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Made in Asia? Starrett's response to the question

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  • Made in Asia? Starrett's response to the question

    In another post on this board that included a discussion about import and American-made tools, the question came up about whether Starrett was shifting hand tool production to Asia.

    So I decided to go to the original source. Last week I contacted them through their Web site and specifically asked if they were making hand tools abroad. I included a link to the thread
    ( ).

    Mr. Scott Robinson of Starrett responded and consented to my posting of his email, which is below:

    Greg, The L. S. Starrett Company is alive and well in Athol, Massachusetts and while we certainly have world wide manufacturing facilities, the vast majority of our precision tools are manufactured right here in Athol . You may be interested to learn that we have operated manufacturing facilities in both Brazil and Scotland for over fifty years and we have operated a facility in China for over ten years.

    I do recall one individual's concern about an edge finder (made in Athol) but you should understand that we have sold tens of thousands of this tool over the years. This particular complaint was quickly addressed and it does not give me too much concern.

    As to the Fish gage: we call this the 391 (also manufactured here) and it is used to set a turning tool on a lathe. We have changed the process from stamping the impressions to laser cutting the grads as the laser produces a thinner more accurate image. One customer received a gage that he felt was rough to the feel but a replacement was sent and the problem solved

    Now to the comment that we are steadily outsourcing to China. Yes, we do import a small amount of tools from China. Select dial and electronic calipers come to mind. We bring in the series 1202 mechanical and the 799 electronic . The electronic caliper does not have output capabilities; it is a simple inch/mm reading tool.

    In Athol we mirror this tool by manufacturing the 798. Along with its inch/mm conversion capabilities this caliper is IP 67 rated and has the ability to communicate with a PC. As to the mechanical tool we built the 120 series. So, in addition to imported items we do offer American Made products for sale.

    In addition to the thousands of products that we build here in Athol, we have products that are produced in whole or in part in any number western European countries. I think at last count we had a total of around 25 foreign made products available.

    The bottom line is that we are a world class, world wide manufacturer. In every meeting that I attend Mr. Starrett never fails to mention that we must remember our mission to service the customer.

    If our customers ask for products that we don’t currently build or if we are forced to offer less expensive products to remain competitive, our only recourse is to adapt. We are rightfully proud of our heritage and we are determined to remain a consistent provider of quality, precision tools.

    Regards Scott


  • #2
    Starrett sell lots in the UK aswell

    JS showed a picture of an R8 arbor with a starrett holesaw recently (even had the RS logo on it..must be making too much wedge to be buyin off them )



    • #3
      Had this superb metric depth gauge given to me this week for a job i did for some one .


      • #4
        Companies like Starrett have to maintain their history of quality. It doesn't surprise me that they would make stuff overseas but I would bet they pick the better makers and require everything meet their specs.
        It's only ink and paper


        • #5
          Originally posted by MrSleepy
          Starrett sell lots in the UK as well

          JS showed a picture of an R8 arbor with a starrett holesaw recently (even had the RS logo on it..must be making too much wedge to be buyin off them )

          Hey RS aren't that bad, in fact they are very good on something's.

          If you factor in that a trip into town takes 30 to 45 minutes and RS deliver next day for free that usually tips the scales.

          Local bolt place charges £5 per item regardless even for a small bag of say 100 M4 screws and you wait literally hours to get served, RS deliver next day for free for £2.13 a bag.

          Last year I wanted a new 5/8" machine reamer, J&L wanted £24 for a budget range and £29 for a decent brand.

          On the offchance I checked RS and they had a Dormer for £17.00.

          Never, ever look at Cromwell tools, they are the biggest bunch of dipshiites I have come across.


          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


          • #6
            heh, we all saw that fishtail gage, it wasent 'rough' but basicly unusable due to a LARGE chunk of metal that should not only of been milled off but ground off after it was milled off.
            Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


            • #7
              Originally posted by John Stevenson
              Never, ever look at Cromwell tools, they are the biggest bunch of dipshiites I have come across.

              No argument there... I used to be a ESAB/Migatronic service engineer for Eng & Welding Supplies (before I went deeper into electronics and self employed).... Cromwells had the Murex distro were always the enemy..

              If memory serves..we usedto get 58% of starrett list... (best was Binzel at 73%)..



              • #8
                I've told this story before: I had a USA made Starrett dial caliper. I discovered,by ruining a job,that its INSIDE jaws were off .007". It was out of warranty,but I finally convinced the rather snotty Starrett guy to at least look at it so he could see that the caliper had never been damaged in any way. I just hadn't used the Starrett for inside measurements since I had others.

                They decided that the caliper was shipped that way. When I got it back,it was ONLY .004" out. The repair woman's name was in the box.

                Somehow,I got hold of a vice president,and told him that I could understand how the caliper could get out of the factory ONCE,but now that it had had special attention,I could NOT understand why it was still out. He claimed that the repair woman was one of their best.

                At least,he sent me a new caliper,and I returned the screwed up one.

                This episode has left a bad taste in my mouth. I like OLD Starrett tools. I'll bet that their Chinese made dial calipers are made better than the American ones. There is too much crappy work ethic in America. Their calipers cost twice as much as my Mitotoyu's,(sp?),and I still had to go through all of that to get the USA ones right.

                On the Practical Machinist forum,there was a long discussion about how Starrett electronic calipers do not hold a charge.
                Last edited by gwilson; 02-09-2010, 09:06 PM.


                • #9
                  I too have had a few problems with Starrett over the years, but they were rectified by the co. It's sad that so many of these jobs are done over seas but the worst thing is they will never com back to the US.



                  • #10
                    Give it a go

                    I have two of the "fish" (screw (setting) guages - one from India and another from - don't know - "Asia" aka "China":

                    So far as I can tell, both are very good.

                    I mentioned these as there was fair bit of concern - and acrimony - about - a Starrett "fish".

                    I can tell you that if Starrett imported these under its own banner and checked them it would not bother me one bit as it would have the Starrett logo on it and would be covered by the Starrett warranty.

                    I buy all of my stuff from "Trade" dealers who provide the warranty and service irrespective of where the product was made or came from - which is all I need.

                    I am not a "brand junkie" - as long as a tool does the job and complies with its specifications - I am happy with it.

                    If you check with LittleMachineShop tools you will see identical items made by Starrett, and PEC - both USA-made (so far as I know) - and PEC is half the Starrett price and excellent quality - as good as Starrett - I have several of their tools.



                    For all the carrying on - in the USA - about Starrett and its perceived deficiencies cost etc. and how everything else is "China-made" - it isn't.

                    I never see PEC mentioned as a very good well-priced USA-made tool - but it should be if you are going to post balanced posts instead of repeats of some of the rants and ranters.

                    Give one of your own manufacturers a go - try some of their stuff - you just might be pleasantly surprised.