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Blog entry by Obi posted 03-05-2007 03:27 PM 1587 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Where do you buy your tools?
Simple question. We each have certain needs and certain places where we get our stuff, I, for example, have several places where I get mine depending on the availability and price. Rockler is the first place I go (since I get a 10% discount.) Amazon% next, because I get less of a discount, and then everything is according to availability and price. Since I spend most of my computer time looking for anything and everything that can make work smarter, or save me money, I put most of these sites on my website. I got Lee Valley, because they got cool ( although not cheap) planes. I got Penn State for turning because they got the cheapest lathes and extension beds I’ve found. I got Grizzly cause they got the cheapest everything else. I also have H-D (short for hunnerd dollars, cause everything I want there costs that much) Lowes because they are closest to my house, and Sears only because… I also have every other site I could find pertaining to woodworking.

So now the main question again …


18 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4323 days

#1 posted 03-05-2007 04:49 PM

I discovered that Woodcraft has been my best source recently. I just bought a Triton Router, & they had the best price. Last weekend they had 10% off everthing, with free shipping.

I also have bought at Rockler, Grizzly, & Penn State. I always buy my router bits at MLCS. Everyone of them seem to specialize in different items, that interest me

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4185 days

#2 posted 03-05-2007 04:55 PM

I do shop at the local Harbor Freight Tools for some things like clamps, latex gloves, dust masks, etc. since they are cheap.

I also shop MLCS Woodworking for router bits.

I do pick up some items from OSH too, since they have things that HD and Lowe’s do not carry.

And who could forget Woodcraft!

Otherwise, my list would look like yours.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4322 days

#3 posted 03-05-2007 05:16 PM

I buy a lot of my smaller tools at because you can usually get free shipping on orders over $25. I have also ordered from Rockler…. great pipe clamps. Luckily I have a Woodcraft store just 10 minutes from my house so I have access to some things there that I can’t find at the Big Box Stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.). There is a Bargain Supply store downtown that has a great selection of tools, large and small, and I get a discount there for being a member of my local woodworking association.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4198 days

#4 posted 03-05-2007 05:23 PM

I like to support local stores whenever I can, so I’m a big fan of Woodcraft because it is franchised. I also like the Veritas line of products from Lee Valley, and since Woodcraft carries a lot of Veritas products, and it is just a short eight minute drive from my front door to their front door, I’ll run over there first almost 90% of the time. I’ve found Rockler has a slightly better selection of hardware, so I’m apt to head there (just another 10 minutes away) if I can’t find what I want at Woodcraft.

In the other direction from my house is a place called St. Charles Hardwoods (though they are actually located in St. Peters, MO). They have some hand tools, though not a lot and not of any exceptional quality, but they seem to have a good variety of power tools. I believe they pretty much have the full line of Jet products in their shop. But their specialty (as indicated in their name) is lumber. They have a very large sawmill just 30 or so miles north of the Saint Louis area, so their lumber prices are a bit cheaper, when it comes to domestic hardwoods.

For anyone who builds outdoor furniture, I found a great local source for ipe, and there is a good chance most of you have one within driving distance – Lumber Liquidators! The selection of thicknesses is somewhat limited, but if you want 4/4 dimensional ipe, it’s the cheapest place I’ve found so far ($4 something/l.f., maybe? It’s been a while since they gave me their price quote… I remember it was going to be $18 for an 8’x6” board, though, and I think that was finish planed to ¾” thick.).

For anything I can’t get at Woodcraft, the very next place I’ll check is Lee Valley. They have great period hardware and of course the Veritas line of products, but they also have really interesting things you don’t really even know are out there until you find them on the Lee Valley website… I’d probably buy more from them, but the shipping can get a little high. They are my #1 Christmas/Birthday wish list site, though…

-- Ethan,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4323 days

#5 posted 03-05-2007 06:02 PM

Up here in the frozen north, if you want a bargain you have to go internet shopping. I’d have to drive 200 milles to the Twin Cities for a tool store.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4185 days

#6 posted 03-05-2007 06:06 PM

In central California, HD and Lowe’s are close, but the other stores are far away. Woodcraft is about 100 miles away, Rockler even further. So we go internet shopping as well.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4149 days

#7 posted 03-05-2007 08:46 PM

Bill, you’ve got a Rockler outlet about 90 miles from you, the annex location of Ideal Saw Works, just off Herndon and 41 in north Fresno. It’s carpeted, which is amazing, ‘cause… well… I’m sure every time I go in there they have to mop up the drool. That’s where we’ve bought most of our Festool stuff, mostly because my sweety’s brother works there and really knows his stuff.

Other than that, I try to purchase as much as I can from local dealers. Alas, we’ve got no real woodworking dealers close by, a lot of hardware stores that cater to the general contractor, and since we end up in Fresno about once every 6 weeks, that’s where we get the specialty stuff.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4297 days

#8 posted 03-05-2007 09:07 PM

Most of my major tool purchases have been from Woodcraft (except my table saw which was from Home Depot), with some from a local tool/woodworking store that carries some refurbished items. I have had good luck with all three.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

245 posts in 4463 days

#9 posted 03-05-2007 11:16 PM

I buy most of my tools on-line. The Internet is wonderful for this – especially if your taste in tools is a little, eh, specialised! :)

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4338 days

#10 posted 03-06-2007 02:18 AM

Most all my large power tools came 2nd hand. Woodshops that went out of buisness. I’ve also gotten my new large power equipment from a couple of companies that specialize in machinery sales to cabinet shops. One is Advanced Machinery out of Salt Lake. Sometimes they have good 2nd hand stuff that is traded in. I was looking at a line boring setup from delta. New that would be about $1600.00 counting the drill bits. I would have to build 104 kitchens to just break even. I’d consider paying a quarder of that.

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4180 days

#11 posted 03-06-2007 02:52 AM

I have at one time shopped all of the ones listed so far.

I am lucky I guess because I have pretty much everything that I need and don’t have to buy many tools anymore. If I do it tends to be upgrades. ( I just went to a 5 hp Delta x5 unisaw , but still have the 3 hp.) I have sold a lot of tools over the last couple years. I had outgrown a lot of them and several I found not very useful or were underutilized. I am a guest woodworking teacher for Rockler. Their headquaters are based out of the Twin Cities area ( Medina) Minnesota. Because I teach for them I am considered staff and get the employees discount. That is very significant discount but again I don’t need much these days.

I have also tryed buying tools on e-bay with mixed results. I rarely use it anymore. I find I can do as well locally and not have to wait so long. If I have a service problem it is eaiser to take care of localy.

I’m lucky because with in a few miles of my shop is a great “new/old” tool store. Acme tools.They have a great selection, many name brands and first rate customer service which I experienced first hand. Their down fall is no Internet. They sold their rights a few years back to Amazon. The have a non-compete for a while yet I guess.

-- Dusty

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4185 days

#12 posted 03-06-2007 03:07 AM

I would like to buy locally, but the internet is usually cheaper. Also, many of the sites do not charge sales tax, which is a 7 3/8% savings right off the top. Add in the lower cost and the free shipping, and you can see where that leads.

Besides being cheaper, the internet also has more selection that most of the stores do too!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Peter's profile


23 posts in 4136 days

#13 posted 03-06-2007 03:51 AM

So where are the good sources for second hand tools? Where do I find people that want to get rid of their old three horse-power table saw? :-)

-- ~Peter

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4198 days

#14 posted 03-06-2007 04:49 PM

For old hand tools, try to find a saturday-morning or sunday-morning flea market in your area. There is a great one about 25 minutes outside of Saint Louis that goes on every Sunday until 1:00 PM from March through October. If you know what you’re looking for, you can get some great buys.

For power tools… check the paper or Craig’s List (they have them for most major cities now) or post on community bulletin boards or maybe start asking around at your day job.

-- Ethan,

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4261 days

#15 posted 03-06-2007 04:52 PM

Ethan, this IS my day job. I know, I know… it must be great to be me. HAHAHAHA !!!!

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