Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

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Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Bigschuss » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:09 am

I'm sure many of you, like me, try to buy Made in the USA whenever possible. Seems like it's harder and harder to do. I just wanted to share a few frustrating Made in the USA stories to vent, and to see if you have any.

Story #1 - I was in the market for a quality 2 or 3 ton bottle jack. Only one company makes them in the USA...USA Jacks....but they are about $150 to $175. The Chinese versions are $20. I can't afford the USA made jack, and I WILL NOT buy the Chinese junk. Did some research and learned that many guys recommend the jacks coming out of Japan (Norco)...so that's what I went with. It's too bad there is not a competitively priced jack that guys like me can afford.

Story #2 - I was looking for a 7 piece Torx bit set...the Craftsman Made in USA version is $40. The Craftsman evolv version (Made in China) is $10. Again...I can't afford $40 for a 7 piece set, and I won't buy the $10 version. So, I bought neither.

So, I'm curious...who makes the choice to try to buy American? And, do you have any frustrating stories about trying to find elusive products made in the USA?

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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Jackman » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:12 am

I used to try the buy USA only but it does not work for me, I can't spend all the family income on less just to have the made in USA label, I still try but if the dollars add up to an Asian purchase thats the way it will be , gotta do what I gotta do

Most Chinese stuff is still lesser quality than US stuff and so is the price so ya need to ask yourself how much will I need this item.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby JackF » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:24 am

Two that comes to my mind....my Chevy Impala has made in China wheels on it...no telling what else. I just bought a Combine tire for $1800...made in China... just to get me started.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby v w » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:49 am

I too look for US goods and depending on what the product is have a wee bit of luck. Definitions can be fuzzy. A Bosch band saw blade is made in the US using foreign materials. I interpret this to mean the band is made elsewhere and is cut and welded to length here as demand requires for each length. I generally buy Olson blades. Scroll saw blades again Olson. They are made in Germany or the US and both are good blades. The best blade is a precision ground tooth and all Olson blades like that I have bought are US made. They cost just over twice that of other types of blades and are well worth it. They cut longer, faster and smoother reducing sanding. The real fine, .033 thickness with .014 kerf, and some other types do not come with this type of tooth and are German. Planer blades? Taiwan or mainland China. No US available that I know of. I use the cheap aftermarket China ones from Amazon, work just as good for me. If it has a sharp edge or electrical parts I try to avoid China made goods. Most Porter-Cable power tools are made in Mexico and the nearest repair station is nine miles. No paying postage to send it in. One of today's projects? Replace a GFI outlet in my woodshop, made in Indonesia. Any bets as to where the replacement will be made? I've ranted long enough but yes I do look and sometimes pay the price. Vern

Edit: Another $14.49 headed to China. Levinton moved. I would have gladly paid more for one made almost anywhere else.
Last edited by v w on Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Mike in Louisiana » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:52 am

I have been wearing "Liberty" bib overalls for a long time, American company but made in china. I finaly found a local place that sells "Roundhouse" brand and made in Oklaahoma.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Buzzard Wing » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:30 am

I am surprised that stuff made in USA don't promote it more. My 'product of the year' for the last two years are made in USA; the Princeton Tech 'Point Hat Clip' and the 'No Spill' gas can.
http://princetontec.com/point-hat-clip

http://www.nospill.com/

The plastic shelving unit and plastic storage containers i got a Lowes were USA made.

As for Torx impact sockets, I got a nice set of Lisle brand (USA) at Sears. It was for the 'replace the truck bed' project. That mushroomed into a bigger project. The Monroe gas shocks, masking tape, KBS Rust Seal paint, foam brushes were all made in the USA.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Bigschuss » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:53 am

Jackman wrote:I used to try the buy USA only but it does not work for me, I can't spend all the family income on less just to have the made in USA label, I still try but if the dollars add up to an Asian purchase thats the way it will be , gotta do what I gotta do

Most Chinese stuff is still lesser quality than US stuff and so is the price so ya need to ask yourself how much will I need this item.


Jackman, your post brings up an interesting point. My wife and I also don't have the bucks to throw around. I do not look for USA made products "just to have the made in the USA label." I look for them because the product coming out of China is junk, and in the long run it is actually more cost effective to buy the more expensive product that will last longer.

Now with that said, I am with you. I can not afford a $40 Craftsman Torx bit set. Yet I know if I buy the $10 Chinese made version I will snap the bits in the 1st month of use.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:07 am

I look for made in USA when I can, but do not automatically assume made in China is junk. They make what ever the American companies ordering them want, whether it is top quality, or the cheapest thing they can make. Of course the companies order what they think the American consumers will buy.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Rudi » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:28 am

Well, I really try to buy Made in Canada, then Made in USA and then made in Germany .. in that order. I figure that I should try to support the industries that employ Canadians .. and industries that import Canadian stuff like much of the USA companies as well as supporting the NAFTA idea and of course family that lives south of the 49th, and supporting extended members of my family in Europe. We need to do that but not to the point of paying a 300% or 400% premium for that pleasure. The rest is kinda self explanatory.

When it comes to Made in Japan, Made in Taiwan etc., these are top notch products for the most part. They have been building for the North American market and the Euro market for what - 60 years now? They understand quality. China -- well not so much. They are where Japan and Taiwan was 50 years ago. But they are learning that quality sells junk don't -- well not so much. Also they build according to the purchasers specs -- and yeah, they really do. Do I buy those products? Yes I do - for the same reason a lot of others do. The budget. But here are a couple other thoughts -

  • When you see something made in China or elsewhere - remember that we are part of a global economy and the world of trade keeps a lot of Canadians and Americans employed be they stevedores/longshoremen, truckers, warehouse employees etc.,
  • When you buy something in a store made in China or elsewhere - remember your neighbour may have a job in that store and depends on some of the Chinese stuff that they flog. Try and buy a shirt made in North America? Almost impossible unless it is a high end shirt. Some of the best shirts on the market right now are made in believe it or not Bangladesh.
  • When it comes to other forces that may be in play - such as politics/civil rights/economic situation etc., ... well that stuff is just background noise. Nothing any of us can do about it so it really shouldn't affect out decisions that much.

Bigschuss wrote: I do not look for USA made products "just to have the made in the USA label." I look for them because the product coming out of China is junk, and in the long run it is actually more cost effective to buy the more expensive product that will last longer.


Blair, I am old enough to remember that exact same comment but referring to products made in Taiwan, Japan and Europe right after WW2. It was incorrect then and is incorrect now. There are so many different levels of quality - as John said -

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:do not automatically assume made in China is junk. They make what ever the American companies ordering them want, whether it is top quality, or the cheapest thing they can make.


Not only that but there are Cdn and US companies that specialize in making junk - built in obsolescence, limited life-span etc., so just because it is made here doesn't make it better, it just makes it made here. :roll:

In regards to those products you are looking for. Well I buy a lot of stuff at Princess Auto. They have the kind of warranty that Sears used to have but no longer provide. If I break it, if it leaks, if it doesn't perform the way I want or I am displeased in any way,shape or form - they want me to bring it back. No question asked guarantee. Even in cases where it is plain that the customer bringing it back in has abused it -- they honour that warranty. It really is a good one.

Image
2 Ton Bottle Jack

I actually have 2 or 3 of these .. the one I use for my pulley puller is a Harbor Freight version but is the very same jack. I have had many of them for over 10 years and use them on a semi regular basis. No leaks and work nicely. I pick up a lot of them when they are on sale - such as $9.99 :{_}: I also have the 6 ton, 8 ton and 10 ton versions. Very handy jacks.

Bigschuss wrote:Yet I know if I buy the $10 Chinese made version I will snap the bits in the 1st month of use.


Image
8 pc 1/4 and 3/8 in. dr Torx Bit Socket Set

I have this one as well. Probably 6 years now. Gets a fair amount of use. The Hex set gets even more use.

So I guess the point of this is, do not be afraid of purchasing the stuff you can afford instead of doing without. The products may actually surprise you. I know it sure surprised me in the beginning.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Landreo » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:38 am

I try not to buy junk made in any country. I was the owner of a Ford Pinto and my sister had a Chevy Vega. Both american made, neither seem to be at the level they should have been. So "junk" can be made anywhere. Years ago, the in the 1800s, America viewed by Europe as making cheap low quality junk. Then it was the pacific rim countries and china. "Made in Japan" was commonly used to describe a poor product years ago. Then it was Taiwan, Korea, China, etc...

I don't worry about where something is made but try to make some accessment of the quality and is that quality at the level I want. I rarely buy the top of the line of anything. Typically, a lower end product will fit my needs.

The China model and similar models in other countries likely is not sustainable. The US and to some extent Canada has a good mix of domestic and foreign demand, basic freedoms, basic business freedoms, and a very good supply of natural resources. China, Japan, Korea, etc.. do not have all of that mix.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby DanR » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:15 am

Look no further! It's here and it's made in America. <comment removed>
Last edited by Dennis on Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Political statement removed.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby bob in CT » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:12 am

I bought my Ausco jack stands and bottle jacks in the 70's. USA Jacks came out of the ashes of Ausco in Benton Harbor and they supply the military as all their hydraulics must be USA-sourced. They still are kicking. Some of the jack stands I see are so cheap, I would not use them. I did have to rebuild my Hein Warner floor jack of the same vintage and I expect is will outlive me as is is not even broken in yet after a couple of years of hobby use. Invest in good tools and they will last a lifetime and provide the best value if you take care of them and don't lend them out. I buy used tools all the time if I want to save money. I bought some inexpensive Snap-On ratchets and ordered rebuild kits for then for just a couple of dollars. High quality, made in USA, works like new.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Rob in NH » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:42 pm

i rely on my tools every day and that why i buy us made tools, i've bought the cheep torx set and twisted or snapped them on the first try. same thing with the ratchets and wrenches, for me the quality made tools are cheaper in the long run. just as an example my son bought a needle scaler from hf, it lasted about 3 days.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:56 pm

Rob in NH wrote:......... as an example my son bought a needle scaler from hf, it lasted about 3 days.
while I have been using mine form HF for over 10 years, though I admit it does not get very heavy use, mainly for cleaning the insides of rear rims that have scaly rust on them. For doing that in addition to safety glasses I strongly recommend ear plugs. the shape of those wheels directs the sound right back at you.
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Re: Buying American Made...Sometimes Hard to Do

Postby Dennis » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:36 pm

I've purchased many of my tools from auctions and garage sales. They are usually inexpensive and last forever, just like a Cub.
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