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Busy Bee Tools Canada

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juiceclone

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#31
I had a brief email exchange with busy bee a while back, to no avail and I see that my opinion was correct. Welcome to the 21st century of no business ethics.! That lathe is manufactured by Sumore tools in Shanghai. I have a nearly similar model and have had no complaints. From what I see of BB's offerings it seems that they may be selling older? models of the Sumore line.... You have to look in the details.
 

Travis7s

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#32
My main gripe is they don't list if things are out of stock online, so when you place an order half of it is on backorder with no estimate when it will be in.
 

q20v

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#33
Chinese quality varies from factory to factory. A few years back my son and I went together and bought a stripped down CQ6125 250mm x 550mm from KMS. It was deeply discounted close-out. On line I looked for the accessories, reviews, and who made it. It turned out a couple of factories were making the copy of an Austrian lathe. At least the Chinese were using metal gears. The XIMA version tested true, the SIEG version needed some fitting. BusyBee, and King both sell the SIEG version. You can see the difference across the showroom. We got the XIMA version but had to buy separately the steady rest,4jaw, fellow rest, faceplate, stand, and thread dial . Lathemaster sold a planetary geared pulley that cut the speed in half. Making it a useful lathe.
When my son moved out, I suggested that I buy him out, "No ,Dad, I'll buy you out." Now, I have a Taiwanese BusyBee DF1224g with electrical problems and no accessories.
I have the same BB DF1224g lathe and have it working fairly well. Let me know if you need pictures of the electrical box or anything else to help with your setup.

Barry
 

shopguy

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#34
Hello everyone,
I just joined this group and this is my first post. There seems to be quite a few people in this group that have had bad experiences with either service or quality of machines purchased from Busy Bee. I would like to offer my own experience and opinions concerning Busy Bee (Ottawa store).

- Craftex mill drill model B1977 made in Taiwan, purchased new in 2007 I added power feed and DRO, set up on cabinet stand which is anchored to my basement shop concrete floor, the machine is perfectly level and very secure. Also changed pulley belts with link belts. I have had no issues with it in the 8 years that I have been using it, and have used it extensively.
- Craftex drill press model CT019 made in China, purchased new in 2006. Changed original pulley belts for link belts. I mounted the drill press to a very solid wooden stand that I built with levelling feet and use it regularly, I have had no issues with it in the 9 years that I have owned it.
- Craftex swivel metal cutting bandsaw model B2544, made in China, purchased new in 2006. Changed original pulley belt for link belt. I have used this machine extensively to cut both Metal and Wood. I have had no issues with it in the 9 years that I have owned it.
- Craftex metal lathe (13" x 24") model CT089, made in China, purchased new in 2014. Changed original pulley belt for link belt. Changed spindle bearings immediately for high quality bearings. (this was done by choice, never even used machine with stock bearings). The machine is mounted to the stand and anchored to cement floor perfectly level and very secure. I use this machine regularly and I have had no issues with it in the 2 years that I have owned it.
- Three (3) ton arbor press sold by Busy Bee, purchased new in 2009. no issues.

In addition, I have purchased tooling, and many other various supplies from Busy Bee Ottawa and have always been treated very well and had no problems of any kind.
 

q20v

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#35
shopguy,

I agree with you regarding the staff at the Ottawa location, they've always been helpful to me as well.
Good to hear of your successes with the Craftex brand.. Although it may be lower quality compared to some other big names, if you maintain the equipment and don't abuse it, it can produce very good results for a long time.

Barry
 

Dabbler

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#36
(great big breath)... I have read this entire thread several times now, and I feel that it would be good to add my $.02.

I have dealt with Busy Bee since 1981. For the first 15 years or so, I dealt with one of the owners from their Burnaby showroom. I purchased a 12X37 lathe and a B048 32"X6" milling machine, along with several thousand dollars worth of accessories in the mid 80s and early 90s. They were both made in Taiwan. During that time their quality was better than anything I could buy for double the price. I was very satisfied and a devoted customer.

Before I say the next thing, let me explain: I have 40 years machining experience on all kinds of machines in about 6 shops and have used name brand machines and Taiwanese and Chinese tools regularly over that time....

(shuffles feet and looks a little nervous) Now to the present. Something happened to this company in the late 90s. I have used recently purchased lathes from BB but not their mills. From a visual inspection and using their lathes I FEEL that the quality, fit and accuracy has gone downhill a loooong way. Not only that, but they have ceased to carry a full line of accessories, so it leaves you looking for a few crucial pieces once you get started.

I gave them a chance three years ago and bought a VFD 18" bandsaw from them, A CX-101. It works very well, and needed only a little tweaking to get it to perform well. So If you have a LOT of experience you can cherry pick their good stuff, then you can still get good deals and great equipment there.

About the Calgary store... (after very carefully thinking this through) There is only one guy in the Calgary store to talk to. His name is John, and he has a small amount of knowledge, but admits his limits. Everyone else on the staff have no knowledge whatsoever of metalworking or woodworking machines. I still buy expendable supplies and small tools there and visit the store on a regular basis. I have gone in to buy stuff because they are very close, and been steered away, only to find that the thing I wanted was on the shelf. I now know the store better than most of the employees and don't have to ask.

So in conclusion... I still buy sanding belts, cemented carbides, and other shop expendables there, usually on sale. Whenever they put a Groz cutter on sale I buy it if I need it. I would steer very clear of their lathes. As far as their mills go, better deals are to be had at Modern and Grizzly. I have been treated well at the Calgary branch by management, and they have taken back returns of anything defective. Caveat Emptor.
 

Hidyn

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#37
I've read this thread a few times myself whilst pondering a sizable purchase from BB. Thanks for the updated thoughts!
 

GerryG

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#38
I'm also considering a lathe purchase from Busy Bee in Pickering. Has anybody dealt with the staff at that store or perhaps the Barrie location?
 

JohnnyTK

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#39
My first experience as newbie to machining, but coming from a diesel and refrigeration background was not a positive one at the Mississauga location. I was looking at tooling up and began to ask the sales person about the lathes, drill presses and cut off saws, he told me he had no idea about metal working. So then I decided to ask him some questions about some wood working tooling, that I was also interested in and again I got the same response. So I left and made my purchases at other vendors. I have stopped in a bought some tools and supplies due to convenience.
 

slow-poke

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#40
The customer service in the Mississauga store during my one and only visit was so bad I have never returned.
 

GerryG

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#41
Well, I finally pulled the trigger and bought a CX706 lathe from the Pickering Busy Bee. A month later I bought a CX600 milling machine from the same store. Both buying experiences were great, I even got some warranty parts for the lathe. I dealt with Ken, very approachable and seems to know his way around the machines, but only works there part time. Have also ordered some warranty parts from the head office. We'll see how long that takes.
 

The_Apprentice

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#42
Interesting thread.... I was recently at the Mississauga store myself (for the first time). I can't say I ran into any rudeness, but that is maybe because I really didn't speak to anyone in particular (just came to browse lathes). The woman on the phone to the store had a New Yorkish accent, which does come across as rude to many Canadians, but I believe it's more of a dialect/accent issue, and is due to culture differences, not that she was particularly rude or anything. So I just wanted to make that clear. She did answer my two questions about the store promptly and we had no issues.

So... I came very close to picking up the CX mini-lathe at Busy Bee, but instead went with the 07x12 KING, due to having hardend-bedways and a 5.5 amp vs the lesser amp of the CX. In fact, I already had the KING in the trunk of my car (having just picked it up in Hamilton that morning). But it was nice to stop by so I could actually SEE and touch the array of Craftex's they had.

I suppose I could have asked the two salesmen who came up to me questions, but I highly doubt they would have known the answers to anything I had to ask. It is not so easy for people to have full product knowledge on everything in store, and if they did, usually they wouldn't be working as a salesperson in the first place. Ok, maybe you can argue that...

When/if I upscale my lathe in the future, I may still look into BusyBee down the road.
 

Dabbler

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#44
I have to give an update... The buyer for BB seems to lack understanding that if you buy a carbide tool from them, then they should stock the carbide inserts for at least a few years so replacements can be bought. They have very poor coverage for tooling, and it is getting worse. I don't do much woodworking these days, so my WW needs are low. For metalworking, I'm now steering clear, even for expendables. Just not worth it. Since January, they are stocking less and less, and deleting SKUs for too many necessary things. Now that Shars has their shipping stuff worked out, much of my business has gone there - and to Accusize in Toronto. I shop Grizzly in person every time I'm in Bellingham.

For a rank beginner, there is some stuff you can get there. After that, you are on your own.

Sorry BB, the the love affair is over.
 

charlton

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#45
I have to give an update... The buyer for BB seems to lack understanding that if you buy a carbide tool from them, then they should stock the carbide inserts for at least a few years so replacements can be bought. They have very poor coverage for tooling, and it is getting worse. I don't do much woodworking these days, so my WW needs are low. For metalworking, I'm now steering clear, even for expendables. Just not worth it. Since January, they are stocking less and less, and deleting SKUs for too many necessary things. Now that Shars has their shipping stuff worked out, much of my business has gone there - and to Accusize in Toronto. I shop Grizzly in person every time I'm in Bellingham.

For a rank beginner, there is some stuff you can get there. After that, you are on your own.

Sorry BB, the the love affair is over.
Can you clarify what you mean by "Shars has their shipping stuff worked out?" I've wanted to buy stuff from Shars or their ebay store (discount_machines, I think it was) and shipping was always exorbitant to the point of not really making it worthwhile.
 

Dabbler

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#46
Sure... I talked to their technical guy. If I order over the phone they will ship via truck (assuming that what you are shipping is heavy, which mine was). Since I live across the border I will not allow any UPS shipments, which is their normal preferred shipper. (long story)

The price to ship a 6 jaw 6" chuck with backing plate was cut to about 1/3 or the UPS price, and made it very attractive.

BTW I've found that most of the BusyBee stuff is either exactly the same as, or directy from, Bangood.com - and Bangood will ship to Canada at minimal cost. I'm going to give them a try in the mext month or so.
 

charlton

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#47
Thanks for that update. It's good to know. Yeah, UPS is such a pain and I'm pretty sure that all of us Canadians have long stories about getting robbed. :)
 

HRgx

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#48
Because I've purchased a bit of tooling from the Calgary Busy Bee tool store for a bit, I've read every single post within this thread. I did not know of KMS tools also in Calgary. I feel compeled to post my assessment of both stores. It all came about searching for a DRO for my lathe. I came upon the iGaging site and figured that their Absolute DRO would fit my needs. The iGaging websites names both Busy Bee and KMS as approved dealers. As such, I proceeded to call both to enquire about a purchase. Needless to say, my first call was to Busy Bee. The response was alike to all that I've had in the past. Very little product knowledge. In fact, the folks there don't even seem to care. Heck, if if don't even give a darn, you could at least fake it. Now, off to KMS I go. After asking the clerk about my needs, he sheepishly admits to not knowing anything about what I'm speaking off. So, he calls in the manager. Buddy takes me into his office, goes on the confuser and searches his iGaging database. Yup, we can bring in the Absolute DRO for you in whatever scale length you need. Invites my to come across his desk and allows me to view the specifications on his confuser screen in order to make the right choice. Needless to say, KMS has my order and Busy Bee will not likely see my rear end walk through their doors again. The manager at KMS also informed me that the poor service at Busy Bee was their best advertising. No kidding eh?
 

charlton

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#49
There are definitely a lot of things I don't much like about Busy Bee and the general lack of knowledge by their staff is one of them. That being said, the staff at the Concord store are at least friendly. What irks me about Busy Bee, though, is their e-commerce is pretty terrible and store stock is always a hit and miss. If there wasn't a Busy Bee here in Toronto, there would definitely be one less source of choice which would be a bad thing. There is no KMS here and shipping from KMS usually kills most deals. KBC isn't too far away but their prices are pretty high (though, in truth, the stuff they sell seems to be better quality in general). We lack so much as Canadians in terms of choice. I bought some end mills from ebay and noticed that they're shipping out of North Bay yet there doesn't seem to be any savings to be realized from the fact that they're in the same province. You want machinery? For home hobbyists, you basically have...Craftex or King Canada and that's it. You can order from Grizzly (I have quite a few woodworking machines from them) but choice is definitely anemic compared to our counterparts down south.

HRgx, do you follow AvE what with the confuser and all. :)
 

rzbill

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#50
bangood.com? I have had zero luck getting that site to come up. Is it still active?
 

HRgx

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#52
There are definitely a lot of things I don't much like about Busy Bee and the general lack of knowledge by their staff is one of them. That being said, the staff at the Concord store are at least friendly. What irks me about Busy Bee, though, is their e-commerce is pretty terrible and store stock is always a hit and miss. If there wasn't a Busy Bee here in Toronto, there would definitely be one less source of choice which would be a bad thing. There is no KMS here and shipping from KMS usually kills most deals. KBC isn't too far away but their prices are pretty high (though, in truth, the stuff they sell seems to be better quality in general). We lack so much as Canadians in terms of choice. I bought some end mills from ebay and noticed that they're shipping out of North Bay yet there doesn't seem to be any savings to be realized from the fact that they're in the same province. You want machinery? For home hobbyists, you basically have...Craftex or King Canada and that's it. You can order from Grizzly (I have quite a few woodworking machines from them) but choice is definitely anemic compared to our counterparts down south.

HRgx, do you follow AvE what with the confuser and all. :)
Sorry charlton, what is this AvE that you mention?
 

charlton

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#53
Oh sorry. He's just a YouTube guy (Canadian no less) that I thought you might follow because he always refers to the computer as the confuser.
 

HRgx

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#54
Oh sorry. He's just a YouTube guy (Canadian no less) that I thought you might follow because he always refers to the computer as the confuser.
Ah! I see, no I don't follow this fellow on the Tube. The only guy that I do follow is Joe Pieczynski in terms of machining. :)
 

Dabbler

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#55
HRgx: 'oxtool' and 'Stephan Gotteswinter' might be good candidates if yolu want to broaden your youtube watching...
 

Downwindtracker2

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#56
I've been buying tools from KMS since '86 or '87. In those days they were in small store front in a strip mall, behind the liquor store in Mallardville. KMS got their start importing Speedaire compressors. They do auto body, air tools, welding, and construction carpentry tools well. Woodworking tools, OK, but machine tools, you are asking a lot out of a welder.
 

HRgx

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#57
I had sent an email to Busy Bee's customer service describing my latest experience and lack of confidence in the actual customer service. Well, today I've received a phone call from the lady who is the store manager at the Calgary location. She was very apologetic and even stated that the staff doesn't receive any training whatsoever. I replied that I surely wasn't expecting any one to be fired as I do realize that folks need to put bread and butter on the table same as the rest of us. My conversation with the lady was very pleasant and she stated that she wished to not loose my small amount of business. All being said, we ended our conversation on a friendly tone. However, I will deal with KMS in the near future and still look to Busy Bee should KMS not stock items that I'm searching for. My final thoughts are that Busy Bee's issues reside more at a corporate level than those at the retail end.
 

Dabbler

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#58
My final thoughts are that Busy Bee's issues reside more at a corporate level than those at the retail end.
I like Bev at the Calgary branch, and buy my HSS tool bits from them and any 'Glanze' carbide tools that go on sale, and that I can use. - But you have to be your own tech support for most things. If in the Calgary store, talk to John. He doesn't know a heap, but he is helpful and doesn't pretend to know what he doesn't. Most of the staff there don't do any metalwork or woodwork. Go figure.

Just to add another tool in the toolbox (an hopefully not to confuse things) I buy some of my things at KBC out of Vancouver. They ship right to my door at about the price of gas to go elsewhere. They have a lot of 'real' tools and consumables, but you have to compare prices. I ordered 6 grinding wheels from them this summer with prices better than I could get anywhere else. On the other hand there's lots of stuff they sell that is cheaper at KBC and Accusize.

Good hunting!
 

HBilly1022

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#59
I even got some warranty parts for the lathe. Have also ordered some warranty parts from the head office. We'll see how long that takes.
Just for clarity ... does that mean your new machines needed warranty repairs?
 

brino

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#60
I've received a phone call from the lady who is the store manager at the Calgary location. She was very apologetic and even stated that the staff doesn't receive any training whatsoever.
Most of the staff there don't do any metalwork or woodwork. Go figure.
To me this this sounds completely ridiculous and the blame _HAS_ to land squarely on management......apparently they cannot hire and train workers competent in the tasks required. This is either because of money (ie. they cannot afford knowledgeable employees) or incompetence.

Either way it's tough making a case for using them as a supplier.
i) you cannot trust anything they say, and
ii) due to "market forces" they may not be there to honour any warranty claims for anything you do buy.

I hate to see it this way and definitely do NOT want it to be a "self-fulfilling prophecy".
We need all the suppliers we can get here.

However, I am not very positive on Busy Bee and their long-term success.
They have always seemed to be "Princess Auto" quality, but at more than double the price.
At least at Princess Auto, you know what you're getting and pay accordingly.
Unfortunately, the range of products are not comparable.

-brino
 
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