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Palmgren vise... not the quality they use to be. Not really made in the USA.

CompositesGuy

Aluminum
Joined
May 30, 2009
Location
AZ
I recently purchased a 6" drill press vise directly from Palmgren in Naperville IL (model #9612602). The Palmgren website proudly declares this vise "made in the USA", and I like my other Palmgren vise that's pushing 20 years old. They sent me a vise which was in a pristine box, but clearly had careless quality control issues from the factory. The sad thing is that close inspection revealed grinding marks meant to fix/minimize the issue. To me this indicates that someone noticed the problem, but didn't have high enough standards to scrap the part. To Palmgren's credit, they paid my return shipping, and sent me a 2nd vise. The 2nd one was also in a pristine box but had been dropped on its corner and also had some more hand grinding marks from the factory. After that they went silent, despite two attempts on my part to contact them. Pictures of the vises are attached.

Also, the box says "assembled in America" and the girl that answers their phone told me that these vises are basically made in Taiwan with some minimal assembly in the USA. Without any prompting she admitted that they really should remove the 'made in the USA' moniker from the website since it is misleading.

I hate dumping on a US company like this. I buy American whenever I can, even if the price is high... but I wish I had forked over a few more dollars and bought a Heinrich or a Cardinal.
 

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Palmagren was never any good.
Sears sold them in their stores
and they were junk then.
Now the imports can't even get
their awful green-blue color right.
I would not be surprised if it was
Indian made. Bunch a barefoot
dudes pouring metal.
I wouldn't buy one just because
saying their name makes my mouth
feel funny. Not pleasant at all.

-Doozer
 
I agree with the OP that they should be more honest about where the vises come from, but I also agree with the others that their standard of quality was never that high because of the application they are marketed and and applied to. If they were being made and QC'd as expected, the cosmetic defects and grinder marks wouldn't matter so much as the geometric squareness of everything and the quality of the materials. I would buy them because I wanted to support an American Company and know that the geographical distance between Joe on the factory floor and Milton in the Inspection Crib made it more likely that less shoddy stuff made it out into the showroom where the Mike who doesn't care about the defects can do his job selling it to keep the lights on.

"Made in America" never meant "highest quality". I wish so many didn't push for that because it hurts the situation more than it helps. If Atlas lathes were still being made and I was in the market for a toy, I would buy it over a Harbor Freight any day because it was "American", not because I expected it to be as good as a Monarch. Not sure what Palmgren can do about it now as it's all problems that came about years ago leading to their present manufacturing situation, but if enough of us kept buying their import stuff over the nameless imports in Horrible Freight and kept dropping a line that we would give them more business if they were made over here, they might shape up and come back, but for most companies in this situation the ship has already sailed.
 
My thoughts on this are: it's a drill press vise. It is probably pretty cheap. I'm sure it holds parts to be drilled just fine. Run with it. If you want something fancier, return it and get a Heinrich. I don't feel like you're dumping on a company here, just being honest. Today's "US made" mostly isn't the same as yesterday's, though there are a few decent things left. Probably isn't going to be the same ever again with the focus mostly on making everything as cheaply as possible.
 
Today's "US made" mostly isn't the same as yesterday's,
Yeah it is. I can tell you never bought anything out of JC Whitney or from the insides of matchbooks. There was lots and lots of junk, all "Made in U.S.A."

Hell, the engine use to literally fall out of my Corvair. Down to the halfshafts, anyhow. They kept it from dragging on the road.

Had Lufkin mics, too. They were nice enough but shars is just as good. There was never anything special about Made in USA. Some was good, some was junky. It's only been since there isn't any that people are getting all nostalgic -- until now they are bemoaning the quality of a fricking palmgen. Sheesh.
 
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In my opinion the old Palmgren vises (at least their nicer ones) were decent for drill press use. Fairly good looking and square iron, with hardened steel jaws, and a reasonable price to match. Obviously, they were never a top-end product, but... respectable. (I never owned their low-end stuff.) The vises I received recently could be of similar quality if they weren't dropped, banged and hand grinded as a fix. I couldn't sell parts out of my shop that look like this!

I've noticed that this new Palmgren vise looks an aweful lot like Gibraltar vise G-110184 which some websites say is made in India. Comparison picture of the two vises below. It burns me that they are still selling this as "Made in USA".
 

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Yeah it is. I can tell you never bought anything out of JC Whitney or from the insides of matchbooks. There was lots and lots of junk, all "Made in U.S.A."

Hell, the engine use to literally fall out of my Corvair. Down to the halfshafts, anyhow. They kept it from dragging on the road.

Had Lufkin mics, too. They were nice enough but shars is just as good. There was never anything special about Made in USA. Some was good, some was junky. It's only been since there isn't any that people are getting all nostalgic -- until now they are bemoaning the quality of a fricking palmgen. Sheesh.

I'm not talking about the cheap shit end of the spectrum, and you're talking about things in a later period that's already in that region. Figured that would be inferred. I'm talking about the Moores, Monarchs, Americans, things of that nature. When the manufacturers actually cared about making the best. Not the cheapest. Some are still around today. Not too many. Even a lot of the budget stuff was better back then though. Made out of metal, not plastic. Most plastic is a plague.
 
In my opinion the old Palmgren vises (at least their nicer ones) were decent for drill press use. Fairly good looking and square iron, with hardened steel jaws, and a reasonable price to match. Obviously, they were never a top-end product, but... respectable. (I never owned their low-end stuff.) The vises I received recently could be of similar quality if they weren't dropped, banged and hand grinded as a fix. I couldn't sell parts out of my shop that look like this!

I've noticed that this new Palmgren vise looks an aweful lot like Gibraltar vise G-110184 which some websites say is made in India. Comparison picture of the two vises below. It burns me that they are still selling this as "Made in USA".

Same shit different pile.

I bet if someone did some digging they'd find the company was sold to some conglomerate, all their manufacturing was shipped offshore and there's only a few office types left.

Prices are the same tho...
 
Same shit different pile.

I bet if someone did some digging they'd find the company was sold to some conglomerate, all their manufacturing was shipped offshore and there's only a few office types left.

Prices are the same tho...
With a growth mindset and a strong team of people, C.H. Hanson acquired Palmgren Machinery in October 2013 and Superior Tool in August 2020. The C.H. Hanson Company continues its commitment to innovation and quality, serving the construction, metalworking, and plumbing tool markets.
 
If you paid a pretty penny for it, send it back.
There are actual laws to stating 'Made in USA'
basics are components must be majority, I think 80%+ made here, and primary components for a product must be made here.
So that web site label is actually illegal, not that I'm a conspiracy theorist nut job, but I looked into this a little during my patent days for my own stuff.
 
Hahahaha, my favorites I see these days are 1) "Made in USA, out of globally-sourced materials" 2) "Made in USA, out of foreign and domestic parts" and 3) "Designed in America."

Like Houdini said, it sound like they should not be making the, "Made in USA" claim, per the FTC thing. It is frustrating to me because we use American MADE steel in our factory just outside of CHICAGO to a make virtually every component that goes into our torque wrenches, put them in a blow molded box made in IOWA from a mold that was made in IOWA and then ship them in cardboard boxes made in WISCONSIN. I suppose there is only so much oversight that can be applied.
 
Hahahaha, my favorites I see these days are 1) "Made in USA, out of globally-sourced materials" 2) "Made in USA, out of foreign and domestic parts" and 3) "Designed in America."

Like Houdini said, it sound like they should not be making the, "Made in USA" claim, per the FTC thing. It is frustrating to me because we use American MADE steel in our factory just outside of CHICAGO to a make virtually every component that goes into our torque wrenches, put them in a blow molded box made in IOWA from a mold that was made in IOWA and then ship them in cardboard boxes made in WISCONSIN. I suppose there is only so much oversight that can be applied.
You forgot 'Hand crafted in the USA'
Or we had a car audio product that was actually made in USA, but it was something crazy, like a city in asia was renamed to USA just so it was legit made in USA.
or some shit like that.
 
When I worked for hhgregg I once cut part of a Samsung TV box that said "Made in Korea" and taped it to my shirt. That was good for a laugh.
One horrible chunk of useless info I got burned into my brain now because of my wife, KPOP groups, the songs, the member names....what a shit show!
I even catch my self sometimes gum,gum,gum :ROFLMAO:
 








 
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