Author Topic: From Lou Miller  (Read 3122 times)

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Offline Lou Miller

  • Posts: 482
  • North Wales, PA
    • Some of my work
From Lou Miller
« on: April 01, 2007, 11:03 AM »
Man, If I gave you all the details and photos on each tool, I'd be writing a novel the length of War and Peace  ;D

I'll cover some of them quickly though:

General 350 Table saw- As much as I love my Festool gear, this is still the workhorse in my shop. By far and away, its the tool I use the most. Its 5HP, extremely well built, and its about as close to prefect as you can get with a basic cabinet saw. I have toyed with the thought of upgrading to a Sawstop, or a Format saw. I don't currently have the space (one of these days I'm going to actually get around to building that new shop) for a Format saw, and the Sawstop just seems over priced for my taste. One of these days I might though.

Oneida 3HP Dust Gorilla- I create major sawdust. As good as our vacs are, they could never keep up with the amount of dust I prodcue in my shop. My collector has a 55 gallon drum on it and I've actually had days where I've emptied it 10 times in 8 hours. This is an exceptional machine. 

Oliver 10" Jointer- Excellent jointer. Its has been surpassed in terms of value by some of the 12" models that came out after the Oliver hit the market, but its an excellent machine. The 84" beds and 3 HP Baldor motor make this tool a real pleasure to use. If I were buying one today though, I get one of the 12" models that are actually less money than what I paid for my Oliver. Yorkcraft and Grizzly sell the same 12" machine with different paint jobs.

Yorkcraft 15" Planer- Very generic machine. Not the best build quality in the world, but very practical. Due to price, it was an excellent buy. Normally, when I turn the planer on, I'm planning on sending a few hundred pieces through it at a time. Never even a hiccup from this machine even with that type of workload.   

Grizzly G0513 17" bandsaw- Just a so-so machine. Its another generic machine. It has plenty of flaws to it, but it gets the job done. Somewhere down the road, I plan on replacing it with a 20" Minimax.

Home Made Router Table- My RT is a laminated 1-1/2" thick slab of MDF and the top measures 34"x44". I've got an 18" Jointech Cabinet Maker's fence on it. A PC7518 3-1/4hp router and a Jessem lift. There are a thousand different ways one can setup a router table, but I couldn't be happier with this. The router is just a beast, the fence is outstanding and the lift is a joy to use. I've got it to where I can pump out about 100 dovetailed drawer boxes in a single day with this setup.

Grizzly drill press- Total piece of garbage. Not much else to say about this one other than I'll eventually replace it with something better.

The above tools are my bread and butter. They get used way more than anything else does and they are what essentially pays my mortgage.

Then I have on-site tools. This is where I could list a thousand different things if I wanted to. I'll just list the three tools I use the most on jobsites (other than Festool that is).

Rigid TS2400 portable table saw- Mine is one of the original grey ones made by Emerson. I'm guessing somewhere around ten years old, I bought it when they very first hit the stores. The saw is all plastic and aluminum and it doesn't look like it would hold up to jobsite conditions. However, this thing has been through wars and has held up perfectly. Since getting my Festool gear, it doesn't get nearly as much use today, but its still an excellent saw. The Rigid had the collaspable cart with wheels on it long long before Bosch came out with their Gravity Rise. In some ways, the Rigid cart is still better. The thing is rock solid, very easy to fold up and setup, and easy as can be to get into the bed of my truck. I can rip 3" stock with it without a problem from the motor wanting to quit and I can also make very precise cuts in cherry, maple etc. without burning. The fence is a great fence. It was dead-on from the time I bought until now. 

Makita LS1214- I've owned a ton of miter saws over the years. 3 Dewalts, 2 Bosch, a Rigid, a 15" Hitachi, and a Delta. This thing is substantially better than all of the above. I haven't had it that long so I can't say anything about its durability yet. All but one thing about this saw is top notch. The slide is incredibly smooth, the stock blade produces cuts as good as my Forrest Chopmasters do, and its been dead on accurate since its initial tuning. The cuts I get with this saw are as accurate as you could ever want. The downside to it is the placement of the miter indicator. It may very well be the dumbest design I've ever seen on a tool. Its on the right side by the fence instead of in the middle up front. The problem it creates is that you can't see the indicator if you have material on the table. For such an incredibly well made and well thought out tool, this is extremely dissapointing to me. IMO, if Makita would change this issue, they'd have the perfect miter saw. Despite this flaw, I'm still convinced that this is the best saw available in the US market today. The Kapex could change that, we'll see...

Makita 14.4 Drill, Impact Driver and light kit- This is a just a simple cordless set that I grabbed for something like $150 during an Amazon sale. Being that most of the onsite work I do is installing kitchens, this set has been one of the better buys I've made. All three pieces are top notch and the impact driver is just an awesome tool. I know there are a lot of guys here that love their Festool drills, but I'll never get one. Not when this set performs the way it does for a LOT less money. Sure, it doesn't have the attachments that Festool has, but I don't really need them. The impact driver alone would have been worth the cost of the whole set, but it came with an excellent drill and a half decent light to boot. Just a fantastic set and an even better value. I have over 30 cordless drills. The only drill I like better is a 12 volt Panasonic. However, since I like the Makita Impact driver so much, I always just grabbed the Makita kit anymore. I occasionally use the Panasonic from time to to time, but all of my other drills are basically sitting on their shelves and collecting dust now.

Well, I guess I should just quickly mention the best circular saw ever made in my opinion. I've got a Skil77 that is well over 20 years old now. Its still works as well as it did the day I bought it. I've framed out hundreds of homes with it as well as doing tons and tons of finish work. Dropped it off of the roof several times, thrown it across the room at employees, slammed it on the ground a thousand times when I was ticked, etc. It doesn't care. Its almost been a best friend to me over the years. No other tool has that just right feel to it when its in my hands like my Skilsaw has. I now use the TS55 for anything that I need to be meticulous with, but for general cutting, the Skilsaw will always be the first tool I reach for. If it ever dissapears (cause it ain't gonna break), I'll get another immediately. Won't even look at another brand, not after the way this thing has performed over the years.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 04:25 PM by Matthew Schenker »

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Offline Lou Miller

  • Posts: 482
  • North Wales, PA
    • Some of my work
Re: From Lou Miller
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2007, 11:13 AM »
Forgot to mention that I have zero loyalty to any tool brand. Not even Festool. Each and every tool that I buy has to meet my requirements before buying it. I've never bought on name alone and never will. Even with Festool, every tool I buy I'm fully prepared to take advantage of the 30 day money back offer. I just haven't been unsatisfied with any of them yet. IMO, anyone that limits themselves to one brand is doing themselves an injustice. Every manufacturer makes some great products and they also make some duds. Taking the time to find out which ones are worth buying is well worth it. Forget the label on the tool (many of them come from the same factories anyway today) and the color. Just do the research first. Granted, Festool is as close to being the perfect line of tools there is, but there are a ton of other companies that still make great tools today. Some of them are bargains, and some are outrageously priced.