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jhiggins

Striker 55

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I bought an Anyang 33 from James last year and could'nt be happier with the product. At the time, I was also leery of the "chineseness" of the product, so I did lot's of research. Even though I had never owned a power hammer, I have had a lifetime of experience operating and working on machinery, including 26 years in a chemical plant, 6 years in the oilfield and 4 years working on fighter jets in the Navy ( Vietnam service included). I have learned that simple and reliable is always best. Also, being familiar with the ISO certification process, it was reassuring that Anyang has earned this certification. It would be nice if we could "buy American" as reasonably as we can buy foreign, but that doesn't seem to be the case in todays world and I have started realizing that if my blacksmithing business is going to be successful, I'm going to have to be a businessman as well as a craftsman.

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Ahh ISO does not certify *quality* ISO certifies documentation and repeatability---which is a good first step when trying to raise quality; but does not in itself mean quality.

I worked for one of the first software organizations in America to get ISO certified (9001 IIRC) during that certification and found this out.
The example we used was that if your process documented that the way to deal with customer complaints was to send a couple of thugs out with baseball bats to break their knees *and* you could show that every one of the complainers were on crutches you passed ISO with flying colours. You had a documented process and you followed it every time! Didn't matter if it was a *good* process or a *bad* process!

Now a lot of places want you to believe that an ISO Cert means quality; but it doesn't really...

Customer support is paramount in my opinion. I did a review of our hardware specs for environmental conditions vs the european standard (ETSI back then) in most cases they matched up in some we were better and in others they were better; but the decision from on high was that we would support our product as matching ETSI specs and if they had any problems *we* would cover them for free. (Much cheaper than spending millions testing to their spec---never had any problems as we expected that we would meet or exceed their specs with no issues---but if there had been a problem I would have been on a Red-Eye to europe with the replacement part sitting in my lap!)

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It is awfully easy to bash the chinese hammers for the quality of their castings. How many hammer frames have you cast? I would personally rather have a Nazel/Bradley/Beaudry/Chambersburg and in a 300-500# range. We dont always get what we want though. The Kiss 50 is a good hammer and has customer service which is actually such a foreign concept I can only vaugely grasp its meaning. It is in fact very much a one off custom machine. Therefore it will come with all the pitfalls of other one off or discontinued machines. This isn't really a huge problem as lots of old iron is still running and running well(my own hammer is pushing 110 yrs of pounding steel). The Kiss is a well built machine that runs beautifully as lots of skill and engineering went into its design and construction. The Kiss as well as the KA75, and the Phoenix hammers are real, serious, production machines. All are custom built in small shops. There simply is no big factory in this country producing an off the shelf kind of hammer. The Striker and Anyang both impressed me as being far better machines than the fabricated frame variety that dominated the market through the 80s and 90s. The price of the Kuhn was far beyond reasonable and I found it to be somewhat mechanically lacking. I think the entrance of the chinese machines fills a much needed gap in the available machinery. While I am no fan of the chinese government or the fact that they seem to have suplanted ALL manufacturing worldwide, there really is no alternative to theses air hammers. Nazel never built a 33# hammer. They certainly should have but they didn't. Little giants and other old hammers are getting scarce. newcomers to this field need an alternative. I have learned from my students over the years that not everyone has a desire to understand the intricacies of the tools they use. Many simply want it to run. For them a self contained hammer is the only possible machine. Why worry about the availability of factory service? Short of Sid Sudemier is there any factory service still for domesticly produced hammers? Despite this many still pound away.
Perhaps it is that I am used to buying old iron and having to tear down/rebuild everything that the QC on chinese machines doesn't bother me so much.


True, Nazel didn’t make a 33 pound hammer but they got close with a 66 pound light duty 1B. Nazel Hammers could also be considered custom built hammers. If you had enough money when Nazel’s were being produced you could get a hammer configured most anyway within reason if you were willing to pay. Valves for Nazel Hammers were hand lapped and custom fitted to specific hammers to ½ to 1 thousands clearance. Meaning you could not expect to take valves out of a 1B and expect them to fit another 1B. Lot of other parts for Nazel Hammers were also custom fit but not to such tight tolerances.

Contrary to belief there is factory service available for Nazel Hammers but US consumers aren’t always so willing to pay domestic material and labor rates to support American companies. Myself as a consumer and we as a company try our best to buy American made products when at all possible. I’ll admit it isn’t easy and we don’t always have a choice or control over where to product come from that we buy. The part I find annoying is we have no control and we get no choice when buying some things because they are no longer made in America.

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