If I asked you what company is the only company that still produces a full line of woodworking machinery with a “Made in North America” label, how would you reply? The answer is General, produced by General Manufacturing Co. LTD. The company also imports machinery that it sells under the name General International , these machines are built to company specifications and General has teams in place at the factories to make sure every detail is followed.
Before this year, machines coming into the U.S. market from General (a Canadian-based company) had to work through customs and all the associated red tape. Now General has taken a big step and established itself firmly in the U.S. with the opening of a new distribution center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Murfreesboro is centrally located in the U.S. so delivery time to almost anywhere in the lower 48 is quick and your local retailer can get things in no time. The newest division is called General International USA Inc. and machinery comes directly into Tennessee, bypassing a trip north of the border , unless shipping directly from Canada is quicker and makes more sense.
Popular Woodworking Magazine first announced General’s distribution plans while at AWFS last July (read about here). Scott Box was picked as Operations Manager for the new division and with him came a number of highly experienced Territory Sales Managers. General invited us to an open house and the official launch of the Tennessee operation. The center is fully stocked with General and General International machines. Everyone involved is psyched about the future. You’ll see and hear much more about General as things pick up and the light at the end of the tunnel grows even brighter.
In addition to the new digs, General showed us new tools that are ready to ship or in the pipelines for later in the year. The company showed a portable two-stage dust collector equipped with a 1-1/2 hp, 110v motor and a 1-micron canister filter with a crank-handled internal shaker. The collector also has a 30-gallon chip collection drum. The 10-800CF M1 will be available in mid-July, priced at $1,260. We got a look at a 13″ benchtop planer with a 15-amp motor. The planer has a segmented cutter head with insert tooling , each insert has four sharpened edges providing a line-free finish on your boards. Look to spend $650 for this planer come late September or early October. In addition, we were shown a variable-speed, 7″-wide molder if you’re interested in making straight or curved moldings for your projects (in stock now for $1,700).
That’s not all. If a new saw or saws are in your future, take a look at these from General. A ready-to-ship 14″ cast-iron band saw (90-140 M1, $600) with a 1hp motor, tilting table (0Ã?Âº – 45Ã?Âº to the right and 0Ã?Âº – 10Ã?Âº to the left), two speeds and a 6″-tall resaw capacity , resaw up to 12″ with the optional 6″ riser attachment. If cast iron is not your choice, General has in stock, a 14″ heavy-duty one-piece frame band saw with a 12″ resaw capacity standard. The 90-170 M1 saw features upper and lower blade-guide bearings, the Excalibur rip fence that adjusts for blade drift and two speeds to help deal with both hardwoods and softwoods. Expect to pay $1,260 for this saw.
There’s also an Excalibur scroll saw with a head that tilts 45Ã?Âº (both directions) instead of the table moving, a 16″ cutting capacity and a 2″ maximum cutting depth. You’ll find this saw available in late August with a $500 sales price attached.
We also got a look at a prototype table saw due out in late July. The saw features a fully enclosed base, a 2hp motor, a combination riving-style splitter with a blade guard and anti-kickback pawls (or you can use an included riving knife). The saw comes wired for 220v or it can be changed over to 110v if you wish (but if that’s your aim, this saw pulls 18 amps so you’ll need a breaker or fuse that exceeds 20 amp). This cabinet-mounted-trunion saw has on-board storage, a large 44″ x 27″ cast iron table top and a T-fence design rip fence that feels strong and secure as it’s locked in place. The 50-200R table saw is not considered a hybrid. It will come to market at less than $1,000 , find that elsewhere.
If you have any questions about these tools or about the General’s new distribution center, please give me a call. And do keep an eye on General and General International machines, especially if you have a machine purchase coming up.
For more information about power tools we recommend:
“David Thiel’s Power Tool Maintenance” from our Popular Woodworking’s Woodworker’s BookShop
Pick up masterful techniques on table saw operation from “Jim Tolpin’s Table Saw Magic”