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  • Impossibly cheap tools

    I was at a dollar store the other day, where everything is one Canadian dollar, and picked up these two items.

    Needless to say, they are both made in China, but how do they do it? You have to understand, these are not surplus items. These are items that the store can order in the thousands.

    Contrary to what you may think, the quality of these tools are relatively good. The screw drivers are actually hardened and shaped precisely. The knife set is very sharp, and the handles are made of machined aluminium.

    I don't think I could even make the nice plastic cases that they come in for a dollar. I don't care if the Chinese are using prison labour, I just don't see how they can manufacturer these thing for such a low price.




    Last edited by rotate; 11-02-2006, 12:52 PM.

  • #2
    I buy some stuff at the dollar store. I am a sucker for anything that lights up and/or blinks. While I was in there I noticed a wire crimper/stripper/screw cutter for a dollar so I picked it up. When I got it home I found that is was best described as a "fake" tool. They had invested all the money on the package and the screen printing on the "tool". The screw cutting holes didn't have threads and more importantly, it was about as thin as a beer can. The first thing I tried to crimp folded it in half. Fisher Price does a better job.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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    • #3
      Easy..... they cannot.

      The whole idea is to make US QUIT making ANYTHING......

      THEN the price "will go up slightly"............. when they have you over a barrel.

      It's called "dumping", and it is usually done to force the competition out of business and leave you the market.

      Because this is china, laws about that sort of thing do not apply. With any western coutry, they of course would apply, with fines, and sanctions.....
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

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      • #4
        Rotate,

        I know what you mean; I bought one of those triangular power sanders; variable speed and including 2 packs of sanding pads. It still works fine despite 3 years of abuse. €12 from my local Aldi supermarket. I'd pay more at the DIY for a length of cable and a plug.

        You'd think that the raw materials costs would be higher than that - let alone that it's been shipped half way across the world, and everyone along the food chain makes a profit.

        Incredible.

        Ian
        All of the gear, no idea...

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        • #5
          I have that same screwdriver kit, labeled KD Tools. Very nice set.
          Interestingly, yours has the NAPA logo. So here's what I think happened:

          Up until a couple years ago, Danaher had this marketing scheme whereby they would approach their big customers/distributors, get them to commit to a large quanity of a set based on a cheap price and future delivery. We would commit to 400 or so, go out and book orders, then fill those orders when the tools came in. The rest we sold down over a matter of months. We didn't like it, but we had to do it to compete.
          That was the case with this set. It cost us $5.11 in bulk quantities. Looks to me like NAPA did the deal, then did not sell them and forced the manufacturer to buy them back. NAPA is big enough to do that, we aren't.
          So Danaher dumps their excess stock on the Dollar store market.

          But that's a bargain, those are very good tools. I'm going shopping after work.

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          • #6
            Had that knife set a couple of years back

            as soon as you put any pressure on the blade the keeper system fails and falls to bits.

            all the best.mark

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            • #7
              I'd like the "cased" set of screwdrivers better if they came in mahogny, black cherry or ebony cases.
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Evan
                I buy some stuff at the dollar store. I am a sucker for anything that lights up and/or blinks. While I was in there I noticed a wire crimper/stripper/screw cutter for a dollar so I picked it up. When I got it home I found that is was best described as a "fake" tool. They had invested all the money on the package and the screen printing on the "tool". The screw cutting holes didn't have threads and more importantly, it was about as thin as a beer can. The first thing I tried to crimp folded it in half. Fisher Price does a better job.
                And just yesterday you were praising your new vise in a thread that ran 4 pages or so.

                Kap

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                • #9
                  I keep a dollar-store calculator in the shop. Besides the basic arithmetic functions it has square root and memory. Powered by a photvoltaic cell, it doesn't even need batteries.

                  Our local dollar store sells LED reading lights that can be clipped to a book. It comes complete with three or four button cells. Across the street Radio Shack sells those same cells for three-plus bucks, apiece.

                  So far, neither the calculator nor reading light has let me down. I've had the calculator for years.

                  I see those same reading lights on eBay listed with a 99آ¢ opening bid--shipping is $6.95.

                  Orrin
                  So many projects. So little time.

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                  • #10
                    My Daddy always told me...

                    I went to the local "Dollar" type store and saw this rather nice looking Screw Gun, no known brand name,for $20 bucks!!! It looked like a Dewalt. I am an impulsive buyer so I grabbed it and ran to the check out with my new toy. I used it last weekend on a ceiling repair job. The torque was to low to set my screws firmly in a 2X4, and one drop to the floor did it in. Went back to my 8 year old Dewalt and finished the job.

                    Just like my Daddy always told me... sometimes you get want you pay for. I guess he was right.

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                    • #11
                      I hate to say it but most of my stuff comes from U know where, i simply could not own a machine and the tools for it if I didnt go this route, learn the language fell'as --- the stuff im buying is unreal, theirs still is tons of stuff they make thats junk but they are also putting out some very high quality stuff ----- they are kicking the worlds ass right now and its going to do nothing but get worse, remember when made in japan meant junk and then they rocked everyones world, thats the transition that were up against except you need to think 10 to 100 fold, My 36" mill table has 2/10ths of deviation for the entire length, the two phase II arbors that i just got in the other day from enco are perfect, one cost $3.45 and the other $3.95,

                      just the same you dont know what it means to me to have a kurt sitting on my mill (even though its used) and a usa boring bar, and cutting tools and stuff, I wish i could afford more but building my bike cranks has tons of delays built into the entire process --- if I tried to save up to buy all american it would take me years more instead of months, I cannot afford american for all kinds of reasons....

                      There are many like me who are loyal but also have to get things done and are on a very tight budget ----- some of this stuff is priced unreal and with the cost of steel its almost as if you could buy the finished product melt it down and sell it for scrap and still turn a profit, it cant and it will not go on forever, the question being --- can we (and the rest of the world) weather the storm, The other thing is China is also building up a dependency, and when that goes south which it enevitably will its going to really get ugly over there but we and everybody else will have to topple first...

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                      • #12
                        A friend of mine bought some small taps the other day and instead of cutting they just twisted into a spiral. Although they were very cheap, he made a point of sending them back for a refund. As consumers, we have this right under UK law and it is perhaps the only way we can stop people wasting our time peddling junk.

                        It pains me to think of all the wasted effort and energy that goes into making something that is fit for only one purpose; filling a bin.

                        BTW, I have a knife set like that and they work OK after making some brass blade collets. Of course, I didn't cost my time versus buying a well made set in the first place.

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                        • #13
                          And just yesterday you were praising your new vise in a thread that ran 4 pages or so.

                          Kap
                          And that comment is apropos of what?
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                          • #14
                            Back in the day, for those of us who grew up in the Soviet Union under Stalin, a lot of workers were obligated each year to work for nothing on several "Patriot Days" i.e. no pay, double production for the motherland. Perhaps PRC has a lot more of these days and thus results in extremely cheap labor rate per unit. Actually, J Tiers hit it right on the head.
                            I bury my work

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Orrin
                              Powered by a photvoltaic cell, it doesn't even need batteries.
                              Yeah, but as soon as the sun goes supernova, that photovoltaic cell will be useless and you'll HAVE to buy batteries. That's how they get ya!!

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