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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Default Which router to buy

In some older woodworking magazines I have, I see references to "Homeowner Grade", "Mechanics Grade" and "Professional Grade" tools. The Homeowners grade is sold by the nasty Big Box stores and only the more expensive specialty stores sell the better grades of tools. If I select a specific model of a certain brand, would/could I get a lower quality tool at say, Lowes or Home Depot? I find it hard to believe that a manufacturer would risk a good reputation by palming off lesser quality machines at the big stores. Any insights or opinions on this matter?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 12:21 PM
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Hi Opa

This is just my 2 cents

I look at like buying a car,,,they will all get you to A to B but sometimes you want to put out more C for a better one ... to show off to the neighbors or friends ,see what I just got... it's a build in human thing...

If you drive your car more than 25,000 miles a year you will need to put out more C so it will last 10 years or more, but if you only drive your car 5000 miles a year the lower price car will do the job just fine..and should last 10 years or so...this is true for tools as well...it's like someone buying a 2000.oo table saw when a 400.oo dollar one will do the same job. it's just a motor that spins a round blade..





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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opa View Post
In some older woodworking magazines I have, I see references to "Homeowner Grade", "Mechanics Grade" and "Professional Grade" tools. The Homeowners grade is sold by the nasty Big Box stores and only the more expensive specialty stores sell the better grades of tools. If I select a specific model of a certain brand, would/could I get a lower quality tool at say, Lowes or Home Depot? I find it hard to believe that a manufacturer would risk a good reputation by palming off lesser quality machines at the big stores. Any insights or opinions on this matter?



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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:48 PM
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Bob you are simplyfying the price differnece to an extreme.

A 2000.000 table saw may just spin a blade, but it comes with a fence that actually works and is more elegant in use. If you want to use the knuckle adjust method for your fence get the 400.00 saw, if you want to dial in a number then come back two weeks later and dial in the same number and have the cut pieces actually be the same size get the 2000.00 saw. I stall my 1.75 Hp saw all the time, a 2000.00 saw probably would not stall with its 3 or 5 HP motor.
A 400.00 saw may spin the blade with a great amount of run out due to its cheaper materials, bearings etc. A 2000.00 saw may exhibit a .001 run out and keep that for years because of its high quality materials.

I have to own about 15 different circle jigs, but NONE come close to the precision of my Microfence circle jig and NONE offer the repeatability without going through a whole lot of effort and jig making. If I would have purchased that micro fence first I would have saved a whole lot of money and time on all the jigs and other circle jigs I purchased that still are not as good as the Microfence out of the box.

In my experience you get what you pay for. With tools buy the absolute best that you can afford. And do your homework there are times the best is NOT the most expensive.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:56 PM
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Hi Nick

Well most don't do it to make money like you do, it's a fun thing to do in the home shop the norm and it's just a hobby for most on the forum I think so I would say it's not to the extreme..

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickao65 View Post
Bob you are simplyfying the price differnece to an extreme.

A 2000.000 table saw may just spin a blade, but it comes with a fence that actually works and is more elegant in use. If you want to use the knuckle adjust method for your fence get the 400.00 saw, if you want to dial in a number then come back two weeks later and dial in the same number and have the cut pieces actually be the same size get the 2000.00 saw. I stall my 1.75 Hp saw all the time, a 2000.00 saw probably would not stall with its 3 or 5 HP motor.

A 400.00 saw may spin the blade with a great amount of run out due to its cheaper materials, bearings etc. A 2000.00 saw may exhibit a .001 run out and keep that for years because of its high quality materials. I have to own about 15 different circle jigs, but NONE come close to the precision of my Microfence circle jig and NONE offer the repeatability without going through a whole lot of effort and jig making. If I would have purchased that micro fence first I would have saved a whole lot of money and time on all the jigs and other circle jigs I purchased that still are not as good as the Microfence out of the box.

In my experience you get what you pay for. With tools buy the absolute best that you can afford.



"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"

Marc Sommerfeld Tools ,Videos
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-n...RWaEpMA/videos

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 10:08 PM
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Default your first router

You asked about buying a router at Home Depot or Lowes. They carry the name brands like porter cable,bosch,dewalt so as long as you stick with a name brand you should be fine.Another great source is craigslist for used tools.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobj3 View Post
Hi Opa

This is just my 2 cents

I look at like buying a car,,,they will all get you to A to B but sometimes you want to put out more C for a better one ... to show off to the neighbors or friends ,see what I just got... it's a build in human thing...

If you drive your car more than 25,000 miles a year you will need to put out more C so it will last 10 years or more, but if you only drive your car 5000 miles a year the lower price car will do the job just fine..and should last 10 years or so...this is true for tools as well...it's like someone buying a 2000.oo table saw when a 400.oo dollar one will do the same job. it's just a motor that spins a round blade..
======
Hi Bob

You missed the other option - second hand. I haven't had a new car in eons but I've only owned Volvos and Mercedes, all of which were 1-2 yrs old when I got them after careful checking.
Many tools came the same way. Starrett, Moore & Wright, Elu, Bosch, Hitachi, De Walt all bought second hand with quality built in, for much less than new.
I've some cheapies too and they are OK for now. Some actually seem quite good and make me wonder whether prices are often used as marketing tools in the manner of, if it's dear it must be good, as I sometimes see similar for a lot more money.
That reminds me. I recently wanted some pipe threading dies for pipe for pipe clamps. I'm not going to be doing them often, so something cheap would do that might be pointless for a tradesman using one every day.
Amazon UK have Silverline sets of 4 dies, die holder etc in a blow moulded case for UKP25 including free shipping within the UK. (I cannot buy a single pipe die down here for that, albeit that we are comparing almost certainly Chinese with German trade quality)
I was showing someone the pipe threading kits on Amazon yesterday and was very struck by the price differences from different traders for what were clearly the same products. Some products with identical illustrations were double that of others. Someone walking into one bricks and mortar shop might reject a product as cheap rubbish but if he had walked first into another one offering the same product for twice the price might have viewed it quite differently. Not everyone buys on the internet where the difference is more obvious. OTOH, we are buying sight unseen, but quality control, for whatever the spec is, has improved in recent years and duds are less common.

Cheers

Peter
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 10:57 AM
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As a consequence of buying thousands of these things, Big Box stores have the ability to "ask" manufacturers to make variations of "standard" models. One would assume that the variations are aimed at reducing both wholesale and retail prices. The extent of such manufacturing modifications aren't always clear.

While I don't have specific examples with respect to routers, I'd think that it would be a good idea to have researched the target product so that comparisons of the in-store product could be made. A different or slightly-modified model number might be a tip off.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 11:48 AM
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So, the question remains -- how do you tell a good tool from a bad one? An Hitachi M12V is always an M12V but a Craftsman is seldom the one that was advertised last week. Craftsman will be as expensive as the M12V and potentially more.

Short of taking the tool apart and examining the components, you have no way of knowing what you're purchasing. I find it most annoying that North American brands seldom seem what they profess to be. Specifications seldom tell you anything of significance. Yes, they tell you how many amps, or watts, or HP, or voltage but seldom in a manner that you can easily compare to other tools. They never tell you whether or not there are roller, ball or needle bearings or bushings. You must assume that they will always use the cheapest bearings they can get. They never say that they use a 4 pole or a 2 pole motor.

You can't say that more expensive is better - just look at Craftsman. A few years down the road and you can't get parts that fit yet the cheaper M12V could be 30 years old and still have parts available.

My method is to find out if parts for some old tank are still available. That will tell me if parts will be available for my new purchase, down the road, when I really need them.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 02:38 PM
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Greetings John, welcome to the forum. I would say buy a router that you can afford, getting the most with the least. HD and L both sell good routers in an affordable range. You also might try Craigs's list if you are not in a hurry, or check out Amazon, sometimes they have good buys. Shop for factory rebuilt/refurbished. These are returned items that are basically new with some warranty. Are you taking a chance? Did you get up this morning?

BTW, you asked about the quality of something from HD, Lowe's, or even Harbor Freight. HF recently had a Delta jointer for a very good price for an entry level kind of a guy (that's me by the way). Do I think that it is inferior to one at full price? Not at all. I think, from what I have learned here is to know the application first and then find the best for the least, 2.25HP, 3+HP what will you do? All hand application you might consider the smaller. Table only and it may be the 3+HP for that application.

Well not meaning to muddy the water any more, pick the one you are happy with and don't look back. I went with Ridgid, do I recommend it to you? Not necessarily. I am sure we rally have confused you but take heart is will all work out. I'm all those things.

"Opa" What does it stand for in your house, in mine it is Dutch for grandfather,

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I have a very good memory, just short is all.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 06:34 PM
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i look at craigslist a lot. the only problem with it is it seems , with a few exceptions , that the tools i see listed are from people in the construction trade and look worn out. occasionally i see something from a home workshop, but this always seems to be the exception when i look at them, lol

light travels faster than sound, this is why some people seem bright til you hear them speak.

Please Please Please edit your profile with a name and location so we can better assist you and make for a friendlier forum

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