Lapidaryforum.net

Gadgets, Gizmos, and Dohickeys => What Equipment to Buy and Where to Get it. => Topic started by: mearic71 on October 15, 2017, 07:24:05 PM

Title: Highland park
Post by: mearic71 on October 15, 2017, 07:24:05 PM
Just found out highland park moved 5 minutes away from me. Might be time to start looking into getting a rock saw. Thoughts? Anyone use the their new saws.
Thanks
Mike
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Barclay on October 15, 2017, 07:25:21 PM
I have not but i heard that their quality has suffered since the moved most of their manufacturing to China.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: lapidaryrough on October 15, 2017, 08:50:33 PM
Highland-Park's  last saw was made in 1983.  ( I have a 1982 24'' HP-Saw, ) Dean at Diamond Pacific owns the old highland park name.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Slabbercabber on October 16, 2017, 05:16:36 AM
From the Highland Park website.

"We chose the Highland Park Style slab saw because we believe this design is the very best.  We admire the pioneering work that HP did to create saws that are still in use after 50 years.  Before building our own saws, we first checked to see if there were any active HP trademarks or patents.  We found that there had been a trademark filed (but never granted) in 2005 but was abandoned in 2008 by Barranca Diamond.  We had heard that Contempo had purchased Highland Park related assets so we called up Bill Ritter (who owned Contempo) to see if what he could tell us about it.  We had a great chat with him and learned a little about HP’s history and he verified that there were never any patents on the designs.  Based this research, we filed for the Highland Park Lapidary trademark in 2009 was granted it in 2010 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  While we are in no way associated with the original Highland Park Manufacturing Company, the equipment we manufacture meets or exceeds original specifications and our replacement parts fits much of the equipment made in the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s."
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: bobby1 on October 16, 2017, 11:05:14 AM
Our club - The Mother Lode Mineral Society - bought two Highland Park saws, a 12" and a 14" about 6 months ago for use in the Modesto Junior College lapidary shop and the students are very pleased by their ease of use and  performance. The classes have about 18 students in the day class and 20 in the evening classes so they really get a workout. They replaced two older Lortone saws that had been used extensively for many years. We also recently bought a Highland Park ultrasonic drill that we are currently learning about and preparing to introduce in the classroom.
Bob
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: irockhound on October 16, 2017, 03:46:58 PM
From the Highland Park website.

"We chose the Highland Park Style slab saw because we believe this design is the very best.  We admire the pioneering work that HP did to create saws that are still in use after 50 years.  Before building our own saws, we first checked to see if there were any active HP trademarks or patents.  We found that there had been a trademark filed (but never granted) in 2005 but was abandoned in 2008 by Barranca Diamond.  We had heard that Contempo had purchased Highland Park related assets so we called up Bill Ritter (who owned Contempo) to see if what he could tell us about it.  We had a great chat with him and learned a little about HP’s history and he verified that there were never any patents on the designs.  Based this research, we filed for the Highland Park Lapidary trademark in 2009 was granted it in 2010 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  While we are in no way associated with the original Highland Park Manufacturing Company, the equipment we manufacture meets or exceeds original specifications and our replacement parts fits much of the equipment made in the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s."
Although this may be what they have written in response to the Highland design,  You may also notice that the new Chinese made Highland saws have also borrowed heavily if not more the Lortone designs for their 12" and 10" models that they now also make in China.   

Now my personal experience with Highland park was buying an 18" saw before I found out that they really weren't related to the original Highland company.  I asked to also buy all the parts that would wear and need replacing and the sold me a couple bushing but not the split nut that is brass and is what controls the vice down the feed rod This is probably be the first thing that wears out on your saw.  I tried ordering a new set from Highland.  It took me over 4 months to get the split nuts meanwhile the saw was out of commission.  I had also ordered the 10 and 12" saws and waited months and each time the date got shoved back again and again.  I did not get updates from Highland at any time, they sat quiet so each month I would have to call and ask where are my saws or parts and every time it would oh we ran into some issue and they have been pushed back another 3 to 4 weeks.  I finally called Lortone and asked if Highland had bought any rights to their saws and then cancelled my orders with Highland.   Good luck if you need parts for the saws or even if they don't have the saw ready to ship.  I'll spend the extra money and buy lortone.

The one thing I do like about Highland is that they have a better adjustment for the arbor plate that allows you to micro adjust the blade from the top without having to try to hold a wrench under the arbor plate in the oil like the Lortone.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: mearic71 on October 16, 2017, 06:08:27 PM
Thanks for the information. Me thinks I will take I ride over and see if I can kick some tires and do a little more research.
Thanks again
Mike
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: bilquest on October 19, 2017, 07:30:09 PM
Please report back. I've creeped the HP website many times and watched all the videos about their saw enhancements. They certainly seem to be building on good ideas and introducing some great innovations in an otherwise dead industry. Their prices are great as well! However, the China connection has me a little sketched out. I was reading a forum post (can't remember where) about a disgruntled customer who bought a new HP saw only to wear it out in about a year. He said the metal was sub-standard and all the tolerances got blown in short order. I'm heartened by previous posters in this thread who are happy with the equipment and am hopeful they have rectified any quality problems they may have had.

I'm not sure how much life my LS-12 has left. It's already older than I am (that's really old) and held together with bailing wire and sundry make-shifts from the Ace Hardware particle drawers. I would love to place my order to HP, but would feel even better if there were a few more positive reinforcements.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: irockhound on October 19, 2017, 10:10:02 PM
I have had no trouble with the metal.  The half nuts have worn out and at a couple years old the front feed switch burned out last night causing the saw to run all night.  Other than the slow parts ordering these are the only issues I have had with it.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: cabjunky on October 21, 2017, 04:03:58 AM
Their split nut is probably their weekest link.  Cheap metal on the inserts, but cheap, and easy to replace.  Dont get me going on their slow shipping of parts.  Overall satisfied with their quality and design.  I have a 24 inch saw.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Slabbercabber on October 21, 2017, 05:32:27 AM
A bad shutoff switch will destroy the split nuts on any machine.  These switches carry a lot of current and The shutoff causes an inductive arc.  A switch that is rated to carry this load is pretty expensive so manufacturers typically use a switch rated for the current but not the arc.  You will save yourself money and aggravation in the long run by replacing with something more robust.  I am lucky to have been able to get used parts where I worked.  My saws have always been equipped with limit a switch and heavy duty relay.  A motor rated switch is reasonably priced and far better than stock.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Tippin8609 on October 21, 2017, 01:11:08 PM
Mike, I am new to this forum but have been cutting for years. I own seven saws, but my husband and I have been buying and refurbishing equipment for the past ten years. My two favorite saws are a fourteen inch 1964 Highland Park and a 18 in. 1970’s Highland Park. I also run the lapidary shop for our rock club, which has five saws- a brand new (12 months) Highland Park 14 auto feed, an old Lortone 14in.,  another older Highland park 18in. and a couple trim saws. We decided on a Highland Park for the workshop’s new saw because of the easy set-up for beginners, and my love of the efficiency and dependability of the older Highland saws. We have had problems with this saw almost immediately, along with poor support from Highland Park. After speaking with Roland at Highland Park about the poor tech support he explained this  one of the reason’s they left and moved back to Ma. was difficulty in getting decent help. The saw bearings went out within seven months. We didn’t receive any type of manual with the saw, and when we inquired were told to go to Utube to read about it. We were also told by support it had sealed bearings. It does not, and they are not easy to access. It does not have a set screw( it has a place to put one) but we’re told it wouldn’t need one for years. Already an issue. We were told that the vise would need adjusting every three months( it does) and we could find the video on, yep, Utube. So we installed the new bearings, readjusted the vise, and so far so good. Unfortunately, if there had not been a good many experienced lapidariest AND machinist’s here it would have been very difficult to navigate. Love the old machines, probably at this point wouldn’t buy another new Highland Park. I hope this helps some,  Karen
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: irockhound on October 21, 2017, 09:18:57 PM
A bad shutoff switch will destroy the split nuts on any machine.  These switches carry a lot of current and The shutoff causes an inductive arc.  A switch that is rated to carry this load is pretty expensive so manufacturers typically use a switch rated for the current but not the arc.  You will save yourself money and aggravation in the long run by replacing with something more robust.  I am lucky to have been able to get used parts where I worked.  My saws have always been equipped with limit a switch and heavy duty relay.  A motor rated switch is reasonably priced and far better than stock.
The split nuts went bad long before the switch.  The switch went bad the night before my second post, my first post also mentions the split nuts.  Lortone uses a steel half nut and I have never had to replace one on their machines and I have used Lortone for 30 years.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: BlueWood on June 14, 2018, 10:18:21 AM
Just wanted to add my two bits on Highland Parks saws.  I bought a new Highland Park 24" saw in November 2017 and have been cutting pretty steady.  I really love the saw.  The only problems have been with me.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Downwindtracker2 on December 25, 2018, 01:40:08 PM
When you buy  machines sourced  from China, you are at the mercy of the importers profit margin. KMS,a local tool store took over the importing of the General International line of woodworking tools. A better quality of Chinese than say Grizzly. Talking to one of guys, I've known them from when they started over 30 years ago, "We are going to do it right, 1/3 of the shipment will be parts."

Grizzly Tools have a pretty good rep for parts. Their warehouses take up blocks. I bought a well used wood shaper and needed some parts. It was over three months  for the next shipment to arrive.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: 55fossil on December 25, 2018, 04:32:25 PM
    Last year I ordered parts for two old saws from the new HP.  Everything was received in less than 2 weeks. I called in the order and all went really smooth. I have heard more good than bad about new HP equipment.
    Lortone:  I have worn out a couple 18 inch Lortone saws, 1970 era builds. They were great for the money.  Never had a saw yet that did not wear out split nuts. They are meant to wear out so your shaft and motor do not.
    Same shi.. with cars, phones and other new equipment.  Build it cheap, quick and light weight. Low bid gets you .....   right.  So, I am glad the New HP at least kept the design.  And guess where the metal came from to build your car, refrigerator, and other stuff.  Maybe you got lucky and got some metal out of Cascade Steel that recycles old American steel into new American steel but not likely.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Slabbercabber on December 26, 2018, 06:27:53 AM
Some steel used here comes from China but it is universally poor quality and manufacturers are very careful about where they use it;  Stressed and wear parts are never made from Chinese steel in this country.  Even in China steel is imported for high quality products.  Castings from China are also total crap.  They just haven't figured wout how to build metal processing equipment.  At to those split nuts, if they are brass, they are not the same as the Original Highland Park parts.  The originals were bronze.  That is a huge difference in wear resistance.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Downwindtracker2 on December 26, 2018, 10:22:04 AM
I hate to disabuse you of that notion that stressed steel parts aren't made of Chinese steel. I worked in a wire mill. One of the products was precast concrete strand. It's the stuff that reinforces those concrete overpass beams. Because Chinese rod was so cheap,(Chinese government subsides) even with the down time from process breakages , Chinese 1080 was used, it was cost effective. Chinese strand imports (even greater Chinese government subsides) pushed us out of the market and the plant closed down. I retired. Think of that when you drive on the freeway.

When we made wire for aircraft carrier cable, we used Japanese steel, and only with certain batches. Batch to batch, steel quality will vary.  Mind you over half the batches of Kobe Steel were allowed.

Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: 55fossil on December 26, 2018, 12:02:23 PM
    Back in the day, 1980's, I worked in metallurgy, ie Eddy Current non-destructive testing of steel for industry. Steel for bearings, camshafts, transmissions and more. I will say " some companies" did test the crap out of our steel for some products. The fun of watching red hot steel flying over your head while it went from 8 inch square to 1/4 inch rolled wire is hard to describe. All it took was good management or a bad lawsuit and industry would start testing. Yep, USA Steel and it had defects too. Pretty sure we still test important stuff before it goes into cars and planes. You can usually have cheap or good, rarely both. Not sure how much testing anyone would do for a 10 dollar cast iron part for a rock saw?????
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: ivanhoe on January 11, 2019, 07:36:41 PM
Just found out highland park moved 5 minutes away from me. Might be time to start looking into getting a rock saw. Thoughts? Anyone use the their new saws.
Thanks
Mike

I realize I'm a bit late, perhaps on this but in answer to your question. My first slab saw was/is a Lortone LST 12 the bearings needed to be replaced. I decided to clean it, take it apart and replace the bearings. The design, I found is not user friendly. The project was completed and is satisfactory.

With that said I decided to purchase a real slab saw. I purchased a 16" Highland park slab saw. You may be thinking why not a larger saw. First of all, it is made to last. I have found, is well made, durable, and most affordable compared to other manufacturers. This SC had to get the crate to my basement, unload it and assemble the final apparatus. Then as I found out, the 16 inch will take about as large/heavy a rock as I can handle. After having the saw for a while. I reviewed the Highland Park 12" and decided with the additional features this saw has, better construction, added features as opposed to the LST 12. I obtained one of these saws also.

I am not disappointed and I don't miss the coolant showers I used to get when the off switch would kick on my LST 12 when adjusting rock in vise for a new cut.   You will not be disappointed. I still have the Lortone LST 12 that I would be willing to sell/part. These two (2) new highland park saws will last longer than I will. Hope this helps. They are user friendly and customer oriented. Keep us posted and updated as you search this out. IV   
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 16, 2019, 01:32:11 PM
OK .. I'm just reporting in feb of 2019.   I just bought a Highland Park 14" ... its all the same saw as the design was never patented or there patent has expired.  Looks just like the covington 14 I just gave away best I can tell (I don't have it yet). I called, talked to a helpful rep .... ordered saw, they said about two weeks .. ti was about two weeks and go a call it was shipping.  Good comunication.... maybe they are getting their act together.  I sent several emails ... and go replies promptly.  Kelly .. the rep .. kept me update on when it was going to ship and when she was going to charge my card for the remainder (had to put down a deposit). Overall .. ti was a pretty positive experience.  They were very communicative.  I just hope I like the saw.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 20, 2019, 10:04:02 AM
So, assuming this 14" HP saw does arrive sometime soon ... I'm inclined to go ahead and get whatever spare parts I might need for the duration.  What do I need to order ... split rings for the feed I know ... does the feed screw wear out?   Am assuming I can find a mother ... and the bearings are just standard pillow blocks ... right?  Are the HP parts exclusive to the new HP?   I know this particular design has been manufactured by several folks .. so will say a split ring from someone else like Covington fit the HP saw??
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Downwindtracker2 on February 20, 2019, 04:14:32 PM
Just looking at the web page, they do have great web pages. I would say No. They use a twist to engage. That brass nut might be their own design, it's really clever, but it's not the common plier  type clamp. I would think about stock piling a few.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 21, 2019, 05:24:21 AM
I will stockpile a few .... and see how long that takes to do.  They have quite a few videos up on youtube about their saws ... you'd think they would have the customer service thing down better.  Kelly is most definitely an improvement ... but she ain't the one shipping the saws.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: irockhound on February 21, 2019, 08:25:19 PM
Got my 2 blades today just shy of 5 months - I think thanks to the forum.  I think it is a bit too coincidental that I should get the first Email in over 4 months the day after I comment on their service.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 09:37:56 AM
I'm going to send "asshole" email today ... probably put me on the bottom of the list.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 09:53:01 AM
I don't like to do the asshole thing.  But I did it.  We'll see where out goes.  Last saw I buy from them.  Can't give a good recommendation.  Has to catch up to them sooner or later.  They act like they have so much biz that they don't care .. recipe for disaster.  You get complacent .. someone eats your lunch.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 09:59:02 AM
And I tried to call ... got the "we are helping the customers" crap ...
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Downwindtracker2 on February 22, 2019, 11:56:38 AM
I think they are using a different business model. Global sourcing , call center?? answering, and using the web for sales and instruction. Just from my brief exposer , I don't think they have it all tied together yet. I haven't used Alliexpress yet, but from what I've heard it seems to work. And Amazon has taken a few of my dollars.

Rockhounding in BC is almost a  seniors passion. Young families are uncommon on our events. So you have to question the future of a lapidary equipment supplier. Maybe by minimizing the overhead they can survive . They have a very extensive product line.   

Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 12:55:59 PM
Well .. my asshole email must have shook someone up.  I got an email from the shipping guy "Mani" .."I'm not sure what you are referring to.  And if there has been a lack of customer service somewhere we do apologize for that.  We have many orders that were placed before yours and to be fair, we have to get those orders out first.  Your order will be going out today via UPS and USPS." Damn ... they must be shipping saws non-stop :).  Uh ... no really customer fuzzies there.  NEVER tell a customer ... I'm not sure what you are referring to ya know.  THEN .. I get emails from John Rowland ... they are shipping.  So its Kelly on the front end and John (Mani) on the back end .. which is ok if you can make it work .. and a lot of horseshit in between.   Smoke and mirrors .... the wizard of Oz ain't got nothing on the these folks .. only the wizard of Oz don't have my freaking 2K :)
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 01:02:49 PM
But you know Downwindtacker2 ... never again.  I'd probably not buy another saw in this lifetime (ok, maybe) ... but ... sure as heck can't recommend HP ... on the customer service record.  Its a small community and folks share experiences.  I don't care if their saws can eat a mack truck ... I ended with a bad taste in may mouth and I have the funds to buy whatever the hell I want to.  That .. I don't know what you are talking about ... just does not set right with me ya know.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: Downwindtracker2 on February 22, 2019, 01:30:25 PM
I politely told them that I had bought the steel and the brass to make my own split nut clamp. There was a "oh" on the line. We Canucks have a rep as being polite, I'm not sure that is deserved, but we also have a rep for partying, it's most assuredly deserved. Our Rendezvous is a blast, in spite of it being mostly seniors.

That overseas delivery thing . It's likely in the next container. If they were up front about it , some machine tool importers like Precision Matthews get away with it all the time, it would be understood. In fact that is a good model on how to do it. Maybe they should talk to Matt.

I know this doesn't help you getting those slabs done, you still may get before me.

Ray
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: brentnewton on February 22, 2019, 03:49:54 PM
Whew ..just had a LONG phone conversation with HP. Owner ... decent talk.  I did not  hold any punches.  I didn't focus on my order .. but on general consensus their customer service and delivery times sucked ... bad.  Yes, the are on east coast.  Yes saws are made in china.  Kelly (bless her) is in-house ... mani in shipping is her cousin .. got way more info than we need ya know.  But my asshole point was .. you talk a good line ... and can't deliver product.  If you can't deliver product .. talk is meaningless.  I declined to provide information on what boards they were getting trashed on .. not theirs biz.  Talked a good line.  We talked a lot about biz models (I'm an MBA) ..... but you know .. if you can't deliver product and make customer feel like you are the shit .... someone is going to eat your lunch.
Title: Re: Highland park
Post by: bobby1 on February 22, 2019, 10:16:12 PM
Do you think your conversation will result in something positive or will they keep on doing the same stuff?
Bob