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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2009, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

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Originally Posted by RONWEN View Post
That says it all.
Yes, and it's a shame. I really have mixed feelings about it. The Woodcraft STORE that I visited was great. It was so nice for someone like me (who lives in the sticks) to be able to see and touch tools and products that I was interested in. And the Woodcraft PEOPLE I dealt with were all knowledgeable and eager to help - every one of them.

Even the guy who made the comments to me about Tom L-N was otherwise very helpful. I'm sure it never occurred to him that the friendly lady customer who never owned a plane before (not to mention all the other people standing there listening to the conversation) might (A) have a special appreciation for small businesses that insist on thoughtful design and fine craftsmanship, (B) know something about L-N's history and contribution to the woodworking community, (C) hold strong opinions about how wrong it is to publicly and personally bash the representative of one's competitor - especially when the competitor makes a better product that has generated a lot of business for the basher's own company, and (D) be offended enough to take a closer look at the history and provenance of Woodcraft's own line of planes... and choose to resolve any doubts in favor of the other guy.

I spent several hours having a wonderful time at Woodcraft. A few foolish comments from a Woodcraft employee (who had clearly been around long enough to know better) in the last 10 minutes of my visit really took the shine off the experience. I've thought a lot about how to balance that. So will I ever go to a Woodcraft again? Probably, if I happen to be in a city where there is one. Once I'm there, I'll probably even buy something. But would I buy fine tools from them again? Not very likely.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2009, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

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Originally Posted by hasslefactor View Post
Yes, and it's a shame. I really have mixed feelings about it. The Woodcraft STORE that I visited was great. It was so nice for someone like me (who lives in the sticks) to be able to see and touch tools and products that I was interested in. And the Woodcraft PEOPLE I dealt with were all knowledgeable and eager to help - every one of them.

Even the guy who made the comments to me about Tom L-N was otherwise very helpful. I'm sure it never occurred to him that the friendly lady customer who never owned a plane before (not to mention all the other people standing there listening to the conversation) might (A) have a special appreciation for small businesses that insist on thoughtful design and fine craftsmanship, (B) know something about L-N's history and contribution to the woodworking community, (C) hold strong opinions about how wrong it is to publicly and personally bash the representative of one's competitor - especially when the competitor makes a better product that has generated a lot of business for the basher's own company, and (D) be offended enough to take a closer look at the history and provenance of Woodcraft's own line of planes... and choose to resolve any doubts in favor of the other guy.

I spent several hours having a wonderful time at Woodcraft. A few foolish comments from a Woodcraft employee (who had clearly been around long enough to know better) in the last 10 minutes of my visit really took the shine off the experience. I've thought a lot about how to balance that. So will I ever go to a Woodcraft again? Probably, if I happen to be in a city where there is one. Once I'm there, I'll probably even buy something. But would I buy fine tools from them again? Not very likely.
Laurie, You have such wonderful insight and a way with words -- have you ever considered becoming a lawyer or writer???

Seriously, well said!
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

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Originally Posted by RONWEN View Post
Laurie, You have such wonderful insight and a way with words -- have you ever considered becoming a lawyer or writer???

Seriously, well said!
Laurie and the rest of youse guys,

I too have spent many pleasant hours at Woodcraft and even taught a few courses. Luckily they were very low level so I was able to handle them.

Here is the problem as I see it and what I know. In the last few years the quality of both the merchandise and to some extent the knowledgeable service has taken a substantial down turn.

I personally know of four high end companies that have been very badly burned and will likely never return not to mention our very own TimmyC and his Walko tables. In the case of Lie-Nielsen and Lee Valley they purposefully went out of their way to duplicate the tools of these company's with a manufacturer in Taiwan. Their very own catalog states that they worked closely with the manufacturer to produce these tools.

Personally because of what I have seen and know I have decided for myself to not purchase from Woodcraft. I was contacted by Jeff Forbes, the President of Woodcraft, and lied to for twenty minutes. The actual content of that conversation is here on tF and if you wish to be bored out of your mind, I would say go read it. But, please think of this. In the reality and realm of the Woodworking community I am truly a peon. I do not say this to be self deprecating, it is just true. What in the world would the President of a company with 90 stores and 1000 plus employees be doing calling me? Yes, I was writing a lot about this because I was so angry about what was happening to Lie-Nielsen. Even given that the reality is I still should not have been called but if you are going to do so what is the point of lying to me unless he just thinks that all of us out here are just stupid. The bottom line is I think that is exactly what he thinks of us.

Anywho, Laurie and everyone else, you all need to make your own decisions and no one including me as the absolute correct answer for anyone other than themselves. It bothers me that there are so many Franchisees as I do not like the idea of hurting them when I believe that they probably had nothing to do with the corporate decisions. However, my distaste for what corporate has and is doing to friends of mine absolutely precludes me from buying there anymore.

Fred
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2009, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

Although I'm not a professional photographer, I've taken a few good shots here & there and had some posted on Webshots a few years ago. Several were "stolen" by strangers and used for commercial purposes without my consent or compensation.

It looks like Tom Lie Nielsen has had the same thing happen to him, except it was someone he had trusted to sell his products for him. I doubt he was offered any compensation for his designs or asked for permission or license to reproduce them.

It's a sorry situation for Woodcraft, which was at one time a pretty good source of tools and training for serious hobbyists. I spent a lot of money in the Kansas City store over the years. It sounds like they are headed for Harbor Freight territory.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2009, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

I certainly don't disagree with anything said however they were Stanley's basic designs and not Lie-Nielsen's. What Lie-Nielsen has done is make vast improvements in the manufacturer and metallurgy of those planes which Woodcraft can't/won't be able to duplicate.
I'm a Veritas fan because of their design and manufacturing innovation but all of this will cause me to also buy some Lie-Nielsen tools (directly from Lie-Nielsen).
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2009, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

Quote:
In the case of Lie-Nielsen and Lee Valley they purposefully went out of their way to duplicate the tools of these company's with a manufacturer in Taiwan. Their very own catalog states that they worked closely with the manufacturer to produce these tools.

Hi boys and girls

Fred, I don't know if this is strictly accurate. There is a China-based factory that appears to be responsible for manufacturing and selling a number of LN- and LV-designed tools around the world, not just to Woodcraft. According to Rob Lee, with whom I have discussed this on several occasions, this factory is notorius for copying designs.

It does not surprise me that Woodcraft would state in their catalogue that they "worked closely with the manufacturer", simply because this is good copy.

I am aware that the factory has contacted retail outlets in several countries, and there is even one fellow selling the planes in Australia. I know of others in the UK and Canada. The planes generally receive a different cosmetic touch for each outlet. Foe example, the UK and Oz versions have lever caps in a brass-look, just like LN.

Here is a link to a current eBay auction in OZ: BEDROCK 605 STYLE PLANE, BRONZE CAP MINT - eBay (item 390123965777 end time Dec-26-09 22:15:23 PST)



(What I find facinating about this "auction" is that the Seller is asking essentially the same price as a new LN version! That is Hootspa ).

At the end of the day it matters not whether Woodcraft were instrumental in the manufacture of these tools - it is enough that they were eyes-open, willing particpants in an immoral venture.

Regards from Perth

Derek
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2009, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

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Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
Hi boys and girls

Fred, I don't know if this is strictly accurate. There is a China-based factory that appears to be responsible for manufacturing and selling a number of LN- and LV-designed tools around the world, not just to Woodcraft. According to Rob Lee, with whom I have discussed this on several occasions, this factory is notorius for copying designs.

....

At the end of the day it matters not whether Woodcraft were instrumental in the manufacture of these tools - it is enough that they were eyes-open, willing participants in an immoral venture.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Exactly so, and very well said.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2009, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

Well said Derek and I'd like to welcome you to this forum. We'll enjoy hearing from you often (hopefully).
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2009, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

Welcome, Derek, and condolences on the loss of your youth symphony musician last week.
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I don't have as many Festools as Fred. Or Marcou's, or Brese's, or Lie-Nielsen's, or Lee Valley's, or Blue Spruce's, or Harold and Saxon's, or...
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 12-24-2009, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: I'll Bet Fred West Knows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
Hi boys and girls

Fred, I don't know if this is strictly accurate. There is a China-based factory that appears to be responsible for manufacturing and selling a number of LN- and LV-designed tools around the world, not just to Woodcraft. According to Rob Lee, with whom I have discussed this on several occasions, this factory is notorius for copying designs.

It does not surprise me that Woodcraft would state in their catalogue that they "worked closely with the manufacturer", simply because this is good copy.

I am aware that the factory has contacted retail outlets in several countries, and there is even one fellow selling the planes in Australia. I know of others in the UK and Canada. The planes generally receive a different cosmetic touch for each outlet. Foe example, the UK and Oz versions have lever caps in a brass-look, just like LN.

Here is a link to a current eBay auction in OZ: BEDROCK 605 STYLE PLANE, BRONZE CAP MINT - eBay (item 390123965777 end time Dec-26-09 22:15:23 PST)



(What I find facinating about this "auction" is that the Seller is asking essentially the same price as a new LN version! That is Hootspa ).

At the end of the day it matters not whether Woodcraft were instrumental in the manufacture of these tools - it is enough that they were eyes-open, willing particpants in an immoral venture.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Derek,

Welcome aboard! I've been a follower of your reviews and writings for several years. And that includes your write up of the Blum Planes: Blum Plane Review. It's great to see you here!

Regards,

Dan.
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