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Old 12-03-2012, 11:06 AM   #21
Lampin' it
sailah's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Turning expensive metal into scrap
Oddometer: 5,817
Regrading used tools vs new, it's not fair to compare import-quality tools with ones made here 40+ years ago. Take Delta Rockwell. A new import from Taiwan is a mere toy compared to the machines made in Pittsburgh back in the day. I know, I have used, bought and rebuilt many. I have built up probably 5 Delta Rockwell 17" drill presses that are an actual quality tool I would pay more for used than a new import tool.

My current shop drill press is a Powermatic 1200 machine, probably 60's vintage. I paid $250 at a school auction and put maybe $50 in bearings, paint general clean up. It has variable speed and will plow a hole in almost anything you can clamp to it's 24" table. Probably weighs in excess of 600lbs of real American iron. These were many thousands new.

I bought many of these Rockwells for $150 and would clean them up and paint them new belts, bearings etc. and sell them as a hobby. These are industrial quality tools not some Home Depot Rigid cheapo unit.

People bid them to the same dollars as they think the Home Depot units are, but they aren't even close to the same level of quality. The castings are far superior, the steel used to make the gears, shafts, chucks is superior. The motors are much more ruggedly built.

This one I even hot rodded to 3HP

Just look at the quality of the castings

here's my big woodworking jointer I rebuilt, just an absolute pleasure to use and it's from 1906, nothing modern could ever compete, the quality is superlative

start going to school and industrial auctions and you will find the kind of deals I'm talking about, this was the one I bought the majority of my drill presses

All I'm saying is that you can't simply look at an old tool and say "Well, I can go get one at Lowes for the same money these old timers are crazy" it's apples and oranges. There are tools that by being modern are superior. I have multiple impact drivers from Dewalt and Makita and they are vastly superior to some old drill no question.

However the foundations of a working shop should be based on quality tools. Nothing is more frustrating (or dangerous) than working with a tool that is simply not up to the task. The tools I showed and have restored were meant to be in a production environment and made to last by working hard hours. You won't find cheapo Home Depot drill presses in a machine shop, to the owner time is money and they can't afford tools that don't perform or take too long.

But that's just my opinion
We're not out here to rough it. We're here to smooth it. Things are rough enough in town.

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