Festool Owners Group

GENERAL DISCUSSIONS => Hand Tools => Topic started by: ForumMFG on April 09, 2020, 10:16 AM

Title: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: ForumMFG on April 09, 2020, 10:16 AM
I just recently learned that Blue Spruce Tools Works was purchased by Woodpeckers this past year in July.   Apparently, all production will be eventually moved to the woodpeckers facility in Ohio, it could of happened by now, and the original owner Dave will work behind the scenes designing new tools and I’m sure he will have other responsibilities as well. 

I have mixed emotions about this.  Back in 2010 when Blue Spruce was still a young company i purchased my first set of chisels from them and they were absolutely stunning, performing perfectly, and the quality was outstanding.  A few years later i ended up having to sell them because life happened.  Now that things have calmed down for me, i placed another order with them for 8 chisels and a mallet.  At the time i placed the order in March, i had no idea that they sold the company and that my chisels are possibly being made by a different company so i am very annoyed that I wasn’t told this.  We all know woodpeckers has a great name and produces exceptional tools but i fear that Blue Spruce products made by them just won’t be the same even though they say it will be.  Woodpeckers is a mass production shop, i don’t see the quality being identical at all.   There’s something to be said about small shops producing the best products in the world whereas we all know what can be said about mass produced products.  Knowing your tool is produced in small batches means someone is carefully going over every single detail without missing anything. 

I think by the time Blue Spruce sold, the company was only 15 years old so I’m also shocked it happened so soon.  But to the owner Dave, i am happy for him, he built up a great company and name that’s known for some of the best tools in the world so hats off to him.  And knowing that he has more time on his hands now, that hopefully means we will see new products and designs in the future and i’m excited for that. 

Again, nothing against woodpeckers, i own a lot of their tools.  I just have some mixed emotions right now and definitely very annoyed i was not informed that someone else would be making my tools.


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Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: StanB on April 09, 2020, 11:41 PM
At least they are still made in USA. Bridge city tools are now from China. I like their stuff but now it just seems meh. Not worth a premium price if not from USA.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: forestmount on April 10, 2020, 02:42 AM
At least they are still made in USA. Bridge city tools are now from China. I like their stuff but now it just seems meh. Not worth a premium price if not from USA.


I have always felt changing the country an item is manufactured without changing the RRP and making the change well known is misleading.

I never really got past this when a well known Japanese power tool company did this. I bought what I thought was a quality sander and it simply did not work, not faulty just did not work.

The motor was too fast and underpowered to be useful. This was 25 years ago and I have never given them another cent.




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Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Michael Kellough on April 10, 2020, 09:39 AM
At least they are still made in USA. Bridge city tools are now from China. I like their stuff but now it just seems meh. Not worth a premium price if not from USA.

Glad my iPhone is “from USA”.  [tongue]
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: SouthRider on April 10, 2020, 07:35 PM
Remember? Back in the 60's when everything from Japan was poorly made - we all called it "Japanese Junk". So they stopped putting "made in Japan" on many products and moved production of many items to USA - Usa, Japan, a new city filled with factories!

Image matters!
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: martin felder on April 10, 2020, 08:48 PM
I still have the Made in the USA Lifetime warranty Craftsman sockets I got when I was in high school and have always used Craftsman for my sockets and wrenches (but no longer have my Craftsman Radial arm saw from high school).  Not all that long ago, I added some sockets as I put up a set of common non-metric sockets along the back wall of the shop to get to easily when using lag screws and bolts.  They had the fractions written in big numbers which was a bonus as my reading vision is not what it was in high school.

Anyhow, last month I went to replace a missing one and saw they sold Craftsman at Lowes.  How convenient!  I found the socket I needed, but the numbering and lettering was very different and super cheap looking.  I looked at the packaging and saw it was made in China.  I did not get it but found a matching socket at Sears.  I guess they have 2 product lines of the same sized sockets at this time. 

In this cases, I thought the made in China product was not as good.  Hopefully that will not be the case with your made in the USA chisels.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Birdhunter on April 10, 2020, 09:29 PM
I own a set of Blue Spruce chisels and a lot of Woodpecker tools. My guess is that Woodpecker has deeper pockets and can fund expansion of the Blue Spruce products. Maybe, not a bad merger?
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: StanB on April 10, 2020, 10:06 PM
At least they are still made in USA. Bridge city tools are now from China. I like their stuff but now it just seems meh. Not worth a premium price if not from USA.

Glad my iPhone is “from USA”.  [tongue]

Yes but the iPhone was never made here. Part of the prestige was that bct was a bespoke USA made in Portland tool. Now it’s made China. Would you buy festool if they changed all manufacturing to China or Taiwan?
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: neilc on April 10, 2020, 10:23 PM
Before you criticize the BCTW tools from China, take a look at them.  John Economaki (BCTW Founder) and Jack Xu (Harvey Founder) are producing very high quality tools at a much lower cost.   Great industrial design and inventive functionality at a lower cost.  That comes from higher volumes thru global distribution.  John first started getting Jack to produce his chopstick maker years ago, and ended up selling the company to Harvey Woodworking.  Their line of tools is far better than any of the knock-offs at several of the big woodworking and homeowner tool retailers.  if you've never met either John or Jack, you'd be very impressed with their commitment to quality and very cool designs.

John exited doing any manufacturing after the financial crisis.  He found manufacturers from around the world for the components and that's how he ran across Harvey.  Check out their tablesaws, lathes, and other large machinery.  Or their line of dust collectors at www.harveywoodworking.com (http://www.harveywoodworking.com).  Made in China, but very good quality.

I have BCTW tools from 1984 and later and I have been very impressed with the new tools that John and Jack have produced.  I too had mixed emotions about that sale and John and I talked about it while he was contemplating a sale due to his age and a challenging market for high end tools.  But through the new relationship, they are bringing back many of the designs that John designed many years ago.

Blue Spruce and Woodpeckers should also be a great union.  Manufacturing and marketing scale plus strong design and quality manufacturing.  it's very difficult with a declining market for quality hand tools to sustain a small business like that.  And this years pandemic crisis will only exacerbate this shift.  Most 'hand tool lovers' are older males and there are not many younger buyers coming into the hand tool requiring trades, particularly those that will pay what a Blue Spruce or US made BCTW tool might cost. 

BTW, Harvey has done some of the manufacturing for Apple as well.  So their quality is quite good. 
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: WillAdams on April 11, 2020, 08:41 AM
I have a Chopstick Maker, and some of the small earlier U.S.-made tools, and have been pleased with them.

I bought an Ultimate Coping Saw from Blue Spruce Toolworks and have been thrilled with it.

I hope that one of these manufacturers will make a nice brace --- missed the Kuri Kuri Mini Drill and can't justify the prices of the older Bridge City Toolworks designs.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: jeffinsgf on April 11, 2020, 09:27 AM
A little "behind the scenes" perspective...

We approached the Blue Spruce Toolworks merger as a chance to build on what Dave has already accomplished. We're doing everything we can to scale up production while maintaining specifications exactly as Dave designed them. The long game is that Dave will be designing and prototyping tools while we focus on manufacturing here in Strongsville.

Rich Hummel (president of Woodpeckers) is a hand-tool junkie himself (no surprise, is it?), and also looks at BSTW as a chance to bring out hand tools that are more "unplugged" than the Woodpeckers brand. For example, in a couple weeks we're going to launch a limited production run of a really cool hand-forged marking knife.

I am blessed to work for a company that has matched market base with manufacturing scale of economy perfectly. We're proud of being a U.S. manufacturer. We don't design tools to make millions of them, we design them to make thousands. There's a difference in manufacturing approach, and one that I think matches our market.

At one point I would have echoed Neil's opinion that the market for high end hand tools is shrinking, but after working at Woodpeckers since 2016, I am starting to feel that there's a movement among younger people (at least some) toward using their hands when they're not sitting behind a computer.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: six-point socket II on April 11, 2020, 09:44 AM
Totally hear you @ForumMFG ! While I have no opinion on this particular merger, I can relate that one feels it's just not the same anymore after (a) major change/s.

Legacy, staying true to your heritage & roots matters. This is what builds real brands, known by, used by, and cherished over, many generations. Not M&A and shallow marketing phrases to generate quick & high returns while some hype lasts.

Kind regards,
Oliver
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Jim Kirkpatrick on April 11, 2020, 09:47 AM
I don't have an opinion on the merger except to say if it's Woodpecker, expect the Blue Spruce tools to quadruple in price.   [scared]
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: T. Ernsberger on April 11, 2020, 10:31 AM
I wonder if the quality will drop.  I’m not a fan of Woodpecker products.  Anodized aluminum for precision marking tools is not quality in my option. They do offer some stainless options but the majority is aluminum. 
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: grbmds on April 11, 2020, 10:33 AM
High quality tools are just the, high quality tools, no matter who manufactures them. The US economy is a global economy for a reason, no matter how much some people fight that concept. The US must be involved globally and successful US companies understand that. It's hard to imagine that there are many companies, especially large ones, that don't buy at least some components for their products which are made other places in the world. The US just doesn't have all the resources and expertise and trained affordable labor to compete these days. We might all wish that things were the same as they were when many of us grew up, especially those of us who are "old", but they just aren't.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Richard/RMW on April 11, 2020, 11:41 AM
My [2cents] echos several others, I'd expect quality to remain the same otherwise it defeats the purpose of acquiring established brands/companies.

I also believe the old stigma of Made in China is nearly irrelevant theses days. Mostly gone are the days of rough casting and poorly designed tools. Chinese factories contain the same high end cnc machines as companies in other countries. The caveat is that design matters as does quality control, there are still cheaply made tools out there but it's not because they can't produce quality, they just don't.

Bangood seems to have a lot of quality WP-ish tools an they are not particularly inexpensive. This leads me to believe the paradigm was shifted.

I have to admit I don't get the frequent complaints about WP's business model or pricing. If I don't see the value or want to wait months I don't buy it. Not that I don't think that some of the offerings are a stretch in terms of functionality, a solution in search of a problem, I just skip those.

Welp, Gotta get out to the shop. Stay safe everyone.

RMW
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Holzhacker on April 13, 2020, 12:46 PM
I can hear the Blue Spruce prices running up already.

I own a number of Woodpecker tools. I like their stuff. Great quality and all work well for me. I'm a bit over the one time tool nonsense and the prices. The pricing isn't overly high but its just a bit too high so that I'm far less interested in ordering anymore of their products. The cost to value just doesn't work anymore. The waiting months on end for one time tool production is also annoying.

Oddly I've been looking at the Blue Spruce website lately to figure out a few things to order. Guess I better hurry.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: HarveyWildes on April 13, 2020, 11:48 PM
I thought that I was getting more emails from Blue Spruce lately.  I was wondering why they started marketing to me out of blue (so to speak), since I've not bought anything from them.  Woodpeckers has a higher volume of email than even the Festool refurb program, and I guess BSTW will follow suit now.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Gregor on April 14, 2020, 02:26 AM
I also believe the old stigma of Made in China is nearly irrelevant theses days.
When remembering how made in Germany (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_Germany) came to existance... it is also likely for made in Chine to backfire at a certain point in time.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Bert Vanderveen on April 14, 2020, 07:47 AM
Bangood seems to have a lot of quality WP-ish tools an they are not particularly inexpensive. This leads me to believe the paradigm was shifted.
Yeah, but do note that "WP-ish" really means "totally ripped of". The lack of concern for IP in China is disconcerting. Without investment in research and development and with government-supported marketing and distribution (cheap shipping, because China has third country status!), it is very easy to sell 'cheap' tools. The fact that lately the prices of these rip offs have risen is an indication that far too many consumers have fallen for them (you know: supply and demand).

I stay away from Bangood and Alibaba because every 'imitation' product you procure from them is a kick in the face for the people who originally invented it.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: hdv on April 14, 2020, 08:25 AM
Amen! I wholeheartedly agree with Bert!

Just take a look at  what is on offer on those sites. It is ridiculous, almost everything is a copy. That doesn't necessarily mean the quality is bad, nor that I want to join in the currently popular China-bashing. But I do like to support OEMs. That "O" really means something to me.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Cheese on April 14, 2020, 10:25 AM
This discussion reminds me of the several years that Woodcraft carried the line of Lie-Nielsen planes. Everytime I visited, I'd go to the LN display and try to decide which one I was going to purchase, the next time they went on sale. A tough decision because at the time, I only owned a beat up Stanley with a cracked handle and a chipped knob, so essentially I needed several of the LN planes.

Then, one day I walked into Woodcraft and the LN display was bare. I asked why and was told that Woodcraft had talked directly with LN himself about ramping up production to supply the demand. LN replied that he was unwilling to ramp up the supply because he was worried about potential quality issues. Consequently, Woodcraft filled the display case with WoodRiver hand planes instead.  [sad]

So the question is, was LN just mired in the past while Blue Spruce is looking to the future? Time will tell.  [smile]
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: derekcohen on April 14, 2020, 10:32 AM
Not quite what happened, Cheese. WoodCraft sent a LN plane to China and had them mould a copy from it, which became WoodRiver series I. LN took them to court and removed their planes.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: ChuckM on April 14, 2020, 10:43 AM
This is the published version of the L-N / Woodcraft story:

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/12/19/lie-nielsen-toolworks-and-woodcraft-part-ways

A related story: https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/05/21/who-begot-who-comparing-planes-from-lie-nielsen-wood-river-and-stanley
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Cheese on April 14, 2020, 10:51 AM
This is the published version of the L-N / Woodcraft story:

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/12/19/lie-nielsen-toolworks-and-woodcraft-part-ways


Interesting that LN still has 3 Woodcraft stores as retailers.  [huh]
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: ChuckM on April 14, 2020, 11:05 AM
Not sure about the current status as the article was a decade ago. At the time, those three stores were independently owned from the chain, and L-N and those stores were on good terms.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: zapdafish on April 14, 2020, 12:06 PM
I knew about LN dropping Woodcraft but never bothered to find out why. It's interesting that the reason in the FW article is similar to Festool experiences I have read about where Woodcraft has very spotty service regarding product knowledge.


This is the published version of the L-N / Woodcraft story:

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/12/19/lie-nielsen-toolworks-and-woodcraft-part-ways

A related story: https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/05/21/who-begot-who-comparing-planes-from-lie-nielsen-wood-river-and-stanley
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: derekcohen on April 14, 2020, 12:31 PM
Not sure about the current status as the article was a decade ago. At the time, those three stores were independently owned from the chain, and L-N and those stores were on good terms.

That is my understanding.

Cheese, that comment by Patrick Jackson was an essay in diplomacy. The second article tells the real story ...

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/05/21/who-begot-who-comparing-planes-from-lie-nielsen-wood-river-and-stanley

The time frame between WR planes arriving on the scene and the WR/LN conflict arising (as I said, it went to court), was too brief for WoodCraft to not have been planning this long beforehand.

I was around at the time and hearing the story from related manufacturers. LN were not the only company whose tools were copied, and the copies sold at WoodCraft.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: JimH2 on April 14, 2020, 01:10 PM
I believe Stanley Black & Decker owns Craftsman. Lowe’s is just a reseller.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: six-point socket II on April 14, 2020, 01:33 PM
Bangood seems to have a lot of quality WP-ish tools an they are not particularly inexpensive. This leads me to believe the paradigm was shifted.
Yeah, but do note that "WP-ish" really means "totally ripped of". The lack of concern for IP in China is disconcerting. Without investment in research and development and with government-supported marketing and distribution (cheap shipping, because China has third country status!), it is very easy to sell 'cheap' tools. The fact that lately the prices of these rip offs have risen is an indication that far too many consumers have fallen for them (you know: supply and demand).

I stay away from Bangood and Alibaba because every 'imitation' product you procure from them is a kick in the face for the people who originally invented it.

This needs a full quote!

So, so, so true!!

Kind regards,
Oliver
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: grbmds on April 14, 2020, 02:39 PM
Too bad we can't just all just wait and see what happens. Regardless of what you think about Woodpeckers and/or Blue Spruce, they are both companies who have made high quality tools for awhile. They both have demonstrated that they value innovation and improvement in the manufacturing process to make the tools they sell reach a higher quality. Woodpeckers provides some of the best, if not the best, support to its customers and I believe that Blue Spruce does the same (although that is based on comments from other, not my own experience). There is absolutely no reason to believe that Woodpeckers will compromise the quality and innovation of Blue Spruce's products. As for price, Blue Spruce tools are definitely pricey, as are Woodpeckers, but the quality and before/after sale support justify it for me. If I think a WP tool is priced too high for the use I will get out of it, I just don't buy it, but it's not because I think there is any question it's a high quality tool.

I have a number of Woodpeckers squares and measuring devices, as well as their Domino add-on set. Even if I don't use those tools everyday, I appreciate the accuracy, precision, and quality of each and everyone of the WP tools I own when I do use them. Plus, I have personally experienced their guarantee and support, having dropped my most WP expensive squares on my shop's concrete floor. Even though this was my fault, and without question, WP replaced the damage parts and sent the tool back to me within a week as good as it was brand new. For me, that made the price I paid worth it, although given it's value to me in its frequent use, I would have not been upset with anyone but myself for dropping it if I had to pay to have it repaired. So, yes WP tools are expensive, but worth it. Blue Spruce tools are also expensive and innovative as well as beautiful. I think WP just wants to incorporate some of this beauty created by wood into its line and the time was right for Blue Spruce to sell.I'm looking forward to seeing what the combo yields. As always, if I think the price is too high for the tool's value in my shop, I just won't buy it. Everyone has that choice.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: HarveyWildes on April 15, 2020, 08:57 AM
Not sure about the current status as the article was a decade ago. At the time, those three stores were independently owned from the chain, and L-N and those stores were on good terms.

That is my understanding.

Cheese, that comment by Patrick Jackson was an essay in diplomacy. The second article tells the real story ...

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/05/21/who-begot-who-comparing-planes-from-lie-nielsen-wood-river-and-stanley (https://www.finewoodworking.com/2009/05/21/who-begot-who-comparing-planes-from-lie-nielsen-wood-river-and-stanley)

The time frame between WR planes arriving on the scene and the WR/LN conflict arising (as I said, it went to court), was too brief for WoodCraft to not have been planning this long beforehand.

I was around at the time and hearing the story from related manufacturers. LN were not the only company whose tools were copied, and the copies sold at WoodCraft.

Regards from Perth

Derek


Interesting, but there is design and then there is execution.  If you are going to copy a design, then you should be able to execute the design as well.  Wood River may have copied the Lie Nielsen design, but from all I've heard, they have not executed on it as well.


I visited the Lie Nielsen factory about 1 1/2 years ago on a beautiful fall morning in Maine.  I walked into the show room, looked around, and (of course) bought a few things that caught my eye.  The sales person was knowledgeable about the tools, and demo'd a couple for me.  Another person eventually came in the store (coincidentally, someone I had taken a woodworking class with in Colorado 10 years previously) and I took my stuff out to the car.  As I was contemplating driving off, I thought to myself - chances are that I will never get this way again.  So I went back in and asked for a tour.  The other customer thought that was a good idea as well, so the salesperson yelled up the stairs for someone to listen for customers while she gave us a tour, and off we went.


I was impressed.  People at the factory know their part of the process, but even more, they know why their part of the process contributes to a quality product, down to the smallest details of fit and finish.  They understood that they could have done things more efficiently or with less care, and they could explain why that resulted in an inferior product.  There is a lot of CNC work, but surprisingly a lot of hand work as well, for things that just require the right feel.  The description she gave of the guy who does final sharpening and inspection on the saws was wonderful (he had just left for lunch, so I didn't get to meet him).  He works on machines that date back to before there were motors, and although they have retrofitted motors to them, apparently they can still be operated by hand if needed.  The bottom line was that I saw people who were passionate about quality, proud of their work, and produce products that rank with the best in the world.


And at the end of the day, that's why I will buy a Lie Nielsen plane over a Wood River plane.  Wood River may have copied the design, but they didn't capture the parts of the process that require passion and pride to get right.  I've bought a lot of stuff at Woodcraft, including Lie Nielsen planes back in the day, but in this case they lost my plane business not because Wood River planes are knock-offs, but because they are just not as good.


Of course, that's why people buy Blue Spruce, and to some extent Woodpeckers as well.  My feeling is that both companies have passion and pride in quality, but they have a different design sense.  Blue Spruce is concerned with the aesthetics and feel of their tools in a way that Woodpeckers is not.  Woodpeckers is more concerned with precision tools that are very functional, but not beautiful.  They make some great stuff if you need it, but they also leverage that model to tools that seem a little gimmicky to me - products in search of a good reason for existence.  That is reflected in marketing as well, as Woodpeckers sometimes feels like slice and dice TV marketing rather than something that appeals to the soul.  I think the challenge for Woodpeckers moving forward will be to protect and learn from the Blue Spruce aesthetic.  If you don't think that is important, imagine a Blue Spruce Chisel with a red anodized aluminum (or red plastic) handle.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: WillAdams on April 15, 2020, 10:43 AM
I was _very_ impressed by the Lie-Nielsen No. 60½ Adjustable Mouth Block Plane w/ nicker which I bought myself for my birthday, and agree w/ the aesthetics assessment.

While I love Lee Valley as a company, the LN tools are more attractive to me --- the Veritas stuff is sort of updated and streamlined in appearance, but it's not quite where I usually want to be when doing hand tool work (and I say that as a person who feels a bit of angst every time he hauls out his plastic-handled Stanley #12-250 combination plane and is sorely tempted by their grooving plane) --- the Woodpeckers stuff is at least unabashed in its modernity, as is Bridge City Toolworks.

That said, my Ultimate Coping Saw is flat out amazing, and "just right" in terms of aesthetics and design --- it's simultaneously modern and traditional in a way which pleases me every time I have occasion to use it (I hope it has been nominated for and won the design awards it so richly deserves).

Maybe the Veritas stuff is better in person --- I suspect I'll eventually find out when I replace my Stanley (unless I re-handle it and decide to live with it) --- that said, one of the first two tools I'll be getting when I finally have occasion to have a dedicated workspace which isn't a bench at one end of the laundry room is an LN #51 (and I hope by that time that they're able to offer the dedicated metal shooting board).
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Cheese on April 15, 2020, 11:08 AM
Not sure about the current status as the article was a decade ago. At the time, those three stores were independently owned from the chain, and L-N and those stores were on good terms.

The current status is NO. Those 3 Woodcraft stores offer only WoodRiver & Clifton...not a single LN item in sight.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: TSO_Products on April 15, 2020, 12:57 PM
-All: we, TSO,  appreciate the wider ranging comments on this topic as they relate to our space as well. For us very useful insights.

We know it is unrealistic to expect retail store chains like Woodcraft and Rockler to be able to staff the caliber of product knowledge you get from a visit with Lie Nielsen. Yes, there are some truly exceptional people in these chain stores but not the rule.This means there is not enough transfer of knowledge and appreciation  for the prospective customer to understand the "Difference" between a quality production tool and a high end tool like Blue Spruce and L N.
The internet poses an even bigger challenge because there is no touch and feel at all. Customers who purchase the Canadian knock-off of our patented GRS-16 series Guide Rail Squares on-line don't know what they are not getting. This is where customer experience reporting in well moderated forums like the FOG plays an important role for customer and manufacturer alike.

For Woodpeckers and Blue Spruce we think the move makes sense for each party. It is much, much harder to operate as a small business like Blue Spruce than an outsider can appreciate. And it is even harder to scale up from there.

I take pride in my decades old Bridge City tools and use them every chance I get. Some years ago I bought a KM-1 KerfMaker. Only later did John Economaki tell me it was made in China - still Bridge City super precision and quality. Now look how hard it has been for BCTW to get traction in US retail at anything like the price point they really need.

I'll place an order for BLUE SPRUCE chisels with BSTW /  WP now, expecting the same quality, knowing customer service will match the tool.

I hope my perspective is helpful to some of you.

Hans

Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: ChuckM on April 15, 2020, 02:25 PM
With regard to BCTW, there's no denying that people look at China-made BCTW products differently regardless of how John still remains associated with the line (as a designer, for example). Previously, people valued the boutique tools as high quality work MADE IN USA, and they now have lost appetite for the same quality stuff though it's offered even at a lower price, purely because of the change of origin of country.

Just imagine his customers' reactions if Chris Vesper outsourced his tool making to Asia, while staying as the Chief Designer.

It might not make much difference if you're talking about a jig to make chopsticks...but for heirloom woodworking tools, the feeling could be different.

I still remember years ago, a friend of mine told me how proud he was of his new Lexus RX because the shipment came from Tokyo, not from the Ontario plant.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Brian Livingstone on April 15, 2020, 03:03 PM

This is a note for Hans with TSO Products.  I am Canadian and own the GRS-16.  I really appreciate how great this tool is. 

I am looking forward to buying the full range of your tools in the future based on the positive experience with the GRS-16.

All the best.

Brian
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: ForumMFG on April 15, 2020, 03:18 PM
At least they are still made in USA. Bridge city tools are now from China. I like their stuff but now it just seems meh. Not worth a premium price if not from USA.


I am a VERY big fan of Bridge City Tools, i own a ton of their tools from when John was around and they were amazing.  Just like festool everyone bitched at the price but both are of exceptional quality and you pay for what you get.  I was disappointed manufacturing went to china for them.  Since that happened ive bought a decent amount and ive  had to return 3 tools due to defects.  That never happened once before.  With all of that said, the quality of the tool does seems to be there.  My tools were sent back because of careless scratches.  My biggest issue with John selling the company is that it says made in china now and the instructions come with chinese language.  Annoyed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: TSO_Products on April 15, 2020, 06:24 PM
@ChuckM  - you observe exactly what I saw regarding BCTW country of origin - the difference of being "the Original".
Bottom line: customers who appreciate fine tools and buy them through established channels keep specialty manufacturers like us in business.

Keep the comments coming  [smile]
Hans
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: Peter Halle on April 15, 2020, 07:13 PM
Customers have the right to hold the manufacturers of tools responsible for quality.  Festool, BCTW, Woodpeckers, anyone.  If you are not satisfied let them know.  Send an email, call them.  Immediately trying to bolster your inner worth by immediately going to the internet prior to reaching out directly and following up if necessary doesn't work anymore.  They have already gotten that and now it might be considered belly button lint to them.  Remember the physics class and "...and an equal but opposite...?"  That comes into play.

Talk to them and they will probably respond favorably to rational requests.

Just my 2 cents as someone trying to be helpful.

Peter
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: StanB on April 15, 2020, 10:46 PM
@ChuckM You said this perfectly and much better than my attempt. I own several BCTW tools and now rethink how I value them and the new ones that are made in China. I think going forward I would rather have Blue spruce or wood peckers. One because they are excellent tools, and two, I just like supporting originators and Made in USA (or germany ;))

With regard to BCTW, there's no denying that people look at China-made BCTW products differently regardless of how John still remains associated with the line (as a designer, for example). Previously, people valued the boutique tools as high quality work MADE IN USA, and they now have lost appetite for the same quality stuff though it's offered even at a lower price, purely because of the change of origin of country.

Just imagine his customers' reactions if Chris Vesper outsourced his tool making to Asia, while staying as the Chief Designer.

It might not make much difference if you're talking about a jig to make chopsticks...but for heirloom woodworking tools, the feeling could be different.

I still remember years ago, a friend of mine told me how proud he was of his new Lexus RX because the shipment came from Tokyo, not from the Ontario plant.
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: demographic on April 16, 2020, 03:10 PM
Err, aren't Lie Nielsen planes mostly copies of Stanley planes anyway?  How is that a copyright issue?
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: TSO_Products on April 17, 2020, 02:39 PM

This is a note for Hans with TSO Products.  I am Canadian and own the GRS-16.  I really appreciate how great this tool is. 

I am looking forward to buying the full range of your tools in the future based on the positive experience with the GRS-16.

All the best

Brian

Brian, what a nice thing to post for all to see - thank you!

I will cut and paste it where folks on our production team get to see it. They are the silent heroes in our business.
Your post also raises expectations by everyone but that's OK. We need to continually improve in all respects.

We have quite a following in Nova Scotia as you're probably aware - beautiful country !

stay well!
Hans
Title: Re: Blue Spruce Tool Works is purchased by Woodpeckers
Post by: derekcohen on April 18, 2020, 08:55 PM
For those interested, I posted a short review on WoodCentral of the BS chisels I have used for around 15 years ...

http://www.woodcentral.com/woodworking/forum/handtools.pl/page/1/md/read/id/492669/sbj/a-short-review-of-blue-spruce-dovetail-chisels/

(https://i.postimg.cc/wTZN6PWW/BS2a.jpg)

Regards from Perth

Derek