Recently a new crop of Tite-Mark ripoffs have entered the market. They’re half the price of the real thing, have folksy American brand names and are made in Taiwan.
The easy knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Far East for these rip-off products. But I can assure you that Chinese and Taiwanese factories are not the first ones to blame. In my years of covering the Asian tool manufacturing market I learned how these products get made.
- A North American or European person seeks to rip off a product and make money by pirating someone else’s intellectual property.
- They send an original tool to one of the many Far East companies that specialize in tools and ask if the object can be made for $20 or some crazy low price.
- The factory says yes and makes it.
- (The final step is an important one) We buy it.
If I were still a woodworking journalist, I’d buy some of these copycat products and examine the way they were made to prove my point. But these days I don’t want to give these guys even one measly sale.
So honestly, if you care about the future of domestic hand-tool manufacturing in North America, don’t support these clowns. Otherwise, Godspeed to Walmart.
— Christopher Schwarz