View Full Version : Buying hand tools : Where do you like?
08-06-2004, 12:18 AM
I'll be setting up a wood-working workshop in the near future.
What store / website would you suggest for purchasing hand tools?
I've found the following on-line, so far, but don't know anything about any of them:
Quality and customer service are what I am looking for.
Any suggestions or input would be appreciated,
08-06-2004, 01:40 AM
I'd add http://woodworker.com/ to that list.
08-06-2004, 06:20 AM
For me, it depends a little bit on what kind of hand tools you're talking about. Can you elaborate a little? Are you talking about hammers and screwdrivers, or are you talking about hand planes and chisels?
08-06-2004, 07:58 AM
For customer service I have found that Woodcraft is a bit sporadic. They have both Corp. and franchise stores. The one near me is a franchise and the owner is apparently afraid of inventory. He keeps minimal stock on hand and is always out of many of the things I go in looking for. And their prices are somewhat higher than other sources, so if I have to order the item when they're out of stock, I will order from elswhere. As far as getting help from store employees at the store near me, that's a joke.
Everyone I know who has purchased stuff from Lee Valley has been happy with both the service and the product. I have purchased a few of their through other stores, and I find their quality extraordinary. They have joined up with Veritas and between them they have a fine line of tools.
I buy most of my hand tools on e-bay. Planes, handsaws, chisels, augers . . . Really old stuff that can be refurbished. Made back when hand tools were the bread and butter of the tradesmen and designed and made with all day use in mind. You can get similar and better quality in tools made today but at a very high premium.
08-06-2004, 10:08 AM
I followed Jerrys direction a while back and delved into the wonderful world of flea markets. Its a REAL joy to find somehting that needs a little TLC to bring it back to a real solid piece of iron.
08-06-2004, 10:11 AM
>I followed Jerrys direction a while back and delved into the
>wonderful world of flea markets. Its a REAL joy to find
>somehting that needs a little TLC to bring it back to a real
>solid piece of iron.
Yeah. I got a 40 year old craftaman stationary belt sander at one. I cleaned it up, and it works great. It just sounds like a freight train when I first start it up, but it's heavy and works!
08-06-2004, 10:57 AM
I have used Woodcraft online and local, Lee Valley online, and I think I ordered something from Garret Wade once, a plane iron IIRC. No complaints with any of them.
I have a recent policy of trying my best to patronize local businesses. I think that the two things you are looking for -- quality and customer service -- are much more easily delivered in a local merchant. Quality of course, depends on what lines the merchant carries, but it is fairly easy to flush that out, especially when you can hold an item in your hand. Also, you have stumbled on a valuable resource here. All you need to do is ask " anybody have any experience with product x?" and you are virtually guaranteed to get a response.
Customer sevice, as Jerry noted, is dicey in some of the places. The local Woodcraft for me is excellent. Also, I have a local hardware store -- the kind with squeaky floors and metal bins full of fasteners -- that has hand tools and a fellow there who likes to restore old iron. I go in often to just look around and jaw with the guys and talk old tools. That's the kind of CS that you can't really get online.
Also, it is important to remember that it is the journey, not the destination. Look back through some of the old posts, especially the tool gloats and notice how there is a story behind every tool find. Take some time and go through Jerry(Sawduster)'s excellent site and see some of his stuff and how he got it and made it nice.
Anyway, I rambled on, didn't I?
08-06-2004, 12:50 PM
I'd also recommend www.toolsforworkingwood.com and www.lie-nielsen.com
both can be very pricey but generally have very high quality products.
08-06-2004, 08:45 PM
Sorry about the short description of what hand tools I need.
08-07-2004, 01:09 PM
I have purchased through Woodcraft (USA) and Lee Valley (Canada). I have had great service at both with Lee Valley being my favourite by a hair. At Lee Valley, I just pick up the phone, it rings a few times and I get to talk with a real person every time. Call me old fashioned, but I like that.
PS. I also like Lee Valleys glossy catalogue.
08-09-2004, 12:39 AM
My two cents...I've bought lots on Ebay, with no surprises. All were OLD hand planes that needed lots of TLC, but are great tools. For new stuff, i'd recommend checking out www.highlandhardware.com
"Ever notice how good enough, is usually neither good nor enough?"