It’s the name on the box

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I bought a new grill and assembled it this weekend, an experience so smooth and hassle-free that it mystifies me how tool manufacturers get the process so wrong.

We finally replaced our 14-year-old (!) Weber grill with a new one, and once again I’m impressed with how some companies get things right across the board, while others drop the ball so consistently. Namely, I’m talking about tool companies.

I’m not picking on any one company here. I’m picking on them all. The manuals and assembly sheets are terrible, poorly written/edited and sometimes incomplete. Meanwhile, parts – particularly fasteners – are often missing, while fit-and-finish issues abound. Don’t get me wrong, most of the tools themselves are top-notch once assembled, and I’m enormously pleased with every machine in my shop. But getting them to that point is sometimes an ordeal.

And the kicker is that you can’t blame where the tools are made. It’s the company whose name is on box who gets the blame.

My Weber Spirit grill was made in Asia, the same place nearly all my shop machines are made. The assembly manual was the best I’ve used. Every single part and fastener needed was in there and, get this, they were all grouped separately in numbered bags that corresponded with the assembly steps, not just dumped into a single bag. Fit-and-finish was outstanding – not a single sharp or ragged edge anywhere. When I was done assembling, not a single adjustment or tweak needed to be made. None.

We’ve talked here before and I read on the woodworking forums all the time how shop machines are going downhill because of where they’re made. That’s nonsense. It’s not where they’re made that’s the issue.

It’s the follow through and quality control by that name on the box.

A.J.

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