Welcome! Forums Off-topic Wood Craft (store) and the Joke i think it is.

Viewing 13 posts - 16 through 28 (of 28 total)
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  • #125094
    SharpPencil
    Participant

    Shame you should live in the UK WE HAVE Axminster tools

    #125212
    Marilyn Moreno
    Participant

    Wow, your experience is somewhat different than mine. I have a Woodcraft store about 20 minutes from me in Eastern PA. I was actually there this past Friday as they had a 10% off sale. I picked up my 10″ Eclipse vise, which I’m in the process of installing. I also picked up a veritas 14tpi dovetail saw (so I can begin working on the box projects from WWMC). Both with their 10% off.
    These folks are friendly, will order out of stock products for you (no shipping costs, you just have to go back to pick it up).
    I was having a problem adjusting one of my planes, and I brought it in one day and they helped me fine tune it. It’s been working wonderfully since.
    Granted, they do cater to the power tool community. They also push their own brand (Woodriver). I guess our area must have a different woodworking community, as there are plenty of chisels, gouges, carving tools, calipers, planes, etc in the store. Some are low end, but then they have the better hand tools. I won’t buy all my tools there, but they know how to use the old tools so I guess I’ll keep going back whenever I need a little bit of help.

    Marilyn - Lehigh Valley, Eastern Pennsylvania - USA

    #125230
    dborn
    Participant

    @jude

    Where is this Ace Hardware you speak of? I live in Plainfield and could use some files or at least complete the set I have. I do like the Wood Craft in Woodridge, but I don’t go there looking for specific tools. They do carry spokeshaves, decent selection of chisels and the entire line of woodriver planes. Plus they have decent sales on lumber, if your timing is right. Most other obscure tools, I buy online. I would rather not drive for 2 hours looking for a tool, when I can order online.. Sad to admit. I have had luck buying chisels and auger bits from a flea market in Romeoville, but that looks more like a Tijuana market. Still a good way to burn a saturday morning..

    #125242
    jude
    Participant

    @dborn

    I had to look up the name of the old hardware store I was on about. It is Mount Greenwood Hardware & Suppy 3214 W. 111th in Mount Greenwood, Chicago. Actually it is part of the Do-It-Best chain. There is also a large True Value across the street, but I never was in that.

    Anyways, they just had some old files in the box behind the display case. I think I got a 5″, a 6″ and a 7″ for about $5 each. The place was more curious than anything else as I would have thought they’d have gotten rid of the old inventory before putting new items on display.

    I have had luck with files from Berland’s. I got a 4″ and I think another 5″ from them. I did a lot of looking at saw tooth geometry and I think the 4″ they have would be enough for my 14 tpi Veritas saw, but not for something like 18 tpi or finer.

    There is a Berland’s in Joliet, and one in Lombard. They are open til 5 M-F and Sat til 2. Now, that store is a place to burn a Saturday morning. Open your wallet and you can have every Festool you desire and be just like the guys on the TV/Internet. I’d go there first before driving to Mount Greenwood.

    judekenny.wordpress.com

    Near Chicago, USA

    #125262
    dborn
    Participant

    I’ve been to the Berlands in Joliet, more like New Lennox or Elwood than Joliet. That is one weird store. Before going I looked up their website to see what kind of tools they had available and at what prices, low and behold they got rid of their e-commerce site. (I guess to them, the internet is just a fad) After visiting the store, I could see why. They are EXPENSIVE!! IMO, they are not a consumer store, but more of a light industrial/commercial supplier, that is open to the public. However, they did have, what I considered, a decent hand tool selection. Variety of chisels, saws (eastern and western style), files, sharpening supplies etc. From where I live, I’m almost in-between Berlands and Woodcraft, Berlands being closer, but Woodcraft is definitely more consumer/hobbyist focused. By no means would I hesitate buying stuff from Berlands, I just don’t because partially there location from me. The staff has always been pleasant to talk to and work with.

    #125544
    Derek Long
    Participant

    This is an interesting conversation, but I don’t think we should be too hard on companies selling cheap crap. There’s only one reason they sell cheap crap: it sells. They wouldn’t sell it if it didn’t. And the problem is that the quality tools stopped selling because people were buying cheap crap. It’s been a race to the bottom for 40 years, probably mostly fueled by the Norm Abrams’ influence pushing woodworking into machinery. There is no shortage of expensive machine tools, I think you’d agree. Festool, anyone? That’s because of the larger demand for machine tools and people who make their living from carpentry and other trades, as well as hobbyists, continuing to buy quality goods in machinery.

    The best way, I think, to encourage the return to quality hand tools is to buy from the companies that have returned us to quality tool making. Buy from Lee Valley. Buy from Lie Nielsen when you can. There are lots of others. The only way they are going to keep making good tools is if we buy them. We are voting with our dollars and pounds, and it is working. Even 20 years ago, good hand tools were going extinct. They are reviving because we are buying them, and demanding them, and the Internet allows us to voice our displeasure or praise and steer other people to good manufacturers. And the more people join us and make our little corner of the world more than just a tiny niche market, the more good tools will be offered.

    Just my perspective on it.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    #125557
    Joel Finkel
    Participant

    I am not surprised that the experience at woodcraft is uneven. Sounds like it’s a new store with inexperienced people. I find that the one “near” me, in Woodridge, is fine for some things, such as finishing supplies, and not so good for others. I tend to get second-hand tools from eBay and tool meets put on by the Mid West Tool Collectors Association.

    I must say that one thing that bothers me is the trashing of non-Western tools and techniques. I am quite certain that Japanese craftsmen and women are just as skilled, and make furniture that is just a good, as those in the West. It seems just fine with me if people want to use them. They are not inherently inferior. They are just different.

    North side of Chicago. -- "Such a long, long time to be gone; such a short time to be there."

    #125562
    dborn
    Participant

    It’s good to see a couple people from the western suburbs of Chicago on this board. I like woodcraft, but don’t have much reason to go there often. Unfortunately a lot of what I need can usually be bought at menards which is a lot closer. Or if I need something special I buy it off line.

    #125570
    jmahoney
    Participant

    Eastern tool users are without a doubt finely skilled, no questions asked…just look at any example of temple joinery. The thing with pawning off cheap versions of eastern style tools in a western market is that it only furthers the downfall of what i consider true western craftsmanship in the US. I’m sure I’m not the only one either. There are things being forgotten because places like Woodcraft would rather peddle low-mid quality eastern tools on an unsuspecting western market rather than educate themselves and their customers on how to use and care for a western style saw. Really that’s my only point. The people selling the stuff don’t know enough about the tools their grandparents used, and opt to follow along with the propaganda their franchisers doll out and in turn send that idea off with the newest patrons of their stores. Where does that leave the new guy??

    Perhaps I'm Just Over Eager, Better to Curb the Enthusiasm

    #125577
    Joel Finkel
    Participant

    Put that way, I agree with you. Still, I bought a cheap Japanese pull saw at Woodcraft and, with care, can cut some nice dovetails with it. But a Western saw, with its pistol grip, suits me better. And I enjoy using a 100-year-old tool. woodcraft is simply not the place to go for those.

    North side of Chicago. -- "Such a long, long time to be gone; such a short time to be there."

    #125582
    dborn
    Participant

    Unfortunately, buying through the internet. But I bet high quality hand tools were always mail ordered, until Stanley came out with massed produced metallic planes.

    I think we live in a great time. We have access to vast amounts off vintage tools, plus high quality speciality tools.

    #125583
    dborn
    Participant

    Unfortunately, buying through the internet. But I bet high quality hand tools were always mail ordered, until Stanley came out with massed produced metallic planes.

    I think we live in a great time. We have access to vast amounts off vintage tools, plus high quality speciality tools.

    #125585
    Kjord
    Participant

    Despite the increasing interest in hand tool woodworking, the numbers of us wanting to buy new quality hand woodworking tools is still too small to support a store such as Woodcraft, so they sell what most people want–can’t fault them for that. So we use vintage tools from the golden age of woodworking when hand tools which would last and do quality work were what every craftsman demanded, and every craftsman used hand tools. Those days will never come again, but there are certainly places now to find quality new tools. Call them boutique if you will, but there are an increasing number of makers producing quality chisels, saws, marking gauges, spokeshaves, hand planes, etc. But a previous post put a finger on part of the problem. A new quality rasp was $60 so he stuck with his big box version. Quality costs. The reason so many of our toolmakers have disappeared or have outsourced production to China and now sell inferior “tool shaped objects” is in large part because people were no longer willing to pay for the high quality they were producing. If we want to keep Ariou rasps, Wenzloff saws, Philly planes, Lie-Nielsen, Blue Spruce or Ashley Iles chisels, to name a few, we are going to have to put our money where our mouth is. And as these toolmakers prosper, we will see larger retailers take notice and begin stepping up quality again. In the US we have lost our textile, shoemaking, and furniture making industries because most consumers bought the cheapest goods they could find-and local mills and industries buying quality raw materials, paying decent wages, and producing quality goods could not compete with sweatshop labor and inferior materials. We have gotten what we paid for. If we want to reverse this trend in terms of quality tools, we are going to have to demand better, but also be willing to pay for it. But the best tools you can afford, learn to use them well, and take good care of them. Quality costs, but it also endures.

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