central machinery

cmatosApril 4, 2007



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Without more information about you and your intended needs, there's no way to answer that question. It's sort of like asking, "Is it a good idea to trade up to a Kia?"

Central Machinery is the house brand at Harbor Freight. They are known for cheap goods. Sometimes their products are a value and sometimes they are not worth the cost to ship them. And they make a number of table saws from a direct drive to a cabinet saw.

I outgrew my first cheap saw in a couple of years. Later, I bought one that was commensurate where I wanted to be and it has served me well for 20+ years. It was recommended to me by the late Roger Cliffe, author of "The Table Saw Book." He said he'd traded in a Ford Pinto for his table saw and it was the best decision he ever made. He also had the following on his shop wall:

"There is hardly anything in this world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and those people who consider price only, are this man's lawful prey.
It is unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.

When you pay too much you lose a little money - that is all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot; it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better"

John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

Similar advice was given to me by a mechanic when I was about 20. He always told me to buy good tools because they work better and won't need to be replaced. The handful of times I've ignored that advice I have always regretted it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 5:29PM
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Pooh Bear

OMG!! How bad is your current machine
that you think a CM machine is an upgrade?

Homier Tools (traveling tool circus) is the only outfit
that I can think of that would be of lower quality.

In all fairness I have 2 CM machines, a jointer
and a bandsaw. I like the jointer. The bandsaw is iffy.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 11:52PM
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Chinese knockoffs defines Central Machinery. They actually buy a competitors tool, disassemble it, use the parts to cast their own, and make a clone. No R&D, no testing of any kind, sometimes inferior materials, and no customer service save replacing a bad unit with another equally bad one.

Now, their table saws, band saws, jointers, and other heavy machinery are serviceable---as long as the unit works. On the woodworkers website(over 19,000 members) of which I am a member, there were over a hundred CM band saws sold when a deal was offered---$119---about three years ago. Many of the members who bought then still have their CM saw and only a couple have had any problem. There are several members who have CM table saws, but they don't brag much about them.

As far as upgrading, CM is not an upgrade, it is entry level.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:34PM
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Harbor Freight also sells some larger milling machine. I was trained on a Bridgeport, and have always used Bridgeports.

The warnings are clear - about not buying power tools from HF.

That said, does anybody have any experience with their more expensive milling machines - $4K & up ?

For example -

Here is a link that might be useful: Example of $4000 Harbor Freight Milling Machine

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 11:05AM
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"OMG!! How bad is your current machine
that you think a CM machine is an upgrade?"

CM might be an upgrade for some of the junk from Sear.

At least it probably has a cast iron table and wings, unlike the sheet metal Sears has been pawning off for years now.

Even Grizzly is a huge step up from CM.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:33PM
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In the latest issue of the Harbor Freight flyer I received, there is a Central Machinery tool described as an "11 amp, 120 volt breaker hammer, Lot No. 68150". What are the capabilities of this tool? Can it be used as a replacement for a small air hammer? Can it be used to break up a 3 ft by 6 ft piece of unreinforced concrete 6 inches thick? Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:04PM
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There's always a sledgehammer for that.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:14AM
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"Can it be used to break up a 3 ft by 6 ft piece of unreinforced concrete 6 inches thick? "

For a one time job call a rental yard for an electric demolition hammer.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:06PM
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