We recently decided to get a lathe and take on machining as a hobby so we could keep the team’s match rifles up and running, and we also liked the prospect of eventually building new rifles for ourselves. The idea was to get to a point of being self sufficient and able to re-barrel/build team rifles when we needed them.
We started looking into metal lathes and were extremely taken back by the cost of a South Bend or Bridgeport. So, after more searching around we found Grizzly and began looking over the different models that they had available. We found a lot of good feedback and reviews on Gizzly’s products and the cost fit within a budget we could manage. Once we got things figured out Dane ordered up a Grizzly G4003G metal lathe with the generous help of Mr. Shiraz Balolia himself, the owner of Grizzly Imports.. Grizzly G4003G Gunsmith
In all that, you failed to ask why I feel that way. Not a rant per se' but a fact of doing business, no matter how rotten the business ethic is.
In actuality, I have no issue with Balola providing an avenue for inexpensive machine tools and accessories, albeit from third world countries, manufactured by people making a fraction of what we consider an equitable wage and living standard, not that those standards ar some point won't be the norm in this country as well, maybe not in my lifetime, but at some point, I suspect.....
South Bend Lathe was, at one time, a viable manufacturer of machine tools, based in South Bend Indiana. They manufactured a line of machine tools, many of which wound up in schools, in the military and in the private sector. SBL was respected as a machine tool builder, making a quality, American Made machine that could be relied on for accuracy, at a reasonable price. In fact, if you enrolled in a technical school, you probably ran a South Bend Lathe. Even today, South Bend Lathes of vintage origin are prized collectible, especially if in good working order, I know, I have 3 and they are first class machines.
On to what occurred. SBL began it's descent into the black hole of receivership when it became an ESOP many years ago. The governing board decided that it would be more expedient to have it's castings (for lathe beds, carriage parts and accessories, cast overseas instead of in domestic foundries. This was well before Bill Clinton and NAFTA and was forward thinking on the part of SBL as far as bottom line profit was concerned, but a problem arose. All the wood patterns that SBL sent to China, were used as firewood by the Chinese and SBL has no recourse but to make new patterns and resume domestic casting at a great expense, I might add.
SBL then ran into financial issues because the ESOP was ill equipped to make major decisions concerning the then declining marketplace, a marketplace being infiltrated by offshore manufacturers of machinery. Respected manufacturers like Lodge and Shipley, Warner and Swazey, Cincinnati, Monarch Machine Tool, Minster Manufacturing and others, were falling by the wayside, victims of the influx of less expensive and oftentimes better quality machines, imported by entities that had no manufacturing stake in this country, other than perhaps some office and R&D personnel. In other words, the American factory worker, the backbone and lifeblood of our economy was being replaced because they were no longer competitive.
SBL went into receivership. Le Blond holdings bought the tangible assets of SBL and began to dismantle the company. Workers that weren't previously laid off were let go, the physical plant was sold at auction and leftover inventory was auctioned off.
All that remained of the original American Icon was the registered trade name, South Bend Lathe Corporation, and along comes Balola, smelling an opportunity to cash in on an iconic name..... Balola bought the rights to the South Bend Lathe Company trademark, much like Ford Motor sold the rights to the trade mark 'Blue Oval' to finance it's ongoing operations, however, Fords used the sale as a hedge against bankruptcy with the intent of buying it back again, SBL was already defunct.
To make a long story short, Balola (because he owns the trademark now), can apply it to anything he chooses, which he does. He applies it to imported, chi com made machine tools, something that I have an issue with because, one, I'm proud to be an American, two, because I remember what the SBL trademark stood for and three, because I find it in poor taste from a business perspective, to prostitute something synonymous with our heritage as the greatest industrial nation on this globe.
Maybe you don't understand that, maybe you do. Our world has changed in the last 30 years, but prostituting for personal gain, anything that was established and has become a recognized trade name, long before Balola was even a gleam in his father's eye, is....
IMO and other people who know, a sack of rotten potatoes.
A professional machinist wouldn't have a Griz. Might be alright for a hobbiest, but so will many used American made lathes. This "Gunsmith Lathe" tag that's been given to some of these lathes,,,,,, nothing more than a sales pitch. Any lathe, in good condition, with a spindle bore of 1 3/8" or bigger will do barrel work (as long as it has a lead screw and threading dial). Nice to have a 36"+ center to center length, too. I'm not much on imported machines or tooling for them and go out of my way to avoid them whenever possible, not an easy task today. Ya',,,, hear lots of positive on the net about Griz,,, then hear of chatter and "vibrations" from others. Hear positive because of price,,,,,, complaints and requests for 'fixes' when it won't preform as expected. I even went thru a thread (on another forum) where the proud owner was thinking of changing spindle bearings to try to 'improve' his Chinese import. ??????????????????? Too bad 99% of the steel I cut is imported.
"Shoots real good!": definition; it didn't blow-up in my face. Not everything can be fixed on an internet forum!
Last edited by shortgrass; 05-13-2012 at 08:09 AM.
Not my opinion but rather the facts as it pertains to the very existence you and I and everyone else here cherishes.
In as much as I'm in business and own a machine and fabrication shop, I fully understand (well as best as I can and still be profitable), free market capitalism. However, the very essence of it is slanted as far as consumption by us versus consumption by them but that's not germane to this thread.
The only reason I expressed my virw in the first place was the OP's comment about South Bend Machines being so expensive. Ironically, those machines are just rebadged chinese machines wearing Balola's bought and paid for trademark.
He's all about free market capitalism and lopsided trade deficit that's made him rich and I don't fault him. I foault those who are purchasing his machines.
My take on any machine is... If it works and it fits your parameters buy it.
I didn't 'crap' anywhere. All I did was present a small part of what's occuring in this country and what the end result will be. I'll be push'in up daisy's by then.
You, as an adult (I presume) have to make your own choices and live with those choices just as I do.
I believe first and foremost to buy American at all times possible, to support my country and it's workers because I'm still proud to be an American and I still believe this is the greatest country in the world. Do you?
If you feel thats crap, why don't you immigrate to China and see first hand just what living there is all about.
I said my piece. You can absorb it and benefit from it or you can blow it off. Your choice, your freedom, for now.