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COVID-19 causes xenophobia


old man emu
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I fear that the constant broadcasts about the Chinese source of COVID-19 and the conspiracy theories that link the pandemic to a Chinese Government declaration of economic war on the USA have started to let my xenophobia escape its confinement. White Supremacist? No. Proud Australian? Yes. Wishing for a unique culture for my grandchildren? Yes. Racist? I try to keep my racism under control, but racism came long ago when the first animals crawled onto land and found places in which to survive and prosper.

 

Stories of rampant counterfeiting and reverse-engineering of other countries' ideas and products; plundering of other countries' goods; unfettered buying up of residential and farm land, and take-overs of a wide range of businesses are making my hackles rise, and stirring me to call for the severing of all relations with China.

 

I'm sick and tired of picking up items I use daily to find the words "Made in China" printed on their containers. To be fair, I'm also sick of seeing "Made in (foreign country) on products I know we can make in Australia.

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When we come out the other side of this virus period, it's going to be a completely different world, and there will be more protectionism, and possibly more local manufacturing, than we had before.

The cost of Chinese manufactured goods is going up, anyway, as wages increase in China. But then, the Chinese Govt may subsidise a lot of manufacturing to keep their economy ticking along - if they hadn't already been doing it.

 

Perhaps many people will return to a Depression-era thriftyness, and ensure that items they buy are durable and repairable. Most Chinese stuff ends up in landfill in 6 mths anyway, I'm thoroughly sick of that angle related to Chinese quality.

Everyone should be forced to work in a landfill for 3 mths to see the waste. In a previous disastrous period in my life, facing near-bankruptcy, I had to work in a landfill for several months, and it was absolutely eye-opening.

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Actually the worst part of working in a landfill was working with the "Saturday morning slops". This was the Friday night food waste, from the multitude of City restaurants, that had to be spread and covered up with a layer of sand to prevent the Ibis and Seagulls from feasting on it all weekend - as well as keeping the landfill stench down, of course (the landfill was located in a suburban environment).

 

The stench from the rotting remnants of seafood and other putrid food (and God knows what else - dead cats and rats as well, I suppose) would come through the A/C filters on the machines, and it wasn't a pleasant experience, I can tell you.

And all that for a miserable $12 hr, and a 5 1/2 day week. Nearly as bad as getting shot at and blown up in 'Nam, in '70-'71, for the princely sum of $34 a week.

I was out of the landfill within 3 months, and never so glad to see the back of a workplace.

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@facthunter - Absolutely true - people go for the cheapest and think they are getting a bargain - and manifacturers of "fine" items also do it to increase their margjins and not reduce their prices. I used to buy 2 brands of casual shirts - Ralph Lauren and an well known Aussie manufacturer with rural beginnings... The latter mpved all but their moleskin shirts to Chinese production. I had quality issues with the first Chinese manufactured shirt I bought off them.. Never been back. Reason - I am not a slave to fashion - I bought these shirts as they lasted years and I only had to buy shirts every three or so years - expensive becomes cheap.

 

@onetrack - Bang on re waste - problem is, buying that cheap stuff is expensive. For some reason, people can't save and buy decent stuff that lasts.They prefer to buy in smaller "instalments" and more frequently. Psychologically, they aren't spending as much, but in the long term, they are spending more. A bit like buying that car on HP.

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I still have my Aussie made Sidchromes I bought over 30 years ago. Have rebuilt a TD Cortina with them and they have literally travelled the world. They were bluddy expensive when I bought them.. but they have never let me down- unlike some cheapies I have had since. I understand they are now made in Taiwan and are not quite as good as they used to be... But htey are cheaper...

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Tools made in Taiwan are largely pretty good. It's when it comes from China, that's where the problems originate.

The Taiwanese understand the need for quality materials, the Chinese are more corrupt and will substitute poor-quality materials in the construction - after they have given you a good sample made from the right materials.

 

Many Chinese tools are not made from tool steel, which is required when you really put pressure on them. Tool steel contains the important strengthening ingredients - molydenum, vanadium, chrome, nickel and manganese.

When you're trying to undo a really tight or rusted fastener, and you're looking for additional leverage, in the form of a length of pipe - that's when tool steel really comes into its own.

 

Most Chinese tools are simply made from high-carbon steel, with limited strength and toughness. High carbon steel will break long before tough steel like tool steel, which will resist massive loads, and only then start to bend.

The Chinese will stamp "Cr-V" on their tools, even when the steel contains only minimal amounts of Chrome and Vanadium. The Chinese will shortcut the hardening, tempering and annealing processes, the important areas of tool manufacture.

 

I love the old American tools such as Proto, Blackhawk, Wright, and Craftsman. Wright was the military brand for Proto. But unfortunately, these names are either long gone, or used by the Chinese on their ersatz tools.

I've got several sets of Wright tools. The Wright tools are nickel-plated, rather than chrome-plated, it's a more durable finish.

The best tool steel I have come across is Protanium, by Bondhus. They keep the formula for Protanium secret, it's patented, and it's 120% stronger than the best tool steel.

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I love the old American tools such as Proto, Blackhawk, Wright, and Craftsman. Wright was the military brand for Proto. But unfortunately, these names are either long gone, or used by the Chinese on their ersatz tools.

 

onetrack, I've still got the odd Proto tool in the toolkit. I seem to remember they might have been Caterpillar toolkit issue, from the 80's. Good tools.

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Yes, Proto supplied Caterpillar with their range of tools from the early 1930's. Sometimes they were branded Caterpillar, other times they were branded Proto, with a Cat part number.

I was amazed to find, amongst some of my old Caterpillar Service Bulletins from the 1930's and 1940's, a piece of advice regarding the Proto/Cat tool range.

 

In this article, Cat stated, that if your Proto/Cat tools had been damaged by a fire, you only had to ship them to Proto, and they would re-heat-treat them again, and re-plate them, too if necessary - all at no cost to the tool owner!!

Can you imagine any company doing that today? That was all part and parcel of Proto's Lifetime Warranty agreement, back then.

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Yes, several other great brands - KingDick, Snap-On, and the German Gedore and the Swedish Bahco - now owned by Snap-On.

The original Snap-On tools are great, as with original Proto - but Snap-On have gone the "global" manufacturing route and some of their stuff is no longer up to scratch - although their pricing still is!

 

I went into a hyd jack repair shop in the mid-1990's, and it was full of Snap-On, 2-tonne floor jacks. I asked the owner what the story was.

He said, "Someone in Snap-On made a brilliant management decision, to get all these floor jacks made in China."

 

"Well, the Chinese conned them, by installing cheap, hard plastic PVC and ordinary rubber seals, instead of the specified grades of Viton, Nitrile, and all the other oil and heat resistant seal grades!"

Within 6 mths from new, all these jacks were piXXing oil out of every joint! - and as they all came with a 2 year Snap-On warranty, I get the job of replacing all the seals with the correct ones!"

 

That must have been one expensive Chinese manufacturing, learning curve for Snap-On!

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Gedore were also made in India. I had both German and Indian Gedore spanners. You could really tell the difference in steel quality by dropping them on the concrete floor. The German ones had more of a ring to them, and the Indian ones a slightly more muted tone. The Indian versions were still reasonable quality though. I found dropping a Chinese spanner produces a thud and not a ring.

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Proto used to be the brand of choice for most LAME's I knew. Stahwille was considered OK too? You need good spanners on modern machinery that uses undersized 12 point heads allen Keys etc Round something Off and you have a big job. working on old engines gives you a lot of practice at removing old studs etc Nev

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Another little-known tool brand that I like, is the Japanese Ko-Ken. This is Japans version of Proto. Very difficult to find in Australia. I have some of their impact sockets in 1/2" drive with hex bits, they are unbelievably strong.

The Ko-Ken hex bit sockets are forged from one piece Cr-Mo-V steel, unlike many brands that just press a length of hex material into a normal socket. It doesn't take long for that setup to have the hex drive section, work loose in the socket.

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