That's broadly what I was being cautious about too.
I don't (a) know how MN 65 performs in practice (but maybe given the fairly decent quality of the other planes its not too bad - maybe the manganese content (?) helps with toughness and wear resistance versus a simple carbon steel - which is why some more user feedback would be interesting), and (b) i don't have a clue as to how much of the cost of a plane like that the choice of steel grade may account for. (it will probably have implications for ease of manufacturing as well as purchasing cost)
Chinese made products do from our perspective (of being exposed to stuff bought by pile 'em high western importers at minimum prices) have a tendency to cut corners on materials, and to struggle to maintain consistently high quality levels. The lesson of Japan in the 80s though was that this tends to be a short term situation. Japan was a bye-word for junk products in say the 50s and 60s - but by the late 80s/early 90s had become the benchmark. One which as a direct result of their ability to deliver pretty much perfect quality at competitive costs almost wiped out most of the US automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers.
'The Machine That Changed the World' (book) http://www.amazon.com/The-Machine-Th.../dp/0060974176 is a good place for anybody that fancies some reading on the topic to start - it's the results of a major late 80s study of management methods in the japanese automotive industry by their US counterparts. It's not light reading - but it in effect laid the foundation for the 'Lean' methods which these days comprise best manufacturing practice worldwide...
Last edited by ian maybury; 02-07-2013 at 6:57 PM.
This is a really interesting discussion. I just remembered that Chris Schwartz blogged about this shoulder plane a short while ago and mentioned he was going to test it out...it will be interesting to see what his findings are...
I for one remember him giving an honest, unbiased critique of the V1 Woodriver planes, so it should be something to watch out for
AsI mentioned in an earlier post in this thread,I can't blame the Chinese. They get paid so little for their products I don't know how they do it.
Another thing someone who has lived in Taiwan,and been to some of their factories told me, the Chinese do not use many of the machines they make,and have little idea about them. This guy saw a bunch of workmen set up a sort of folding plywood workbench,and completely with Asian type hand tools,make an elegantly wood paneled office interior.
I think that's (knowing what the customer wants and expects) also a big part of their problem too George. The Japanese undertook major initiatives and have formalised the whole business of putting designers in the shoes of the customer to get around this same issue. With great success.
There's also a lot presumed when you engage with what are typically pretty highly developed potential materials and parts suppliers in the West - which isn't necessarily spoken, but which greatly reduces the risk of problems.
It's pretty much a given for example that if you buy a tool steel from a mainstream manufacturer that these days it'll be per the spec. That was much less reliably the case years ago, and I'm sure is less so in China today too. None of it is insurmountable though.
Luckily enough for all of us (as the Japanese also found, and the Germans to a fair degree too in recent times) when you do get a total grip on some major markets it's very tough to hold on to it. First off you make gazillions, but then your currency appreciates and you end up not only with all sorts of costs built in that people have got used to - but also all of the inputs you buy locally (labour, materials, facilities etc) get hugely expensive too. Plus the ethic of your workers slides. Not only that but the currency of those you sell to depreciates, so you get less money for your products.
So it becomes possible for the other guy to get back. Which I guess is why capitalism inevitably proceeds via if not boom and bust at least very pronounced cycles...
Last edited by ian maybury; 02-07-2013 at 8:01 PM.