Hand Tools doings #24: Excellent customer service

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 06-24-2008 01:35 AM 1287 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 23: Plane fun Part 24 of Hand Tools doings series Part 25: A box for Callie - a left handed experience »

Well——- as you know I’ve been collecting my toolbox full of hand tools. I recently bought a low angle block plane from Lee Valley. It’s a good plane. The one I received however had a small problem. I could not keep the brass toe knob tight and after several strokes the mouth opening would change. Aggravating for sure. So after deciding I needed a solution I e-mailed LV customer service. We’ve gone back and forth with e-mails, me explaining the problem, them asking questions to clarify, etc. We finally came up with the fact that the knob’s screw was a smidge too long and therefore, not seating properly. We confirmed this by putting a small washer under the knob and presto – it now stays put. The other little problem was the screw hole on the toe itself was drilled off center so that may have contributed to the problem.

Long story short though——they are going to send me a new plane! Now some would say that that is what should happen. And probably so. But I didn’t have to ask. I would have lived with the solution, after all, you can’t even see the washer under the knob——you’d only know it was there if I told you. All I wanted was a solution, not necessarily a new plane. Not every problem deserves a new product. This just shows the level of customer service at Lee Valley exceeds most expectations.

Next time I need a woodworking tool – I’ll be shopping at Lee Valley.

I like this plane because it excels at the edge grain issue, but also it’s great for shooting small parts for my miniature things.

Anyway—- that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

8 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3765 days

#1 posted 06-24-2008 02:45 AM

cool! i love great customer service, it makes your whole experience better and makes you want to come back. its really a great sales ploy. i think that some other companies should really try it!

View matter's profile


210 posts in 3767 days

#2 posted 06-24-2008 02:49 AM

I have never had anything but the best customer service from Lee Valley

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3721 days

#3 posted 06-24-2008 06:26 AM

I bought a low angle jack plane from LV a couple years ago and love it. Since then I’ve bought a number of other items. I agree LV is a great company. They’ve always been very helpul on the phone too.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3830 days

#4 posted 06-24-2008 02:10 PM

Lee Valley has always had excellent customer service for me.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 3872 days

#5 posted 06-24-2008 03:11 PM

Good customer service is something to be celebrated these days!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3988 days

#6 posted 06-24-2008 05:02 PM

“I would have lived with the solution, after all, you can’t even see the washer under the knob——you’d only know it was there if I told you. All I wanted was a solution, not necessarily a new plane. Not every problem deserves a new product.”


I’m afraid that poor products and poor customer service from the past have convinced you that you don’t deserve both a good product and good service on the first go ‘round. Not from Lee Valley, but from any company. After all they sent you a product with TWO deffects and you didn’t feel you were owed a defect free product. Now repeat after me “I’m not going to take it anymore!” Ten times. First thing every morning should do it.


-- Jim

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4061 days

#7 posted 06-24-2008 06:16 PM

LV does rock.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3893 days

#8 posted 06-25-2008 01:58 AM

On the contrary Jim, I want good service and a good product every single time I buy something. Every time. However, I am a realist and know that not every product that comes off the assembly line, no matter how short the assembly line is, is going to be perfect. I can live with that. I can deal with a simple solution. Now if the simple solution was applying duct tape and/or baling wire to make it work, then I’d not be happy. My demands, of course, increase with the sensitivity/price point of the product.

I try very hard to do my job perfectly, but it does not always work out that way. I do the best I can, so does most everyone else. If I make a mistake I try to fix it. Sometimes the fix does not mean redoing the whole job. Sometimes, its a simple solution. They could have sent me a new knob and called it a day. But they went the extra mile. I appreciate that.

So do I want perfection, yes. Can I get perfection, no. Can I be perfect, sure. Will I be perfect, no. If I got my tail in a wad every time a product or service was not perfect I’d be in sorry shape. If I got poor service time after time from a business, I would not go back there. Lee Valley however, has always had a good customer service reputation. I felt like they went above and beyond with their response to my problems and deserved a kudos.

I do have high standards, sorry that you thought otherwise. But LV ROCKS!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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