With the show in Saratoga Springs right around the corner, there is much I need to do to prepare myself for the event. My partner and I have been in the planning stages, and it seems our nightly walks have turned into mobile business meetings where we discuss the upcoming event.
There will be so much preparation necessary in order to make things run smoothly. Having never participated in a show of this size, I just don’t know what to expect. I think the best philosophy is to “expect anything and everything” and then I can be fully prepared.
One of the most important things that we have to decide is which kind of saw to have at our space. I have had my own DeWalt 788 for about fifteen years now, and although I have recommended it to just about everyone, I am no longer confident that it is the best saw out there. DeWalt is in the process of (again) changing hands and since they began manufacturing the saw overseas a couple of years ago, I seem to hear more and more stories of people who are dissatisfied not only with the performance of the saw, but also the customer service.
I read over and over again on the several different forums geared to scroll sawing and also from customers of troubles that they have had with their saw. To make matters worse, it seems that in many (or even most) instances that their experiences with customer service is also horrific. And many have to wait for months to have their saws repaired or obtain parts. Many of them also needed to send it back several times before it was repaired properly, if at all.
So what do I do now?
I am the type of person that feels comfortable recommending only products that I actually use and believe in. I realize that different people have different needs, but if I have never used something or am unfamiliar with it, I don’t want to endorse it. I would rather send the person asking to someone who has had more experience with what they are looking for. If I find something that works for me, I like to stick with it.
With my saw, I have honestly for the past fifteen or so years felt that for the money it was the best saw on the market. At a price of around $500, it wasn’t the cheapest, nor was it anywhere near the most expensive. But to me it had convenient features and performed as well or better than the saws that cost two to three times more. I never regretted recommending it to anyone who was serious about scroll sawing. I am a firm believe that in order to have fun and do well in a new venture, such as scroll sawing, you need to buy the best saw you can afford. It was always so sad to see someone buy a cheap saw that was in essence a piece of crap. Typically, they would get frustrated and abandon the hobby altogether. It works like that with most things, I feel.
Some of you may remember when I wrote to Delta several months ago requesting perhaps to try one of their new scroll saws. It seems that the saw was very similar to my beloved DeWalt, and Delta (who was then owned by the same parent company I believe as DeWalt) came out with their own version of the saw. I requested this because I had heard about the troubles that the new generation of the DeWalt saw was having and I was hopeful that the Delta saw would have perhaps fixed the ‘bugs’ that afflicted the DeWalt saw and give similar performance and service as the old DeWalt’s did. Needless to say, I have never heard back from them. Since then too, I heard that DeWalt is again being sold.
Earlier this week, my partner and I went in search of some lighting to install under the cabinet which sits over my saw. We haven’t been able to find anything suitable and decided to go with the stock light that was made by DeWalt specifically for the saw. In trying to find one, we went to three DeWalt tool sources and were told by the parts department that the light is discontinued. Does this mean the saw will be next? Who knows?
It was yet another reality check that things were (again) changing.
So now what? How can I feel good recommending something I am no longer sure about. The simple fact is I can’t and I won’t. So I am currently looking into another alternative that would not only be suitable for my own needs, but that of my customers.
I am going to end here today, as this is already getting a bit long, but I will continue on this train of thought tomorrow and discuss some of the ideas that I have come up with. I am still working on writing instructions today, and hopefully be able to finish up on that. I heard from the wholesaler yesterday that she accepted all 20 new designs that my partner and I offered her. That was a first. It felt great that the big push of the last couple of weeks paid off for me. I spent the day getting the nearly 100 photos finished up and sent to her, as well as getting the packets together. I have about seven more packets to do today and then we will be good to go and I can focus on some other things.
We actually dug out yesterday and the roads and stuff weren’t too bad. There was a wall of about 2-3 feet of snow behind the car, but that didn’t take long at all to clear. It is actually quite pretty. Our cat Pancakes found a new “toy” which he loved to play with – a three foot icicle. It was like an all day sucker to him and he would lick it as long as you would hold it for him:
We are also thinking about taking a ride to the place near us where we got the nice birch, maple and oak very reasonable and seeing if they come across any maple burls in their travels. They are mainly a lumber yard, but have a shed of some specialty wood like quilted, flaming and bird’s eye maple that they keep separate from the regular stuff. The prices are far cheaper than the place in Halifax and we want to just see what they have. It will be a good excuse to get out for an hour or so.
So it should be a full day. I am still catching up on emails and correspondences. It seems that I am always behind in that area. Being busy is good though and keeps me out of trouble. :) (Well – most of the time, anyway)
I hope you all have a great Friday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"