I have a little something to get off my chest, and what better place to do that than my very own blog.
On occasion I’ve written about the sale of woodworking tools and what I perceive as a failure of the manufacturers to market and sell those tools on a greater scale. For the most part if you don’t have a dedicated woodworking store in your region you will more than likely have to order the majority of your woodworking tools from the internet, sight unseen in a sense. I firmly believe that if woodworking tools were more readily available in a retail, in stock, off the shelf setting there would be more sales and quite possibly a greater interest in the hobby of woodworking. Now, maybe I’m wrong, and maybe the people who manufacture and distribute woodworking tools have already done the prerequisite marketing studies and have determined that it’s not a feasible scenario. Maybe. I don’t know; I don’t have that inside information. But that’s not really what I want to talk about.
When I wrote those posts there were people who disagreed with what I had to say. I have no issue with that. My opinion is not infallible. But some, in subtle and not so subtle ways, basically implied that I know absolutely nothing about it, and therefore I should keep my mouth shut on the subject.
I don’t often speak about my job on this blog. Most of you think I am an electrician. That is true, in a sense, but I haven’t been a field electrician in some time. I work mainly in the supply side of the industry. Part of that job is the purchasing and sale of tools.
For a time, I ordered the entire line of tools for my company. I ordered from every major manufacturer at least once a week. I’ve sold tools to everybody from electrical contractors, to manufacturing facilities, to tool rental companies, to townships, to ski resorts, to nuclear power plants. I’ve been involved with the marketing of those tools. I’ve helped professionals chose the correct tool for the job. I’ve said before that I hate to call myself an “expert”, but in this case, yeah, I’m an expert.
In ten years of dealing with tools as a professional I’ve learned one, unequivocal fact: an in-stock tool sells far, far better than a tool that needs to be ordered. No, I’ve learned two unequivocal facts: a tool that is on display sells far, far better than a tool that is not. Wait, here is another unequivocal fact: a tool that can be handled by the customer sells far, far better than a tool that cannot be touched.
I’m not going to get into the theories concerning the decline of the hand tool, or the decline of the local hardware store etc. I’ve covered that before. That being said, here is another fact I know: If woodworking hand tool and power tools actually had the small market share that most woodworkers seem to think it commands, most of the three dozen or so dedicated woodworking tool manufacturers would already have gone out of business years ago. On the contrary, it seems that more and more makers are springing up every month.
So in my expert opinion, woodworking tools would sell better, and woodworking as a hobby would benefit greatly, if quality woodworking tools were sold at the retail level. You may wonder if I’m such an expert, why do I not know the reasons behind this seeming lack of retail availability. Maybe I do, or at the least I have a very strong opinion on the how and why, but since it is not my place to question the motives of tool makers, I will keep it to myself. Nevertheless, you can question my opinions all you like, I don’t mind in the least. But in this case, I am an expert on the subject.