How many of you buy your tools at Garret Wade?

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Forum topic by Planeman40 posted 11-09-2012 02:08 PM 13908 views 0 times favorited 55 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1274 posts in 2936 days

11-09-2012 02:08 PM

I constantly shake my head at how certain businesses stay in business. Garret Wade, who has been around a long time, has always been WAAAY overpriced. Today I received an e-mail from them that touted a lighted headband magnifier at a “reduced” price of $41.56 ( The magnifier looked like the one I saw at Harbor Freight so I went out to HF and looked ( and it is the EXACT SAME ONE and is priced at $4.99. And I feel sure it is Chinese made.

That is 1,200% higher!!!

You are fools if you buy from Garrett Wade folks.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

55 replies so far

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3322 days

#1 posted 11-09-2012 02:48 PM

Who buys cheap imported stuff from G-W? Ads you said, HF is the place for this. But, last time I checked, HF was pretty low on high-end hand tools. Horses, as they say, for courses,

Of course, I much preferred when G-W still had their retail store in NYC (where I live).

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2433 days

#2 posted 11-09-2012 02:53 PM

I used to get their catalog, but never bought anything from them. Perhaps their customer is those with more money than time???

-- Art

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#3 posted 11-09-2012 03:50 PM

I bought from them before the internet.

Garrett Wade used to sell some cool European stuff
they don’t carry anymore, in part because the exchange
rates became prohibitive.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3284 days

#4 posted 11-09-2012 03:52 PM

I would be hesitant to label these as exactly the same without physically checking them out. Construction may be the same, but with different quality in the material and workmanship. I pick some items up at higher priced retailers and some items at HF. I try to refrain from calling those that shop at either a fool.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2860 days

#5 posted 11-09-2012 03:59 PM

in any consumer product business there is something called “snob appeal”...years ago porsche introduced a low priced car…they found out that it was killing their primary high-end business (if the commoners can own one they didn’t want it).

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#6 posted 11-09-2012 04:06 PM

Oh GW has some really cool stuff and it’s not all expensive.

I haven’t bought from them in awhile, but I’ve reached the
point where I don’t buy tools that much anymore.

I will say that the emergence of ebay has made bargains
on used hand tools way more accessible. When I started
out in woodworking, good used wood tools were hard to
find in California… still are but now you can find them
online so it doesn’t matter much.

GW were the first I know of to sell Lie Nielsen planes,
but they also imported the Record planes and UK made
Stanley Bailey planes in the 80s and 90s because they
were better made than other new bench planes you
could buy at the time. Garrett Wade led the Renaissance
of hand tool woodworking in North America.

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3839 days

#7 posted 11-09-2012 04:08 PM

I get Garrett-Wade’s catalogs and emails … why, I don’t know. I have never bought anything from them.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2549 days

#8 posted 11-09-2012 04:23 PM

teejk is dead on. It’s the snob appeal. But a person must educate themselves on quality vs. quantity. Just because it has a name does not necessarily signify good quality. You will never get ahead if you keep buying stuff that breaks or is inaccurate. Thats why I love the internet. People can point you in the direction of gems vs. junk from any brand.

My youngest daughter came home from school one day and asked us if we could buy her some girl brand shirt because her so called friends would not allow her in their club without one. I tried to explain to her that I could buy her three shirts that look identical vs. the cost of one. But she wanted to be in “the club”. People want to show off. They like acceptance whether it be real or not.

Now some irony. Those spoiled kids who are given clothes that “snobs” buy, will realize when they grow up they may not afford them. Then they will be demonizing those same children who grew up and learned the value of money, and can now afford those “snob” products. They will say “it’s not fair!”

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3090 days

#9 posted 11-09-2012 04:31 PM

I once submitted a Stanley brand shoulder plane review to Garrett Wade. It was an honest but less than glowing review of Stanley QC. GW refused to post it online and then insisted upon a GW receipt. If this product had been one of their own manufacture they might have had a point, but when they are just the reseller of the product I object.

Consequently, I personally refuse to do any business with Garrett Wade, going forward.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3322 days

#10 posted 11-09-2012 04:53 PM

My wife bought me my Lie Nielsen bronze smoothing plane from the GW store in NYC. It may be a “snob appeal” piece, but it’s perhaps the nicest gift I have ever received and I cherish it.

Every lesser plane I’ve bought since then has been a huge disappointment. It’s not the same as, say, an Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirt for $100 compared to a Lands End one from Sears for $29.

I would never buy a Porsche. Their business model is to sell the latest model to their “loyal” customers and abandon owners of older editions. Ask any owner of the first water-cooled 911s who experienced the main bearing seal problem and who were told to suck it up and pay for the $15K overhaul to correct the problem.

“Expensive” may not always equal “best”, but some expensive items are worth every penny.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2552 days

#11 posted 11-09-2012 05:27 PM

Back in the day GW was about the only game in town. This Texas farm boy bought many tools from them, not for snob appeal but because they carried tools that were not available from other sources. While I have a soft spot for the memory of what was, the current GW has fallen into irrelevance. Shame, because they helped make the hand tool world we live in now possible.

View oldnovice's profile


7273 posts in 3543 days

#12 posted 11-09-2012 06:43 PM

I get their catalogues too even though I have never bought anything from them because they are too expensive!

But the same goes for these that I get catalogues without any purchases:
  • Bridge City tools, also expensive good looking stuff
  • McFeelys, buy my Fastap screws locally and McFeelys doesn’t sell those anyway
  • Restoration Hardware, slowly turning into an expensive furniture store sans any hardware
  • Penn State tools, good stuff decent prices but I am not into pen making
  • Klockit, never built a clock, kit or otherwise
  • others, too many to itemize

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2286 days

#13 posted 11-09-2012 08:33 PM

As I remember, Tom Lie-Nielsen used to work at GW… He originally sold his planes at GW, then left to build them full-time. it was before my time, but I’ve been told GW was once a reall woodworker’s supply house. It does seem to be going more “Sharper Image” meets “Restoration Hardware” meets “Skymall” with each new catalog.

Personally, I’ve never purchased anything from GW, as they’ve never had anything I wanted. Woodworking-wise, they seem to have lost their way and gotten pushed aside by lots of other vendors.

View craigw's profile


2 posts in 3068 days

#14 posted 11-09-2012 10:18 PM

As an owner of Garrett Wade it’s alarming to see HF has such a price difference on a similar looking tool. I’m ordering one from them now to compare. Their price is way below what we pay so I imagine it must be for a different quality tool. But I’ll test them both and see.
Craig Winer
Vice President
Garrett Wade

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3090 days

#15 posted 11-09-2012 10:30 PM

Your rejection of a review of a Major Supplier tool was quite odd, just because YOU did not sell the Major Brand “sample”. Is that truly policy?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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