Southern Tool Sucks

I have a story to tell and I will try to be concise. There is a
company in Florida by the name of Southern Tool a.k.a. Smith Hamilton
which I have had the recent displeasure of doing business with. I am
writing this because it's the simplist and most effective way to get
some satisfaction.
Just for informations sake, I'm 35, male, Northern CA, machinist 3yrs.
Around Cristmas I was shopping around to buy my first lathe, I had a
little over $2,000 to spend, I decided I would buy new and most likely
an import. I reached this decision through much bebate but I have no
shame in choosing this route. After serious time spent on the internet
at many sites, auctions and classifieds I settled on a 12X36GH, gap
bed lathe called a Birmingham (I don't know why). I selected this
peticuler one because the week before Cristmas Southern Tool Had a
special going where if you purchased one of their Birmingham Lathes
you could have your choice of a Collet Closer, Coolant System or Taper
Attachment, installed, FOR FREE. I really wanted a taper attachment
but they're a little pricey. So this was a dream come true.
The lathe was selling for 2500.00 so I had to borrow a couple bucks.
Which didn't matter because I was getting a $600.00 attachment, No
sales tax and free shipping(not quite).
So I ordered the lathe. The shipping is free as long as it's to a
business or you pick it up at a local dock, they want $150.00 to bring
it to your house and take it off the truck. I can understand this but
if you think about it I could have told them to deliver it to
McDonalds in Lake Tahoe 100 miles away, and they would have to do it
for free. But to bring it to my house which was 5 miles away and drop
it they hit me for $150.
Anyway, after a lot of b.s. I got it. I couldn't set it up right away,
my dad was very sick at the time and I just didn't get to it, About a
month later I got it unpacked and set up. Everything looked fine.
After I got it leveled and wired up I was moving the carraige around
and checking out controls I noticed that the cross slide had a tight
spot, I didn't give it a lot of thought and figured it would break
itself in very quickly, it didn't. I noticed it getting progressivly
worse. Now keep in mind this is a BRAND NEW lathe and 2,500 dollars
isn't chump change to me.
I start looking closely at the back of the lathe mainly at the FREE
taper attachment, It looked as though whoever installed it was a bit
of a savage. Paint chipped everywhere, chips all over from where they
drilled into the crossslide to mount it, and the holes on the adapter
plate where now slots because some one had to grind them so the plate
would fit the bolt pattern.
On the back of the power box was a sticker with the name CP tool and a
number, they are located in Southern CA and it was them that assembled
the lathe and shipped it to me. So I call, can't understand the guy on
the phone so he gave the phone number to their Mechanic.
This guy is pretty much an independent machine tool mechanic and
repairman, If they screw something up he comes and fixes it. Nice guy,
I explained my problem to him and for about a month we played phone
tag while he scratched his head trying to figure out my problem. Then
during one phone conversation I happened to mention how crappy the
owners manual was, you could hardly read it and I thought I had the
wrong one because the sketch showed a one piece crosslide lead screw
and I had a two piece shaft. As soon as I told him that It all
clicked. He figured out that CP tool put the wrong shaft in
intentionally because the lathe I bought does not come with a taper
attachment nor does the mfg. make one. Apparently the attachment that
they were giving away was a surplus that either CP or Southern tool
came into that belongs on a different machine. So they had to use the
wrong shaft, modify some things and I even found washers placed behind
the crosslide hand wheel dial, they were trying to shim it to turn
smoothly. Once again, this was a brand new lathe, I went through a lot
to get it located wired and set up, Only to have to tear into it so I
could tell the mechanic what I saw. By now I had taken the crossslide
off about four times. The gear on the leadscrew(c.s) that rides in the
apron would not mesh with the idler gear that drives it for power
feeds. I tried every position I could but it just wasn't right. So I
called back to CP tool and had a colorful discussion with a fellow
named Freddie who didn't seem to be from these parts. We yelled and
screamed and so I decided to call Southern Tool(the poeple I gave my
money to). I explained my situation to the same salesperson who sold
it to me. They tried to tell to call Freddie back because it was his
responsibility but I told them that THEY took my money and as far as I
was concerened it was they're responsibility. He called me back an
hour later and said that if I shipped the Taper attachment back they
would credit me 250.00 dollars. I asked him why I was only offered 250
when they were selling it at that very moment on they're own website
for 550.00? He told me that it wasn't the same one. BULLSHIT. After
all the time and energy I wasted trying to figure out what was wrong
with my BRAND NEW lathe, this jackass doesn't even want to give me
what, at the very least, I deserve.
This was a month or so ago. My dad passed away 2 weeks ago. So this
hasn't been a priority.
I got the right leadscrew for the crosslide and one day I'm going to
make a shaft that will carry thet taper attachment properly.
I'm sorry to have taken so much space and belive me there's alot more
nonsense that went on beyond what I've stated.
I'm going to send the boys at Southern Tool a copy of this and maybe
somebody will have to explain why the mission statement on they're
website isn't being lived up to.
I'm sure you guys will have a lot of criticism about my actions in
this and that's ok, I did this because I said I would and for no other
reason, but if this prevents one person from going through the same
ordeal, then it was worth it.
If you made it this far I will thank you and ask that you forgive all
spelling and gramatical errors
Reply to
best wire
Loading thread data ...
Very informative post. Thanks for taking the trouble to send it. Hopefully, others will be warned to not deal with Southern Tool or Smith Hamilton in Florida. You should consider sending it as a letter to the editors of the local newspaper of the community in which Southern Tool does "business". Those jerks deserve as much negative press as can be given. There seems to be a sort of vendetta against folks on the west coast from various sellers in Florida. Harold, have you seen this ?
Bob Swinney
Reply to
Robert Swinney
Here's a link to the lathe the OP bought:
formatting link

Hmmmm. This is just a Chinese 12X36, that HF routinely sells for under 2K
Since they 'gave' you the taper attachment free,(BTW, the part # they list is: CPTTA1236, can you tell if this is what you got?)and you didn't actually pay anything for it, I think $250. is reasonable compensation for returning it. You can't really expect to 'sell' it back to them. No excuse for NR'ing the cross slide to accept an attachment that doesn't fit. Take the money and move on.
JR Dweller in the cellar
best wire wrote:
Reply to
JR North
"JR North" wrote: (clip) Since they 'gave' you the taper attachment free (clip) You can't really expect to 'sell' it back to them. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ They didn't really "give" it for free. They included it as part of a package deal. If the buyer returns it, even with some cash back, he is left with a lathe that is not what he wanted, with dings and holes, with a delivery charge, and a lot of hastle. They owe him a properly assembled and functioning lathe or all his money back.
That ain't gonna happen.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
formatting link
Yes it is the same, it's the exact same part they've been advertising since I first discovered them. Your're close on the price but since shipping would have cost $350+ and sales tax here in CA would have been around $150, the 550 dollar attachment that I really wanted is what made me go with them. I think if I lived in Florida this would have went quite differently.
Reply to
best wire
Indeed! I just read it. It sucks, although I'm not convinced that Florida has an edge on trouble-making business people, or crooked business practices. Seems to me it's becoming a way of life for many of these low-lives.
Sad thing is, you can't get help with such matters. The law in this country is broken-----badly. Here in Washington, a person can steal 7 cars before the law will take serious action. What lesson is learned from that? Steal six cars, that's ok?
Tell me: If you were to walk in a bank and steal a couple hundred thou, would you expect no punishment? Seems like that's what the law is telling car thieves------and while you're at it-----crooked business people. Doesn't seem to matter what they do to the consumer, they don't do a damned thing. We were burglarizes a couple years ago, with a loss of about $14,000 uninsured (jewelry). The cop on the beat figured out the perp almost immediately. Found his tire tracks in the front yard, then the truck parked about a half mile away, where he was living at the time. Cop told me that if we wanted out stuff back, we'd best go out and start looking------that we wouldn't hear from him again.
He didn't lie.
Don't expect any help from the BBB, either. If Southern Tool/Smith Hamilton is a subscriber, there appears to be no end to the BS they can pull and still have the backing of that worthless entity. I got the T shirt on that one. As far as I'm concerned, an endorsement by the BBB is a sign to steer clear of a business.
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Damned straight! He didn't bargain for a bashed machine.
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
As it has been said before, when your buying low end import equipment expect that your getting basically getting a parts kit that needs cleaning, assembly, fitting, and calibration.
With $2500 you could have got a nice Southbend 10" lathe with tooling.
With the shipping, you could have asked for a depot pickup, where you take your pickup or trailer to the local trucking co depot and pickup the machine there, to avoid the drop off fee. They charge higher rates for residential dropoff because residential usually has narrow streets, no loading dock, and a higher percentage of "no-one home" which requires the truck driver to come back again, and generally more time consuming overall than dealing with a commercial facility.
At any rate it sounds like ST overpromised and underdelivered.
Reply to
totally true on the "parts kit". My younger brother bought one and tore it all down and put it back together again. Final outcome. 1/4 cup grit (casting sand) removed from the gears and gear box. two replaced bearings, almost every nut and bolt finger tight on removal. Its a parts kit.... period. Rebuilt and cleaned up (4 weeks worth of work) and its a very nice and accurate lathe. just dont plan on running it out of the box, at least for very long....
bob in phx.
p.s. the lathe was the 12 X 36 hf model
Reply to
Bob in Phx
The BBB doesn't endorse anything- you pay the BBB for a (yearly) membership and they will say nice things about your business, provided it hasn't done anything blatantly truly awful in front of credible witnesses or a TV camera. The only reason to join the BBB is because it somehow legitimizes a business. Case in point: my friend owned a job shop that was trying to close on a contract with an automobile manufacturer. The manufacturer required all vendors to be BBB members. It was total bullshit because there wasn't another local shop that could do the work and it was highly unlikely any 'consumer' would ever call the BBB for a rating, but there you go. Pay the money, get the contract. The BBB never did any kind of due diligence- for all they knew the place was a sweatshop staffed by underage migrant workers or Oompa-Loompas.
Reply to
Carl Byrns
"Carl Byrns" wrote: (clip) This just in: a disturbing new study find that studies are disturbing. More on this story as it develops. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I am familiar with that study. It was done by The Socierty for the Abolition of Abolition Societies, and they have since gone out of business.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Yeah. And there are a lot of other "certification" agencies around. Underwriters Labs and ISO to name a couple. Credit bureaus rank up near the top.
Bob (has seen lots of scams) Swinney
Reply to
Robert Swinney
Need I say more?
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Guess they should have listened to Department of Redundancy Department.
Reply to
Carl Byrns
The BBB called me today to sign up with them. Right off I asked them " How much?" He would not say but wanted to know about my operation, mainly how many people I employed and what did I do. I gave him that info and then asked again, how much? Oh, we can do this and that for you and a whole bunch of other crap. Again, How much? With a couple hemms and haws he finally said 315 bucks a year. The conversation went down hill from there :) I'm not interested, I have good references, I get enough work by referral and its not a cost effective product for my business,, have a good day.. click.
Reply to
Tell you what to do, John. Forget BBB (as you did) and send me *only* $200, and I'll say nice things about you and your operation.
Such a deal! :-)
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
I'll do it for $100 Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
Hey------no undercutting a good deal! :-)
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
On Thu, 31 May 2007 00:37:59 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm, Gerald Miller quickly quoth:
Poor Harold. Leave it to those darned Canuckistani illegal aliens to flood our borders and cut the labor rate in half. ;)
-- Instant Gratification Takes Too Long! -------------------------------------
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Rats Ive been out bid alredy. I was going to offer for $150. :-) ...lew...
Reply to
Lew Hartswick

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.