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Low cost options

I once bought a planer from an unnamed manufacturer that had a nasty habit of slinging the drive chain off its sprockets.

There was no way to remove a link because then the chain would have been too short, and there was no way to adjust it. A conversation with the manufacturer's support people yielded this comment: "Oh yeah, that's a problem. No, we can't really do anything about it.” I ended up fabricating a tensioner for the chain which took care of the problem.

Sometime later I posted this experience on a woodworking forum. The aficionados of this unnamed manufacturer thundered into the conversation and I was thoroughly castigated for being unfair. The main reason given was that my machine was made in the early days of the company's existence and that their quality had "come up" dramatically in the intervening years, as had their customer support.

But now, years later, there are issues cropping up with other machines and here we are reading about the same kind of nonsense. Sorry, nothing we can do. And so machine owners are left with having to spend additional time and money modifying their equipment, essentially completing the manufacturing process themselves.

I suppose this is justified by accepting the "you get what you pay for" philosophy.

Manufacturers that get top marks for responsiveness and customer service tend to be the smaller, privately owned companies. These guys can be much lighter on their feet and can make changes much faster and at much less cost when the need arises.

I would suggest that if you are going to buy from a company selling the lowest cost option, you might expect to encounter some issues you are going to have to deal with yourself. As long as you are willing to do this, you can probably get along just fine.


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