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jamiedolan 03-16-2009 06:42 AM

Excellent Tools & Excellent Tool Comapnies
We all have (hopefully) at least some tools that are just excellent. Sometimes we have had to deal with the company for parts and such, and some companies are excellent also.

If you have some great tools or great experiences with tool companies, feel free to share. Here are a couple quick ones from me:

1. Rotozip RZ20 - Excellent tool. I destroyed the wood cutting disk the first day by hitting nails. I also had one of the bits wiggle a little loose with heavy use. Contacted Rotozip, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, I was sent a replacement ($30) wood cutting disk and a series of new collets to better clamp down on the bits. I've been veny impressed overall with the Rotozip, it does everything promissed and the service from the company is excellent.

2. Klien Journeyman Series. You want tough tools, look no further. I've had a Journeyman Long nose for a couple months now, and it is excellent, very very tough, no damage to it, even though I am very hard on it. I've heard they have a lifetime warrenty, but don't know for sure.

3. Cleanstream filters for shopvac's. Simply the best thing you could ever buy for your shop vac. I've had one of these filters for nearly 3 years and it takes no end of abuse, from cement and plaster dust to water and muck, it keeps on going. It traps all the fine particles that other vacuums send out into the air. A simply amazing product. Only about $30 at Big Box stores. Works in Ridgid and Shopvac (different filters) vacuums.


fuster 04-13-2009 01:55 AM

I prefer tools not made in China. With electric tools that is becoming harder to avoid.

Bosch makes most of their tools in Switzerland or USA. Porter Cable makes their stuff in USA, at least the last time I bought one that was the case.

Delta will be making ONE table saw in USA (Tenn) here soon. But it is their super mondo cast iron table saw that is $1500-2000.

I have several older Skill electric tools that are US made. I like them. Two are drills, two are circular saws. And a 9" orbital sander.

Milwaulkee makes some nice stuff, that is US made. I have an old Sawsall and a newer 4.5" grinder. They are now outsourcing to China. Too bad.

Porter Cable routers. Very good routers. Their random orbital sander is very nice too.

I have several Makita US made electric tools: 9.5 v. drill driver; 9.5 volt 90 degree drill; 9.5 volt mini circular saw; corded variable speed orbital polisher. The 9.5 volt drill driver is at least 16 years old, and has taken a lot of abuse, and it still works great.

PaliBob 04-13-2009 07:24 PM

I've had good luck with tools and would not diss any tools that I know except for the first table saw that I got back in the 60's. It was a Mickey mouse combination of metal legs (akin to a sawhorse) and a MDF top with a set of mounting hardware and universal brackets so that I could mount my own all metal Sears 7 ¼” Circular Saw upside down under the MDF top. It was made by Hirsch but I don't think there was any connection to the high quality German Chisel company.

It's a wonder I never cut my hand off on that wobbly, shaky top that was always ready to collapse. Since then for circular saws I’ve gone to DeWalt cordless and PC & Festool corded saws. My table saw is now the 10” Bosch on the folding stand that is NOT at all wobbly.

My first router was a Black & Decker that come to think about it was really a lousy tool in that the depth adjustment was really flakey and takes a dive in the middle of a cut, so I had to get rid of it. Well two bad eggs out of over thirty power tools aren’t too bad. But even then the Hirsch was really just a stand, and not a power tool.

As far as tools made in China, the only two that I am sure of is a Hitachi miter saw and a HF angle grinder. I’m sure that some of my other present tools are probably made in China but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. At one time the perception was that Japanese tools were all crap. Now all the tools made in Japan generally have an excellent reputation. China is now going in that direction. While they don’t have a sterling reputation they are getting better all the time.

Sure I’d like to see more tools made in the USA, but we’re going to have to get our act together because China instead of cutting costs just to make US style products that we are familiar with, they are now designing new products to fill in niche markets.
Here are some of the familiar & some new e.g.

fuster 04-13-2009 07:50 PM

My reason for not buying chinese made tools is because their labor practices are criminal, and they have absolutely no regard for environmental stewardship. And as a result of the American consumer today wanting a good cheap deal, they sell out for places like Harbor Freight Tools and Walmart, the latter of which is the single largest importer from China as far as retailers.

Each time you buy Chinese, you contribute to the current loss of American labor to other countries, and you say you would rather buy cheap than solve our currrent unemployment problems here. While my own buying habits by themselves may not solve the problem, collectively consumers can send the message that they want American labor to produce what they buy, not labor that is paid pennies to make it and if they get their hand cut off they are sent back to their village with no future of ever working again. The Japanese never had that type of philosophy, so I think you are talking apples and oranges when you try to analogize China to Japan as far as import products.

PaliBob 04-14-2009 11:29 AM


Originally Posted by PaliBob (Post 259444)
.......Sure I’d like to see more tools made in the USA, but we’re going to have to get our act together because China instead of cutting costs just to make US style products that we are familiar with, they are now designing new products to fill in niche markets.

Here is an example of a China made tool that I bought that is NOT made in the USA because it is not made in the USA.

I don't know of another way with a cut-off wheel in an angle grinder to make a straight cut. By using a guide against the guard, you can cut a line as accurate as a track saw.

My pet peeve is why don't US tool manufacturers come out with more innovative tools like this? I think that they are so averse to taking any risk that they will not take any chance unless they can be fairly certain of a big return. On low profit products like this they have just abandoned the US market to China.

And it is not just to China and low margin tools. The major laser distance tools are made by Bosch, Stabila, Hilti, and Leica. Where are the US tool companies in this picture. American defense contractors design and build fantastic Sci-Fi type electronics, but they are pretty much guaranteed a profit while the American tool companies are too adverse to risk to taking a chance on developing products that may bomb.

Another example is on the new track saws e.g.Festool. A new tool review on track saws is due out in the May 09 JLC Magazine. It is rumored that Makita will be the winner while the ONLY US manufacturer DeWalt will be an also ran.

Back if the early history of power tools we weren’t always the first, but we led the world in developing and mass producing tools that made our country great. Without relying on the big tool companies we need more innovation bottom up from tool innovators?

fuster 04-14-2009 11:57 AM

Bob, I do not disagree with your lamentations regarding America and toolmaking. I can buy a tool from Bosch made in Switzerland (or USA), or Hitachi's Japan made tools. The problem is not going to go away soon because the companies here outsource to improve the bottom line. But as a matter of survival of economy, there will have to be a turn around in terms of ingenuity coming from American manufacturing if we are to rise from this recession/depression.

PaliBob 04-14-2009 01:00 PM

We agree. What's going to happen to the depressed USA automotive industry when China gets geared up? They already make more cars than we do and they are NOT going to make our same mistakes.

DIYmakeover 04-21-2009 11:14 AM

Ditto most of the responses here! I try to buy US but in some cases the quality doesn't reflect what the price is! Most of my precision tools are Bosch (12" compound slider miter, router, circular saw) and I love them! Like PaliBob, I have had some shaky stuff in the past but thats all I could afford....and I too, still have all my fingers! LOL Hopefully some type of answer comes about because I prefer to keep my money where I live and work!


Thurman 05-01-2009 05:03 PM

I can share this with you after working with a "major" U.S. auto components manufacturer. We would develop many new products here in the U.S. and then find a foreign (Taiwan, China, etc.) company to manufacturer them. NOT because of manufacturing cost but because of product liability cost in the U.S. We sent our engineers over there to oversee the actual production and to do Quality Assurance Testing before the product was put into full production and shipped back to the auto assembly plants. By having a foreign companies name on the product there are a lot of U.S. liability laws that do not apply to the product. The actual cost of the product, if made in the U.S. was comparable. BUT throw in the liability insurance forecasting cost and that made the "cost per unit" go up. This in only one of the things that need to be straightened out in our country. Thanks, David

Mort 05-02-2009 12:14 PM

It all comes back to the lawyers. Figures...

Shamus 06-12-2009 05:13 PM

Thurman, Your right!

There are numerous things that have resulted in products being pushed off-shore for manufacturing. If there is an upside we are seeing some products imported (non-Chinese - Tiawan) from Germany, England and a couple others that surpass many American manufacturers and are bought up even though the price is higher. Many people will still pay for quality.

In the DIY marketplace the noobs (and we all were one once) want a tool for very little money and then complain when they fail. I don't pretend to know what America will be marketing next but I'm fairly sure we will lead the world in yet another must-have marvel.

To the OP, I buy the mid to high priced stuff mostly and am rarely disappointed. Dad was sold on Craftsman back in the day. I like Dewalt for general power tools. Milwaukee also makes a decent product for the price. I have a few Porter Cable screw guns and a couple Skill saws as well.

The rest is a mixed bag of older Delta and Craftsman that I was handed down 20+ years ago and they still run and operate fine. I've been fortunate and been able to get replacement parts for all of them.

I almost never throw it away. I'll find watever parts I need and repair them myself. I'm not hard on my tools and don't abuse them but I do USE the heck out of um.:thumbsup:

retired guy 60 06-29-2009 07:56 AM

Responding to the original thread, I purchased a Fein Multimaster about two months ago. It is a bit pricey but performs every bit as well as the tv informercial shows. It appears to be well made so I expect to use it for many years. In some cases, the tasks it pertforms could be done with another tool but the Multimaster seems to do it better, faster and easier. I just finished a bathroom remodel that took 4 weeks (I am a little slow) and I felt that the initial $400. was worth it.
Also, prior to purchase I e-mailed Fein with a question about the warranty and received a promt, polite reply with helpful information.
I have several Chinese-made tools, both hand tools and power tools and the difference in quality between the Multimaster and Chinese made tools is like night and day.
Sorry if this seems like a commercial, I didn't plan it that way.....just my opinion.

jimofoz 07-21-2009 03:44 PM

I have a couple of older Craftsman tools - shop vac and bench belt sander that have been great, but in the last few years, Craftsman (K-Mart - ack!) power tool quality has really gone down. I also have a Makita orbital sander that has been very good.

As far as hand tools, I have a no name black German pocket knife that I've been carrying daily for about 20 years that is dinged but still works great. And my original Leatherman that is about the same age is still hanging in there.

I wish I had the confidence that anything I buy today would last as long.

As far as China made stuff goes, I think their biggest problem is quality control. At Harbor Freight some stuff is actually quite good (I have a fantastic $20 dado blade set up from them) but most stinks.

But in their defense, as was told to me by a Chinese importer, if we didn't buy their junk, they wouldn't be making it.

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