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In Search Of... Stanley Chisels

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 03-26-2011 09:16 PM 1485 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What happens when an international company decides to return the premium hand tool market and a small-town craftsman supports the move? Well, not much. How about some background?

On the 5th of February I walked in to my area’s family-owned and operated (since 1915!) hardware store and asked if they carried Stanley products. The answer was, “of course!” and I had figured as much because the yellow rectangle was everywhere on the shelves. “I’m interested in a new line of chisels Stanely came out with and now being sold on-line; can you get a set for me?” The owner and I talked specifics, and the conversation ended with an action for him to see the chisels at a dealer ‘marketplace’ next week, where he’d order said chisel set.

He did see them (I called the next week) and said they were indeed very nice! And expensive. We agreed on a price, and the order went in. And so the waiting went on and on until yesterday, when I called to check the status of the order. An email had come after three weeks of waiting, the owner said, in which the Company (Stanley) said they wouldn’t be selling the chisels by a single set – a larger order was required. The owner went on to work with his Chicago distributor in an effort to get a combined order that included said chisels, and at the end of the day the owner called me a final time.

“I’ve never spent so much time on a single product,” he said, “but I’ve spoken with Stanley. They’re going to sell me a single chisel set but with an upcharge of $10 because of the limited quantity.” Wow. Untold thousands of dollars spent on product development, adverstising and testing and then a person can’t buy them without such hassle? Trying to support a local business in a traditional, order-the-product way and it was almost impossible. Not a warm and fuzzy feeling from Stanley, huh?

Anyway, still waiting (maybe next week?) for my chisels, at which time I’ll do a blog update on them. Carly Simon’s got nothing on me, man! :-)

VR,
Kurt

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive



6 comments so far

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3136 posts in 1333 days


#1 posted 03-26-2011 10:46 PM

I have a friend that owned and operated a small engine business that included lawnmower sales. Snapper lawnmower company wrote him a letter and informed him that he had to buy X number of thousands of dollars in Snapper lawnmowers at the begining of the year. If he didn’t then he was out of their business. That is a sign of a company under poor management. I always thought a company was in the business to sell a product. My company that I worked for was in the business to manufacture and sell products. I thought that was the only way to make money….sell products. All others live off those that do sell products.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#2 posted 03-27-2011 04:03 AM

I’m amazed too at what it takes to buy from a company that’s been in business for over 150 years. Stay tuned on how it wraps up.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4846 posts in 1281 days


#3 posted 05-26-2011 04:40 AM

Smitty,
Any chance you have a follow up these chisels? I currently own an inexpensive set from Woodcraft/Woodriver and have not been that impressed. There have been several posts here similar to yours. Most ending with “stay tuned”.

Thanks

I am enjoying reading your blogs. How long does it take to compose them?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#4 posted 05-26-2011 06:23 AM

@lysdexic – Did you see the review I did? If so, then the only follow up I would add would be to read my Mitered Dovetails installment, Roubo Cabinet series; I think in there I commend them still for taking a beating and holding an edge. And here I’ll add that they’re currently near the top of my most highly prized tools… Having a full set of quality chisels is, as little as six months ago, something I never thought a priority. Now I feel quite differently and realize that the quality of my work has improved. Good luck, however you proceed. But for me, an eight piece set in leather roll was a big step in the right direction.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#5 posted 05-26-2011 06:35 AM

Oh, about the blog entries…

I’ve kept up a number of journals for many years, different subjects in separate books, and the blog entries mimick what I write in my Shop journal. Taking pictures w/ my iphone is really easy, too. The most time consuming part of the process is rotating and resizing nearly every pic in Photobucket so the entries look right. Specifically, for today’s #9 Backpanel entry, I wrote it in a half hour. Pic mgt took nearly twice that, maybe a little less, the night before, so all would come together. Nice to know you enjoy reading them; I know there’s lots on this site to choose from…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4846 posts in 1281 days


#6 posted 05-28-2011 06:54 AM

I have always wanted to keep journals and notes on the various projects over the years but have never mustered the discipline. Kinda the same as getting up a half hour early and working out. Oh well, there is always tomorrow- but then again – tomorrow is not certain.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

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