Made in the USA?

Made in the USA?


Made in the USA?

Donald Weimer wrote to declare that only Porter-Cable tools are still made in the USA — while all other brands are hit or miss when it comes to country of origin. He was especially annoyed to discover his newly purchased Rockwell Delta tools were made in China and now takes extra care to avoid tools from that country & based on his personal dislike of China’s repressive government and the fact that he thinks tools made in that country are junk.

After we’ve moved all of the manufacturing to countries with low labor costs, John Rowe wonders who will be left in this country to buy all those “low cost” goods. Disavowing any anti-NAFTA sentiments, he notes that even Mexico’s wages — low by American standards — are still a fortune compared to China and the like. Avoiding buying tools from the Far East, he declared, was not a matter of quality, but of the survival of the United States.

Just how hard it is to buy American was illustrated by Joe Tria’s recent purchase of an 8″ sander for sharpening his lathe tools. TheInternet vendor stated it was made in the USA, but when it arrived, it was actually made in China!

Debbie Miller declared it was critical that we not base our buying decisions on price alone. Paying a higher price for American-made tools supports higher paying jobs here at home. (Henry Ford helped launch the consumer middle-class by paying employees enough to buy his cars.) Choosing a lower priced import, she stated, supports a system where workers are paid as little as possible and cannot afford to buy what they make.

Filling Old Nail Holes

Regardless of how they’re filled, Bob Remington suggested that the best way to remove those nails was from the rear & saving the front wood from doing what it did in the picture.

Problems with Miter Cuts

Walt Turner described a similar problem he’d run into with his DeWalt sliding compound miter saw. Though he got a good cut if the piece was long enough to go completely from one side of the saw to the other, he discovered that on shorter pieces — which he held against the rotating table — the cut was slightly angled. The trouble, he realized, was that the rotating table was tilted slightly (.01′). DeWalt’s response? The tilt was well within the tolerance of the saw. His response? When you need a really accurate cut (picture frames, etc), you’ll need a different tool.

Finding Exact Center

Andrew wrote that there is a much easier way to find exact center than the way described by our experts. Draw a triangle inside the circle, making sure that the vertices (the three points) are on the circumference (perimeter) of the circle. Draw a line connecting each vertex (between a point and the opposite side’s midpoint) and where the lines meet is the center.

How to Deal with Royal Screwups?

The story of the poor guy whose rope trim was cut too short struck a cord with Denny Hurd. With the exception of Norm Abram, he thinks every woodworker makes a similar mistake sooner or later. His solution & cut the long boards first and, if he makes a mistake, use it for the short boards!


I Really LOVE IT! (Ugh)

Dennis Stuhaug was reading about handmade gifts and reactions when his 2-1/2 year old grandson noticed his scale model of a grapple skidder (piece of logging equipment) sitting on his bookshelf. He told the child it was a special gift and not a toy, but that he would go out later and get him one to play with. “No,” was his grandson’s indignant reply, “I want a real one. You make it!” You can guess what Dennis was doing that evening.

Being on the receiving end of a “handmade gift” can also be disheartening. A reader described how she asked her husband to make a copy of a “shoeshine box” her dad had made as a young man. She’d requested a duplicate, but he decided to make a “better” one. Not only was it useless, she thought it was ugly and gave it away to the first guy she dated & after her divorce.

Toolmaker Insider

Mar 26 – Apr 6¸ 2002 – Delta Tools: Top Quality at Any Price!

Carol and Jerry Jankura took issue with Delta’s assertion that their U.S.-made and offshore products were only different in their intended use (continuous vs. occasional) and not different in quality. Delta can’t have it both ways, they insist, and introducing a sub brand with a different name is an admission that their lower-priced products are not the same quality as higher-priced, U.S.-made versions.

Other reader comments

Getting Started in Woodworking

Noting that most advice comes from experienced woodworkers, Dave wrote to offer a beginner’s perspective on getting started in woodworking. By starting with rough woodworking and home repair, he suggested, you accumulate tools as you need them & and at less cost per month. Plus, you’ll learn valuable techniques working with a $2 two-by-four that work just as well with a $75 piece of oak plywood. Errors made with dimensional lumber are cheaper and easier to fix. Once you master the basics and have learned to finish a project, it’s time to begin making furniture or other treasures. Books are OK, he acknowledged, but nothing beats experience.

One more sad story

For a variety of reasons, Jimmy Krause moved his woodshop to a pole barn at his family’s old vacation farm just outside the town where his parents’ lived. A good son, he agreed to build new cabinet fronts for his parents’ kitchen. To help her get ideas for the project, he took his mother around to a local builders’ supply store. After declaring this one was “too dark”, that one was “too busy”, or “too light”, she finally found a Mission-style cabinet she liked. According to Jimmy, it was made of pressboard faced with a cheesy, plastic-looking oak grain, but stained with walnut tone that matched her floors. To surpass this contemptible rendering of Mission, he made his way to a local sawmill and picked up some rough sawn, un-squared oak lumber about an inch and a half thick. After days of re-sawing, planing, and finish sanding, he had some of the nicest quarter-sawn red oak he’d ever worked with. He had just finished putting up the stained and finished fronts when his mother returned from a day at the local riverboat casino. All she had to say? “That doesn’t look like what you showed me, you can see the wood grain!” After all his hard work, his mother now has the nicest sealed and painted oak cabinets on the block!

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