View Full Version : Starrett Tools

10-04-2003, 09:44 PM
I just got a Rutland sale catalog. Starrett has EXACT Dial Calipers and Dial Test Indicators for sale. Description reads; "This world class ---- is made in China to the specifications and the precise tolerances of the LS Starrett Co." Caliper lists for $99.00, sale price $64.95, indicator list $99.00, sale $64.95.
Maybe I am the last to be aware of this, but what a disappointment to see Starrett go Asian, and not only that to sell the crap at top dollar.
The last catalog I have (2001) was proud of the fact that the Starrett dial caliper was only one manufactured in USA.

10-05-2003, 01:12 AM

I hate to break it to you, but the Chinese are very capable of making top quality gear. Not all of thier products are top quality, but then, there is crap made in the USA too. I'll bet your computer is made with Chinese components.

10-05-2003, 09:15 AM
It's nice to champion the idea of only-made-in-USA, but I expect Starrett came up against the economic reality that they could either start selling imports or be remembered as that fine American company that went out of business because it refused to compromise.

And Evan's right -- the Chinese are pefectly capable of building any level of quality you want. We see a lot of Chinese junk because a lot of companies want the lowest possible price. If a company puts the priority on quality, rather than low price, they'll get quality...at a higher price.

10-05-2003, 09:41 AM
The more items US manufacturers have made in China, the more jobs are lost here, and the more US dollars are leaving this country and going to China. Period. Those jobs are now being performed by some government subsidized 12 year old. They are gone, and will not come back.
The fact that computer parts, for instance are made in China is immaterial. That industry was lost years ago when we weren't paying attention.
Quality seems to be lacking in anything I have seen from China. Wilton, a good American name, imports tools the same quality as Harbor Freight, paints them different, prices them higher. Many appliances, electronics, utensiles and other items look good, but are throw-away quality. Use it until it breaks, and buy another one-no problem, it's cheap.
Sorry, but I don't feel anything good is ever going to come from this loss of our businesses and jobs.
If anyone who has lost his job to Chinese imports would like to contest my opinion, I would like to hear from him. Those who are still employed, wait until your job is gone and then let us know your feelings.

10-05-2003, 11:52 AM

You are absolutely correct.

We in the US have done it to others, now we don't like it happening to us.

The problem is really the same old thing, buying on price alone. It has been done forever, but it still doesn't work all the time. But it works enough that people do it, out of choice or necessity.

Any business whch has labor costs and no need to be located anywhere in particular is in potential danger. it isn't as likely to move to china if high volume isn't there, or if trained people are required.

The average factory worker in china truthfully isn't a prisoner, they have probably come from a distance and stay in the company dormitory (normally upstairs in the same building).

They do not normally have a mechanical background, and this shows up in the manufactured goods, workmanship issues, etc.

The better class of workers are starting to get pay raises. They also are starting to be enticed away from one factory to another with better pay.

The reason they are working factory in the first place is to get better pay than at home, so they can buy things like fridges and TVs.

These are good trends, since they tend to raise wages, and wage expectations. A skilled worker cannot be replaced as easily in china as here.

But the fact is that most labor-intensive jobs are gone and not coming back.

The main factor that can stop the problem is merely folks not buying the cheapest, and refusing to buy chinese goods. I don't expect that to happen widely, but it might happen in enough areas to keep some industry here.

Don't be fooled, europe is getting the same problem...it ain't just us, although it IS a chicom government tactic to "get" the US. I think that can be guaranteed.

The good news is that I think it is getting away from them. The government of china is NOT in control of the economy anymore. They can't stop what is going on without turning into a N Korea.

The bad thing is that we are becoming a third-world economy. By that I mean we send raw materials out, cheaply (lumber, scrap iron, even oil) and buy them back after the value has been added elsewhere.

That is a bad trend, and something needs to be done about it.

10-05-2003, 02:30 PM
It is not only labor intensive jobs,but also intellectual jobs that are starting to go to the lowest bid. I remember reading a N.Y Times article a few years ago about how the insurance industry was saving money by outsourcing it claim centers to Ireland by trunked phone lines. English speakers at half the salary with their benefits payed for by the Government. Now the same thing is happening to the Tech industry only these jobs are going to India and other Pacific Rim nations. Thanks to our skill at making the telecomunications and computer/internet so efficient,work can be zapped around the world in seconds. Why pay a programer 40-60K here when you can get the same work for 15-20K and they were probably educated right here in the good old U.S. of A. I know that for a fact, as it has put my brother out of a job. It went to Singapore. All this is done to make the short term stockholders happy. So until we ALL wise up, this will continue util we are just as poor as they are. Maybe we should add MBA's to the "Kill all the lawyers" line.

[This message has been edited by ARFF79 (edited 10-05-2003).]

Toolmaker Extrodinair
10-05-2003, 05:39 PM
It all boils down to who is going to buy the $40,000 car or truck, or $150,000 home on a walmart or mcdonalds pay. Eventually it will come around to bite the big boys in the ass, and they can only blame their self.

10-05-2003, 05:53 PM
Speaking of crap made in the USA, I recently picked up a pair of Starrett digital calipers (6 inch, full function with output, carbide faces). What a major league disappointment. The beam is probably 20% thinner than my Mitutoyos, they are not absolute even though they are current model. It has a poor quality case with cheesy little buttons. On top of all that, it does not do a good job of maintaining zero and any stress on the beam will take it off zero. The Mits were about $99 while the Starretts are around $170-ish. I got them for $20 (the Starretts) and they are about as good as the $19.95 special I bought some time back on Ebay.

I try to buy Starrett as much as possible but these really are going to make me think twice about any newer technology from them.


[This message has been edited by nheng (edited 10-05-2003).]

10-05-2003, 06:03 PM
I cried the day I dropped my Japanese hardened stainless steel 6" calipers. Boy did that suck. I bought some new ones, of course. They are not as good.

Rich Carlstedt
10-05-2003, 10:01 PM
As I sit her with my Starrett model 722 in my hand, the finest digital caliper ever made in my opinion. After 18 years, it still reads in tenths (.0000) and serves me well.

Evan..If that was a MIT 550, you can take out the damaged rack, file one end, and reverse it and reinstall it to get more life.

nheng..Are you sure you didn'tget one of those Chinese Starretts ? and how did you just pay 20 bucks for them???used ?

10-05-2003, 11:51 PM
I too have a 6" starret digital calipers...I can't stand them...I don't know why I bought them...I paid 165.00 for them and I only use them when my battery goes dead in my mititoyo's...when I finally get a new battery for the mititoyos, the starret goes back in the case and back in the drawer for a whole year...batteries last a year on my calipers...I might be trading them for a 0-1/2" starret micrometer...beautiful little mic...


10-06-2003, 12:18 AM
Which Mitutoyo caliper do you guys recommend? I am in need of another set. There are several models and I want to get the most bang for the buck.

10-06-2003, 02:59 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JCHannum:
If anyone who has lost his job to Chinese imports would like to contest my opinion, I would like to hear from him. Those who are still employed, wait until your job is gone and then let us know your feelings.</font>

I'm a USA citizen. I'm here in New Zealand (temporarily) making $15/hr, because I lost my USA job in the electronics industry making $50/hr. Fact is, I was overpaid in the USA.

Fact is that wages are largely determined by the end customer. So long as the customer has the right to buy wherever he wants, at the the price he's willing to pay, jobs will move towards the lowest cost, most efficient producer. Right now, that's in China, for a lot of low AND high quality electronics and machinery. These people moaning that "something ought to be done" don't realize that the remedies they propose generally involve limiting consumer choice and forcing consumers to pay more than they need to - in effect involuntary servitude.

Incidentally, the USA is already one of the world's worst offenders for trade restrictions. USA customers are often prevented from getting the best possible world price for goods (especially food, but also steel, etc) because of arbitrary USA restrictions on trade that benefit a few people with political power, at the expense of the many. Fact is, tightening the screws on USA customers will only make things worse and force them to spend more money for fewer goods. That's what it means to have a declining standard of living.

Those people insisting that jobs "shouldn't be exported" because "nobody in the USA will have enough money to buy anything" really need to take a couple of beginners' courses in Economics. It doesn't work that way. The value of the USA dollar would decline to market clearing value. Goods don't normally pile up unsold unless government screws up economic policy with artificial restrictions on trade.

The real problem has nothing to do with job losses to low cost countries. It has to do with the relative decline in USA productivity and inventiveness. Ultimately, fixing the problem this means correcting the "dumbth" that passes for education in public schools these days. It means better infrastructure, allowing higher rewards for good investment, tort reform, reducing scandalously unwarranted salaries for top corporate officers, reducing wages for unproductive union jobs, rational tax policies, stronger families. It means fixing a lot of stuff that's gone wrong with American culture in the past 30 years or so.

Of course, it's easier to blame the Chinese for "taking our jobs"...

[This message has been edited by NAIT (edited 10-06-2003).]

10-06-2003, 10:33 AM
Rich: They came from a local, small pawn shop which I check every few months for an odd tool which appears. They did come from a legit plant closing nearby and were in good shape. The guy was too lazy to get a battery for it so I talked the price down to the $20.

They are model 721, current model with carbide faces and full function (5 buttons with output port). My Mitutoyo 6" is model "CD-6" CS" and cost $99 at a sale a while ago. They are like night and day in quality.

Rich, please try this experiment ... close the calipers and zero them. Hold the jaws shut and flex the beam a bit front to back. I can get +/- 0.001 to 0.002 or more depending on the pressure. Absolutely no movement on the Mitutoyos and they also seem to hold the zero forever. They are also absolute reading but that is a matter of feature set and not build / design quality.

Gotta correct the price info ... the Starrett is $275 list, $268 from Nemic tools (generally pretty good). I'd be sick if I had paid that.


[This message has been edited by nheng (edited 10-06-2003).]

10-06-2003, 12:15 PM

I agree with every word you said. I also am a US citizen as well as Canadian. The US is one of the worst offenders in protectionist trade policy. The current softwood lumber duties imposed on Canadian wood products is clear proof of how the US government is being controlled by big business interests to the detriment of everyone else, both American and Canadian.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 10-06-2003).]

10-06-2003, 12:52 PM
You might find this story interesting.


10-06-2003, 11:30 PM
I was reading an article on MSN.com a while ago that said by 2015 we will lose over 3 million jobs to India, and these jobs are in fields like engineering, design, legal and other white collar, high skill jobs. So exporting manual labour overseas isn't enough, now we are going to export our service economy overseas too so a few CEO's can buy their 5th Ferrari.

I have enough of an understanding of economics to realize that eventually everyone will be better off, but there will be a time period in the near future where things will get ugly, and that will probably be just as I get out of college http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif So don't blame the Indians or the Chinese, they just want to provide for their families the same as us, but blame the CEO's, executives and politicians for getting too greedy. And we should also blame ourselves for being greedy. In general people in our culture expect something for nothing.

Also, remember that all of us our so comfortable today becuase of the massive amounts of wealth that our coutry made off of slave labour, and if it wasn't for all those slaves, we could be the ones working for peanuts. Things will get better when people realize that the world doesn't owe them a living, and that they have to get up off their fat asses and do some real work. No one owes you a car, a house, a pension and many of the other luxuries we take for granted and even demand that we get.You have to earn it!

10-07-2003, 12:14 AM
Andrew, I gotta disagree about slave labor building the US.....

The slaves worked in an agrarian system which could not be maintained without them. The availability of that cheap labor is the only thing that really made it work.

That economy and the system were both destroyed in the civil war, by a bunch of northerners including my great-grandfather.

The damage to and the reconstruction of the south took up more money than the slave economy could ever have produced. The slaveholders were rich, but rich in a relative sense. They could buy all they wanted with much less money than the later northern industrial barons had to have.

Now, the availability of a cheap pay-for labor force, in the persons of the freed slaves did indeed help build the wealth of the US. But that was part of the industrial build-up after the civil war and extending into the last century.

Yes, the north also benefited from that slave economy, but the former wealth of the US is not derived from actual slave labor. The closest is that it is derived from the cheap labor of freed slaves and their descendants, who would not have been here without slavery.

The industrial expansion derived in the north from the LACK of labor, therefore needing machines to replace hand labor that had gone to land rushes, etc.

Cheap labor, whether manual or intellectual, has always been pursued by industrialists. That is nothing new.

We just priced ourselves out of the market, thus killing the goose. That's half the issue.

The availability of unoccupied labor of all sorts elsewhere is the other half, when combined with good communications and transport.

10-07-2003, 02:00 AM
Part of the problem is the vertically integrated corporations in the US that buy stuff in China & sell it at prices they would have charged if it were made in the US, and bury any chance to build simple reliable gear. One of the companies I worked for (they have a large red sign in front)now gives awards for diversity heroes & diversity champions. They used to give awards for outstanding technical achievements. At one time they would hang the portraits of winning Engineers & Scientists in the lobby. They're big in missile defense. I'm sure the North Koreans will be really impressed by all their diversity awards.

03-03-2004, 04:31 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JCHannum:
The more items US manufacturers have made in China, the more jobs are lost here, and the more US dollars are leaving this country and going to China. Period...
Quality seems to be lacking in anything I have seen from China...Sorry, but I don't feel anything good is ever going to come from this loss of our businesses and jobs.
If anyone who has lost his job to Chinese imports would like to contest my opinion, I would like to hear from him. Those who are still employed, wait until your job is gone and then let us know your feelings.</font>

The Economist Magazine did an article last week completely demolishing USA protectionst sentiments. It turns out the "2.5 Million jobs" lost by the USA is small compared to the 40 million regularly re-created each year.

All protectionist gimmicks have at their core forcing customers to do what they wouldn't do if they were given free choice. Cold comfort to people who lose thier jobs -by why should ordinary customers be forced to subsidize inefficient companies ? Most times these protectionist schemes end up transferring wealth from poorer customers to richer companies and workers. The little guy loses.

03-03-2004, 04:36 AM
Just what is the game you are playing?

03-03-2004, 08:59 AM
Tom Friedman of the NY Times has written a couple of very interesting columns about outsourcing of jobs to India. Here are the links:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/26/opinion/26FRIE.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20O p%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists
(available for free for just another day)
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/29/opinion/29FRIE.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20O p%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists
(you've got a few days to read this one)
An interesting perspective.

Pat Miles
03-03-2004, 11:10 AM
We complain about jobs being outsourced overseas especially the hightech ones and yet in MHO a good part of the blame is ours as parents. Take a look at the teenagers you see today. Most of them are spending the majority of their time just trying to be cool. Ask them about their future aspirations and they reply "huh".Todays parents are too busy trying to be their kids best friend rather than a true parent. I've been on both sides of that fence. Had a stepson that belonged to my ex. There was hell to pay when it came to disciplining or expectations. I'm the one who caught the hell. My son (by her) graduated Cum Laude in EE, works at Sandia National Laboratories here in Albuquerque And will be attending Georgia Tech this summer for his Masters. Two different kids, yea but the difference in my opinion was involvement by a parent. We've been in Boy Scouts together for 13 years. Notice I said WE. He is an Eagle Scout and has been an Assistant Scoutmaster in our troop since turning 18.He has had his Amateur Radio License since he was 12 (now 23). Ther are only two national awards for youth under 21 in the ham radio world and he is the only person to win both. Proud? Hell yes,but I've spent 23 years being involved with him and enjoyed every second of those 23 years.
The Albuquerque Trbune surveyed 100 teenagers regarding their wants and expectations in their lives. They answered with the usual replys. Big houses, fancy cars,jewelry,partys,travel,etc.. The last question was answered by ONE student. That question? "How will you pay for your lifestyle". Kids today expect everything to be given to them. The word "earn" is lost on them.
We can blame our education system for this problem. Notice I said "we" and "our".Take a look at the average high school graduate today. Scarey!
Sorry about the rant but this thread hit a nerve in me.

Paul Alciatore
03-03-2004, 02:33 PM
I have to agree with a lot of what Pat said about education and parental involvement. That's a big part of the problem.

Another part is when we (government, unions, companies, etc.) try to force the economy to perform the way we want it to for our own personal/corporate/union/whatever group's advantage and to the detrement of all the others. It's nothing new. It's been going on for all of time. I do think that the freedoms we enjoy in the US, Canada, and other western nations do help a lot. It's when any group or entity tries to restrict those freedoms, especially free trade, that we all suffer.

I am 60 years old and looking to problems with retirement. I have SS and a small vested pension with one of my former employers. 9-11 and the ecomomic problems since have cut my savings in half. IN HALF. An I bitter? No. Well perhaps a little, but it does no good. I am looking at it as a challenge and an opportunity. I don't expect anyone to bail me out. I will bail myself. I will. I don't need more laws that seek to regulate more of my life or yours. I just need to work at it.

And I buy and use both US and imported tools and goods. I evaluate my needs and yes, I do look at price amoung other factors in that process. It's ONE world and we all need to work at it. A Chinese or Cuban or Arab that is working and making a good living for his or her family is far less likely to have designs on our prosperity. And one who is starving and has no prospect for work is far more motivated to act.

Paul A.

03-03-2004, 04:16 PM
We definately need to fix our education system and our politics.

While I agree that people should have a good background when they graduate I think we put way to much emphasis on "well rounding" our students and not enough on actually teaching them a trade.
I was going to college for electronics engineering then switched to programming. I never finished either after counting up all the credits needed for the degree's. About the only degree where you needed more credits was law and medical and over 60% of the units I needed had nothing to do with programming! Currently I'm working as a programmer with years of experience and a high school diploma (completely self taught because the school courses where 5 years out of date).

Give the kids in high school a reason to want to continue so making a fortune in drugs doesn't look so good. They wouldn't need gangs if they thought they had a future. There's a lack of hope in todays youth that was boundless 50 - 100 years ago.

As for the politicans - we have the right to bear ar... oops better not finish that. but really, why would someone spend a million bucks to get a job that pays $120k. It sure ain't for the salary.
US lawmakers need to realise that they can't safety coat life. Minimise risk to a reasonable amount, give the workers a measure of protection then get out of the way. The open international market is a big river to try to stand in the middle of and direct traffic.

Bill Hood
03-03-2004, 11:41 PM
My youngest is 26 and my 3 all have college degrees and good jobs. My wife and I feel that we did a good job raising them and they are doing likewise with their children. But this is about today's youth and education--something addressed in the end of this post. I have taught college and my wife has taught in all levels of public school education, (kindergareten, advanced math, computers and now outdoor education)
Two weeks ago, My wife and I were asked to chaparone a group of high school juniors on a science trip. These are all Science Academy students (taking college level classes in high school and will get credit when they pass a national test). This is a public high school and some of these kids were from silk stocking part of town and some had low income parents. A chemistry instuctor, Physics Teacher (daughter in law) and my wife and I were with them. I was the Biology/history resource. We drove 600 miles to McDonald Observatory (U of Tex) near Ft Davis TX. Spent two days and two nights learning Astronomy and looking through telescopes. Spent time with the biology and history of the Davis mountains. We then drove to New Mexico and did a cave development/selunking session.

They were all bright, clean and no outlandish dress or articles and all very polite and respectful. But they amazed all of the adults with their knowledge and natural curiosity. While driving they played science trivia (by radio between cars and males vs females) with sessions on physics, chemistry, biology and lots of astronomy they had just learned. These 15/17 year old young adults are proof that there are still hopes for our future and that there are parents who are still doing their job.

I have worked with kids all my life 40 years as a Scout and Scout leader and know that without strong parental support and prodding, you will never get the performance out of kids that they are capable of. Children need our time and that of other adults--without that how will they ever learn how to be a responsible part of their world.

03-04-2004, 12:41 AM
Just in case anyone is interested Wal mart has posted its biggest dividend pay out to date-43%!Seems they made lots of money last year.

We have no one to blame for our condition but ourselves!For the past 50 years industry has been under relentless attack from eco twits and the redistribution of wealth crowd,along with the saftey freaks and unfortunately Unions.

Now we are reaping the benifits,and it is too late to do anything about it.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 03-03-2004).]

03-06-2004, 12:39 PM
Okkee...Back to the Starrett problem. There was a similar question raised on an other mach. forum not long ago. The current pres. and owner of Starrett tools [Mr. ? Starrett] replied that they did not like outsourcing but the machinists and companies using the tools were buying chinese. They opted to offer the customer a choice of USA TOOLS OR IMPORTED TOOLS. They are just trying to stay in business. In my opinion the decline in American manufactured goods is for a multitude of reasons already stated in this thread as well as others. Ever tried doing business directly with a manufacturer?? No dice... You have to go thru a middle man...More Government intervention...Truly the government is our WORST ENEMY!! Think Long and Hard before you aks your congressman for a new law regulating something...cause I betcha that IDIOT'S answer will not be exactly what your looking for!! Ever wonder why your congressman knows more about your problems than you do, ie; health care, gun ownership, etc.? By the way I do buy American and Jap.[Mititoyo] and Swiss and others but rarely Chineese cause the quality isn't what I like. But they do make servicable merchandise tho. Sorry for the rant, I musta had too much caffine this morn.

03-06-2004, 11:09 PM
I got a 6" mitutoyo digital caliper off ebay for 65$, I Love it.

My second caliper, first was a plastic reloading Lee caliper I recently burned up.

I am a proud american, hated to purchase a japanese caliper but it was a good one and what I could afford. I sure hope the guilt don't affect the readings it gives.