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Problems with Pepe Mill sold by Stuller


#1

Good day to all in Orchid land;

I am writing because in 2001 at a MJSA show in RI, Stuller
introduced a Pepe combo mill. Purchased it on the spot!

Well the mill ground the inner gears of the 4 to one reduction to a
halt this summer! Called Stuller, round and round we go. Finally got
an answer after speaking to Steve Miller of Stuller at the MJSA show
this past October.

Bottom line, send the mill back to Pepe and they will give you an
estimate to repair. Well today I called Pepe, why you might ask.
Because Pepe has had my mill for almost 2 months and no one has
contacted me!

So, back to my notes, and Mike in Technical at Pepe had this to say.
We don’t make that style of mill anymore! You will have to find
yourself a machine shop to cut new gears! oh and by the way…Mike
also told me that he called Stuller to tell them this some time ago.
Did Stuller ever call me ? NO. So, I asked Mike when did you inform
Stuller of this solution? His answer “I don’t remember!” This is the
bottom line folks…Don’t buy tools from Stuller unless you absolute
must!.. Don’t buy Pepe tools cause they do not stand behind
their tools.

You may ask why am I writing this,… the past thread regarding the
I Shor mill and the fact that I have since had to purchase a new
mill. What did I purchase…,.yup you guessed a Durston. I have never
been more happy with a tool than this one! Hats off to Durston!

Unfortunately, I still have to deal with Stuller and a useless Pepe
mill!

Barb
Barbara Smith McLaughlin - Handcrafted Fine Jewelry
http://www.barbarasmithmclaughlin.com


#2

i wonder if the gears on that pepe mill are a standard size ? alot
of design is cook book any more, it may be that the company bought
ready made gears from a manufacturer. i know that in my MSC.cataloge
there are all sorts of replacement gears that can be had sometimes
you will find a match. i dont think that a pepe mill is anything
fancy i also had problems with the pepe deluxe ring sizer stretcher
they neglegted or omitted pinning the center shaft that holds the
band width die so i had to add that piece myself. although this does
not excuse the companies not standing behind thier products you would
think a company with stullers reputation for quality and customer
service could at least take the time to tell people where to find new
4-1 gears that would fit the shaft on the mill. or provide them at
cost in the least. well next time i will know to save my money till i
can afford the real tool!! quality costs $ there is no way around
that fact of life.

goo


#3

Good Day All,

I just wanted to ensure to all that Pepetools certainly does stand
behind its tools.

In this particular case we no longer manufacture a rolling mill
anything like this particular unit and therefore, unfortunately, have
no way of supplying a part for the unit. Pepetools, Stuller and many
other suppliers out there in this industry work hard to bring
innovative, high quality products to jewelers, crafts people and
hobbyists around the world. Occasionally a problem arises, we’ve all
experienced that.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t be of more help and I congratulate you on
your purchase of a Durston mill, they make a fine product.

Best Regards,
Mike Stromberg
Pepetools USA
www.pepetools.com


#4

dear Mr. stromberg, i am wondering how difficult it would be for you
to apply a bit of time in order to look into the company records to
locate the source of the parts in question to repair this rolling
mill? simply saying that you no longer produce this particular piece
of equipment is really not an adequate response and anyone with
common sense will question the purchase of pepe equipment with
moving parts. your response to the jewelry community while well
intentioned does not boost my confidence in pepe tools, i find it to
be weak and lacking integrity which is the basic erosion of
commitment in american and foriegn industry and government these
days. i myself have had performance problems with your in stone ring
stretcher, and i being the owner of an up and coming jewelry mfg.
company understand whats what because ive built my company from the
ground up and if i ever found one of my employees giving an answer on
a public forum similar to yours that person would be kicked out after
they had been made a polite example of.

best regards - gustavo hoefs


#5
I just wanted to ensure to all that Pepetools certainly does
stand behind its tools. In this particular case we no longer
manufacture a rolling mill anything like this particular unit and
therefore, unfortunately, have no way of supplying a part for the
unit. 

So, Pepe stands behind its tools-- except when it doesn’t. If a
person cannot acccurately guess which tools you will stand behind
down the line and which you will not, then every tool represents a
gamble.

Noel


#6

I have a Durston and have been happy ever since. My problem is with
Stuller. I’ve never voiced this here and I won’t whine about this
again. Here in Dallas we had an exceptional supplier named Swest. It
had been in business since 1928. The people were friendly and
helpful. One day Stuller bought Swest, and for awhile things were
okay. Then Stuller decided to close Swest, didn’t give any notice to
its employees, and had a helluva “fire sale”. There is no longer a
decent supplier here. It was the way that Stuller handled this whole
thing that stuck in my craw. Many long-time employees were just left
in the lurch. It was one way to handle the competition-buy them and
close their doors, but it was a PR fiasco (in my opinion).

I’m done whining now!
Patricia


#7

It’s sad for Barb to go through this; but thus the difference between
Durston and Pepe.


#8

Patricia,

I will say hurray to your expressed sadness over losing Swest. I too
used Swest for almost all my needs for years and was always happy.
Allcraft and Stern-Leach are the only other suppliers that has kept
up it’s standards of service over the years. To all the others who
feel slighted too bad, I’ve tried you all and had the necessary
experience with service to want to take the time to find true
industrial alternative to most things. For the items I can’t find,
like findings, I now make my own.

I’ll share so of my sources and experiences later.

Dan


#9
i am wondering how difficult it would be for you to apply a bit of
time in order to look into the company records to locate the source
of the parts in question to repair this rolling mill? simply saying
that you no longer produce this particular piece of equipment is
really not an adequate response 

Great political answer, not practical. Companies discontinue making
electronics, autos, plumbing, ect. and parts are discontinued at
some point. I do not think it is built in to the purchase that parts
will be available Indefinitely Might as well sue the person who owned
it for misuse! That is what probably broke it!

Richard Hart


#10

Cheap tools are just that, cheap. I unfortunately own quite a bit of
Pepe tooling and only because, that’s all there is to purchase. If
there is something better made and costs more, I’ll buy it. I have
purchased no less than four circle cutters from Pepe, finding the
them absolutely inferior products. One set, because the cylinder was
slightly off center from the receiving hole, when trying to cut
metal, fractured the round cutter into two.

I purchased a nifty magnetic third hand, which again failed with the
screw mechanism to hold the crosslock tweezers was drilled slightly
off center. Good idea made poorly.

Aren’t you tired of paying up the nose again and again, because
there is nothing better out there? A rolling mill is one thing. I
believe you get what you pay for. Yes the $200 is an attractive price
vs. $700 or even $1000 for a decent rolling mill, but a $200 mill
isn’t attractive if it doesn’t work, it is now land fill.

A friend of mine received from a Peddinghaus goldsmithing hammer
that was chrome plated over mild steel. What the???

We are not starving students anymore, we are adults, we are
PROFESSIONALS and want GOOD tools. So hear my plea all you suppliers
out there. We are willing to pay for the good stuff if it is a well
made tool. Remember the Yugo, Pacer, Pinto and the other horrid cars
which we rushed to buy because they were affordable.

I paid a lot for my durston rolling mill, and it is still there
doing its job with excellent company service.

A student snapped one of my expensive Lindstrom pliers, and Allcraft
replaced it at no charge. I do a lot of business with Allcraft
because they are good business people.

I ordered a three sided scraper, an elegant little tool that a
friend had showed me. It was about 10 years old. I saw one in the Rio
catalog and ordered one. It came from Pepe. I returned it
immediately. The three sides were not three equal sides, and the way
it had been fabricated, I could have done it myself. I returned it to
Rio, and was immediately credited. Good company service, but bad
tool.

So tool suppliers out there. Here our pleas. We want quality
tooling. Swanstrom, they are good and they make excellent pliers.
Foredom is good, they are excellent as well. Their products are made
in the good ol USA. Hey MJSA, are you listening?

The rush to manufacture crap overseas is biting us back big time.
This landfill mentality has got to stop. It’s getting harder and
harder to find decent hammers, stakes, mandrels to satisfy a hungry
crowd. We find the books, articles and the thread on Orchid, but
quality should be the number one thought on every suppliers mind.

Jewelry education is no different. Just because you spent 3 hours
taking a wire wrap class, this does NOT make you a jewelry designer
or a teacher. Would you go to a doctor that has taken a Red Cross
First Aid course and hangs out a shingle to treat people?

Are we beginning to be too small of a market for the big folks to
care? I hope not. Look at jewelry. Do we want something that costs a
little bit more which is hand wrought, elegant, has mechanistic
precision, or do we sit in front of our TV’s and by junk from QVC,
only to find ourselves walking that piece of junk to our nearest
bench jeweler for repair.

-k
Karen Christians
Cleverwerx
Waltham, Ma


#11

Glad to see Karen Christians’ comments.

It is good to see some in the jewelry business recognize the value
of good tools and equipment. Here at the Jewelry Equipment Dr. we
have a pretty good idea of what are quality tools and equipment and
what is crap. We also have a pretty good idea of what companies
support the products and are good about selling repair parts. It is
our business to know this.

I think all manufactures that sell tools and equipment to
professionals should make a reasonable effort to provide a source of
replacement parts. Most do. Some don’t after the product goes out of
production. Some won’t even sell parts to current products, not even
to their own dealers. If a member of the Orchid group here wants to
know where to get a repair part, you are welcome to email me. We
don’t sell parts, but we will tell you where you can get them.

John, The Jewelry Equipment Dr.


#12
not practical. Companies discontinue making electronics, autos,
plumbing, ect. and parts are discontinued at some point. I do not
think it is built in to the purchase that parts will be available
Indefinitely 

Not indefinitely, but it’s my impression that the UCC requires spare
parts to be available for some length of time for some goods. I have
no idea what the regulations are for mills,and won’t bother to find
out, because I think a manufacturer should support their products
for a reasonable length of time without government coercion.

Even when parts aren’t available, I would expect that the
manufacturer would retain the drawings and Bill Of Material documents
indefinitely, and could provide the requested.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#13

Richard,

I’ve always valued your input to the forum as you provide expert
advice/opinions. On Goo’s pointed question to Mike Stromberg at
Pepetools I think you may have missed the mark about the gist of the
content of that question… Sure it is not possible to support all
products forever, but a little from the folks closest to
that product might be just enough to get the mill back in action. One
would hope that a small amount of demonstrated willingness to try to
provide the technical specifications for the broken gear would be
forthcoming and that could give legs to the repair project. Some
things feel like a door open a wee bit; others, closed off with
finality. This is my take.

J Collier
Small Scale Metalsmith
http://jlcollier.com


#14
I think a manufacturer should support their products for a
reasonable length of time without government coercion. 

As a customer,you expect the supplier/manufacturer to honor your
trust in them. Part of the pricing equation when you establish your
costs of sales is to factor in repair, replacement, life cycles, etc.

There is an implied contract. However, “You always pay for what you
get, but you don’t always get what you pay for.”

In spite of the perceived size of this market, it is a very small
community and “word gets around.” This is the reason that used Bonny
Doon presses and Precision Saws still sell for almost what they sold
for when new. Stand behind your product, and the market will stand
behind you.

Now that is out of the way, if you would remove the broken
gear/shaft and send it to me, I will see what I can do to make a new
one.

Lee AT knewconcepts.com


#15

Pepe makes relatively nice looking tools that do not stand up in
use. They are made either the wrong materials (too soft) for the job
or are either improperly heat treated or not heat treated at all. But
they are cheap. :slight_smile: It baffles me as to why they can’t take the extra
steps to make a quality tool.

Low cost, low quality tools serve a portion of the market that is
very price sensitive like hobbyist and students. But even that
segment of the market should understand that buying quality tools is
never a bad investment. However professionals need to be able to buy
high quality tools that will do the job they were intended to do
without breaking or marring the work. Unfortunately most of the
jewelry tool suppliers seem to feel that they must compete with each
other to see who can offer the lowest prices rather than the highest
quality tools so companies like Pepe thrive and high quality tool
makers go out of business or find different markets to sell to. This
is not to say that there are no vendors who carry high quality tools
but they all carry crap like Pepe and most don’t offer the higher
quality alternatives to the junk tools they sell so if you want a
tool like the stone set ring roller mentioned earlier in this thread
you can’t find one in the US that is not a piece of junk. They may
still be available in Europe but not here.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#16

I am shocked by the response from Pepe tools. I totally agree with
many here on Orchid. There should be some evidence of Customer
Service, than a rather rude “SOL” comment.

What I clearly learned from this thread, is to not trust Pepe for
anything. I had prior good regarding ethical lapses.

What a hard and expensive lesson to learn.

In addition to Allcraft, Durston, and Rio, I would add Kenneth
Singh’s 46 Street Jewelers. 100% behind what he sells.

Yes the Swest story is super betrayal. If any of my friends from
Swest read this, I miss you very much. Your support and friendly
demeanor will never be forgotten.

Hugs,
Terrie


#17
Pepe makes relatively nice looking tools that do not stand up in
use. They are made either the wrong materials (too soft) for the
job or are either improperly heat treated or not heat treated at
all. 

Execs at Pepe-- are you reading this thread? Is it beginning to
occur to you that it would have been more profitable for you, in the
long run, to have shipped the original poster a new mill than to
have this kind of publicity on a forum like Orchid?

If you keep an eye on the postings here, you know that people who
are happy with the products and service a company provides are quick
to let the several thousand other members know, too.

Noel


#18

I have to jump in here about rolling mills. In 1983 I bought what was
labeled an economy mill. I used it for about a week and the roller
frame cracked. The supplier I purchased it from (he did stand behind
what he sold) replaced it no questions asked. A week later the same
thing happened with the replacement mill. At this point it became
obvious that the mills were not going to stand up to the workload I
had in mind. Again the supplier made good,only this time he allowed
me full purchase price of the econo mill towards a good double
Italian mill… a $1500.00 (that is 1983 dollars) set of two mills.
One wire, one flat,with reduction gear, on a floor stand. Its been
almost 25 years and thousands of feet of wire and sheet stock later
and my mills a still as good as new. I oil them regularly and have
oil soaked sponges set up on the top rollers. I just checked the
prices on comparable mills today and they are still in the same
$1500-$2000 price range. With adjustment for inflation from 1983 I’d
say the were a Bargain at the price but then quality tools always
are…

Frank Goss


#19

I am curious, who has Pepe rolling mills and how have they held up?
If Pepe and Stuller are going to be held responsible and share blame
for this one incident, it would be nice to have a reality check and
find out how dissatisfied other people are who own these mills. I
understand people have had problems with Pepe products. Anyone have
any success with any Pepe products, or are they all low quality and
to be avoided?

Richard Hart


#20
One day Stuller bought Swest, and for awhile things were okay. Then
Stuller decided to close Swest, didn't give any notice to its
employees, and had a helluva "fire sale". There is no longer a
decent supplier here. It was the way that Stuller handled this
whole thing that stuck in my craw. Many long-time employees were
just left in the lurch. It was one way to handle the
competition-buy them and close their doors, but it was a PR fiasco
(in my opinion).

I agree that SWEST was a loss to us all. But it should be pointed
out, in Stullers defense (just a little, mind you) That the
circumstances under which they bought it wasn’t some sort of forced
hostile take over. SWEST’s owners had been looking to retire, and
sell the company for a while, so I heard, and had not recieved any
other acceptable offers. Stullers offer to buy them out was, I
believe, welcome to the former owners. It IS a shame that they then
dumped the company, but perhaps existing personelle behind the scenes
were retireing or something, and were hard to replace? Don’t know.
The Seattle branch of the store used to be in our building here in
Seattle, and the sale wasn’t advertised for very long before hand, so
it seemed to be a quick decision. I can’t say I minded getting a
bunch of cool bargains at a great price, however…

And, for whatever it’s worth, Stuller just this year closed their
own office here in Seattle, which they’d opened accross the street
from our building about the time they closed down SWEST. This time,
the announcement that they were closing the branch came even more
suddenly than with SWEST, with even less warning or seeming
organization. Much less advantageous sale too, with only modest
discounts on in stock stuff. And as with SWEST, the existing
employees here were one day enjoying being employed, and a couple
weeks later, were dumped out on the street. Seems like this is a
hallmark of some bright management types, most likely accountants,
somewhere in the Stuller organization. Lots of corporate style MBA
edumacation, and not so much humanity…

nuff said.

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it. Happy Holidays to
anyone who celebrates one of the other holiday traditions of this
time of year.

Cheers
Peter R.