Jamie McGannon

BEST to WORST list

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Guys,

 

I'm interested in your opinions on the hierarchy of quality woodworking machines from BEST to WORST. Covering, power jointers, thickness planers, dust extraction, table saws, hand held powertools for the small pro shop to the over zealous home shop.

 

I know this could lead to a big debate and personal opinions but I thought for the beginning woodworker like myself it would be a valuable resource to help sort through all of the choices. Keep cost out of the conversation, even though it plays a role it is uniquely personal.

 

 

Example:

 

1. Powermatic (Tablesaw, jointer, planer)

2. Festool (all)

3. General (router table)

4. Jessem (router table)

5. Jet (Dust extraction)

6. Grizzly

7. ShopFox

 

 

 

Thanks for your input,

 

Jamie

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PB, much like the automotive food chain the same exist in all products. A compact car gets you from A to B just like a luxury does but the experience is much different. A band saw will cut wood but some do it with more precision and options. This is the feedback i'm interested in. In the end arent we all just taking big pieces of wood and making them smaller? Shouldnt matter what I'm looking to do!

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I'm sorry, I'm not sure I really understand the question.

Are you asking us to list table saws from best to worst and then make another list for power jointers and then make another list for thickness planers etc...?
Or are you just asking us to list brands best to worst, because I don't understand how to do that?

I mean if I compare Festool to Grizzly. I don't think I'd be alone in saying I like Festool's track saw better, but I much prefer Grizzly's bandsaw...

 

Perhaps some additional clarification in what you are asking would help.
 

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PB, much like the automotive food chain the same exist in all products. A compact car gets you from A to B just like a luxury does but the experience is much different. A band saw will cut wood but some do it with more precision and options. This is the feedback i'm interested in. In the end arent we all just taking big pieces of wood and making them smaller? Shouldnt matter what I'm looking to do!

 

You certainly would not buy a compact car to drive your wife and six children to the grocery store you would need at least a minivan or short bus.

Your not going to buy an altendorf or martin table saw for weekend hobby woodworking. So no there is no real food chain. You could say PM across the board is better than Griz, but really need to define better.

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I'm sorry, I'm not sure I really understand the question.

Are you asking us to list table saws from best to worst and then make another list for power jointers and then make another list for thickness planers etc...?

Or are you just asking us to list brands best to worst, because I don't understand how to do that?

I mean if I compare Festool to Grizzly. I don't think I'd be alone in saying I like Festool's track saw better, but I much prefer Grizzly's bandsaw...

 

Perhaps some additional clarification in what you are asking would help.

 

You're on the right track, Chet. I guess the best way to illustrate would be by tool and then brand. sorry for the confusion. 

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I'm sorry, I'm not sure I really understand the question.

Are you asking us to list table saws from best to worst and then make another list for power jointers and then make another list for thickness planers etc...?

Or are you just asking us to list brands best to worst, because I don't understand how to do that?

I mean if I compare Festool to Grizzly. I don't think I'd be alone in saying I like Festool's track saw better, but I much prefer Grizzly's bandsaw...

 

Perhaps some additional clarification in what you are asking would help.

 

 

Agreed!  Plus, If I've never owned anything but X brand table saw, how do I say that's my favorite? 

 

Now, if you were to say "money is no issue, you're setting up a brand new 10k square foot shop, how would you fill it?" you'd probably get a whole array of different answers.

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Four sided planers, every hobby shop should have one. I saw the Weinig Cube at W12 (uk show) and it was simply awesome!

 

 

We make do with a very entry level Griggio G220

 

 

Does the job for us but if I could "pimp" my shop then a Cube would be on the way.

 

Have I understood the game correctly :) ? 

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You're on the right track, Chet. I guess the best way to illustrate would be by tool and then brand. sorry for the confusion. 

I'm still not sure I can help you here.

Not trying to be difficult, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around what you really want.

 

Do you want A: A list of table saws, then a list of routers, then a list of planers etc...

Or do you want B: A list of my favorite brands?

 

I really don't know how to do either of these. I've used my stuff and I've used a few of my woodworker friends things. But I've certainly not used every brand of every tool that's out there. Not only that, but I don't know what to use for criteria. Is money no object? Or should I use best value as a criteria?

 

"Best" is a strange word, "Worst" is even stranger. And "tools" can mean almost anything.

 

Right now I can say I've liked almost everything I've ever got with the Veritas name on it. But even having said that, I'm not sure I would say Veritas is "Better" that Lie Neilsen?

 

I want to help you but the question is very broad and very confusing.

 

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I'm going to decline to participate in this discussion so as not to make comments I'm going to regret later.  I've made my feelings about rating tools on the color of their paint known in other topics.

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"Best" and "worst" are such absolutes, and are very subjective.  I've probably never heard of some of the true candidates for "best". Toss in the fact that even the Cadillac dealer has a few rebadged Chevrolets in the lineup, and it gets hard to firmly place anyone as top dog in all categories.  I hold very little brand loyalty (or serious disdain) for any brand...more often than not, it's just a name plate.  Once you drink the proverbial marketing koolaid it sort of blinds us to truth.  

 

I will say that at this moment in time (don't hold me to it 5 years from now), Grizzly is one of my favorite brands for offering good value on many larger machines at a fair price for hobbyists.  Some of their smaller stuff is less of a deal after s/h, but overall, their stationary table saws, jointers, DC's, BS, DP's, and bigger planers offer a lot of bang for the buck.  The caveat is that you have to be willing to be your own middleman.....if you want dealer support, you'll have to look elsewhere and include their wages in the cost. 

 

The Canadian made General line has long been a brand that I've held alot of respect for because of their quality and family owned origins, but unfortunately, they've shifted focus to the General International line....still a reputable name, but nothing significantly different from Jet, Griz, Baleigh, Steel City, Rikon, etc.   

 

I will also say that Skil is one of my least favorite brands....one too many Skil items has left a bad taste in my mouth, but I try to keep an open mind in case they start offering some gems at great prices in the future.  Make no mistake about it, price does matter when comparing anything.  Since there's room for a few Sears and HF gems in my shop, I suppose there's room for an occasional Skil or B&D tool also if the right deal comes along.  It really depends on the intended usage. 

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You really need to bound threads like this, define attributes like 'quality' and identify expectations...

 

As a stalking horse: tools made in Germany, Switzerland and/or select regions of Italy ---> Anything sold at Harbor Freight

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Lets look more closely at similar products sold by two different companies. 

 

http://www.lagunatools.com/tablesaws/tablesaw-platinumlt

 

http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-3HP-220V-Cabinet-Table-Saw-with-Long-Rails-Riving-Knife/G0691

 

So what is the main point that sets these two saws so far apart price wise? 

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==> So what is the main point that sets these two saws so far apart price wise? 

 

$400 is not really that far apart in price...  It's noise level and probably within sales negotiation range...  Want to see big ranges -- buy a Euro saw -- you can find ranges of $10K -- no problem...

 

Arguing which Chinese value-import is better than any other Chinese value-import is not really much of an exercise...  And the Grizzly -vs- PM has been beaten to death...

 

My suggestion is to kick the tires on both --- it's the only way...

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I was just trying to do more of an apples to apples comparison. It seems to be more direct than the direction this thread is heading in. They both have the same leeson motor, so i doubt there is a noise level difference. Everything looks identical from point to point on each saw, even hand wheels. Doesn't matter to me, Im not looking to buy right now, just throwing it out there. 

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$400 equals three or four more hours of shop time. One coat of paint, one extra round of QC. I charge half of that for a processional and recessional at a wedding. You might be showing your age (said with tongue firmly in cheek in self incriminating fashion.) :-)

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==> You might be showing your age (said with tongue firmly in cheek in self incriminating fashion.) :-) 

 

More likely my expectation of quality --- and it's pretty high :)

 

Dissecting two extremely similar table saws without actually seeing them is not of much value...  Both motors may be from Leeson, but one could be a higher duty-rating.  One saw's trunion or bearings might be heaver duty... Warranty policy... who knows?  Remember, in the words of Dr. House, "Everybody lies"...

 

Further, the $400 difference could probably be negotiated down through delivery charges, taxes, mobile bases, blades, ZCIs, etc, etc...

 

For a stationary tool that supposed to last ten or twenty years, a couple hundred dollars should not be that big a deal...  After all, the same couple hundred dollars gets you a Forrest Dado King...  If in doubt, always kick the tires before plonking down your $$s.

 

If you want to get some idea of how high the top-end of a hobby shop can go --- take a gander:

 

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/european-dreaming-a-visit-to-kent-adkinss-shop

 

Now some might argue that Kent (and/or his shop) is out of control... Some might not... Depends on your expectations...  I was always been taught to get the best tool you could afford...  

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Lets look more closely at similar products sold by two different companies. 

 

http://www.lagunatools.com/tablesaws/tablesaw-platinumlt

 

http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-3HP-220V-Cabinet-Table-Saw-with-Long-Rails-Riving-Knife/G0691

 

So what is the main point that sets these two saws so far apart price wise? 

 

 

In this case, dealer markup and longer warranty make up the bulk of the price difference....AFAIK, these two saws come from the same factory in China using the same components.  The same saw is also available from Baleigh and Oliver. ts1040e_50_table-saw_zpsf0b84ab0.png

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I have instant suspicion of Craftsman and Ridgid tools. Not what they once were, just like Stanley and Black and Decker slipping more as the years go by. Fein and Festool have some quality that seems to last, and prices to go with it. Bosch seems to hold its mid level quality fairly well.

As to stationary cast iron tools I have a strong preference for Taiwanese made over Chinese, just my personal experience.

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