How do you know it's reconditioned, and does it even matter?

I worked for Shopsmith many years ago and it was there that I learned that tools that were returned with any amount of use on them at all could only be resold as "reconditioned", or as a "Demo" if it had actually been used in-house for demos. They would take the tools into a special section of the factory where a couple of the most experienced workers would give them the once-over. Labels, manuals and guards were always replaced, and once they got done with them they were literally better than new.

Years later I was in the market for a DeWalt scrollsaw and had the chance to talk with a technician at the local DeWalt service center in Dayton who told me how their returned tools were given the same treatment as I experienced at Shopsmith. With that I purchased a reconditioned scrollsaw and have never looked back.

When you think about it, once you run your tool once you are using a used tool. (Pause to let that sink in) And your tool wasn't given a the "fine tooth comb" treatment that a reconditioned tool gets.

So how do you know if a tool that is for sale on eBay is reconditioned? Most tool manufacturers will add the letter "R" somewhere in the model number to let you know that the tool is reconditioned. I've talked to a number of people over the years who unwittingly wound-up with a reconditioned tool because the model # was the only place in the description that even hinted at the tool's origins. Yeah, I think we can all agree that that's bad form. In the case of DeWalt tools they not only add the "R" to the model #, but they even go to the added step of branding the tool with a permanent "R" somewhere prominently on the tool. The top photo is of the "R" on my new DW735R planer, while the lower photo is from my DW788R DeWalt scrollsaw. Note that I added the red ring on the planer photo to make the letter stand out.

1 comment:

  1. I own a DW 735 planer, bought new.
    Pro's When it works, it planes very smoothly but is slow, particularly on real hard wood and boards over eight inches. Blades are pretty durable and easy to change. I get extra life from the blades by honing them gently with a 300 grit diamond stone. The exhaust system is exceptional, except for the problems described.
    Con"s Originally my machine was equipped with Allen screws to secure the blades, that were torqued so tightly I had to take it to a service center as the Allen wrench provided rounded over and wouldn't loosen the screws. DeWalt has since replaced the Allens with Torx head screws that work fine. From the beginning the machine has accumulated lots of shavings in the compartment over the blades, which have accumulated sufficiently to jam the gear mechanism that raises and lowers the cutting heads. Trouble was diagnosed by a DeWalt service center as a defective shroud over the blades; DeWalt replaced one that was worse than the original and told me to go away when I took the machine back. I bought another shroud that was as bad as the first two. (A DeWalt tech told me, " They all do that". He knew, why doesn't DeWalt. This is obviously a design or factory defedt. Incidentally. if you need to remove the main cover to expose the fan housing, you will need two sizes of Allen wrenches, a Phillips screwdriver, and two sizes of Torx. DeWalt has to know about this too.
    So, if you are willing to put up with these inconveniences, this is a pretty good planer.
    Me? I'm stuck for $600. Charles Merrill, Bellville, Tx.

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