by Andrew Nichols


What follows is a short exchange that took place recently on the John Welsford Builders forum.

Check this out - I decided to build my centreboard today.

I got to Mitre10 at 10am and bought a Ryobi power planer.

I had cooked it and was back at the shop for a replacement by 11am. Motor winding insulation falling out of the casing, smoke and everything!

I think it got 20 mins use. I wasnt even doing deep cuts! My centre board is made from laminated cedar and kwila hardwood, you wouldnt think that'd be too much do you?

I guess its designed for planing down half a mm off a sticky door.


Ah yes; I know the feeling well... or should I say I know the smell of burnt out Ryobi tools well.

Amongst my power tools are brands such as Elu, Metabo, Makita, Atlas Copco, Fein, Festo, Kango, Hitachi, etc. Every one of them a joy and pleasure to use- and believe me they all get used and occasionaly abused. Yes that's right no De-Walt tools- I still haven't forgiven Black and Decker- who own De-Walt- for stopping production of the Swiss Elu woodworking tools. They (Elu) were years ahead of their time.

However I had a job a few years ago to lay some 300m2 of Terracotta tiles around a swimming pool I was building..... I had wanted to buy a small 5" hand held 'wet saw' and this job was the perfect excuse. I had a choice between a Makita and a Ryobi- the sales assistant assured me they were all the same... "Comes off the same assembly line mate- just different badging." Yes- stupid me- I actually believed him.

Anyway, from the first cut I knew our working relationship would be brief - like you - the bloody thing lasted about 40 cuts; that's no more than 20 minutes work and it was totally burnt out. Add insult to injury the store claimed 'operator abuse' and no warranty - just a quote for $184.00 for parts/labour.

The moral of the story: All those nasty rumours about Ryobi tools being garbage - they're actually true!!

I would have well over $15,000 - in small power tools, not including workshop equipment; I can honestly say I have never regretted buying a quality tool no matter how dry my mouth was and how much I was sweating or shaking as I handed the cash over. On the other hand the one time in recent years that I made a tool purchase based on price I was bitterly disappointed and the Ryobi cost me much more than the $60- odd bucks I 'saved' on the purchase price.



PS As a matter of interest I finished all the Terracotta cuts with a dry 'Turbo' diamond blade in my trusty Atlas Copco 9" grinder. It's done dozens and dozens of other jobs since and would have to be one of the worlds best 9" grinders. I actually wore out two Hitachi 9" grinders before I bought the Atlas Copco. You couldn't kill this thing with a big stick!!

PPS They should lock up (put in jail or gaol if you prefer) all the people who make, distribute and sell these cheap crappy tools.... then give them a whole truckload of their own tools to get out of jail (gaol) with. End of problem. We'd never see them again!!