Thursday, May 21, 2009

Purchasing Handtools

Do you Buy before you Try ?

Over the past few weeks I've been surprised at how many new hand tool manufacturers are popping up on the Internet and all of the well known manufacturers are offering new and exciting product. This is nice but I'm sometimes either takes someone with a bucket of dough or a trusting consumer to buy tools on the Internet without first trying them out, unless it's from an extremely well known tool maker or you've at least done some homework and read some reviews from reliable voices.
I know I don't have a bucket full of dough but I can say there are a few hand tool manufacturers I feel quite confident in. I see a new product in a nice little picture, I read a few details that the manufacturer obviously wrote themselves and with that I reach for some plastic and wait for the mail truck.
Looking at some recent articles showing the rise in the hand tool market I know I'm not alone on this. So all that said what does it take to do that?
I'm just curious if there's a lot of people out there who would never think on buying a hand tool that they've never once put their hands on...I suppose in a perfect world I'd be able to get to all of the wood shows and special hand tool events, try out all of the new tools before I commit, but my reality is something quite different than that. I try to develop a relationship with manufacturers and when they offer new product I go further than just reading a short paragraph on a web-site. I'll contact them and make conversation, discuss the company history and see how the new product came to be. I've found almost every hand tool manufacturer I've contacted with questions or concerns to be absolutely forthcoming with information and assistance. If they're not I'll go somewhere else right? That is my job isn't it ? My duty as a member of society to go elsewhere when I get bad service...let people know of my bad experiences as well as the good ones of course!
The good ones thankfully out way the bad and as a woodworker in 2009 I feel fortunate to be living and working through this exciting time. Whether you realise it or not we're watching a section of history unfold in the hand tool market alone. This renaissance will be looked back upon the way we look back on our vintage Stanley's and the like. My Lie Nielsen such and such will probably be worth more when my grand kids hock it on 'What-Ever-Bay' in a hundred years....
I digress...
Wooden bodied moulding planes, panel and back saws, specialty tools and educational platforms-it's going to be an interesting few months with so many new and exciting things happening in my wood shop. I'll fill you in on the details as they unfold. Stay tuned...
Oh yeah, the picture at the top has nothing to do with the article; I just thought it was a nice shot of our first born- Sally, the Unplugged Watchdog is our nine year old Beagle. She spends just about every waking hour with me in my wood shop. Maybe I should use this photo for my tool chest for sale advertisements? What a disgusting thought.


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