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How a Tony's Table is Different from the China Knockoff

The Chinese Knockoff was Recalled by the Catalog that First Sold It

The major catalogs that service the chiropractic profession want to establish a relationship with students so that they will become future customers once they graduate. And since portable tables are one of the few items the catalogs have that students want, the catalogs use my tables as their "foot-in-the-door". A few years ago, one of the catalogs wanted to really capture the student market. To do so, they wanted me to sell them my tables for next to nothing so that they could sell them at a huge discount to capture the market. When I wouldn't do so, they had my table knocked off overseas. Of course, I found out about this as soon as they started selling it. I bought one to check out, and I took it completely apart. I discovered that it had several serious issues (see next items). I thought the catalog would fix these problems, but after about 6 months of selling this table, they came to me and said they wanted to buy a couple of hundred tables right away. I asked them, "What happened to China?", and they said that due to the liability of those problems, that they decided to recall the tables, replace them, and quit importing that table. That was great news for me, and I thought I'd seen the last of that knockoff. Unfortunately, the Chinese manufactuer then had a table and no customers. Ultimately they found one, and that table wound up on the market again and is being sold as the Palmetto Chiropractic Table. Funny thing is, I could import that table myself because I did a search back when the catalog was selling it and found the company that makes it. For the reasons below I wasn't interested in selling this table. I just think it's useful for current prospective customers to know about this table so that they can make their own informed buying decision. Below are several of the issues that I found with this knockoff.

If you know of someone who may benefit from knowing that this table was recalled, please share this video.

Why the Knockoff's Adjustable Legs Wobble

The stability of adjustable legs (and, therefore, a table's stability and patient's sense of security) depend on how tight a fit there is between the inner and outer tubes. The Chinese table uses off-the-shelf steel tubes that don't have a tight fit because off-the-shelf steel tubing just isn't designed to have a tight fit from one size to the next larger size. A tight fit requires very expensive, custom-made tubing that is designed for that purpose, but such tubing is much too expensive for making modestly-priced portable tables. So, the problem with regular tubing is that the inside tube is just a little too small for the outer tube. To make up the size difference, the Chinese table uses a plastic "washer" on the end of the larger tube to make a tighter fit for the smaller tube. This method doesn't prevent the smaller tube from rocking back and forth inside the larger, outer tube, and, ultimately, a table with these type legs wobble and sway. In contrast, for the adjustable legs I make for my tables, I purchase custom-made aluminum tubing that has the best fit possible between the inner and outer tubes.

Another item related to adjustable legs is how much weight they may add to a table. Steel adjustable legs add about 7 lbs. to a table versus no increase when aluminum is used. My Tony's Table weighs 32 lbs. with my aluminum adjustable legs, and the Chinese manufacturer lists the weight of their table with steel adjustable legs at 17.5 kg which is 38.5 lbs..

The Problem with the Knockoff's Central Hinge

After taking the vinyl off the knockoff table, I was surprised to see that the Chinese manufacturer had nailed a strip of wood to the edge of each of the two sections of plywood that make up their table. These two pieces of wood were then upholstered with vinyl and couldn't be seen, resulting in a large, upholstered section underneath the center of their table. A flat piano hinge was then mounted to the surface of these two vinyl-covered pieces of wood, and the combination of strips of wood and piano hinge formed their central hinge. So, ultimately, the two halves of their table are held together with nails? And the legs are wobble? The resulting failures of this table are why the first catalog that sold this table decide to recall them and quit selling them.

Comparing the T2000 to the Imported Chinese Table

There is a drop table made in China that is being imported and sold under several names, including the Arena-180, the Chiron-Pro, and the Palmetto Drop table. The Chinese manufacturer has contacted me and would like me to also purchase and distribute their table. But I've chosen not to do so because I took a sample of their table completely apart and I have the following issues with it that I explain below, using my T2000 Drop Table as a comparison.

Tension Knob Accessibility and Drop Mechanism Strength

The tension knobs on my T2000 table are fully accessible for quick and easy turning. In pictures of the Chinese table, the tension knobs can't be seen and I wondered why not. Once I got a sample table of theirs, I could see it was because the knobs are recessed into the table (see photo below). This means one can only turn their knob with a finger or two by pressing on the side of the knob instead of being able to fully grasp the knob with one's whole hand. If the knob ever starts to get hard to turn, one wouldn't be able to grasp the knob to turn it harder. And, because the recess limits how far one can turn their knob, it takes about 6 "turns" to turn their knob one complete revolution (to determine this I put a small piece of tape on their knob to see how many "turns" it took for the tape to reappear.). To set the drop tension on my T2000 to it's maximum strength, one has to fully grasp the tension knob in order to be able to turn it. I wondered how the Chinese table could be set to it's maximum strength with just two fingers. As soon as I thought about it, the answer was readily apparent. Their table must use a smaller, weaker spring. And, sure enough, that's the case. See the photos below of the T2000's larger spring and tension knob compared to the Chinese ones. And, of course, a weaker spring reduces the maximum weight the drop mechanism can support before it "drops" just from the weight of the patient. So, when a DC gets a very large patient that he or she can't physically handle and they really need their drop table, the Chinese drop mechanism wouldn't be up to the task.

Foam Systems Compared

The Chinese table is advertised as being "extremely comfortable" because of it's "2 in. Thick Multi-layered Soft Foam System". The photos below compare this "Multi-layered Soft Foam System" to the foam used in my T2000 Drop table. As readily seen, their Multi-Layered system apparently consists of a thin piece of foam layered on top of a thicker wood "pedestal", whereas in my T2000, I really do use a 2" Thick, Multi-Layered Foam System (in the drop sections I place a softer layer of foam on top of a firmer lower layer). As expected, their thin foam quickly "bottoms out" and one presses right through it to the hard wood underneath. Hardly, "Extremely Comfortable."