Okay, anyone who knows me realizes that I cannot go too long without a rant about something - usually about something which bothers only me. In addition it is usually unprovoked and random. This time it's cheap Chinese tools. My parents started buying me tools when I was young - mostly Craftsman. Most of them I still have today. While I have worked around those who buy only Snap-On, Mac, etc., I can honestly say I have never broken a socket or wrench made by Craftsman, and believe me, I have tried! There are much more expensive and elite tools out there but even with misuse and abuse Craftsman have held up well. I have never even returned one for replacement. My point? Well, a lifetime guarantee is no good if you are replacing a tool every week - even if for free. Wait, that wasn't my point at all. Okay, the Chinese import boom and crap dealers like Harbor Freight, Cummin's, and WalMart have helped many people, who could not have otherwise afforded it, get involved in DIY projects using their cheap tools. It has also put some pressure on US manufacturers. Some stuff is passable and some is laughable. I have a HF lathe and a Grizzly mill - both Chinese imports. These would be examples of having "cheap" tools or never having any at all. Waiting to afford a Clausing or Bridgeport would put me close to retirement. For what they are, they are, IMO, when carefully modded and adjusted, "passable". But I'm no machinist! I don't mean to imply the "made in the USA" means it is always better. There is some real crap out there - it's a world market now and there is enough crap for all of us to sell. Back to the subject of this blog. A few weeks ago I picked up a tubing notcher at HF. It appeared to have a better mount than the earlier versions I had seen. I took it apart, cleaned it, lubed it, and adjusted it. I then mounted it to the drill press table using a center point in the chuck to line it up perfectly with the arbor. After a few more minutes of fiddling, I tried to make my first 50-degree fishmouth cut in the downtube of the BTR frame material - 1 1/8" .120 DOM. Am I the only one who sees this isn't going to work? Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting This is not distorted from the camera angle. It was that far off! This thing is self-centering and will just need to be shimmed but it's really irritating that I have to spend half a day figuring out what is centered, figure the shim stock needed, go get some, and reassemble this thing just to get it to do what it is supposed to do. Dare I check the protractor? Not a chance. I knew better and never even looked at it. I guess my point is you get what you pay for - either in cash or your time (didn't I hear that before somewhere?). Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I suppose the Chinese to English translation was incorrect. It should read "Useless" or, in the King's English, "Crappy" Along the same lines, here is the rear of a Chinese-made mountain bike I cut apart. Again, this is no camera distortion. Not only are the seat stays not symmetrical to the post but the hole for the rear brake caliper is nowhere near parallel to the wheel travel and not even in the center of the tube - had to be hand-done. It all looked much worse on the bike. I wouldn't have let a clown ride it! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Can you imagine if this entire project from beginning to end was done like this? Don't chuckle - it might be!