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Thread: Why buy European machines?

  1. #1

    Why buy European machines?

    Hi folks.
    I didnt want to hijack the other thread about seeing Euro machines, hence this one.

    Every time I read a thread about high end Euro tools - sliders, combo machines, etc - I wonder to myself "Why does a hobbiest buy that stuff? Its expensive as heck. Does it really make that much difference?" Are these finely crafted machines like expensive cars, where some folks buy them just because the ARE the best? Or are there just a ton of advantages for a hobbyist shop; eg, a slider is safer for various jobs, etc?

    Let me say a couple things up front. First, it's absolutely none of my business how folks spend their money. Second, Im just curious and trying to start an interesting discussion - I dont think there's a right or wrong answer here and I dont INTEND to sound critical, envious, etc.

    Any thoughts?
    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 04-14-2017 at 4:15 PM.

  2. #2
    If nothing else, they involve a different approach to the tasks at hand. For the hobbyist, bigger doesn't always mean better. Quality is always quality and if the tool fits, the better quality machine would be preferred.

    For the professional, the best tool for the job can mean more efficiency for specific task that is frequently repeated. With the exception of some dresser designs that I have gotten repeat calls for, my work is one-off. The tools that work better for my work may be a hindrance to someone else and vice versa.
    Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

  3. #3
    I know this is nowhere in the ballpark of the Martin equipment, but my Hammer combo machine gets me a sliding table saw, 12" jointer and planer (with helical cutter), and shaper w/ sliding table.....for $10k, delivered, new. I don't think I could buy equivalent functionality in North American-style machinery for less money.

  4. #4
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    I don't have any euro machines, but I imagine it simply comes down to personal enjoyment for those who have the disposable income... for hobbyists at least. For production work, it's a very different decision.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Does it really make that much difference?
    Yes it does. I'm not a hobbyist, but I wasted a lot of money on garbage tools. What you don't know, you don't know.

  6. #6
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    If you're in the market for a 12" jointer and 12" planer, and a shaper, the Euro combo machines are competitively priced, and can be used in a smaller floor space. One power run and one DC run also saves money and a little space for piping.

    For the table saw part, I also convinced myself that a slider would be safer than a SawStop due to the fact that your body never needs to be behind, or near the blade.

    Ordered a MiniMax CU300 last week...
    Mark McFarlane

  7. #7
    I'll start by saying I have no stationary European tools. But European tools have to meet stricter safety rules. Think why Sawstop. When it comes to power hand tools, it's almost like it's either German, or a neighbouring country, or Chinese.

  8. #8
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    Actually it is often Euro AND Chinese. Just how much of each. There is no truth in labeling there so the lower the price point the lower the German or Austrian content. Not a criticism, just a clarification of the thread. Should be high end rather than just Euro. In my world which is business and busy, good machines, new or old add a warm fuzzy feeling that is difficult to describe unless you are stressed out when you start them up. Old American industrial machines were every bit as good as German. Usually less complicated and way less complicated than English machines. Some of the best industrial machinery came from Japan but for obvious reasons never made it over here.

    A machine that never goes out of adjustment, needs only one pass for a great finish, or is just fascinating to learn and understand the design and mechanics of, adds to the hobby. Different world when you need to make a living. Metalworking machines are even more complicated and the differences between great and horrible are even farther apart. Dave

  9. #9
    I've found European made machinery to be a pleasure to use vs Far East made. On many machines that I have used/compared, it is almost as if the cheaper version is a full-scale working model. Even things like the nuts and bolts are better/stronger on the Euro machines, not to mention the balance of drive components like sheaves. You can certainly produce equivalent work on both types of machinery, though, at least when they are new. And yes, I think this also applies to Euro brands made in China vs more budget brands.
    JR

  10. #10
    I bought a used Hammer sliding table saw (used maybe a dozen times and less than a year-old) and a 12" MiniMax jointer/planer (used maybe a dozen times and less than a year-old.) I paid about what I would pay or less for new Chinese made equipment, $5,000 for both.

    They work flawlessly, stay in adjustment, easy blade changes (Tersa on the J/P) and rugged and heavy.

    I'm glad I bought Euro equipment used. I really enjoy using them and I certainly like the added safety of the sliding saw and the Euro guard on the J/P. I searched for months before I found them.

  11. #11
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    I have a very small shop footprint. I bought a Euro combo (4 in 1) to save space. The slider is a true joy to work with. All four are very precise. I frequently check and re-check but have not found need to adjust settings. In my case, my skills improved considerably. For me, it was the right decision.

  12. #12
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    Different places have different specialities. The European machines are robust and refined. They are trouble free, accurate and because of all this they are productive which translates to they pay their way. It is something the Europeans are good at.

    In my current role, our machining centres are exclusively Japanese because they are best for our application. They are built extremely well. They need to be as we machine heavy steel castings up to 6000kg, day in day out.

    Our abrasive blasting and industrial painting equipment is all from the USA as that is where the most reliable gear is from.

    Our inputs, steels, paints, abrasives etc are usually Australian as that is the best. Cheers

  13. #13
    Frederick, I see your post as polite skepticism. I don't see any advantages to the European stuff. After using jointers that remove an inch of wood in one pass ,it's difficult to see how 3/8" per pass is better. And if you think special concrete in a machine is good,please try Mechanite in an old one.

  14. #14
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    Why buy a $10,000 Thermador 48" gas range instead of a GE Monogram or a Lexus instead of a Toyota? They function similarly, for sure, at least at the base level. It really comes down to what each of us want, prefer and ultimately can afford for any discretionary purchase for an avocation like woodworking or cooking or photography, etc. There have already been a number of good reasons that folks have provided as to why some people find value in Euro machines. For me, it was a combination of capacity vs space (for the J/P) and repeatable precision/safety (slider). At the time I bought, I was fortunate to have the money available. I don't regret it one bit. It's just a choice I made that was right for "me". And that's as good a reason as any.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    I'm a hobbyist and for me it's all about precision and pure enjoyment. I feel fortunate to have the discretionary income. Necessary? Absolutely not. It's just a choice in lieu of other things like a hobby muscle car restore, 5 star hotel vacations, designer clothes, huge motor home, etc. Life is all about choices..... Personally, I get a lot of enjoyment every time I lock the pneumatic clamps and push that sliding table with barely a finger...

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