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  1. #1
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    Jan 2004
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    Default What criteria do you use when shopping for tools?

    If you look down a dozen posts or so there is a post about cheap tools.
    After having being caught out buying tools that are duds ,so many times, I now try to set some criteria when assessing any potential tool purchase.

    Criteria I try to use are:

    Price point Is the tool close to the price of same tool in another brand
    Country of Origin
    Are the most suitable components and materials used Are the components smaller,thinner , a different cheaper material, or of less quality than a comparable tool
    Is there a brand name on the tool If it has a brand name the more likely the manufacturer will be proud of the tool produced
    Is the tool just a generic copy

    How do you go about selecting a new tool? list some of your criteria. What points do you look for?

    Grahame

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  3. #2
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    Aug 2008
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    near Rockhampton
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    Default

    It's intended use

    price

    I am not going to spend a lot on a tool that is being bought to be modified for a single use..

    I am not going to buy the cheapest 3/8 socket set either, since I use that size all the time...

    I did buy a cheap set of tools that sit in a car for emergency use, although they were tested first that they work properly..
    Light red, the colour of choice for the discerning man.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Castlemaine
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    Default It's a waiting game...

    The two major factors for me are Price and Quality.

    As I am in the process of setting up my workshop on a budget, I have found that by scouring all the usual places, ebay, gumtree, onsite auctions, garage sales and swap meets I have been able to put together a good collection of brand name tools for a similar price as buying and shipping Chinese tools.

    As an example, I needed to get some new 40 taper tooling for my "new" Haho mill. As I was in no rush( the mill is in storage until my new shed is built). I have been keeping an eye out for bits and have managed to get the following:

    Brand new REGO FIX ER32 collet chuck $60 delivered
    Brand new Nikken BT40 to MT4 adaptor $70 delivered
    Good condition Sandvic face mill arbor and 20mm side lock holder $20 each local pick up.

    So if you have the time and patience you can get good quality tools at great prices, however if I need something NOW I pay full price for it

    Cheers

    Piers

  5. #4
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    Sep 2006
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    Mallacoota,VIC,Australia
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    Default

    HI
    For me it comes down to Price, Quality, Time ie local or overseas sourced. Whenever I buy online I normally spend a few days looking for the best deal.
    All The Best steran50 Stewart

    The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.

  6. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    Default

    One of the criteria I use (and get easily sucked in by) is versatility.
    This means I tend to look at or buy tools that are able to do things I do not need immediately or ever.
    Sometimes smaller is lighter and easier to use and still does the job in more than an adequate fashion.

  7. #6
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    Oct 2011
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    Adelaide
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    Default

    My thoughts -

    • I prefer good condition second hand to new - I figure that if something has not been flung in a bin it must be reasonable. It must look as if it has been looked after though (or alternately could be fixed)
    • Especially if buying on line I look for respected names.
    • Workmanship as manifested in appearance is important (usually by looking at the details - deburring, corners, holes, components fitting or nesting properly etc).
    • Recommendations/ suggestions from others weigh in too.
    • I try to support Australian manufacturers but they have to have what I want, not "sort of like a"
    • Price - but not necessarily the lowest. More like what is reasonable
    • Original over knock off copy


    Michael

  8. #7
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    Apr 2013
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    adelaide
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    Default Polish the C#!ne$e

    Price!!!
    I'm a hobbyist, I work in metal (and wood) as a hobby only; however, I also have several other hobbies which also require financial input, so I'm not interested in throwing money into brand names. As long as they do their job and don't fall apart on first use, they are fine by me. C#!ne$e, Taiwanese, Polish, Indian - don't care.

    I only buy new, don't like second hand tools at all, there is usually a reason for people getting rid of used tools... I can only think of one occasion when I bought a second hand tool - and that was recently - a Mitutoyo micrometer. It was in pretty sad condition but cheap and I had a one off use for it.

    If buying on ebay I prefer C#!ne$e or Taiwanese, because I know they will bend over backwards to keep my custom.

  9. #8
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    Oct 2007
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    Default

    You do know that Chinese can be written on this forum right? It's a country not a swear word

    If there's ever been any bending over involving a Chinese supplier it's been to bend me forward rather than anyone bending backwards. I deal reasonably consistently with Chinese suppliers and most couldn't give a flying %^&* whether they ever see your sorry butt again, once the deal is done it's done. New deal, new negotiations and off we start again. Even my Chinese friends don't enjoy dealing with mainland Chinese, so nobody can accuse me of being racist!

    Yes there's a reason people sell tools, there's a reason people see most things. Fortunately I've been able to equip my workshop very well with high quality Swiss and German tooling as a result of people selling things. Sadly it's often because the businesses concerned have gone belly up or are moving their manufacturing to China. Oh the irony

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Victoria
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    Default

    For me I prefer good old quality, in saying that I will buy from ebay for certain things. On the onsuite Reno we installed 10mm thick extremely hard tiles in the shower made in Italy. Down at Bunnings a made in China Sutton 6 mm diamond core drill, $12, I purchased 10 from China for $10 delivered, arrived in 5 days. The word from my tiler was you are going to have heaps of trouble drilling these hence my purchase of 10, I figured if if I burn up 10 I am still better off. Drilled 2 holes with 1 bit as a trial, no worries still looks fine. So in some circumstances made in China is ok with me.
    Cheers
    Bruce

  11. #10
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    Ueee is offline Blacksmith, Cabinetmaker, Machinist, Messmaker
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    Default

    I groaned when i saw this thread title, and look where its going already......

    I mostly buy tools on quality AND price. Unless i need it now and i can get it in town. But then i'm moving out of hobbyville at the moment and into manufacturing. You don't mind buying a $10 drill but when you have 200 holes to drill.... (FWIW a 5.3mm dormer lasted 130 holes 25mm deep in MS today and it doesn't even look used. The Dormer spiral tap that followed also easily lasted and is still pristine)
    I do buy from Asia at times-Taiwan tools is a favorite but it's not cheap like some Asian suppliers.

    So i guess actually i buy tools on quality and not so much on price, although i'm a real scrooge on machines, but i guess thats really just been good luck.

    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

  12. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by th62 View Post
    I'm confused by your reply, if the C#!ne$e are so bad to deal with, why do you deal with them 'reasonably consistently?
    If by that you mean Chinese, it's because often they're the only suppliers

    Lets look at my last experience, and if you happen to know another organisation who sells a 19.70 x 1.6667 mm 45/5 buttress thread die then please let me know. As it was, the only one I could find was from a Chinese seller. I purchased it and when it arrived it was disgraceful, it would never work in a fit. It was so bad I actually took photos of just how crap it was. I contacted the seller and he initially tried to tell me it was my fault. Apparently. I showed him photos of how badly it had been made so in the end he agreed that if I sent it back he would refund my money. Normally I wouldn't be bothered and just throw it in the bin, but instead in principle I decided I would, as it was a joke, so poorly made, so sprung for yet more money to send it back to him registered mail as requested. He then claimed he didn't receive it. I kept pushing him so he then claimed it was damaged. I asked him how he would know it was damaged if he hadn't received it. He then told me outright "tough". No refund. So out of that little experience I was out of pocket about 60 bucks for the die IIRC, postage to Australia, and then return postage to China, a whole heap of angst, and a pile of my time wasted. But please, tell me again how great the Chinese are to deal with.

    As far as tools, I buy crap when all I need is crap, and I buy quality when I want quality. I expect to pay the appropriate prices at each end of the scale.

    I agree Ewan, Dormer is very good, and worth the money. I used to favour Presto for drills and have quite a few, including my 10ths sets, but they sent their manufacturing to China, and I've found the quality is quite poor on the sets I have now. A shame. They even sent me a free drill set, a very nice gesture ... except one of the drills hadn't been ground properly so wouldn't cut Great advertising that!

  13. #12
    Ueee's Avatar
    Ueee is offline Blacksmith, Cabinetmaker, Machinist, Messmaker
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    Default

    Another thing a mate of mine said to me once that i think is pretty smart actually.

    If your not sure you really need something, buy a cheap one. If you use it enough to break it or wear it out then you know you need a good one.....

    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

  14. #13
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    Default Show me your tools, and I tell you who you are

    Take a simple flat screwdriver for slotted screws. A cheap screwdriver is very likely to ruin slotted screws. That may be of no concern, if it is used to fix the kids push bike and maybe occasionally to remove weed between pavers. I could loose my job or at least my reputation, if I was to use the same say to adjust a $10k interferometer in a spectrometer. I can often tell just by looking at a screw head, if a customer has tried to fix something on his own. The guys that ruin screw heads are the same that leave washers away or install them in reverse. "Fit for purpose" obviously means different things to different people. I often use a screwdriver to lever O-rings out of their seat - but I only own Swiss made PB screwdrivers, with carefully rounded and polished edges. A cheap screwdriver could scratch the o-ring seat and be the cause for a leak under high vacuum. My wife owns some cheap screwdrivers, she uses them in the stables, and I sometimes borrow one to remove the weeds between the pavers. Or another example, only a fool would use the screwdriver found in a breakfast cereal box to open a $2k watch or camera, thereby instantly halving the watches value. No matter how skilled the user, there are many situations where one simply cannot do a good job with bad tools.

    For me, brand reputation is important too. I know that I can blindly trust a Stahlwille ratchet set. I know that I can hold EREM flat nose plyers in my hand in many different ways, they are balanced and always open up fully and close precisely with little force, and they are all around polished and will not mark my workpiece (try that with 30 times cheaper Chinese noname plyers that come from new with an effectively seized-up hinge and burrs all around). And so forth.

    For private use tools, I often spend quite some time researching, trying to find the best compromize price vs quality. I am fortunate I have had the opportunity to work with some fine tools. Where a cheaper tool can do the job, a well trained eye for fit and finish of a tool helps to spot a bargain. It certainly helps to avoid the worst mistakes. But I still get it wrong from time to time and end up with crap that goes to landfill - and if this happens, it almost invariably is tools made in China or India. The best bargains for me have been "New Old Stock" brand name tools from eBay. And some reground ones.

    There is a saying that goes "you are what you eat"
    I suggest change that to "Show me your tools, and I tell you who you are"

  15. #14
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    Sep 2014
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    Australia
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    Default

    I like to buy tools that work. I went through a stage after I went into office work where I felt I could no longer justify buying expensive tools. Went out and bought DIY tools. Got over that fad, now back to buying trade quality tools. But there are a couple of standout tools. Now consider I am a renovator, not a tradie. Done a few houses now, I buy tired houses and make them look good again.

    Tools I would never buy again:
    Dewalt. Every single dewalt tool I have owned has been destroyed.
    Ryobi. Same as dewalt, although I managed to save a ryobi angle grinder after discovering the gearbox part hanging on by one screw. It has since died.

    Tools I have bought a long time ago that I have tried to kill:
    Bosch.. May not be the best to use in some cases, but man do those tools take a flogging. I have a green battery drill that should be dead, used to drive batten screw in. Not sure how the clutch still remains intact. Also got a couple of blue drills, drop saw and green hand drill. All from my trade days.
    Makita.. Ok, so in the early days a few dodgy NiCad batteries in the drills, but another brand that seems to take a flogging pretty good. I have had my circular saw for years and it gets thrown around. Routers are not to shabby either.

    Cheap tools that should never stand trade use:
    Ozito SDS drill. Words escape me on this one. My wifes cousin, a builder has one as well and its been through hell and back a few times. It is still going.

    When it comes to tools of my trade, I must say I am taking a soft spot to bosch and makita based on my track record. The problem with asking tradies about quality though is they tend to bias their argument to their preferred brand, or what they have used. Example, a sparky mate of mine swears by dewalt battery drills, yet he has replaced his multiple times. Another mate swears by hitachi, and he has had a good track record with them. My father has a metabo hammer drill, which given I am 40 must make it at least 45 years old. I have borrowed it for trade work when my metabo hammer drill packed it in! HE replaced the chuck about 5 years ago, and the new one is rubbish!

    As for chinese, nothing wrong with that. I manufacture all my electronics in china now. If you control the quality, its no different to any other place in the world. Problem is buying chinese goods manufactured for a cheap market. They can make stuff for any market depending on how much you want to spend.

  16. #15
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    Default

    If we are talking machine tools, I admit to being addicted to searching on-line auction sites for bargains... sites like Grays, EvansClarke, GoDove, Troostwijk, Surplex etc.. etc.. not so much ebay or gumtree, but they are always worth a look..

    If possible it's always a good idea to take advantage of inspection day and see exactly what's on offer. Traditional auctions, like clearing sales and estate sales can be good. but it pays to know what things are worth before bidding, I saw several anvils sell at auction a few months back and they went for well above new price ( including freight)... Not uncommon to see stuff on ebay sell for more than new price.

    Ray

    PS Here's some links...

    http://international.go-dove.com/en/
    https://www.surplex.com/en/home.html
    https://www.troostwijkauctions.com/uk/
    http://www.graysonline.com/
    http://www.evansclarke.com.au/

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