Wooden Planes Marketing

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Forum topic by PollyB posted 08-03-2015 11:54 AM 787 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 448 days

08-03-2015 11:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry maple walnut plane awl birdcage hand tool wooden plane hand plane

My partner and I are edging toward starting an on-line site to market a variety of hand tools, including wooden planes. We’ve put together a dummy web site, we’ve built prototypes of jack planes and smoothing planes and are using them in the shop. And we’ve made scratch awls and birdcage awls that will fit into the plan as well. We’re also looking at other possible additions in the future.

We’re keeping our day jobs, so we don’t have to move a lot of products on our first day. We do hope we can sell enough to make our nut within a few months and maybe do better over time. We’ve done our costing, including labor costs of batch production and have a good handle on our “cost of goods sold” and our overhead costs.

We’re looking a pricing significantly less than the “boutique” plane makers who product wonderful “planes as art” and price accordingly. We aren’t trying to make ugly planes, and think our prototypes are reasonably attractive, but we’re building them as definitely to be used and priced for the hobbiest, “leisure woodworker” or small shop pro who can’t afford/justify the boutique prices, no matter how much they admire the work.

We’re really excited about working with our wooden planes; our Stanleys and Lie Nielsens and Veritas planes are put away and we’re thinking of consigning them to ebay. And there’s our marketing question:

How do we best convey to the hand tool woodworkers the attractions of wooden-bodied planes?

All suggestions would be welcome. For a bit of a preview, take a look at my new project post, and share your thoughts, please.

-- PollyB, On my boat,

7 replies so far

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1170 posts in 1133 days

#1 posted 08-03-2015 12:56 PM

First: Any new on the market producing quality tools are welcome!
Especially if you make Krenov style planes as i have not seen these sold new for a reasonable prize.

“How do we best convey to the hand tool woodworkers the attractions of wooden-bodied planes?”
I use wooden planes all the time and in my opinion they sell them selves if made well. Things that i like about them are:
- Light and easy on the arms to use. Even for hours.
- Glides easy and this makes for better control.
- Wooden planes made well keeps straight and is, if needed, easy to straighten.
- Adjustment is, once learned, easy and intuitive. The idea that having a learning curve is a bad thing should be questioned.
- And the last, important point: Wooden planes has a direct historical line all the way back to the romans with little changed.

If you make high quality tools that work well and are a pleasure to hold I am sure that people will see their worth. A few nicely made films on Youtube could help things on their way. Have a look at how David Barron present his planes for instace.

Looking forward to seeing you finished products!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View PollyB's profile


7 posts in 448 days

#2 posted 08-03-2015 06:01 PM

kaerlighedsbamsen: Thanks for the encouragement. I hope others will chime in as well.

-- PollyB, On my boat,

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1170 posts in 1133 days

#3 posted 08-03-2015 06:40 PM

Only glad to help!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1102 days

#4 posted 08-03-2015 07:02 PM

I don’t think that you need to convince the hobbiest, leisure woodworker, or small shop pro about the beauty and utility of a woody hand plane. On the other hand, determining your price point might be tricky … make it too low, and you won’t make any money, too high, and most of us hobbiest, leisure, and small pro guys will just buy the Hock iron and make the darn thing ourselves. Furthermore, there isn’t a huge pool of guys who even want to use hand planes … seems like many folks would prefer to build a router sled.

-- Jesse Felling -

View Puzzleman's profile


409 posts in 2364 days

#5 posted 08-04-2015 05:37 PM

Sounds like you are looking for marketing help. I will chime in with my 2 cents.

It’s simple. You need to be where your target market is. Who and where is the big question.
Step 1. Identify the types of people you are trying to reach. I presume from your op that you are looking for hobbyist woodworkers.

Step 2. Where do these people congregate? Obviously woodworking forums. But what about magazines, local woodworking stores, national woodworking stores, woodworking trade shows and so on.

Step 3. You have to get your product in front of these people. Send samples to magazines for them to test and hopefully they will write up a review on them for you. Visit with the owner / manager of local woodworking stores to see if they will carry your product. If the a woodworking trade show does a visit to your area, see about getting a booth and selling directly to the woodworkers you meet. Contact the buyers from national woodworking stores, send them samples and ask if they will carry your product. Buy advertising in woodworking magazines and trade journals. Buy ads on woodworking forums and web sites.

Step 4. Once you get to meet the people on the retail side, KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. They will want to know what is your pricing, discount for volume, how much volume can you handle, what is your turn around time, what is your insurance coverage, how many to a case, what is your minimum order, will you split orders, will you drop ship, can you give them a advertising allowance, will you go to one of their private trade shows, etc. Most importantly, know your production cost numbers and don’t let them go under your minimum price. No fun working for free.

Just a few ideas.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Stewbot's profile


190 posts in 504 days

#6 posted 08-04-2015 06:33 PM

Being somebody who fits within the parameters of your target market I will say that if I came across a reasonably convenient manner in which to buy some affordable yet well made wooden hand planes I would Most definitely consider buying them. I think like me a lot of people are constantly starting their own hobby shops and quickly realize the amount of money it takes to properly outfit a wood shop with good tools. Even if you buy old tools from Craigslist and restore them, to be a woodworker who works with both hand tools and electric tools, a properly outfitted woodshop can get pricey. Three months into the start of my shop I’ve spent over 2k (which may not be a lot to some, but is a lot to many) on tools that I did not already own, and my list is still long of tools I would like to buy. Some of those tools consist of a good set of hand planes. I do not do a lot of work with hand tools, but would one day like to move in that direction. Right now I have too many other machines on my list that I would like to buy before I pick-up a well rounded set of hand planes. With that said, a Quality set of planes are also not in my budget right now, and probably won’t be for a few more years. If I could pick up a more affordable but well made set of wooden planes, I would definitely consider that type of purchase sooner than I would otherwise.

I would suggest offering a bundled set of maby three very commonly used sizes. Something that can get a novice of hand planes like myself started, and headed in the right direction.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3517 days

#7 posted 08-05-2015 02:28 AM

Send one to Cris Schwarz and Rob Cosman. :)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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