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Thread: tool showroom rant

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Southern Louisiana
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    947

    tool showroom rant

    i have been asking alot of questions about tools and tool purchases lately because i am on the verge of going full time. this tool purchasing has proven more difficult than i thought it would be. one of the things that bothers me the most about it is the lack of places to see the tools properly set up and in an enviroment that allows me to really have a look at them and speak with some one who knows anything about the tools. let's rewind to saturday morning.

    i walk into a local contractor supply store, well it's actually an hour away, i have chosen this place because they carry steel city tools and i am interested in a few of their tools and i want to see them up close. so after i look around for awhile and see none i ask about them. the guy says they are out back, so we take a walk. we walk into a room that is about 12x30 tops. and is packed full if tools. to name a few.....2 delta table saws, 1 PM 2000, 1 Steelcity TS, 2 drill presses, 2 shapers, 2 drum sanders, and about 4 or 5 other machines. my first impression is that they don't really want to sell me anything because they don't even have a nice place setup. so we walk to the SC TS, tucked in a corner, it has parts and pieces from about 5 different machines on top. the guy says, "here ya go, this is their left tilt saw, we haven't had any complaints on these, normally we get complaints about the other brands" and walks away.

    so i look at the saw and realize the blade is in 45 degree position, and is tilted to the right...hmmmmm....yes it was a right tilt saw. so i move all the junk out of my way so that i can see the thing. i play with the fence and it feels like it has sand caught in it somewhere. now i doubt seriously that the steel city fence really feels this way and that was part of my aggravation.
    i just don't understand why i can't have a nice place to go to and look over a tools i'm about to spend over a grand on.

    i realize they have tool shows for this reason, but i need to buy something now.

    sorry i just needed to get that off my chest. is it like this everywhere or is it just the cajuns down here?!?

    calming down now
    chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Charleston
    Posts
    917
    Chris,

    Your frustration is shared by many of us as we want to see, feel and play with our tools before we buy. This same scenario applies to many different markets and is just a glimpse at the attitude of "the customer is an idiot and he will buy anything" or just that customer service has gone to the dogs (no offense to the dogs). However, there are some stores, such as Woodcraft that do attempt to demonstrate their offerings and speak to the qualities. OK, I am done as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
    Posts
    4,992
    chris, welcome to the world of shopping for shop tools ......most dealers cannot afford to set up displays for large tools......there`s just no money in `em.....my friend who runs the supply house in missouri stopped carrying stationary equipment alltogether....`cause folks would come in pick the guys brains and go buy from the net....or the borg....most ma-n-pop opperations buy so little in the scheme of things that if they`re real lucky they might see 10-15% return on their money......over the course of a year....kinda hard to stay in business that way.......it`s my understanding that steel-city has tried to make selling-n-servicing their equipment profitable for the dealers? but only time will tell.....the best bet is to drive to others shops and spend time talking to the folks using the equipment.....at least that way you can try out stuff that`s been broken in......tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    Southern Louisiana
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    947
    joe,

    i agree woodcraft does attempt to have their stuff set up nice. unfortunately for me the closest one i know of is in mobile, al.
    glad to know it's not just me.

    tod,
    that makes sense. i guess i never thought of it that way. chalk another one up to our bottom line mentality this world revolves around. there is supposed to be another machinery dealer about 45 min away and i plan to give them a look before i do anything. supposedly their showroom is nicely set up. i guess we'll see.

    thanks again
    chris

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
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    4,265
    I don't buy new tools much. But I was in Redmond Machine in Atlanta (I know, it's a long haul for you) to buy some old parts a couple of weeks ago. First time there and I walked in and I was so disappointed! Here was this huge showroom crammed full of new machines and supplies.

    Then if found the dirty warehouse where the good stuff was kept.

    I did stroll down and look at a few new machines. He had an amazing selection to look at. If someone was really wanting to spend some money this would be the place to go and look. I was really surprised as the selection on display.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,697
    The Grizzly showrooms are full of a huge selection of tools. They are clean, bright and well laid out. The sales people are friendly and knowledgable. Their stuff must be good because a lot of it is more than I can afford.
    http://www.grizzly.com/inside_grizzl...?loc=5&image=3
    Just thought I would toss that out FWIW.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,582
    Hey Chris, here in Japan, if you are lucky, REAL lucky there is a picture in the catalouge.......and I'm not kidding.

    Anything larger than a SCMS, you NEVER see in a showroom, or at least I've never seen one anywhere, in living here going on 17 years.

    I do understand your frustrations, for sure.

    If you are interested in the Steel City stuff, I'd call them, tell them what you want a look at, and ask them to introduce you to customers of said tool in the area.

    Just a thought.

    Good luck with the quest.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    4,995
    Two (at least) really good places here in Ohio:

    Hartville Hardware - my absolute favorite place to go tool shopping. Even the wife thinks it's neat!; and,

    WoodWerks in Columbus.

    Both have a large display of numerous brands, out in brightly lit show rooms, and with very knowledgeable sales personnel. Both are great places to shop for tools.
    Jim D.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    292
    Same here in my part of NC. Woodcraft carries a few stationary tools, not many, and no real heavy cast iron. Klingspor carries a small amount of cast iron, but again, very limited.

    Used to be a place in Raleigh called Tarheel filings that did carry a large variety. Sadly, they are almost gone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tokiwadai, Japan
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    2,882
    Chris,

    We have a WoodCraft and Rockler about 40 minutes away. They have a fair collection of tools, but are pretty complete in all the things they carry.

    I recently bought a Steel City Tools drill press and motiser from Sumner Woodworker Store, about an hour away. Sumner is a small town south of Seattle, and the store has a real country feeling to it. The store was started by the managers Mom! They have a very complete selection of all their power tools on the floor, grouped together by type. You can compare various makes/models in one area.

    They also assemble each large power tool for the customer, so you know it is complete, aligned, and works properly. (I had to dissamble my floor drill press so it would fit in my little car.....)

    They have coffee on all day long, and woodworking sales people that seem pretty knowledgable. This was my first visit/purchase at Sumner, but I plan on going back.

    http://www.sumnerwoodworkerstore.com/PAGES/services.htm

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