Integrated tool selling

I’ve bought woodworking tools and equipment from Axminster for decades now. Always a good service.

Just lately I’ve begun a move from making large furniture items to making smaller things, with an associated reduction in machine tool use and an increase in hand tool use. Since Veritas have always been a favourite manufacturer of mine a few of their items, via Axminster, have got on my to-buy list.

Two problems arise:

  1. Not all Veritas stuff is available via Axminster (or any other UK supplier).
  2. Some items are only part-available - the main item but not the accessories.

Number 2 is the most annoying. For example:

I recently bought a Veritas skew block plane, which is a very fine and functional thing. I want the depth stop that fits it for help making precise-depth rebates. Not available, except by back order with a wait time of 6-7 months! I want two spare blades (to hone to make 45 and 55 degrees cutting angles, thus making a 3-fold block plane from one body). No spare blades available, except via back order and the 6-7 months wait.

Why sell only part of a tool? One becomes all suspicious that there is a marketing fellow trying to get us to buy other whole planes to serve the functions that just one can serve. Paranoia strikes deep, see? :frowning:

Lataxe

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This can happen with quite a few of the items required to expand a piece of equipment. You can find most of the item’s you require on Amazon. What I don’t understand is why wood workers have this idea that you have to spend a fortune on hand tools. The company you mention and other tool manufacturer’s gear these tools to the professional wood workers. Anyway it is not the tool that give’s a good quality finish, it is the person behind it. I hope this does not sound to cheeky.

Walter.

The items I mention aren’t available within the current area for which there are no customs charges so would have to be bought direct from Canada, involving a customs duty and a charge for applying it, as well as a large postage fee. It would cost a lot more than it would to buy from Axminster - if only they stocked the items.

If they sell a tool, Axminster (or any supplier) should make the whole tool (i.e. the accessories and spares) available too. What if I severely damage a blade? Such complete-product availability is just good customer service. Such tools as those from Veritas, by the way, sell 99% to amateurs. There aren’t that many professional woodworkers about post-IKEA and similar.

The idea that woodworkers have to spend a fortune on tools is entirely yours, really. Woodworkers, like those who buy other things, tend to buy what suits their wants and needs. How much did you waste on your last car, by the way?

I’ve bought and sold many Veritas and similar high quality tools over several decades of woodworking. Such high quality tools often sell second hand for as much or more than you paid for them, after a decade or so, as they last a lifetime. I think of it as inexpensive tool-hire.

The quality of a tool can make a very significant difference indeed to the product of the cabinetmaker using it. Even if you want to spend hours and hours trying the fettle a cheap & nasty TSO (tool-shaped object) so it’ll work, you’ll likely fail as it’s not made to ever work, just to sell to the naive.

You don’t sound cheeky so much as inexperienced. :slight_smile:

I tend to agree with Lataxe’s sentiments: I am a very part-time woodworker and yet tend to buy tools at the quality end of the market (to the degree that I can afford them of course). I might well be seen as not getting true value from them, but in my experience they are so much more satisfying and pleasurable to use that to me they are well worth the extra outlay. For me, life’s too short for poor quality tools!

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I took up woodworking a few years ago when I retired. I bought quite a few tools and machines from Amazon with an eye on price. As I got more into things I realised what a lot of poor quality stuff I had bought. Most of it went to the charity shop and I re-equipped from Axminster with their own brand and Veritas, Lie Nielsen etc. I’m enjoying the hobby much more and producing better work. It’s horses for courses naturally, but I don’t regret spending more on my tools.

Hi Lataxe, Like you I am a loyal Axminster customer but they dont always get my business. On a couple of occasions recently I go straight through to Lee Valley Tools in Canada and buy my Veritas tools direct. You can set up an international account with them and on both my last purchases no import taxes or charges were made. I also found the P&P costs very reasonable. Its worth taking a look at their online shop. You also need to compare the value of the Can$ exchange rate as this is below the US$ rate and helps off set any charges if they are incurred. I will still use Axminster as my first call but sometimes you just have to look elsewhere.

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Mr Dog,

That’s good to know. I have bought direct from Lee Valley in the distant past but had to suffer the customs charges et al. This was before anyone I could find in Blighty sold Veritas stuff much.

Perhaps the marketing men of Axminster have reasons not to stock all the Veritas lines? Perhaps Le Valley have some sort of policy about what they allow to be resold elsewhere? In all events, it’s a nuisance.

I’ll try for some spare skew block plane blades direct, though. Perhaps one or two other essential items too. :slight_smile:

Lataxe

Two things.

Today I extracted a Two Cherries mortise chisel that I’ve had for some years and never used. (I got three and only used two of them). This item was, as were the other two, in need of a lot of back-flattening, as they polish them too much and round over the edge. But after all that, when I came to sharpen the bevel I discover that it won’t hold properly in the Veritas mortise chisel honing guide thingy because the chisel back is not coplanar with the chisel front. As a consequence, the chisel won’t sit square in the honing guide jaws and produces a skewed bevel.

I could sharpen it by hand. But this wouldn’t get rid of the non-parallel front and back to the chisel, which will inevitably affect the mortise hole, probably leaving edge marks on the mortise wall and/or cutting a mortise with non-square ends. It’s gone to the bin - another example of a rubbish tool sold as being not-so-cheap and cheerful.


Meanwhile I discover a German on-line tool seller with lots of Veritas stock including spare skew block plane blades and the depth thingy I can’t get anywhere in Britain. Moreover, all their Veritas prices are around 15% less than any price for Verita items I can find anywhere in Britain! Postage to Blighty is inexpensive.

What can I say? “Cuh!” seems appropriate. “Time for UK tool sellers to improve their services”, I might add.

Lataxe

Hi Lataxe.
Have you heard of ‘Brimarc’ in Devon? I have had some tools from them. good service.

Hi there Lataxe,

I trust you are well. I visited a Lee Valley shop in Victoria, Vancouver Island, on my recent Canadian holiday and purchased some Veritas goodies, plus a Lee Valley cap - Cushtie :slight_smile:
To the point, who is the on-line German tool seller you mention, please? Can you provide a link to their site?

Regards,

Chris

Hello Chris.

I couldn’t go to a Veritas shop! I would come out poverty stricken. :slight_smile:
The German on-line tool emporium is Dieter’s FIne Tools:

https://www.fine-tools.com/index.html

Axminster will probably now excommunicate me!

LAtaxe

Lataxe,

Thank you very much. I know what you mean. Reading your forum comments, I’m aware I could become one of those ‘wallies’ who collect expensive tools and leave them in their boxes! I’ve recently purchased a Festool OF1400, but it’s still in the box. I was mortified to learn the price of a Festool Router Table, ie, CMS with the Router insert for the CMS, would be in 4 figures. I can’t justify that, so I’ll need to improvise - I’ve seen a few YouTube videos encouraging us to make our own. Have you a personal recommendation for a good, reasonably priced solution? It would be nice to make something for c£200, no?

Wash your hands :slight_smile:

A long time ago I too struggled with the router table choices; and made one error of the “buy a cheap 'un” kind. Inevitable it was cheap & nasty. Eventually I got a Veritas router table with various extra bits. Sadly, they no longer make & sell it.

The big problem with router tables is that the table top needs to be ultra-stiff to resist the weight of the router strapped underneath trying (and often succeeding) to make it sag. ANy sag means horrible results in the routed parts. Virtually all those router tables made of anything other than metal end up sagging. MDF and similar stuff, no matter how thick, is susceptible to sag if the humidity in which it lives goes up even for a relatively short time. And over time, the heavy router will sag it too.

Thicker table tops also mean the router struggles to push some bits up above the table enough. The Veritas has a 6mm thick steel sheet as it’s table top. In the twenty years I’ve had it, with a Triton 3HP router strapped underneath, it’s shown zero sag other than the designed-in sag - a tiny amount compensated for by the unweighted table having a teeny crown, so it’s flat with the router attached.

It’s not easy to make such a thing yourself unless you’re a metal worker. Even then …

There’s also a need for a very accurately-made fence; and zero-clearance inserts of different hole diameters for different bits, in the tabletop. And …

In the end, a commercially made table is the only path to good performance and accuracy. Those able to achieve good performance and accuracy are never cheap. Even some expensive ones still suffer from the sag.

Not much use, this, I know. :frowning:

Lataxe

Lataxe,

Aah well, I’ll just have to continue looking at the 2ndhand Festool market on eBay.

What other www sites might you suggest?

Chris

If it’s information about woodworking tools & techniques you’re after, I’d recommend primarily two American sources: Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking. The paper magazines are now more difficult to obtain outside the USA but both publishers offer comprehensive websites that contain digital copies of all the magazines going back to the year dot as well as a ton of other stuff, including some very extensive and well-made how-to videos.

You do have to put up with US attitudes, including queer words, spellings and accents. Also, they have some daft tool traditions, particularly when it comes to table saws, planer-thicknessers and routers. :slight_smile:

Personally I prefer Fine Woodworking as it seems more comprehensive. In addition, they have a try-it-free-for-14-days offer. This does require your credit card details but they’re very good about cancelling if you decide it’s not for you. Otherwise it’s $9.99 per month or $99.99 for a year. Frankly, you could download an awful lot of PDFs of articles that take your interest (there are thousands) in a month. The whole magazines are not downloadable, though; and the videos are streamers too, so once you cease paying for “membership” you lose access to those.

No British website or magazine to recommend? 'Afraid not - they seem to deal in either horrible flibberty fangles made of “pine” or high end “designer-maker” stuff of some very “modern” items. The Americans seem to have kept most of the design and construction traditions, even though you come across adverts for all sorts of outlandish “jigs” for dealing with their badly-designed table saws and “jointers”.

Is it possible to securely and privately email via this forum? I can relay more info to you personally, if so.

Lataxe

Lataxe,

I appreciate the efforts you have made to pass this info on to me. I confide my address is my name followed by gmaildotcom

Chris

Chris,

I did send you an email some time ago but no response …

Lataxe

Meanwhile another of the Axminster not-tool-selling syndromes has popped up.

There’s a Veritas toothing blade on the website for Veritas BU planes taking a standard 57mm wide blade. I have some of those planes.

The toothing blade webpage blurb firstly fails to have a full description. The blade is available from Veritas, the manufacturer, in three versions of 13, 17 or 25 tpi, for different purposes. The coarse is for quickly shaping rough boards with difficult grain. The middle one is for doing the same with less lumpy (already dimensioned) boards and the fine tooth is for preparing the groundwork on which veneer will be laid. The first two tpi have square edged teeth unsuitable for veneer groundwork prep whilst the 25tpi blade has v-shaped teeth.

None of this is on the Axminster website page. How to order the right blade, then? Which one(s) do they actually sell; or do they sell them all but you get one at random if you order? ('Scuse my sark).

To give Axminster their due they replied quickly to my query about the details above. However, they only have the 13 tpi. But I can order the 25 tpi. Well, I can if I’m prepared to wait for “5- 6 months” for it to come, which period may be extended because of the current crisis.

Really?

Axminster marketing needs a shakeup. Yes.

Lataxe

Hate to disagree as we all have our own experiences but I can only praise Axminster sandlike all humans, they sometimes get things wrong - when they do they put it right very quickly in my experience. Happy easter!!

A merry Easter to you too Badger! My own is somewhat blighted by a dog death, hayfever and the bluddy COVID lunacy but one must keep up the pecker. :slight_smile:

Axminster have served me very well over the decades and deserve praise for being probably the best emporium for the greatest range of WW (and other) stuff on the web (and presumably in their shops). But you must admit that a waiting time of 5 - 6 months + COVID delay for a simple thing like a toothing blade is not exactly “putting things right very quickly”.

I mention it in the hope they will revise this policy of advertising things but not actually having them whilst offering a back-order that is a bit too long seeing as how old gimmers with WW dosh spare from their pension might easily not be here after such a delay. Of course, I have another 29 years to go myself, to reach 100yo so as to get a queenie-card (she seems likely to go on to 200 herself); and to get full value from the pension scheme.

You may think me impatient; and I am.

Lataxe

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