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Ron Benson

Rant about Porter Cable

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Posted (edited)

When I started setting up my wood shop last year I pulled my Dad's old drill press out of the unheated shed where it had been since '92. It was much smaller than I remembered and covered in a thick layer of rust. Since my goal was to do wood working, (and an occasional knife), I decided to buy a new one, so off to Lowes I went. I brought one home and assembled it. Turned it on and it worked, but the speed was a bit low. However, the bit ran true so I was satisfied.

 

Fast forward to a few days ago and I read something about drill speed being more important than I thought, (speed was set low enough for metal, and that's too low for wood). So I decided to change the speed. However, the tension adjustment lever would not move. I opened the top and the first thing I noticed was the belt from the spindle to the middle pulley went to the wrong step on the middle pulley. Also, the motor was tight against the housing, but the belts were still too tight. I spent a little time over several days before deciding to get serious today. The result of my research was that the two belts were different sizes and they were reversed on the pulleys at the factory. After forcing one of the belts off it's pulley I was able to switch the belts and can now adjust the speed when I want to.

 

When I told my wife what happened, all I got was a blank stare, so I decided to post my rant here...   ^_^ Thanx - I feel better now.  :)

Edited by Ron Benson

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Porter Cable was once one of the finest American made, wood working, power tools, (I have several and they're among my best tools) then sometime in the late 90's something happened and the name is just something put on cheaply made Chinese crap. 

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Interesting, I have a PC 4 1/2" grinder that I bought back in the early 80's that is still giving me good service.  Of course I don't use it as hard as a fabricating shop would, but I certainly can't complain about the quality of construction.

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That's because in the early 80's they were still made in the USA and were a good tool line.

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In the late 80's they were bragging about being the last completely USA Made woodworking tools.  So sad

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Posted (edited)

Almost all of the power tool brands are now owned by just a few conglomerates.  Yard equipment is the same way.

At one time I was quite the DeWalt and Porter Cable fanboy.  No longer...

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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Yep.  As the MBAs started taking over the tool companies, quality became the very last thing they were interested in.  That's why Nicholson no longer make files, just file-shaped objects.  And yet the price never goes down with each off-shoring. 

Brian's point about lawn equipment is so true it hurts.  Every brand of riding lawn mower you can buy from a big box store, from White to MTD to Yard-Man to Craftsman, Cub Cadet, and even (gasp!) John Deere are made by MTD.  Deere still makes real lawn tractors, but they cost $10,000 and you can only get them at a dealer.  Try taking one of the cheapo ones from Home Depot to a John Deere dealer for service and see the interesting colors the  service manager turns as he knows he's required to fix that piece of crap...

My ancient angle grinder is an industrial Milwaukee.  My reciprocating saw is an elderly Porter-Cable, and my corded hand drills are DeWalt, all from the pre-Made in China days.  My first benchtop drill press was a "Delta."  It was just another made-in-China turd with a formerly good name plastered on it.  

Old, heavy power tools are the way to go.  As much cast iron as possible, good machining, decent bearings, and so on.  Motors can be replaced.  I'm partial to the old chrome-plated power tools from the 1950s and 60s, despite the lack of electrical insulation.  Sure they might give you a tingle every now and then, but they just plain work.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

As the MBAs started taking over the tool companies, quality became the very last thing they were interested in.

It's too bad this is true.  It's worse that it seems like they've taken over the planet too.  :(

But hey, I just heard the Dow Jones is up 1/10th of a point, so who cares???  Sometimes I wish I didn't....

Edited by billyO

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Welcome to unfettered capitalism and the disposable society.

On 6/11/2020 at 12:21 PM, Alan Longmire said:

As the MBAs started taking over the tool companies, quality became the very last thing they were interested in.

There's no long-term profitability if stuff lasts a long time.

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I was fortunate to be able to buy several late-1930s-vintage woodworking power tools from a family friend a number of years ago. A real pain to move but they are build to last for sure!

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