Q & A: What Does “ Made in USA ” Really Mean?

PWE150531_QAfull

Q. I don’t know if woodworking machines made in the United States are any better than those made overseas, but given the choice, I’d like to support American factory workers. How can I be sure that a machine is actually made here at home?

A. Look for a label with these exact words: “Made in USA.” Manufacturers must follow very strict guidelines established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in order to legally use this label.

According to the FTC, “Made in USA” means that “all or virtually all” of the product, including all significant parts, processing and labor, must be made in the United States.

Watch for variations in the wording. “Made in USA” cannot be applied to a machine that was merely assembled in the United States, according to the FTC. However, the label on that machine could be qualified to read “Assembled in USA.” A machine labeled “Made in America” or “Built in USA” must meet the “Made in USA” standard.

Pay attention to what part of a machine a “Made in USA” label is attached. The label may be printed
on an accessory that actually is made here (such as a tablesaw fence) when the machine itself is made overseas.

The FTC does not pre-approve “Made in USA” advertising or labeling claims. They rely on the integrity of each company, the watchful eye of consumers and a formal complaint process to make sure these claims are honest and truthful. If you have a complaint, call the FTC at (877) FTC-HELP or go to www.ftc.gov.

One thought on “Q & A: What Does “ Made in USA ” Really Mean?

  1. oldster

    In the past, I was not a “flag waving patriot”, but as I watched more and more of our jobs going overseas chasing lower costs, I realized that I was wrong.
    Millers Falls for example made a good coping saw, but went under due to the onslaught of foreign competition. I have no problem with fair competition where all of the players are on the same level playing field, but when the materials (and in some cases) the labor costs are subsidized by the foreign country, we cannot compete.

    The corporate entities here in the states began chasing the lowest cost, and over the years, have succeeded in getting their product cheaper and cheaper until it is worthless. With that thought in mind, I have no competition for my end of the market.
    Chris Schwarz commented in 2012 when he reviewed his purchase (in PW) of the Knew Concepts Coping Saw, that he typically would get one year of use from an Olsen before it was trashed. When I saw him at Handworks 2015, I asked him how mine was doing, and he said “Great…it is in his toolbox and used almost daily”. Three years later and still in use? MADE IN USA…. in Santa Cruz, CA. The aluminum is brought in from Kaiser Aluminum, laser cut and anodized in Santa Clara, and the components are machined in our shop in Santa Cruz. The handles are brought in from Maine (http://www.mainewoodconcepts.com/) and made from maple to our specifications.
    Dance with who brung ya’ to the party.

    Lee (the saw guy)

Comments are closed.