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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Junk tools



My father-in-law picked up a big air compressor for next to nothing. It had a large air tank and lots of hoses and accessories. The only problem was it didn't work. This compressor, like generators, pumps, and many other tools, was built in China. Replacement parts are almost never available.

Just read reviews of Chinese built generators sometime. Ignore the reviews from people who just got one and it fired up. Look at the reviews from people who actually use them for a living and work them hard. Those reviews are terrible. Quite a few are broken right out of the box.

Sometimes it's possible to do what my father-in-law did and fabricate parts yourself. That's what it takes.

I used to look down on equipment that use small Briggs and Stratton engines. They are pretty low tech and have been around forever. Now I look for them just for those reasons. Parts and manuals are readily available.

Good quality equipment is still available, but they aren't cheap. If your business depends on your equipment working, spend the money. That also goes for people who buy equipment for emergency use. If the grid goes down and your cheap Chinese generator fails when you really need it, will you be thinking about what a bargain it was?

There are times when I will buy cheap power tools. If I'm doing a job that needs special equipment, but I never expect to use it again, I might go the cheap route. If the equipment fails it will still be on warranty. I once blew through a pile of guaranteed wrenches. They'd snap and I'd go down to the store, get a replacement and snap that one too. Eventually one lasted long enough to do the job. The store was getting really really sick of seeing me, but that wasn't my problem.

As for my father-in-law's compressor? His cobbled together repair lasted a year. Then he tore it down and did another cheapo repair. He's still using it.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. Hi, my name is Phil and I am a Tool Junkie.

    I have run the full range now, from junk Chinese crap to thousands of dollars worth of Snap On, Mac and other high end tools.

    One Snap On screwdriver that costs twenty five dollars to twenty five screwdrivers made in Taiwan that cost a dollar apiece.

    They all have a place in the Grand Scheme of things.

    You mention good old Briggs and Stratton motors, even those damn things have high tech sensors and ignition systems on them now.

    I'm tellin' ya, Old School is the way to go if you can anymore.
    Points and condensor's all the way.

    Being able to make do and perform work arounds used to be an American bragging point.
    You would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of these types in a population of ten thousand anymore.
    The Throw Away Society has become the norm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I'm lucky to know a lot of "Redneck Engineers." Maybe it's because none of us can buy our way out of problems. We have to make things work.

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  2. We, amongst our other agricultural equipment, have three Howard Gem rotavators. The newest is from 1975 the oldest 1963. The spares are still available and they will out work anynew machines. They are heavy but they will never let you down. Our tractors are all 60s or 70s models. Spares are easy to get and implements cheap and plentiful as big Ag farming regards them as too small and under powered. Though here in our part of Wales they suit our small field sizes The compressor in our workshops is an old Briggs and Stratton.
    Old stuff lasts and is easy to repair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buddy of mine is still using a tractor from the 30s.

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  3. Yes. I bought a Makita 3 inch disc grinder, I guess you have them in the US, in about 1979. I use it for 'finishing work'.
    It's still going strong. It pays to buy quality...

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    Replies
    1. I bought some Makita tools when I built my dome over two decades ago. They are still going strong, including the drill that spent a week in the bottom of a bucket of water.

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  4. My Father-in-law said that I was dangerous when I picked up a tool. Wonder why he said that? (grin)

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    Replies
    1. Hope you didn't staple his hand to the wall or anything like that. :)

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  5. I'll admit I have purchased many tools from Harbor Freight, Store of Cheap (in every sense of the word) Tools. I've learned by bitter experience not to put good tools in car trunks and truck boxes. I also keep them as 'loaners'. That way my old Craftsman sets stay intact. I'll lend a nephew a shotgun or rifle, but he doesn't get to use my good tools.

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    Replies
    1. My dad had a whole set of color coded tools to be used as loaners. His good tools were in custom locked boxes.

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  6. Maybe I just got lucky, but the Yanmar 3KW diesel generator I bought in 1999 is still going strong and I've put a lot of hours on it over the years. I take good care of it and it runs well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you ever have to replace it, do some research. The old Yanmars were pretty good, but I haven't kept up with the newer ones.

      Brands that used to be good are no longer. I for one will never buy another Stanley tool. When a caulking gun does not last long enough to use a single tube something is wrong.

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