Originally Posted by GearHeadGrrrl
If you're comparing quality U.S. or German made tools to Chinese junk, as long as the quality tool is rebuildable it wins every time. But it's not always that simple- for example Lincoln is still building some of their welders here, and yet I see the same welder that looks like it's been through a war with the back cover missing and no manuals getting bid up to almost new price. I've also been to auctions and seen junk Chinese cordless drills bid up to the price of new junk chinese ones. I could provide countless more examples, but suffice to say, used is not always cheaper than new.
I won't argue on any of those points. I have a fairly modern Lincoln TIG welder and it's great, love it. I would not go backwards in time for something like a welder as I think the technology has developed and produced a superior product.
For something like a vise, band saw, drill press, C clamps the product development peaked decades ago and the only thing they added were laser pointers (useless) and shipped the machine making overseas. Everything got worse in terms of quality from the steel to the fit, everything. You'd be way better off buying an older machine like that and fixing anything that is wrong vs what you can buy today. Plus if you bought well, you'll never lose money. I can't think of one time I sold an older large tool that I lost money. Usually I'd double or triple my investment. But that's not always feasible to go spending your shop time working on tools when you want to work on your bike.
I would not spend my money on a stick welder either. I bought a 220v MIG and went to TIG almost immediately for the kind of work I do. I would also only look at 220v welders. 110v machines are usually very light duty cycle (and maybe that's okay?). plus they are almost all flux core and you really want to look hard at using shielding gas. 220v machines are all shielding gas.
I've done very well going to estate sales, industrial auctions, school auctions etc and buying there. There are lots of way to score deals, but you need to be patient and not overspend. Auctionzip.com and irsauctions.com are both sites I have used and had very good luck/deals on. You will need to wait and find auctions close to you. IRS is nice because it's like ebay. You bid you win and you go pick up. Auctionzip are typically, live auctions for a shop closing down and you might stand around for hours and watch the price go past what you want and now you wasted an entire saturday.
I kinda like it though looking and touching all those old tools that have made thousands of products over the years, they tell a story and I like to be part of it.