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Doomwolf

OTT - Precision Framing Square

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I ordered the 26" framing square from woodpecker tools earlier this year. I was expecting to pay more than the receipt says because of the exchange rate conversion, but what I wasn't expecting was an additional $108 in customs dues (31%) on top of that. It's going to end up costing $460. I understand it's supposed to be a great tool, but is it really *that* good? I could buy a Chappell square, and trade off the lesser features for saving almost $300.

https://www.woodpeck.com/psq2018.html

For reference, I'm a hobbyist that only occasionally works with sheet goods. 

Update: So what happened is, UPS charges a brokerage fee for clearing an item through customs. This is based on the value of the item, not weight or complexity. In this case, the brokerage fees were $70, and the rest was HST (which you would pay if you bought an item here anyway). You can avoid paying these brokerage fees in Canada by self-clearing the item through a CBSA Inland Revenue Office. Below is a website explaining how the process works, a CBSA page saying the same thing, and a page where you can lookup where the closest CBSA office is. 

Self-clearing was super easy, less time than it takes to walk across a mall parking lot. Just make sure you have the UPS invoice, photo ID, and cash/credit card. You also need to know where the package is being held. You may need to find a way to fax/scan the invoice to the appropriate UPS office that deals with customs; the one I needed was right next to CBSA, so it was done before I could even go to the depot location. 

http://trueler.com/2010/11/24/self-clear-shipment-cbsa-avoid-ups-brokerage-fee/

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/courier/lvs-efv/menu-eng.html

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/menu-eng.html

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They're good but, they're only worth what you're willing to pay.

Sucks to pay an extra 108 bucks but, that's also not Woodpecker's fault.

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Ouch, that's steep. I use my WP framing square constantly with solid wood and plywood as well as checking casework & frames for square .  I bet you could resell it to recoup your money . 

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That's just nuts, to me.  My payback time would be never, but sounds like it's been worth it to Steve.   I always look at a purchase as how much of, what I call, my "net clear" income, in hours, takes to to buy it.  If the chance of quick payback is possible, I'm good with it, and move on.   My "net clear" is how much I make clear per hour, after figuring taxes, and living costs.   Even if your net clear is 50 bucks an hour, is it still worth more than a days work to buy the square?  It would not be to me. 

The Chappell square is an awfully good square, and a hard enough metal that I don't mind listening to a stationary saw tooth very lightly dragged along it to see if it plays the same note while squaring a fence, or jig, and still usable for anything I need to be sure that I'm using an accurate square on.   The only carpentry work I use it for is stair work.

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At this point, I'm going to go through with the purchase. I don't see anything on the Woodpecker website saying they do free returns, which I assume means I'd have to pay to ship it back ($45 at a minimum), and possibly a restocking fee or/and further customs shenanigans recrossing the border .....and it has resale value as long as I don't damage it....and most of the money has already been spent. 

(paragraph edited out as it is no longer accurate given how things developed)

Edit: as I'm paying the import fees, "Duty" is listed as $0.00 but 'UPS customs brokerage charges' are $70, so I think my anger may have been directed at the wrong source. More to follow on this.

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You might touch base with some of the other Canadian members and see if they got hit with a 30% tariff ? I know Shaneymack has the framing square and other Woodpeckers tools.

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May be the ordering avenue if you get it and you decide it's not so bad look at ordering through lee valley or another Canadian retailer.

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Those brokerage fees are definitely out of line. For something of that value, something around $20 is closer to what it should be. I always check into what the brokerage fees are when ordering from US.

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1 minute ago, Brendon_t said:

No, it's not.

Yes, it is. 

What are we arguing about?

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19 hours ago, Doomwolf said:

I understand it's supposed to be a great tool, but is it really *that* good? 
https://www.woodpeck.com/psq2018.html

For reference, I'm a hobbyist that only occasionally works with sheet goods. 



 

@Chestnut

Responding to op's actual question.

If someone barely works with what the tool excels at, at a higher cost than suitable quality alternatives, it's not worth it to me.

And I own the tool.

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11 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

@Chestnut

Responding to op's actual question.

If someone barely works with what the tool excels at, at a higher cost than suitable quality alternatives, it's not worth it to me.

And I own the tool.

Ahh yeah ignore my comment then. It was directed at the brokerage prices.

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I get my framing squares from the Homecenter, those unbranded ones made from steel with no scales. I check for squareness in situ, before buying. The main reason being that I don't need them for precision work, I'd rather offset my lines from the sides or use a t-square/combination square if I absolutely have to.  So I wouldn't even pay for the Chappell one, those squares are not an important part of my workflow.

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Have you found generic squares that aren't actually square? I hear a bunch of people (especially brands like WP) bash inexpensive squares for being less than square, but I haven't seen evidence of that. I've checked all of the various squares I have bought or inherited over the years, of various quality levels and purpose, and they are all square. At least as close as I can measure by making a knife line, flipping and checking against the original knife line.

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9 minutes ago, AnonymousAccountant said:

Have you found generic squares that aren't actually square? I hear a bunch of people (especially brands like WP) bash inexpensive squares for being less than square, but I haven't seen evidence of that. I've checked all of the various squares I have bought or inherited over the years, of various quality levels and purpose, and they are all square. At least as close as I can measure by making a knife line, flipping and checking against the original knife line.

I think it needs taken in the context of application. A machinist needs dead square within a tight tolerance. I've never needed to see if my cabinet sides are square within .0002".

It's marketing. Making people who don't need the product think it solves a problem they don't have. A Square that "isn't square enough"

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  • I have a cheap "square" that I came to realize isn't square. I replaced it with a cheap square that is square (as near as I can judge). I don't need, and would not willingly pay for, accuracy beyond what I can see with a visual check.
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I spent about $75 at Lee Valley for a "precision" framing square. It's as square as I can measure it & can't imagine needing anything squarer (just invented that word). The only advantage to the OTT square is that it has 1 leg that is thicker which makes it easier to register.

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8 hours ago, drzaius said:

Those brokerage fees are definitely out of line. For something of that value, something around $20 is closer to what it should be. I always check into what the brokerage fees are when ordering from US.

I've been hit with similar fees by UPS. I never order anything shipped by UPS from the US unless I know up front the fees are paid. US postal service isn't nearly as bad. As an example, I had fog lights come in that I paid $55 USD for. The duty and brokerage fees from UPS came to $70 USD! This is the reason that it's often not worth it to order from American sources.

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32 minutes ago, SawDustB said:

I've been hit with similar fees by UPS. I never order anything shipped by UPS from the US unless I know up front the fees are paid. US postal service isn't nearly as bad. As an example, I had fog lights come in that I paid $55 USD for. The duty and brokerage fees from UPS came to $70 USD! This is the reason that it's often not worth it to order from American sources.

I have no clue how they arrive at a number for this. I had an order from the US for about $800 worth of speaker drivers & parts. The store suggested using USPS for this because they don't actually check every package; that ones that don't get checked are not charged GST or brokerage. My order, because of weight & physical size was split in 2. The first package arrived with no fees. The second came a couple of days later & I had to pay about $30 for GST & brokerage fees. So I actually came out a little ahead.

I have to give the store (Madisound.com) credit, on their international shipping page they thoroughly go over many options & which would be best for what type of order. Honestly, many online stores aren't really aware there is another world outside of the US. Quite often there is no indication that they are even in the US, yet that is the only place they will sell to (once you dig deep enough).

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Update: I Googled "UPS brokerage fees" last night and found some information (some from the CBSA website) about how you can self-clear your item in through customs. Will look at going that route, and report back as to how well it goes. 

Apparently UPS charges the brokerage fees based on the $ value of the item. It has nothing to do with weight or the difficulty of the paperwork.

In fairness to the use of the square (once it arrives) - I am part way through* the first of two bookshelves made from plywood, and having only a 12" square was making some things problematic.

*still only part way because gf's suck up a lot of time 

 

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Back to the orig topic and away from the tariffs. I’m sure they are there for a reason and as many times as I’ve had my hands slapped on here, I darn sure don’t want to come close to that line, much less cross it. So, a framing square is good and a square framing square is even better. And this is my opinion only but, now that you have drawn this extremely square line, what the heck are you going to do with it? Try to follow it with your circ saw and cut a perfect cut? Or maybe drag the Festool panel cutter, or whatever they call it and override the initial line as Festool rules. Or like me, you have a half ass straight line, cut with the circ saw, that edge against the ts fence and cut proud of the line. Rinse and repeat until you have your final dimension. Framing squares are meant to be used for framers that put 2x’s in the air or to cut tails off of rafters. Rant over. 

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Yeah, your vision is somewhat limited Coop. Small squares are good for framing as tolerances are somewhat more forgiving. People want bigger squares for a couple of other things (right or wrong.) Big squares help with tool setup and alignment sometimes. MFT and table saw both feature heavily in that conversation. Bigger squares also give a longer registration surface when checking large cases for square. I think that is something missed in the discussion quite often. Just like using a long straight edge to span the cutter head and check jointer tables to make them  coplaner, sometimes you want a bigger square to span across curves or mortises. I don’t want to step into the value argument. I simply see some desire for bigger at times, and no need for it for vast amounts of other time. 

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2 hours ago, Tpt life said:

Yeah, your vision is somewhat limited Coop. Small squares are good for framing as tolerances are somewhat more forgiving. People want bigger squares for a couple of other things (right or wrong.) Big squares help with tool setup and alignment sometimes. MFT and table saw both feature heavily in that conversation. Bigger squares also give a longer registration surface when checking large cases for square. I think that is something missed in the discussion quite often. Just like using a long straight edge to span the cutter head and check jointer tables to make them  coplaner, sometimes you want a bigger square to span across curves or mortises. I don’t want to step into the value argument. I simply see some desire for bigger at times, and no need for it for vast amounts of other time. 

You're right, my views and experience with framing squares are limited. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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