woodpecker tools

Create a review for a woodworking tool that you are familiar with (Shopsmith brand or Non-Shopsmith) or just post your opinion on a specific tool. Head to head comparisons welcome too.

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JPG
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by JPG »

As has already been mentioned, the woodpecker stuff is aluminum(good aluminum) and the starrett stuff is hard steel. I think starrett will outlast a woodpecker.

Not seen much today is Brown & Sharpe ≡ Starrett.
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BuckeyeDennis
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by BuckeyeDennis »

RFGuy wrote:
BuckeyeDennis wrote:I have a few of them, and all are top quality. Their accuracy is comparable to some vintage Starrett layout tools that I own.
...

I've finally acquired enough vintage Starrett & Lufkin tools, complemented by a few Woodpeckers tools bought new, to make almost any measurement I need. My big-box measuring tools now get used for rough work only.
Dennis,

Thanks. Are vintage Starrett and Lufkin tools really that much better, i.e. more accurate than newer ones? What "era" is considered vintage for these brands? I am just asking out of curiosity. I love both brands and have a few of their tools, but I doubt any of them are considered "vintage". I have no complaints with any of the ones that I own (new or old)...though I have never questioned/tested their accuracy. I do know that Lufkin is now under the umbrella of Crescent tools company (another favorite tool company of mine), but unfortunately I do know many products from Crescent tools are now made overseas so I have seen some complaints online regarding their quality changes.
I’ve seen some low-end Starrett-branded stuff recently that looks (and reportedly is) pretty cheesy, and I can personally testify that their adhesive-backed printed steel tape rules aren’t accurate. But I have little doubt that this is just low-cost import stuff that some marketing genius decided to squander Starrett’s reputation on, in order to make a quick buck. As far as I know, the machinist’s instruments are as good or better than ever.

I lucked into most of my Starrett and Lufkin instruments basically for free. A 10ER that I bought in Cleveland had a “goody box” visible in one of the CL photos, with some vintage woodworking chisels peeking out. I needed some chisels, and that’s what motivated me to make the 2-hour drive from Columbus to Cleveland. Well, that goody box turned out to be an oversized Gerstner toolbox, absolutely stuffed full of top-of-the-line instruments. I mean, the thing weighed a ton. According to a business card that I found in it, it belonged to a professional patternmaker. As near as I can tell, the tools date back to the 1930’s and 1940’s. There was a fair amount of surface rust on many of them, but it all cleaned up nicely, with only minor pitting.

My favorite tool in the box is a Starrett Combination Builder’s Tool with a 24” blade. It’s still available from Amazon new for $473. The 90-degree stop on this tool is micro-adjustable via a little recessed screw, so it’s as accurate as your ability to tune it. Even on the ordinary combination squares, the blade rides on little raised bosses at each end of the slot in the head, which are easy to fine tune with a small file to get them dead square. All the blades are hardened and dead straight, and all actions are silky-smooth. But I could never have justified buying all that stuff new — it would cost thousands of dollars.
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by Hobbyman2 »

the cost for perfection has never been cheap lol .I like the incra fence and stops for the table saws and drill press however they cost more than my saws !!!! I spent 4 years as a pattern maker apprentice starting high school , worked 1/2 day and went to school 1/2 day , when the shop closed down in the 80''s I had a few starrett tools ,mostly drawing tools, a few chisels and marking gauges ,micrometers depth gauges etc , folks now cant imagine how tough it was starting out making 4 dollars a hr and needing to spend 1/2 of it on tools lol ,,, the shop closed down do to the economy and had to sell them to pay the rent , at one time here you could pick up second hand tools at a pawn shop very cheap because of all the machine shops that closed , was and we still are married and living on our own when I was 18 so ya learn real fast about the bills lol, during that time I machined and made a lot of my tools so making tools was never a issue, now I am older {maybe lazier ?} and do not have the the eyesight to make them , even though I see a few of their tools listed that I would not buy ,{ still easier to just make it} ,marking gauges etc , there are a few products that have sparked a interest , I can see where tool thickness could be a issue for some projects . and I agree starrett quality dropped years ago, just like craftsman brand .
thanks for the comments and advice .
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by RFGuy »

BuckeyeDennis wrote: I’ve seen some low-end Starrett-branded stuff recently that looks (and reportedly is) pretty cheesy, and I can personally testify that their adhesive-backed printed steel tape rules aren’t accurate. But I have little doubt that this is just low-cost import stuff that some marketing genius decided to squander Starrett’s reputation on, in order to make a quick buck. As far as I know, the machinist’s instruments are as good or better than ever.

I lucked into most of my Starrett and Lufkin instruments basically for free. A 10ER that I bought in Cleveland had a “goody box” visible in one of the CL photos, with some vintage woodworking chisels peeking out. I needed some chisels, and that’s what motivated me to make the 2-hour drive from Columbus to Cleveland. Well, that goody box turned out to be an oversized Gerstner toolbox, absolutely stuffed full of top-of-the-line instruments. I mean, the thing weighed a ton. According to a business card that I found in it, it belonged to a professional patternmaker. As near as I can tell, the tools date back to the 1930’s and 1940’s. There was a fair amount of surface rust on many of them, but it all cleaned up nicely, with only minor pitting.

My favorite tool in the box is a Starrett Combination Builder’s Tool with a 24” blade. It’s still available from Amazon new for $473. The 90-degree stop on this tool is micro-adjustable via a little recessed screw, so it’s as accurate as your ability to tune it. Even on the ordinary combination squares, the blade rides on little raised bosses at each end of the slot in the head, which are easy to fine tune with a small file to get them dead square. All the blades are hardened and dead straight, and all actions are silky-smooth. But I could never have justified buying all that stuff new — it would cost thousands of dollars.
Dennis,

Thanks. Appreciate your insights and congrats on that tool find including the Gerstner toolbox! Yeah, I picked up my Starrett combination square a couple of years ago. I remember seeing a few machinist forum sites back then that talked about a quality decline in Starrett tools. From what I remember, I believe Starrett has two lines of their tools, one is made in USA and the other is made in China. Those manufactured here cost significantly more than the ones built overseas. I don't know how true this is. Of course, I am sure there are also knock-off brands in China that try to pass off as Starrett as well. Presumably the Starrett tools still manufactured here are still high quality, but I don't know for sure.

I got a Lufkin 25' tape measure around 30 years ago and I still use it in my shop all the time. It just feels good in my hand and seems to be built like a tank. My wife kept stealing it for measuring boxes for shipping, etc. so I finally bought her a new Lufkin tape measure to keep in the house. Most of the newer Lufkin tape measures are more compact now than my 30 year old one, but appear to be good or better quality to most tape measure brands on the market (IMHO).

The fact that Woodpecker tools are made in USA is a factor in my purchasing decision, so when they have a unique tool or a better version of an existing tool it doesn't take much convincing for me to support them...
📶RF Guy

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sehast
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by sehast »

I have had the same great experience with Woodpecker tools as every one else but sometimes aluminum is just not a good option. I have a Starrett 12" and PEC 24" combination squares that I have purchased in the last 5 years. Their performance and accuracy is the same which is more than adequate for my applications but the PEC is much more affordable. The 24" might be considered a luxury but after using it I now would not be without it. If I had to pay a Starrett price for it I probably never would have gotten one.

https://www.travers.com/2-piece-combina ... 7-020-303/
BigSky
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by BigSky »

sehast wrote:I have had the same great experience with Woodpecker tools as every one else but sometimes aluminum is just not a good option. I have a Starrett 12" and PEC 24" combination squares that I have purchased in the last 5 years. Their performance and accuracy is the same which is more than adequate for my applications but the PEC is much more affordable. The 24" might be considered a luxury but after using it I now would not be without it. If I had to pay a Starrett price for it I probably never would have gotten one.

https://www.travers.com/2-piece-combina ... 7-020-303/
I know a guy who said the same sort of things about the Edsel.
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Ed in Tampa
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by Ed in Tampa »

Personal opinion Woodpecker tools are for people with more money than brains. Extremely good looking but practically any mistake or accident can render their accuracy useless.
Love to look at them! But while I can well afford them I would never buy one
RFGuy
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by RFGuy »

Ed in Tampa wrote:Personal opinion Woodpecker tools are for people with more money than brains. Extremely good looking but practically any mistake or accident can render their accuracy useless.
Love to look at them! But while I can well afford them I would never buy one
Ed,

Thanks. Appreciate your feedback. Well a brand new Mark 7 costs $4k ($4.5k for PowerPro headstock) and a PowerPro headstock alone costs $2.3k. For some of us those purchases are too far to one side to even consider, so I guess it is fitting to have a Woodpeckers discussion on a Shopsmith forum since they are both in the same pricing stratosphere... :) I think it really just comes down to what your interests are. I know some people choose to spend a lot of money on a sports car, season tickets for their favorite team, collectibles, etc., etc. For me, I choose to spend money on tools and BBQ gear because those are my interests. For another person, spending on these items might be perceived as excessive to them.

Yeah, I agree on the concern of dropping any expensive tool. I think it just comes down to how careful one is with their tools. For me, I know some of my tools are quite expensive, so when I pick up something like a Woodpeckers square or even the Shopsmith 520 fence, I am very careful to hold them with a firm grip to avoid dropping them. I am not perfect and I am sure some day I will drop one on accident, but I just try to give the same attention and care to holding any expensive tool as I would while holding my expensive smartphone.

This is a short video on how they build their new Joiner's Combo square which I found interesting. I didn't know they had added robotics to their CNC operation.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nu16GvMzW0[/youtube]
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by Hobbyman2 »

I have to agree with you both, and to be honest that is one of the tools I was looking at , until I seen the price , if you want all three squares for the different dove tail angles and ruler lengths as a set it will set you back nearly 300.00 ,on their website ,, if it is something you cant live with out or will use constantly , or you just like collecting their tools than by all means I am all for it , but a couple scraps of wood or metal and you can make a dovetail gauge , it may not have all of the other bells and whistles but it will work just as well . since I am in this as a hobby and not trying to make money I would have to make a lot of dovetails to cover that cost , in my honest opinion they may loose a lot of business because of the price , just because the thing is made on a laser operated robot to me doesn't justify that kind of money ,, that's just my opinion , would I like to have a set ,, of course I would ,, I suppose in their mind they don't have to make as many to make money ? and that robot cost a bundle ,, I wonder what the resale on those used are if the market doesn't actually fully support them ?
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RFGuy
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Re: woodpecker tools

Post by RFGuy »

Hobbyman2 wrote:I have to agree with you both, and to be honest that is one of the tools I was looking at , until I seen the price , if you want all three squares for the different dove tail angles and ruler lengths as a set it will set you back nearly 300.00 ,on their website ,, if it is something you cant live with out or will use constantly , or you just like collecting their tools than by all means I am all for it , but a couple scraps of wood or metal and you can make a dovetail gauge , it may not have all of the other bells and whistles but it will work just as well . since I am in this as a hobby and not trying to make money I would have to make a lot of dovetails to cover that cost , in my honest opinion they may loose a lot of business because of the price , just because the thing is made on a laser operated robot to me doesn't justify that kind of money ,, that's just my opinion , would I like to have a set ,, of course I would ,, I suppose in their mind they don't have to make as many to make money ? and that robot cost a bundle ,, I wonder what the resale on those used are if the market doesn't actually fully support them ?
Yeah, I agree. Maybe my initial post on this thread didn't make this clear, but for me I find "some" of Woodpeckers tools to be well worth the money. However, some don't add enough value to justify their purchase (IMHO). Their squares are a good example for me. I have multiple other squares in my shop that are more than adequate to do the task, but I just like the "feel" of the Woodpeckers squares in my hands, particularly the 1281 (12" square). It is a VERY subjective thing, but when you are doing a hobby that you love, like woodworking, it makes it more special to use tools that feel good in your hands. Another good example of a tool that went too far from Woodpeckers is their corner planes (https://www.woodpeck.com/ott-ez-edge.html). These were $150 each and it is a pain to change cutters in them so they really want you to buy more than one. It is a very nice looking tool, but I couldn't justify spending on this one when you can do the same thing with a block plane or as I have chosen to do it with a compact cordless router. Bottomline, Woodpeckers makes some very nice mouse traps and often their mouse trap is better than every other one on the market. It is up to each customer to decide if the added bells and whistles are worth it for a particular tool from them.

Coincidentally, Woodpeckers posted a video just today on their squares and what makes them different:

📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
Festool (Emerald): DF 500 Q | RO 150 FEQ | OF 1400 EQ | TS 55 REQ | CT 26 E
DC3300 | Shopvac w/ClearVue CV06 Mini Cyclone | JDS AirTech 2000 | Sundstrom PAPR | Dylos DC1100 Pro particulate monitor
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