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I am currently shopping for a vise. I followed my typical "shopping flow-chart", which I look at products, reviews, with the features I like and compare companies and prices. I take the product, features and prices, and follow it up with a "best products" in my search engines. Finally, I try to lean towards US made products and finally make my choice. Like many folks, I have had my share of off-shore made crap. I have also have had my off-shore stuff that has been fine. I have also had US made, that couldn't hold up to it's off-shore counter parts.

I called Yost today asking about their products, which one is recommended for me, and of course, which ones are US made. The nice gentleman explained, two years ago, all Yost vises went to manufacturing in Taiwan. He said, that the decision was difficult for the company, but product quality tests were the same for years between US and Taiwan, yet, manufacturing was $.40 cents to the US $1.00, and still holding U.S. government specifications. He simply put, people stopped paying the extra money for US made vises. That makes sense. At that price discrepancy, you could buy two Taiwan vises, have a warranty and spec, to one US made vise, and have money left over for a beer.

I made a comment in (different) forum a long time ago, that we could possibly see a point where off-shore manufacturing is preferred and the badge "Made in the U.S.A" is as meaningful as a Lincoln car is to a current 20 year old. I then got flamed, with counters, where people stated off-shore products use less quality this and that, and their QC is less, etc. I still believe that's mostly true, especially for certain components and especially for a product that is 30% the cost of it's US made counterpart. I also don't believe using cheaper materials is just an off-shore thing, and is a paradigm in a variety of product lines within the US as well. I see this a lot in tools. The drive for cheap is drastically cheapening the product. Who doesn't own a super cheap screw driver or pliers?

I love buying US made, but doing so is becoming more and more a burden.The situation I mentioned earlier is a further reinforcement. When I buy US made stuff, I am willing to pay 10% more, or maybe 20%, but not 60% or more. What's other people's thoughts on the topic?
 

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I am the same and research any purchases to death. I also look for items made in the USA.

I would say that if I could get the same item made in the USA for up to 20% more I will do it.

In a different scenerio I had a big load of roofing supplies delivered recently. Afterwards I looked over everything and it was all made in the USA or Canada. That made me feel good.

All this stuff however is super heavy and the cost to transport from overseas would likely outweigh any savings.
 

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Well you can always gets Wilton vise. Their "Bullet" line of tradesmen vises are well pretty much bullet proof.

They are big and heavy with plenty of different options, made in the USA and they cost an arm and a leg.

Probably be the last vise you ever buy though.


I have one that was a hand me down gift that was probably made in the 80s. Still works like new and has no wiggle or slop.

You can find them at garage sales from time to time generally for pretty cheap if they don't know what they have.
They have a distinctive enclosed tail end that kind of looks like a bullet. More often than not there will be a flat anvil area just behind the jaws. Most are made from ductile iron which is significantly stronger and less brittle than cast iron.

781945
 

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I totally hear ya. We all love our favorite brands and it seems that everything nowadays uses overseas services even the small parts. Unless it’s Kenny’s or similar. We like our Stihl and Milwaukee etc. even though they’re made elsewhere or parts of them are. I say get what you want and don’t look back but I’m not that stubborn as others. I currently own a Forge vice feom Harbor freight and it has done everything I asked so far. A lot of people are wuick to bash not like minded people but who cares in the long run what’s in your work bench but you. This world is too thick with social media and everyone’s overboard opinions you can’t get away from it. I especially like those videos on YouTube titled “10 things I hate about _” and the comment section gets flooded with fat fingered posts.
 

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Unfortunately, cost cutting often drives one down the path of turning durable goods into consumables. This is totally acceptable to many who for instance will happily buy a Harbor Freight tool that will fail long before a premium product but at least it works and for short money.

However, how often has a hardly-used "premium" product been purchased only for it to fail after the warranty period and then get a out-of-luck response from the manufacturer? I decided never to buy another DeWalt power tool after it happened to me but at least there are other good premium alternatives (e.g. Milwaukee). Having said that, the premium manufacturers are also under the same financial pressures and so I guess they make a probabilistic assessment of cost versus quality in how they attract and keep consumers loyal to their brand.
 
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I was fortunate that when the Farmall plant closed I worked there and knew several millwrights working there. 2 months after they closed they had a public auction. I bought 17 1/4" plate welding tables and assembly tables. of the 17 tables 6 had big vises. I still have 2 on tables in my garage now. The Tables sold quickly with a add in classifed's and the vises brought more than the tables. I had a flat bed trailer the and it took three trips to haul them home. The problem was not loading them at Farmall I used one of their fork trucks the work was unloading them at home with a com-along and two floor jacks.
 

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Well you can always gets Wilton vise. Their "Bullet" line of tradesmen vises are well pretty much bullet proof.

They are big and heavy with plenty of different options, made in the USA and they cost an arm and a leg. Probably be the last vise you ever buy though.................
Another vote for the Wilton vice, mine is probably 15 or 20 years old and has taken much abuse.

My absolute last choice for any product is Chinese made, only then if there's no other practical choice. I will pay double to support USA made products. Second choices are Taiwanese, Korean even Thai made.

As a Vietnam vet I have very mixed feelings about owning Vietnamese products. We bought our dining room table/chairs from Ashley's and I was disappointed to find it was made in Vietnam. The chairs are poorly made, I replaced every bolt holding the chairs together and recently bought webbing and fabric, etc to re-upholster the chairs. The upholstery is very low quality.
 

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I bought a Wilton WS5-5" Shop Vise 3" Throat Depth a few months ago. I have not used it much but I do like it.

Take some time and watch this...
 

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After breaking a few of the $80 farm store imported vises I took a deep breath and spent almost $500 on a Wilton. That thing is indestructible and I should have bought it 20 years sooner. I've always had an anvil to minimize beating on the vise, but honestly that Wilton could take it.

Edit: Raining today so I watched that video. He really abused them. None of the Wiltons did that great. Maybe mine isn't as tough as I thought. It's much better than any I've ever had though.
 

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I add one additional step if I can't get a US made product: Do I REALLY need it, or can I make do without. If I can get by, I'll keep the money in my wallet.
 

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I've posted similar comments in other Forums, maybe this one too!

Off shore manufactured goods can be as good as American made quality wise and usually fewer $$ less than American made. The entire quality and price depends on the buyer. Let's say you order a "bolt" from an off shore supplier. You WILL get a "bolt". Maybe you wanted a 3/4-16 x 4" grade 5 hex head and you got a 1/4 -20 x 3/4" grade 2 hex head, but you got your "bolt" so the supplier gave you what you asked for! If a US company orders a part with all specifications needed to comply with his needs, they most likely WILL get it. But it is also the purchasers responsibility to inspect these parts to be 100% sure that's what he wanted and that's what he got.

I had hands-on experience with this 20+ years ago. The company that I worked for was looking to control costs without lowering quality and found a manufacturer in Taiwan. I was in the Quality Assurance Dept. at that time and we'd inspect parts from Taiwan to verify we got what we wanted. At first, maybe 5 years, there was a lot of confusion as to drawing specs and we received who knows what! After working very close with the Manager of Quality Assurance, parts were coming in exactly as we wanted them, and at that time, just under 1/3 the price if made here. And if they weren't correct, a correct part was then air freighted to us at no cost! We also inspected parts made in-house and from local vendors. About 75% were within tolerance & spec, but that other 25% was usually scrap!

Off-shore can be good or bad (quality wise) and it's ALL up to the buyer, not the manufacturing source. Bob
 

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Maybe this is a departure from tools and equipment, but I feel it's in line with the topic. We bought a full set of kitchen and laundry appliance about 7 years ago. All top-of-the-line, American made. The only single piece out of the entire set (Range, Fridge, Microwave, Dishwasher, Washer, Dryer) that we still have is the Range. The rest were bought back by the manufacturer due to the number of services we had on them. The kitchen appliances were delivered direct from the manufacturer arriving on 2 different trucks, the washer/dryer from a local reseller.

I bought the extended warranty and once we were outside of the manufacturer's, we could only talk to the 'extended warranty servicer' which I found to be a well-known insurance company. The insurance company ended up spending 1.5x the cost of the Fridge on repairs and would not replace because "We didn't have a replacement plan". Strangely, we got lucky that the fridge growing mold meant the manufacturer's health and safety group took over the case. Once they looked at it, the immediately offered a buy-back.

All the appliances had > 5 service calls on them. These have all been replaced by foreign manufactured appliances which not only have had no service calls, they actually all perform their function better.

I'm the same as you here. I research to death, consumer reports, forums, etc... before I pull the trigger. I just cannot believe the stark difference here. These were all considered highly rated and top or near top-of-line appliances. The washer / dryer I did buy was actually further down the list and more expensive, but has been a reliable machine.

I know that "tools and equipment" are not the same as household electrics, but this whole experience has really taught me to be more discerning than I was in the past.
 

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As a Vietnam vet I have very mixed feelings about owning Vietnamese products. We bought our dining room table/chairs from Ashley's and I was disappointed to find it was made in Vietnam. The chairs are poorly made, I replaced every bolt holding the chairs together and recently bought webbing and fabric, etc to re-upholster the chairs. The upholstery is very low quality.
I am not a Vietnam vet, a little too young for that. I had a similar deal years ago, noticed the furniture was made in Vietnam. I'll be honest, I almost returned it. And I think about it ever time I see the chairs. I have a big brush pile out back right now getting ready to burn it off, I may toss the chairs in it now.

I always try to buy made in USA, try being the key word. I am okay paying up to 50% more for made in USA, depending on the item...
 

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I couldn't afford a Wilton at the time and ended up with an Irwin. Made in China but the quality is good and has lasted 10+ years now. If I had to buy one today, it would probably be a Wilton.
 

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I have quit trying to find American to buy vs another nation for several reasons. First, as a consumer I most concerned with getting my money's worth so bottom line is best product for the price. A cheap American made vise, if there is one is no better than a cheap vise from Vietnam so I would prefer not to buy either. I try to buy quality, expecting to pay more but some things its just not worth the extra dollars.

Second, from a philosophical perspective, cheap foreign labor is a good thing for many reasons. Obviously cheaper products are great for me but it also says the American labor gets paid more and therefore should be worth more, and if that is the case, which I think it is, they should be used for more skilled work. Pouring cast iron and assembling vises would probably be a poor use of a better trained/educated employee. Let that work migrate to where it can be done right, but at a lower cost. Let the American worker get trained to do something more complicated. This is not to insult foreign labor, but simply recognizing our education and training verses theirs. You don't see cheap vises coming out of Germany, England, Japan, Canada, etc either. If the best we can produce is comparable to a cheap Vietnamese vise then our labor should be paid the same as the Vietnamese labor.

And, I recognize and appreciate natural advantages when it come to producing consumer goods. For example, I live in MN. We produce a lot of apples but no oranges. To carry the argument further let's say I want to support my local farmers because that's good for where I live. Then I guess I won't buy any oranges. Makes no sense. Then why do I decide I won't buy something made elsewhere because it isn't made in the US. Labor is a commodity, like raw materials. Manufacturers have to use the lowest priced resources/commodities or they can't produce a competitive priced product. Sometimes it takes a while to sort this out in the marketplace and creates a little friction but that's OK. Keeps it competitive.

Then there is the argument about how other countries cheat and the government subsidizes them, sell below cost, etc. What a bunch of crap. Industry in the US is the beneficiary of staggering amounts of support. We have one of, if not the best commercial rail systems in the world. Why? Because 150 years ago the government gave almost unlimited land and access to the railroads to build the infrastructure we still use today. Same with ports. Same with an electrical power grid. Same with roadways. Where we miss the mark is taxes.

If American corporate tax rates aren't as low as any other country how can we be competitive? Corporations don't pay corporate taxes. Consumers do in the prices they pay. The current Administration thinks it is necessary to raise corporate taxes. Doing so will only make us less competitive in the global market. I advocate a zero corporate tax rate. Tax dividends more, or increase personal income taxes.

Bottom line, the only thing I really care about with respect to foreign made goods is do they respect our intellectual value? We have patent laws to protect the company that spends their money to create goods we want. If a foreign country allows its manufacturers to simply copy and sell what we create they should be put down. Plain and simple.
 

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Specific offshore (Non U.S.) markets can provide outstanding quality products and I don't ever hesitate to purchase items from these markets because they are actually valued U.S. Trade partners. Countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Germany are just a few and there are many more. These nations generally produce very good quality items because they are mature economies, as is the U.S. economy.

Their workers demand a living wage and they are provided the opportunity to earn it. The consumers of those mature economy nations also demand higher quality items and many are willing to pay for it. These people know that if you have a choice and can afford quality, higher quality is usually a much better long term value and ownership experience.

We live in a truly Global economy and overall, its a very good thing. However, when you have some nations who refuse to honor U.S. laws and U.S. protections of work product such as Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Exclusive Images, etc., those are the nations I have trouble accepting their products, even when they are a "lower price". Rarely are such products truly higher quality with a authentic and genuine lower price. There is always a catch. There has to be.

China is the worst offender and now that they are letting the ink dry on their 25 year, $450 Billion energy trade / military development agreement with Iran, we have two Non Democratic, Dictatorial / Communist regimes who are working together to strengthen their position in the global market against capitalism and the free markets. As Forrest Gump would say "That's all I have to say about that"............

In the end, I buy what I want. I try to make American made products have preference, but they also have to have the value to earn my business. I don't have a set "margin number", such as the American made product has to be within 10% or 20% of the competing products prices. I measure each product on their own merit and decide with the cost differential just being one of many considerations. However, I won't permit a "cheater" to be considered as a genuine vendor of a product I would own. I simply won't reward such behavior.

Just as I wouldn't buy something I know was stolen and is being offered to me at a very low price from a back room deal or the trunk of someone's car in the dark corner of the Big Box parking lot, I also won't support any company which doesn't operate their company honorably and ethically. I won't let the low price and "free shipping" blind me to the reality that they are profiting from the work product of others for which they not only failed to get permission to use, they simply "took it". Now, they are undercutting the very people who spent the time and money to create, design, engineer, test, refine, produce and then insure against any bad outcomes for anyone who uses their product.
The price is the amount you pay for something when you initially acquire it. The cost is what you spend over time, including when you acquired the item, to own such an item. In many cases, the item with the lowest price ends up with the highest overall cost.

I recently wandered over to another Tractor Forum, one which isn't brand specific, to see how the discussions there differ from those on GTT. In many ways, they are very similar. But in other ways, they are vastly different. I noticed many who posted are often defending their brand purchase decisions. In some cases, their defense is obviously very personal as the tone of the discussion often shifts to a defensive and accusatory tone, which isn't productive in the long term.

I really don't care what others choose to do with their money and the purchase decisions they make. Just as we all have friends who we look at their relationships and think "There is no way I would want to be married to her (or him if so applicable)". But our friends obviously see something different in that person than we do.

What's right for me doesn't make it right for everyone else. We all need to remember that Baskin and Robbins had 31 flavors of ice cream for a reason, so there was something for everyone. And that's fine, as long as they didn't get any of their tubs of ice cream from someone who worked hard to create something special, which is desired by their customers, only to have it taken from them unfairly and without regard for the law.

By the way, Baskin and Robbins now offer 80 flavors of ice cream, between their "regular flavors", their "seasonal flavors" , their "regional flavors" and their "Bright Choices".............I know because I counted them.......
 

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One way to find more USA-made products more easily is to shop where the commercial/industrial buyers do. I buy my drill bits, end mills, saw blades, and fasteners at McMaster-Carr or MSC, and their default product is usually domestic or they offer an "import" option which is often Eastern Europe rather than the PRC, almost always better quality than what you get in consumer stores, quite often competitive in price, and much better selection.

Recently I needed to outfit a new home kitchen with pots, pans, etc., and I went to Webstaraunt Store which sells to food service, but they allow home buyers as well. Their search options will show a "US Made" filter when options are available. The $10 pan at Target from China is often available there, and might be $10-$30 for a US-made one.

If you're buying something that starts with a big chunk of cast metal it is tough to beat China/India. Basic foundry work is ancient technology, low margin, and very few of us want to live anywhere near one. Even major US and Japanese machine tool makers often have their raw castings poured somewhere else for that reason.
 

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my vice is over 100 years old. its inherited and I'm its 3rd owner. you can buy restored old vices in like new condition. mine is Chas. Parker semi steel . ebay it or try FB marketplace for some one local who restores them. you may also easily find them un-restored in varying states of pretty good to rather bad. Same for anvils if you are looking.
 

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Another vote for the Wilton vice, mine is probably 15 or 20 years old and has taken much abuse.

My absolute last choice for any product is Chinese made, only then if there's no other practical choice. I will pay double to support USA made products. Second choices are Taiwanese, Korean even Thai made.

As a Vietnam vet I have very mixed feelings about owning Vietnamese products. We bought our dining room table/chairs from Ashley's and I was disappointed to find it was made in Vietnam. The chairs are poorly made, I replaced every bolt holding the chairs together and recently bought webbing and fabric, etc to re-upholster the chairs. The upholstery is very low quality.
My dad spent 38 months in the Pacific in WWII. He would not buy Japanese anything. It could have been the best whatever made and he wouldn't have bought it. He didn't have the same feeling about German made- that war wasn't as up close and personal for him.

I buy USA when I can and the price difference isn't horrible. I will shop a bit more to see if I can find a US made tool, unless it's one that's going to be a throw away anyway like a screwdriver to open a paint can. Japanese, Twainese or Korean products generally seem to have decent quality control.

Treefarmer
 

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Interesting question, but here's one thing to remember, no matter which side of the fence you come down on: the responsibility for poor quality is on management, not labor. That goes for American companies that have their stuff made overseas. If you get a p*** poor widget from an American company that had it made in China, blame the Americans. The Chinese did what they were told.

On a side note, if I'm buying foreign, I don't mind Taiwan, but I try to avoid communist China at all costs.
 
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