured? We know that their quality is what we would like on everything but looking at the Jessem site they say " We take great pride in introducing innovative product solutions for woodworkers around the world. Our philosophy is "deeply routed" in offering the highest quality at affordable prices. " but no mention of made in Canada which you would expect if they were because it's another selling point. So if their products are manufactured in Asia then you cannot really question the Asians ability to deliver quality so then we are back to you get what you pay for, not what we pay but the middle men and the companies selling woodworking machinery in the Uk are maximising their profits by cutting quality and selling us overpriced lower quality goods.

Incra products are also high quality but they do boast they are made in the USA, so now you could conclude that Asian manufacturing can be as good as anyones if you are willing to pay for it, and Incra products like lifts are marginally more expensive than Jessem but that could be down to the difference in manufacturing cost.

A lot of quality issues are due to low production volumes and really too many suppliers, ok reducing the number of suppliers does not help competition but would increase the volume and allow quality to be purchased so long as they are not too greedy on profit margins.
The rules bob up and down a little here about what can be called "made in china" vs. "made in USA" or "made in USA without globally sourced components". There isn't a whole lot that's totally made in the US. Generally if something is made in the US, it will say it boldly. Same with Canada. If something is made in China and designed in either the US or Canada, then every bit of the process done in the US or Canada will be loudly trumpeted.

There are a few component suppliers that I use here in the US. I've learned that if you ask verbally, you cannot trust the answer they give you, for example if they tell you over the phone that something is made in the US but they refuse to label the component listing on their site as such. In some cases, they illegally omit country of origin and ship items in kraft paper (especially if they used to be made in the US, but the component company, for example, found a korean or indonesian maker who would make the same thing). The packaging disappears, the item looks similar, the website reference to the USA changes, but if you call them "no, they're still made in the US". You won't get a direct answer until the company who used to supply the component speaks up (potentially in violation of a prior agreement) and says "we used to make them, but they found an overseas maker for the same thing to copy what I was providing and ended our relationship last year" - usually, with the explanation that they've had enough questions about why their quality slipped when someone finds their name online as said supplier of a good (and goes to them instead of the retailer).
 

niemeyjt

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2018
Messages
67
Reaction score
69
Location
BSE
Until recently I would always try to buy British-made tools if I could. Then I ordered a set of Whitworth sockets from what I assumed was a major British manufacturer - and they were attrocious! It did not match web site description and it looked like it had been assembled from two or three different sets knocking around the spares bins. The retailer simply said well they still fit the sockets and the manufacturer said - nothing - my letter was ignored.

Cr@p manufacturing and service is not a monopoly for Chinese manufacturers and importers.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
6,088
Reaction score
627
Location
PA, US
Is hilti a brand sold there? They're made in China, and I haven't seen their equal. They make festool look like toys.
 

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
546
Location
North Cumbria
Hi Dw

Yes there is that grey area about assembly versus percentage of actual manufacturing. How are the Americans accepting Dewalt, watching the programs made in America you notice in the older ones a lot of Porter Cable and now in the newer ones more Dewalt and cordless.
 

TRITON

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2014
Messages
552
Reaction score
288
Location
Scotland
Seems some are more interested in race as a derogatory, sorry thats one conversation im not going to get involved in. STICK TO THE TOPIC.

Axminster and their manufacturer(wherever that is) have real problems with QC.
My TS250 i got via their ebay site as a returned goods resell.
The problem with it is the lower cabinet, that the cast iron top bolts down to a seriously askew, meaning the blade doesnt line up with the slots, and in fact is so bad that even using the blade adjusters you have a choice of a straight line up for 90deg cuts but try to cant the blade over for 45deg and the blade impacts the table. If you try to set it for 45deg then its at an angle to the fence and a serious angle at that.
The only way i can see to sort it is to remove the cast top, remove the mounts by grinding off the welded on nuts, filling those holes, replace the top and mark then cut new mounting holes in the cabinet base, before welding on new nuts. Bit of a job and one ive never got to doing so mostly set the blade and just stick to 90deg, Yup, that means no long 45's.
I might do it at some point, or not. maybe sell with the problem for someone else to sort and opt for a new saw(or as per my buy bandsaw to replace saw table thread) go for a bandsaw, which as we all know isnt ideal.

Whose fault ?- The factory.
Their operator cant check for squareness and the QC there is allowing shoddy goods to be released.
 

recipio

Established Member
Joined
16 Jun 2008
Messages
166
Reaction score
42
Location
ireland
If we all buy tools in the supermarket then good manufacturers will give up. Look at Scheppach who used to make brilliant machines in Germany but now sell mainly downmarket tat. Its painful to see programmes on TV like 'Find it, Fix it ,Flog it 'using the cheapest bargain basement tools to restore furniture. :giggle: After a few false starts I now avoid Axminster completely and find quality machines mainly from Austria - the internet makes it so easy nowadays.
 

samhay

Established Member
Joined
10 Aug 2017
Messages
321
Reaction score
36
Location
Peak District
Makita manufacture in a number of countries, including China, UK and USA. I don't know whether they make the same model in more than 1 country, but there isn't an obvious price difference in buying e.g. a made in UK vs. made in China circular saw from them.
It's possible much of the casting, etc is done in China, with local assembly. Nevertheless, it would seem that the country-specific manufacturing cost differences are not as different as they used to be.
Edit - or sale price is not particularly sensitive to manufacturing costs once you get into the better quality/higher cost kit.
 
Last edited:

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
6,088
Reaction score
627
Location
PA, US
Hi Dw

Yes there is that grey area about assembly versus percentage of actual manufacturing. How are the Americans accepting Dewalt, watching the programs made in America you notice in the older ones a lot of Porter Cable and now in the newer ones more Dewalt and cordless.
When I worked for contractors in mid 90s, dewalt was the bees knees for cordless stuff. They lost that to milwaukee. PC was highly regarded for lots, especially routers and belt sanders. Both went to mexico, but not together - hard to be sure about when they got together, but PC was made subbrand to dewalt. Last I looked, they still had some of the old pattern tools (like 362 belt sander and 7518 router), but made in mexico. check that - just looked and 362 is discontinued now.

Almost across the board, milwaukee has replaced dewalt for light/medium site tools (battery types), PC, i couldn't even tell you about the brand (at a cabinet factory, we had PC cordless stuff back in the 1990s, but it probably wasn't as good as dewalt - the alignment of PC is a second tier brand to DW made the next PC cordless tool that I got junk - issues like a chuck that couldn't be tightened easily and wouldn't stay tight, subpar batteries).

I stopped hearing complaints about country of origin when the performance of tools made people forget. Milwaukee stuff is so good for mid-use (like cordless impact, etc) that nobody cares if it's made in China. They recognize the time savings with it, and that's it.

As rules changed about labeling, Dewalt stuff bobbed back and forth between "Made in Mexico" to "Made in USA" to "Assembled in USA". Who knows.

Mexico is much the same - labor is $4 there vs. $25 an hour for total cost unskilled. If you ask for good you can get it (the difference between a mexico fender strat and a fender strat from california is very minimal, limited to things like tiny finish issues and what types of finish allowed, but mexico guitars generally same materials and half the cost).

I always assume that any issues are the retailer. Maybe sometimes they're not in good faith, but they're trying to give people what they want or what they think they want, and maximize their margin. Home depot will give investor updates that clue in on things like this ("market is saturated, so strategy is switching to maximizing per-store revenue and profitability").

But we have two parties here - one who knows what they're getting and will use things until they break, and another who is buying and relying on the sales guy to tell them about quality. The former has lost regard to where things are made among relatives on my dad's side (farmers) and some of my mom's side (same, but with some contractors), and price or toughness of the gadget goes more to service.

Complicated discussion. I don't believe it makes sense for us to do things here that we can't do with any kind of benefit, but higher price. Same as I don't believe that I should buy an arch top guitar made in the US duplicarved and perhaps stretching 5 figures (which is really hard for me to take) when I can *contact* a person (a real person, not a brand) in china and get a hand carved guitar for $2k. There is no difference to me between the custom maker in the US who hand carves (except that guy doesn't exist in any reasonable range) and a guy sitting at a bench in China, except I have had bigger problems with custom american makers (before I started making things for myself) and only minor nits with Chinese makers (you learn who does a good job and just go with them, which sounds an awful lot like working with anyone anywhere).

Long way to say, Dewalt doesn't have the same assumption of quality here that they did 20 years ago, same with PC. I'm sure there are individual tools that DW makes that are still highly regarded (corded angle grinders?), but I don't know what they are. My farming relatives are almost feverish when milwaukee introduces a new heavy duty cordless tool, like guys were when I was in college and Nike introduced a new sneaker design.
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
850
Reaction score
380
Location
Bradford
I wonder how much a 12" table saw would cost to manufacture here?
How much would a 3ft sq casting cost??

Then a 2" steel square frame to mount it on.

To proto type you could nick the internals of a site saw before improving it?

Cheers James
 
Top