Quantcast

Quality of tools

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

AFFF

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Malmesbury
Second post here, just my thoughts about tools. I retired from my IT consultancy job a few years ago and decided, as a reasonably competent carpenter (all hand tools, as taught to use by my father), to try my hand at raising my game. So, bought myself a sliding mitre saw, a table saw, a router table. All fairly cheap stuff. Got sucked in by the cheap price and marketing. I now realise cheap tools never work properly. Now matter how much you try to tune them they never give you the result your after. There is no substitute for quality tools, there is no short cut
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
2,710
Reaction score
52
Location
North West
well it's a philosophy, I think things are far better than we make them out to be, even chinease made stuff can be well made, the problem is this race to the bottom with prices, which is what people want, low prices... can ultra high quality and high standards be possible whilst the price remains low? I don't think that's possible, if it is possible I have yet to see it, the saying 'you get what you pay for' is in general true for most things, it's not something people like admitting to themselves though.
 

Andy Kev.

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
20 Aug 2013
Messages
1,235
Reaction score
16
Location
Germany
I think that the notion of "the race to the bottom with prices" applies to the mass market in anything. However, in the matter of tools, cheapness will often result in disappointment or further expenditure to replace kit which has built in redundancy (Chris Schwarz describes this well in The Anarchist's Toolchest).

People who are dedicated to trying to achieve the best possible results will tend to seek out the highest quality tools - be they brand new or second hand - as they are aware of the value (in the truest sense) of well made tools. One happy feature of wood working tools is that e.g. a well made hand plane will provide as good service a hundred years or more after it was first sold. It's clear from the experience of some of the members on here that you can build up an excellent tool kit made up overwhelmingly of second hand gear.
 

Rorschach

Agent Provocateur
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
3,602
Reaction score
58
Location
Devon
AFFF":1hjl17wt said:
I now realise cheap tools never work properly. Now matter how much you try to tune them they never give you the result your after. There is no substitute for quality tools, there is no short cut
Sorry but that is just plain rubbish.
 

AFFF

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Malmesbury
OK, my opinion may be wrong but I am intrigued as to why you think that. Please persuade me why I am incorrect in my assumption. What's your argument against it?
 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,069
Reaction score
48
Location
Nottingham
AFFF":1cg2gztw said:
OK, my opinion may be wrong but I am intrigued as to why you think that. Please persuade me why I am incorrect in my assumption. What's your argument against it?
I have seen the results from a cheap table saw where no two ripped pieces came out the same thickness and a better quality one where they did.
A pressed steel table saw can't compete with a cast iron one.

Pete
 

MikeG.

Plodding on.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,126
Reaction score
619
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Well I have a whole heap of really cheap tools, including quite a number from the £1 bargain bin in my local hardware shop, and any number of old tools bought extremely cheaply before being cleaned up and sharpened. I think it's really important that newcomers to our hobby don't get sucked in to the thinking that they can't produce anything of quality unless they buy brand new Lee Nielsen Valley Veritas blingy tools. However.......

........I think there is an important distinction to be made between tools which can be cheap but high quality (which are often hand tools), and poor quality electric tools. If you have a power tool with plastic gears and poor quality bearings, you might only get 10 or 15 hours of unsatisfying use from it during which time it has vibrated like hell. There I would completely agree with the premise of the OP. Match the quality of the power tool with how much use you want from it. How important is it to you? I got a ROS either free or for a few pennies some 20 or 30 years ago. It doesn't hold the sandpaper properly, and the dust extraction is a joke. However, I can't think when I last had need of a ROS, and doubt it has been switched on in the last 5 years. At the same time, I use a circular saw a lot for ripping down long waney edge boards and for green oak framing, so I spent good money for a decent one.
 

MikeG.

Plodding on.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,126
Reaction score
619
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Pete Maddex":766sfok6 said:
AFFF":766sfok6 said:
OK, my opinion may be wrong but I am intrigued as to why you think that. Please persuade me why I am incorrect in my assumption. What's your argument against it?
I have seen the results from a cheap table saw where no two ripped pieces came out the same thickness and a better quality one where they did.
A pressed steel table saw can't compete with a cast iron one.

Pete
True, Pete, but you can buy an old cast iron table saw for less money than a new modern aluminium one. Price and quality aren't in a linear relationship.
 

Yojevol

Wooden tit be nice... ♪♪♪♪♪♪
Joined
29 Jan 2017
Messages
511
Reaction score
60
Location
Cheltenham
CHEAP EXPENSIVE. These are relative words. They are used when we attempt to assess the value of one object (or service) against another. We all make our personal valuations which are often heavily influenced by our financial situation. Also our valuations will be depend on the status or priority of the considered objects in our lives.
Example. Cordless drills. Available in a huge range of prices. A 'cheap' Titan will be perfectly adequate for occasional diy use, but for a professional craftsman it may prove an'expensive' mistake when it conks out after a few weeks work. A Festool might have been a wiser investment. To expand this example a little further; a cheap drill purchased by someone just starting up a new business on a limited budget could generate the profit to finance a DeWalt.
Another example often discussed here is the new vs. s/h conundrum. A 'cheap' s/h bandsaw could well be considered of greater value than a new equivalent.
So in conclusion, IMHO, tool quality is not a fundamental measure, it's what you want it to be, it's what suits you.

Time to have some breakfast now.
Brian
 

AFFF

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Malmesbury
Thanks guy for your input. Perhaps I should have qualified my initial arguement with the statement of : new cheap power tools. I do have many modestly priced hand tools in my workshop that are perfectly adequate for the job. It's just my experience with power kit that I find frustrating. Over the last year I have only bought decent kit, mostly Makita, to replace cheap tools that have died. I would love to be able to buy topline kit like Festool but just can't afford it. Perhaps I should explore the option of buying second hand.
 

RogerS

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2004
Messages
17,288
Reaction score
36
Location
In the eternally wet North
AFFF":2mnglafd said:
Thanks guy for your input. Perhaps I should have qualified my initial arguement with the statement of : new cheap power tools. I do have many modestly priced hand tools in my workshop that are perfectly adequate for the job. It's just my experience with power kit that I find frustrating. Over the last year I have only bought decent kit, mostly Makita, to replace cheap tools that have died. I would love to be able to buy topline kit like Festool but just can't afford it. Perhaps I should explore the option of buying second hand.
It's not just 'cheap' power tools as many so-called 'good' makes are little better since they also are made in China. At the end of the day, it comes down to quality of the innards - as MikeG pointed out - and QA.

I have a router from a well-known brand focussing almost exclusively on these. It was not cheap. I'll not buy anther from them. Top bearing failed within a few months of light use - replaced under warranty fortunately. Now the on/off slide switch is getting erratic to switch on and even more erratic to switch off. It's not had that much use.
 

garethharvey

Established Member
Joined
28 Sep 2015
Messages
215
Reaction score
0
Location
south Wales
As they say, buy cheap, buy twice.

Same experience here, I bought a scroll saw from either Aldi or Lild, can't remember which one. It was a pile of rubbish. Ended up buying a Hegner saw. The quality is incredibly.

This applies to all tools. You get what you pay for.
 

Geoff_S

Established Member
Joined
12 Sep 2017
Messages
681
Reaction score
2
Location
London
I wouldn't get too stressed about not buying the most expensive? Funnily enough I did 35 years in IT with a huge interest in DIY, woodwork specifically (I call it woodwork because "joinery"? Hmm, debatable). Anyway, I started off my DIY about 40 years ago and essentially followed on from my Dad. As I could afford it, I bought the Black & Decker drill from B&Q, then the circular saw attachment, then the other attachments, can't remember what they all were.

But as the years went by and my sights got raised, I began to realise that the tools I had were just not up to the job. And so the "upgrades" started. Out went the attachments and replaced by Black & Decker dedicated machines. Then of course came cordless. So into the world of Bosch 12v, and they were OK, except that in the early days the planer and circular saw just sucked the batteries dry!

And then onto Dewalt 18v, and that's where I have stopped. They do everything I could want and they do it well.

However, there are of course still the "trade" tools. My first was a secondhand Elu chop-saw, a super machine. This opened up a whole new world to be, specifically the ability to cut a piece of wood straight and true (I did say I do woodwork :D ) That eventually got upgraded to a much larger Dewalt compound chop-saw, that will not be being replaced. And then the Record bandsaw and the Triton saw table and Triton router table and the Rexon planer thicknesser, and other stuff.

But the Triton kit is an interesting example. It served me for years on so many projects, fairly major in terms of my house restoration. But they were what they were. The saw table for example was impossible to set accurately. Sure, I could set it but I always checked it with rule, and it was invariably a mm or two out! Sometimes it was fine, I never got to the bottom of that. Anyway, this was eventually replace by a Dewalt table saw that is always spot on and a Jessem router table set.

So I've spent a lot over the years, but certainly not anywhere near what I could have done. It has enabled me to achieve the things I have wanted to achieve. But has it cost me a lot? No, not at all really because the tools have enabled me to "Do It Myself", yes with a huge money saving and admittedly an amount of swearing, but an end product that I am happy with.

I wouldn't buy cheap, I use them too much, but then I wouldn't buy the most expensive either. I hope I have just pitched my expenditure at a level that provides me with good quality reliable tools that will always be there when I need them. I know that my nephew is eyeing them up, and he really is an astonishing joiner! He can wait :D
 

RogerS

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2004
Messages
17,288
Reaction score
36
Location
In the eternally wet North
MikeG.":2m7l28zl said:
garethharvey":2m7l28zl said:
..........This applies to all tools. You get what you pay for.
It absolutely does not. This is completely and utterly wrong.
I agree. Price does not imply obligatory quality.

To pick up on Geoff_S' experience with his Triton table saw and the lack of accuracy in setting up.

My Hammer C3-31 combination machine that cost well into five figures has a rubbish fence on the table saw that shifts every time you tighten it back up after setting to the cut width. So you then have to release and reset then tighten up then release then tighten up ..... The same fence when moved to the planer needs a good old heave on it and a set square to tighten it up at 90 degrees. Pants.
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,383
Reaction score
44
Location
Leicestershire
It's just a case of going in with your eyes open.
Ask yourself if there is a good reason for the price difference and if you are happy to compromise or not.

For example, I bought a very cheap recipicating saw from lidl maybe five years ago. I needed it for one task and decided if it survived that one job it was worth the outlay. But it went on and on , because it was cheap and owed me nothing it was used for jobs where is was heavily abused. Last week it finally died. Over its lifetime it has saved my hours, so was a very good quality tool. I have been out a bought another cheapy.
 

Rorschach

Agent Provocateur
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
3,602
Reaction score
58
Location
Devon
Others here have said it better than I could.

In summary, price and quality are not the same, but it is also about getting a tool of suitable quality for the job at hand. As you get better, improve your tools if they are lacking but good tools do not make a good craftsman.
 

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
487
Reaction score
21
Location
Finland
Yojevol":180g6g5a said:
Example. Cordless drills. Available in a huge range of prices. A 'cheap' Titan will be perfectly adequate for occasional diy use ...
Do you really think so? I have limited experience but I have bought a few cheap cordless tools . As an occasional DIY user I find the batteries are never charged when I come to use them and after being sat unused for months they just do not seem to recharge. Eventually I always go back to a decades-old corded drill.
I can't say if an expensive cordless drill would be better as I have never had one, but cordless tools and occasional use have not been a good combination for me.
 

AES

Established Member
Joined
18 Feb 2011
Messages
4,283
Reaction score
87
Location
Switzerland, near Basel
I agree with most of your post AFFF, but when you write, QUOTE: Now matter how much you try to tune them they never give you the result your after. UNQUOTE:

I must disagree about the use of the word NEVER. IMO (and experience) the word "seldom" would be a more accurate term.

Two examples - my little (Chinese, but badged by a well-known German "badge engineering" company) needed a helluva lot of work to become - within its size limitations - an accurate and useful piece of machinery. BUT that work was 99% my time, which IMO, as a hobbyist, is 100% free.

2nd example, coming from the same company as example one, a disc/belt sander. I consider myself as a reasonably competent weilder of engineering tools, but that belt/disc sander was so poorly assembled, and from the very cheapest design and materials, that in the end I took the motor and a couple of other bits off it and scrapped the rest - I considered it impossible to get even "just about acceptable results".

Many of us work to a limited budget, find the availability of S/H very difficult to get when you want/need it, and simply cannot afford (nor, not being tradesmen can justify) the cost of, say, a Festool battery drill (example) when an Aldi battery drill (example) will do the job just as well, and within hobbyists limits, for just as many "years".

As others have already said, a LOT depends on who is doing the tool buying and with what end-use in mind.

However, some of the very best hand tools I own are those I inherited from my Dad, and some of those were bought in the 1930s to '50s, and if I had someone to leave them too when my time is up would no doubt roll on for another century given reasonable care and maintenance.
 

Rorschach

Agent Provocateur
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
3,602
Reaction score
58
Location
Devon
Just4Fun":3tx6on13 said:
Yojevol":3tx6on13 said:
Example. Cordless drills. Available in a huge range of prices. A 'cheap' Titan will be perfectly adequate for occasional diy use ...
Do you really think so? I have limited experience but I have bought a few cheap cordless tools . As an occasional DIY user I find the batteries are never charged when I come to use them and after being sat unused for months they just do not seem to recharge. Eventually I always go back to a decades-old corded drill.
I can't say if an expensive cordless drill would be better as I have never had one, but cordless tools and occasional use have not been a good combination for me.
Have you used a cheap Li-ion drill?

I have one from Lidl, cost me £20ish about 5 years ago. The battery is always full when I need it and it has been a great little workhorse in my second tool bag. Recently got a second battery for it for £6, should last me years more now.
 

Latest posts

Top