Since I am new to woodworking, I am interested in knowing which brands are made by which companies (in other words, which brands are basically the same tool painted a different color.) I read from a previous thread that Grizzly and Shop Fox are the same.
What about Jet, Delta,Sunhill, General, etc?
It's really hard to give you a definite answer. Vast majority of tools are made in Asia---(speaking of stationary tools). General has a line (depicted by a Canadian flag on the body) made in Canada, as well as having the International line, which is imported. Delta has a similar split. Jet, PM, Sunhill, York, Griz', etc. are all imported. That doesn't mean they're inferrior, but in my opinion, it means you have to look a bit harder at the features/quality. As to Ridgid, I know the 3612 used to be made here, but now who knows.
Personally, starting out, I'd read as many reviews as you can. Figure what you want/need. But don't overlook companies with good customer service reputations.
Here's how tricky it is. Of the six manufacturers you named:
Grizzly - importer
Shop Fox - importer
Jet - importer
Delta - manufacturer/importer
Sunhill - importer
General - "General", manufacturer, "General International", importer
Many tools are made by companies that are not at all household words, companies like Gee-tech, Mao Shan, Rexxon (spelling on first and last are questionable).
Even when two offerings appear identical, they may not be. Motors, bearings, manufacturing tolerances, and the like may differ on machines that appear identical.
My suggestion is to compare each machine on it's own merit.
If I may; I'd like to express my opinion.
Purchasing machinery or tools, or anything else for that matter is a crap shoot. Everything is mass produced. Unless you have the ability to tour the manufacturing plant, you really don't know how the quality control is managed. Reputation and customer service also plays a major part. Make some calls and see how anmbitious they are to tell you about the product and how warrenty issues are handled BEFORE purchasing.
The individual sets his/her own budget for what they need when they need it. Reading reviews, touchy-feelie the machines if you can, and demonstrations if available. The individual knows best on how much and how precise the unit must be for them.
Keeping up on readings in magazines, forums and other individuals web sites will enlighten your knowledge and wisdom on what is best for you. Also investigating manufactures web sites extensivily will aid in related tools. Sounds like time consuming events, and it is. But it's better than buying something, and kicking yourself until you purchase a replacement that might not be any better.
Color sometimes comes into play, (most of you know I don't care for green) that helps narrow down the list to look at. Just a thought.
I know you don't like green, but is that Hitachi green or Grizzly green? :D
Some of my concerns are: The quality of the motor and the flatness of the cast iron. I have read that the imported motors are not heavy duty and will not hold up to continuous use. I may be a "weekend warrior" sometimes, but when I use my tools I use them long and hard. I do not want to buy a tool that the motor burns out on during the first year. I am afraid to buy any power tools over the Internet due to the fact that I don't want to have to ship a warped cast iron top back to the manufacturer. From dealing with electronics for nearly 20 years I learned the hard way to stay away from cheap test equipment and hand tools. From living on a farm for 40 years I have learned to stay away from cheap tools.(I had to burn up a couple of cheap Sears & Skil drills and saber saws before I figured that out). I am frugal, but have 2 John Deere tractors and a John Deere baler. I pay more for them, but the service is better, the quality is good, and their resale value is high. I do like John Deere green....... I am just not sure about green woodworking machines.
If any of you live around Dallas TX, who are some good dealers in that area for Jet or Delta? Also, who are good suppliers for wood? (BTW, I live about 70 mile north of Dallas).
You can get Jet and Delta as well as Powermatic in Dallas at Woodcraft, Texas Tool Traders, Rockler (new store in Arlington) and D&R Saw and Tool just to name a few...I'm sure there are other tols stores...in fact while we're on the subject, anyone know of any others?
I found the Rexon website a while back while researching who made my craftsman drill press. It's an interesting site to look at. I was also poking around the taiwanese manufacturers sites to see if any of the tools looked familiar ;) . It's too bad you can't figure out who makes the tools for the other importers the way you can with sears.
Patrick, as Dave A. said, an identical looking machine can have different tollerances, quality etc----and come from the same factory, so knowing who made a tool may or may not help.
As to motors, I've heard more people complaining about Harbor Freight motors----they're just cheap junk. Frankly, even if your machine is made in Asia, I seem to hear more people happy with American motors. I've given my 1 hp Emerson a lot of wear and tear and it's still going strong after 14 years.