Author Topic: Star vs. Phelps differences....or just Star variations?  (Read 8192 times)

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oldtimer

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Star vs. Phelps differences....or just Star variations?
« on: November 12, 2005, 04:45:44 pm »
You may find these references helpful while reading this:

http://forum.starreloaders.com/images/Star-Phelps.html

http://www.starreloaders.com/ (for photos)

http://forum.starreloaders.com/viewtopic.php?t=38&highlight=phelps (see post by Tom M.)



Okay, here?s a question for the Star experts. It regards changes in production, and how they differ (or don?t) from Phelps in regard to this sites ?Phelps vs. Star ? photo section. I own 2 Star Universals. The first is older. It probably dates from the 60?s. It has a one piece cast base, the correct Star handle assembly, the extended rim on the underside of the toolhead, the fully knurled shell plate thrust nut, the tight fitting, sharp angle 79U locating straps, stamped and labeled with star logos where appropriate. It also has a relief cut into the front of the toolhead blue painted housing and that housing has a ridge where it has been shaped to 2 diameters (right below the Star label) This press EXACTLY matches the photos on this site.

The second press is newer. 1984 to be exact. I have the original dealer?s order invoice and receipt from Star. All original, essentially new machine, some parts still stapled in plastic baggies and boxed!

This machine is :

Star labeled.
Tool head has "Star Machine Works San Diego, Calif. Pat. No. 2,031,850" etc.
Has the extended rim on the underside of the toolhead.

Now, where it differs from my older loader:

The base is 2 piece not one. Star actually shows this in the instruction book with that came with the loader. Interestingly, the book shows an exploded parts diagram showing the 1 piece base, but the drawing on the inside cover shows the 2 piece. My guess is, they changed the tooling, but didn?t bother to change the exploded parts diagram.

The thrust nut is fully knurled, like the older star and not just a ribbon of knurling like on the Phelps, but the thrust nut has a different bevel on it and is slightly shorter.than the older one.

The newer toolhead plate itself is thicker by about 1/8 inch compared with the older Star.

The steel tube part of the toolhead is slightly different than the older one also, It doesn?t have the recess cut out of the front beneath the label, nor is it ?stepped?.

The taper crimp die doesn?t have a nut on top as does the older die (both are Lifetyme .45), it?s just threaded in.

All of these seem like minor production variations over the long time between the production of these 2 Stars. This is the one that bothers me?..On this web site, the 79U straps are indicated to be a way of telling a Star from a Phelps. On The older model they are indeed just like the pics. Sharp angled and tight slots. On the newer model, they are wider slots with space between the base and straps. They are also not quite as sharp angled as the old Star, but then again, not as rounded as the Phelps straps. I noticed someone else posted this same observation on his 1988 machine purchased directly from Star, yet no one addressed his concern. See:

http://forum.starreloaders.com/viewtopic.php?t=38&highlight=phelps

So, What do I make of this. The machine has 79u straps like the Phelps photo, but I have the invoice/receipt from Star.

Furthermore, also ordered was another toolhead with dies etc. 9 mos later. Direct from star (still new in the box to this day) Same characteristics as the 84 Star.

Are the web photos misleading or in fact just wrong? If so, someone ought to correct them.
Did Star San Diego ship Phelps units as their own?
Did Star copy Phelps or have the bases outsourced by the same company as Phelps?

Does anybody else have an 80?s or 90?s vintage Star with the wider locating strap slots and other features I?ve noticed. Get ?em out and look. Maybe we can all learn something here.

Steve
 :?:

oldtimer

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Star vs. Phelps differences....or just Star variations?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2005, 08:22:54 pm »
Aditionally, the old Star has assembly numbers matching the primer feed to the base. The newer Star also has these assembly markings in the same matching locations. I'm pretty convinced that Star simply changed the design of various parts over the years including the base, and perhaps when Phelps copied them, he chos to copy the later version.

Ross Chesley

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Production Variations
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2005, 10:26:11 pm »
Hi Steve,

The differences themselves reflect variations in parts over Star's long production.

You asked: Are the web photos misleading or in fact just wrong?

I do not believe the web photos are wrong or misleading because they are factual photographic examples. The discussion was about parts that are different between the Star and Phelps. I have yet to see a Phelps with the features of an older Star, and the fact that newer Stars may be what Phelps copied only makes identification more difficult, but not impossible.

You said: If so, someone ought to correct them.

Your post adds to the level of detail we have about Stars. The discussion thread(s) address the variations in Star production over decades and you are now among the other members that have posted their experience. The photographed differences are one way to spot a Phelps. If you want to post photos of your Stars, please do so. It would be great, as I earlier recommended, to have a photographic resource to show variations in Star production. Neither the discussion nor photos represent a comprehensive means of identification and are not represented that way and do not need correction.

You asked: Did Star San Diego ship Phelps units as their own? Did Star copy Phelps or have the bases outsourced by the same company as Phelps?

Are you asking the questions "rhetorically" or in jest? What is your concern? You've indicated you have your original sales receipts to document your purchase and the history of your machines. Does anyone disput them? I do not and nobody else should.

I have five Stars. Many have similar features and most are older Star production. A few are newer and have features similar to your 1980's model, so this is why I attribute many differences to Star variation. I also have older Lifetyme and newer Lifetyme dies with clear differences that are attributable to production differences.

The Star v.s. Phelps question is usually asked by people that want to determine if a machine without documentation or purchase history is a Star or Phelps. A typical scenario is where there are no other identification marks, no Star or Phelps label. Many times a seller has equated a Phelps copy with the original Star Machine Works product.

I endorse being up front about what is being sold. Phelps products are copies not as well made as the original Star. They do not have the value of a Star. Some only intend to make a comparison in design and basic function. Other people sell Phelps by claiming they are "as good as a Star" or "just like a Star", a deliberate attempt at persuasion to boost the value of the Phelps.

I recommended looking at more than one detail -- pictures and observations help with recognition. If an original owner with original paperwork stands by their machine as a Star and will demonstrate and support the buyer in making their decision, who should question it?

oldtimer

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Star vs. Phelps differences....or just Star variations?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2005, 09:10:25 am »
Ross,

Not rhetorical at all. I was honestly asking if Star outsourced the production of their bases at some point. You see, I have been shopping for Star reloaders recently. I found one that was in beautiful condition, had all the features of a Star, but had the "Phelps type" base. I turned it down thinking it was a copy. Then more recently I came across another, just like it. Hmm I said. Everything else adds up to Star but the base looks like the Phelps photo on the website. But 2 machines from 2 different owners with the same features, too much of a coincidence. So I asked the owner of the second machine if he was the original purchaser. The answer was yes, and that he still had the original receipt and invoice for the press, extra heads, extra parts etc. Sure enough, it's all on the receipt. So, I concluded that it was genuine, but that locater strap cut in the base still knawed at me, so I figured I'd poke arouund the internet some. Came across Tom M's post about buying a machine from Star in 1988 with the same feature. Felt better, but thought I'd ask the experts what this all meant, that's all.
This site has helped me learn a great deal. The photos and descriptions are fantastic. The history of the company I find interesting. I'm trying to contribute in whatever small way I can by adding my experience and information.

Steve

Ross Chesley

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Valued Contribution
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2005, 01:43:16 pm »
Hi Steve,

I ask questions too. It is a good thing!

Before I got my first Star, I asked so many questions I nearly wore out the person that was helping me. Now I get to help and and it is so nice to have a place to share and learn more too.

I have a few more details we can all enjoy.

Some of the aluminum bases are two-piece, others are a single casting. Some have an aluminum paint finish with a clear finish (turns yellowish with age), others are polished or worn from years of cleaning and use. I happen to like the polished aluminum, but most of my bases have the matte finished aluminum with yellowing clear finish. I have had to refinish one base that was very yellow and stained. After disassembly, I cleaned the aluminum with some denatured alcohol and then lacquer thinner and it removed the finish down to bare metal. After that, I found some cast aluminum spray paint and put on several thin coats, followed by a clear sealer. It looks very nice.

The blue paint on Stars can vary by a shade or more. Some photograph dark, almost black while others brighten up and appear a medium to dark blue. I discovered by accident that you should not use Denatured Alcohol around the paint on a Star -- it will dissolve it away. I have successfully matched the paint color using an automotive supplier. It is enamel paint so the results are good.

Handles on Stars can vary. The oldest have a brass ferrule and a different shape to the handle. The more recent have a chrome tapered ferrule.

Powder magazine hoppers can vary too. The oldest are aluminum and may be colored -- I have red and gold. They are usually short and have a hard leather powder level indicator in the cap with a wire showing the level of powder. The newer powder magazines are made of polycarbonate, are taller, and you can see the brass base, aluminum baffle, and there is no powder level indicator since the tube starts out clear. As powder attacks the plastic it starts to darken and turn color to a greenish bluish color, then eventually black.

I will be posting more information about Star's history from a former employee. Recently I learned that Mr. Brenizer passed away. He and Ellard left quite a legacy so we can all enjoy using our Stars.

bengomez

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Re: Star vs. Phelps differences....or just Star variations?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 07:26:14 am »
Powder magazine hoppers can vary too? The oldest are aluminum and may be colored? black should be nicer right?

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