Thoughts on Woodcraft

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edicehouse

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Jun 8, 2011
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Suffolk, VA
I was in another thread and someone commented on how is WC able to stay open with some of their prices. (Yes I am paraphrasing, maybe altering a little, but things like that are often stated).

I for one love WC, because I can go in and oh I have not made XXX pen, and I want to try it. So I get the bushings and one or two kits. Sure I probably paid $5 bucks more before shipping on a lower end kit. Then you find out you don't like it, it's not up to your standards, etc. I also am one that is an impulse guy, at times I buy a few kits from one of the venders on here, and get them but by that time I don't feel like making them.

Then you have that emergency, you just used your last cigar kit, and a good customer comes up and wants a cigar in South Harmon Institute of Technology colors (if you are a movie buff you will get that one) for their neice. Oh she is heading back in 2 days, of course you don't want to let this person down. (Of course you don't think of disassembling one you made and switching it out).

I have been so busy at work, and my mind is rambling, I need to get back in the shop and release some stress.

But round about what are your thoughts about WC? Do you ever buy stuff from them?
 
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Ed McDonnell

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Oct 20, 2008
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Melbourne, FL
My local Woodcraft closed a while back. They provided space for the local woodturning / woodworking clubs to meet. They also gave a 10% discount to club members. With the 10% discount, their prices were competitive on most things. I bought a lot of stuff at my local woodcraft and I was sorry to see them close.

Ed
 

Joe S.

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Jan 11, 2012
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South Lyon, MI
Just got the joke...

I like my local woodcraft, but I generally don't get much pen stuff there. If you play the sales right, you can get some deals!
 

lyonsacc

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Aug 31, 2012
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Cincinnati, OH
I like my WC. Buy the majority of my pen stuff from vendors here at IAP. But frequent WC for sales, blocks of wood, other projects and things that might cost a bit to ship. Learn a lot from the demos they have. Also - my daughter loves going there, so . . .
 

edicehouse

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Suffolk, VA
Don't get me wrong when I am buying half a dozen or more kits I use the venders here, but am thankful have a WC only an hour or so from the house. Or where I can run up there during lunch.
 

RichB

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Feb 22, 2008
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587
Location
Allendale, Michigan USA.
Our WC is Fantastic. The guys and gals are a lot of fun to talk to. They put out a lot to help everybody. I don't buy a lot due to funds but when I do I check there and on here for the right product. I think we are very fortunate to have one here in Grand Rapids. If I need something Eric lives close to it and he gets it for me. When we walk in they know us by name. I don't know if that is good or bad. I use all venders.
 

Carl Fisher

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Jun 7, 2011
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Fort Mill, South Carolina
Pens are such a low priority when I make a WC trip. I may pick up a kit or two while I'm there but most of my pen supplies come from IAP vendors.

WC is my go-to store however for everything else I need from tools to supplies. I love flipping through the wood to see what catches my eye for any given project. They are easy to work with and knowledgeable.

Can I get the same products online for cheaper, usually. However there is definitely something to be said for running down to your local WC and impulse buying. My credit card receipts from last year alone prove that :)
 

Smitty37

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Nov 23, 2009
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Milford, Delaware 19963
I have not dealt with the local woodcraft store - its 65 miles away - but they do have a lot of fantastic classes you can go to and my understanding is they're great to deal with. While I compete with them for pen kit sales I do wish them every success in their business - I think they're great for woodworker hobbiests and businesses.
 

Sataro

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Mar 15, 2009
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Corsicana, TX
I like my WC store. I live about 80 miles away so I don't go there too often. I like browsing through the store. I buy a couple of pen kits every once in a while if I need something. Mostly I look through their bargain wood samples. Usually I will find some wood that I can cut up into pen blanks to save a few bucks...
 

walshjp17

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Jul 29, 2012
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Weddington, NC
I have to agree with Carl -- we both use the same WC store. They are not the best place price-wise for pen kits but they are great on advice, training, tools, supplies ... and they also keep a jar of pen kits parts which they willingly share with customers in need.

They also stand by anything they sell. I have returned ill-fitting pen kits and tools that don't work as I expected and they happily replace or refund.

Couldn't be happier with the guys at the local WC shop.
 

JeremyLP

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Jan 23, 2013
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Calgary, Canada
I like WC. I only live about 10 min from my Lee Valley so I am actually quite lucky for that.

But when I go down the US, I check for WC in the area I am going to. There are lots of stuff that is super expensive here in Canada that is dirt cheap down there. I dont generally order from them online, but I like to physically go there.
 

flyitfast

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Sep 3, 2009
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San Antonio, TX 78247
:good: A big thumbs up to our local Woodcraft in San Antonio.
They have a ready stock of many things not available from IAP vendors and provide great advice on tools and techniques.
Big time appreciation goes to their support of our Penturning club and the Alamo Woodtuning Assoc. They provide us with a meeting place and have donated to our raffles.
Our IAP vendors have made a huge difference in my penturning, but it is nice to be able to run over to WC when something is needed in a hurry.
gordon
 

76winger

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Aug 30, 2009
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Lebanon Indiana
I purchase most pen supplies online from various sources including some IAP vendors and some big name suppliers. As for WC, I have them and a Rockler both about the same distance from me (about 25-30 miles) and usually drop into their stores when they have something on sale that I'm interested in. Usually more general woodworking supplies and tools rather than pen supplies. I've only gotten a small number of blanks from either and only a couple slimlines from Rockler once. Love to have them around for the sales on bigger items and occasionally something I need now, but I usually plan my pen supplies purchases so I get those online where I get better deals.
 

raar25

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Mar 29, 2011
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Glastonbury CT
I usually get blank looks and confusion when I ask about pen stuff at my local wood craft. So it is nice to live 5 miles from a place I can get emergency supplies but advise is usually limited. It would be nice if it were a little more competitive in prices with other suppliers .
 
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We have our meetings at the local woodcraft. I go through the wood section when I'm there because I find the best pieces of wood when I'm not needing them. The people there are friendly and most importantly know what they are talking about.
 

ed4copies

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Mar 25, 2005
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Racine, WI, USA.
I have known the WoodCraft in Milwaukee since about 7 BE.

Chris (the owner) is knowledgeable and he employs a fine desk staff and some good teachers. There is no place better for purchasing lathes (he sold me one of his classroom machines very reasonably when they upgraded) or bandsaws (instant "sale" when I needed one). I even taught there a couple times, including one class where his daughter was a student--now she turns the pens they display for their kit sales.

Chris and I often discuss the pen kit buying public. Woodcraft is a great place to get a couple kits and a few blanks, along with sanding, finishing and tooling supplies.

Most amazingly, I have been welcome there for woodturning meetings and any other events. Chris is aware of ExoticBlanks and I am aware that the store is HIS, and NOT a place for me to sell. His staff (teachers) have attended every demo I have given at his store.

So, in Milwaukee at least, WoodCraft and "on-line stores" get along just fine. I hope to see him continue to prosper---never know when I will "NEED" another lathe!!
 

SteveJ

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Jul 11, 2012
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Grand Junction, Colorado
I wish there was a Woodcraft close to me. It is a 250 mile drive to the nearest one. It is a great place to stop by and wander, look at what is new and occasionally buy something. I did win a nice router table from them years ago! Winning stuff is nice and I try to purchase something when I am around partly because of that (and I doubt I've spent the value of the table!)
 

Wood Butcher

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Westfield, IN, USA.
Like Dave Herrmann I live pretty close to both a WC and Rockler store. I go to Rockler more than WC because I used to work there and the past WC mgr was, let's say, difficult to work with. I haven't met the new manager but hear he's a good guy. It's like Cheers, we go where everyone knows our name. Now, from a business point of view, the local suppliers are great for sale items, "emergency" runs and special events but if we don't support them with our wallets they won't be there when we want to visit and talk shop or just look around in a place loaded with testosterone, they will go out of business. They have to make a profit or close the doors, it's that simple. I know for a fact that the woodworking stores make a little less than 10% on major power tools so they have to make some profit on the smaller and more purchased items in order to meet payroll, utilities, merchandise costs, insurance, theft loss, bricks and mortar and general overhead. Think about it, 200% profit on a $4.00 item doesn't offset 9% on an $1100 item, do the math. Bottom line, if you want the convince and fun of shopping at a local woodworking store, buy something when you're there. I've owned a business so I have experienced the ups and downs. The same holds true of the IAP vendors, they have costs, you have to pay for their costs, that's the way it works.
Soap box back in the closet.
WB
 

mredburn

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Fort Myers FL
Our Woodcraft closed. Ours was friendly and the people knew their stuff. I tried to support it but when you dont use kits, have more wood than they did, as many tools and its more in gas to get there than shipping costs, its difficult. We had a very big drop in the economy here and wages fell and unemployment went way up. Add to that the retirees pinching pennies and they couldnt keep the doors open. I would buy what I could use when I got by there but it was infrequent. If WC is to succeed they will need to focus on classes that create new customers and Customer service that starts at the front door. I didnt fuss at the pricing I either accepted it or let it be. If it was what I wanted or needed I bought it and paid the price. I have a saying "Theres cheap and then there is Stupid"
 

jimm1

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Dec 30, 2006
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Thompson's Station, Tennessee, USA.
Franklin Tn. Woodcraft is A+ good folks and wealth of knowledge. just a little pricy....
As David indicates, our Franklin, TN Woodcraft is really good. The people there are incredible. Dave and Aaron run a class operation. When buying bulk kits, I do use vendors because of cost, but when 1 or 2 kits are needed, it's off to Franklin Woodcraft.
 

jasontg99

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Feb 21, 2009
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Portsmouth, Virginia
For kits in a pinch, they are great. For blanks, mehhhh. Depends on what you are looking for. You have Fred, Australian burls, and Yukon Lumber within a few minutes of you. Oh yea, I have a few thousand blanks too. :wink:
 

Jim Burr

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Feb 23, 2010
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Reno, Nv
We never had one around here, but there is one on the way to work, I've been in a few times and see no reason to spend $25 on a pen kit I can get on line for $11. I'm sure they have there place, but not in my wallet.
 

Smitty37

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Nov 23, 2009
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Milford, Delaware 19963
Even though I run an internet small business, I still do most of my personal shopping in box stores locally. Some are big box stores and some are small box stores but they are local.
 

ALA

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Jan 21, 2012
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343
Location
Bassett, Va.
The 2 WC's nearest me are both about 50 miles away. One in Roanoke Va. and one in Greensboro, NC. When I first became interested in pen turning I went to the one in Roanoke. There was 3 guys there turning pens for the troops and I thought that was the neatest thing. I watched for about 30 minutes and finally just asked the manager to gather up what I needed to get started. I came out with about $80 worth.

It seems like every time I go in either store I come out with about $50-$90 worth. What little pen turning I do I do try to spread the business. Nothing but good things to say about WC and the vendors here as well!
Alfred
 

newpenman

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Jan 18, 2013
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U.S.
I am fairly new to all of this, but have visited both WC stores in my "area". I have at least an hour drive to either one. I am located almost midway between the two. I have had great servic and experiences at both stores. Knowledgable people, ready to answer any question and help out whatever way they can. I can say the same for the WC store in Pelham, Alabama as well. I stopped in that store while visiting the wifes family. Will be checking out the vendors here too.
 

JD Combs Sr

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Jan 30, 2010
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Owingsville, KY
Our WC is about 45 miles from me but I just happened to be in it today. They were having a 15% off sale throughout the store and I needed a couple band-saw blades. They are handy when I visit my son in the same local. I use to buy pen components there but not for a couple years. Now adays I use IAP vendors and other online vendors including WC-online.
 

RMayoIII

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Feb 14, 2012
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Location
Belmont, NH
I've never seen an actual WC store, up until I joined IAP I thought they were just a website! We used to have a woodworkers warehouse years ago in town but since they went belly up theres been nothing like them around. I wish we had a woodworking type store around. The hardware stores and the big box stores usually don't have much selection or they can "order it" but if I'm going to "order it" I'd rather order it myself and save some money and time.
 

Tom T

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May 12, 2012
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Sanford Florida
WC has been generally very good for me.
That is we're I was hooked big time on turning pens.
I shop there fairly often and stop in and talk with the guys, who know a lot more than me.
I must say that I have bought a good amount of stuff from our venders here on the IAP since I found the site a while back. Each needs our support. Local stores like WC will be gone in a few years if all we think about is price. Or they have to figure out how to compete. WC has its own on line store and the local store gets nothing on, on line orders. That has to hurt the local store. As I have moved to more complex kits the IAP venders have a better variety. WC has no fountain pens that I am aware of. Done for now.
 

76winger

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Aug 30, 2009
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Lebanon Indiana
Our Woodcraft closed. Ours was friendly and the people knew their stuff. I tried to support it but when you dont use kits, have more wood than they did, as many tools and its more in gas to get there than shipping costs, its difficult. We had a very big drop in the economy here and wages fell and unemployment went way up. Add to that the retirees pinching pennies and they couldnt keep the doors open. I would buy what I could use when I got by there but it was infrequent. If WC is to succeed they will need to focus on classes that create new customers and Customer service that starts at the front door. I didnt fuss at the pricing I either accepted it or let it be. If it was what I wanted or needed I bought it and paid the price. I have a saying "Theres cheap and then there is Stupid"
What Bill said above and Mike says here sums it up pretty good I think.

Yes, we do need to support our local outlets if we want them to stay around and realize they're in business to make a profit after covering all their many and varied expenses. And of course exactly the same can be said for all of our IAP and non-IAP online suppliers that we purchase from. NOBODY IS GOING TO STAY IN BUSINESS IF THEY LOOSE MONEY. Certainly everyone knows that or at lease should.

Then we have the buyers side of the equation. As a buyer we all try to get the best price (for equivalent quality) we can find. And if we're going to pay more for given items, from whatever source, we will be expecting something in return for that extra money spent. That extra may come in the form of freebies, or quicker shipping, or extra and over the top service. Or the extra may be locality, immediate availability of product, knowledgeable salespeople that can answer our questions, or availability of courses to teach us ways to improve our skills and processes.

Those of us that don't have money to burn are going to make the choices that we perceive will get us the most for our hard-earned dollar, while meeting any demands of immediacy we may have. The end result is usually that we end up supporting as many vendors local and remote that we can.

And going beyond the economics of our buying decisions, the popularity of our craft brings in the number of customers to keep everyone (hopefully) in business. So we all need to do our part not only to support our suppliers, but also do what we can to keep our craft alive and invigorated.

Thanks for the soapbox Bill, I'm done with it now. :wink:
 

eliasbboy

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Sep 2, 2012
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354
Location
Manhattan, IL
The closest WC to me is about a 30 minute trip, so it's usually for emergency supplies. The employees and owner could not be nicer, and I would love to give them more business, but the vendors I've found through the IAP have been outstanding.

The variety of kits and prices available through the vendors here have made WC almost unnecessary for me.

With a little more forethought on my glue and essentials orders I would be hard pressed to find a reason to go back.
 

Brooks803

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Sep 13, 2009
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Aiken, South Carolina
Since that someone is me I'll expand a bit on what I meant by that. The original thread was talking specifically about trustone blanks. If you compare the price of them at WC to R&Bcrafts or exotics they're more expensive by quite a bit. And that's only going on their website. I don't have a WC anywhere near me so when I've gone to meetings in Atl or Raleigh I walk the aisles and look at their blank prices. Some are seriously high....so that's what my comment was based off of.

Take that out of the equation and I can't help but appreciate all that WC offers. If it weren't for them there would be far less meeting places for turners to go and learn. I wasn't trying to bash WC.

I was in another thread and someone commented on how is WC able to stay open with some of their prices. (Yes I am paraphrasing, maybe altering a little, but things like that are often stated).

I for one love WC, because I can go in and oh I have not made XXX pen, and I want to try it. So I get the bushings and one or two kits. Sure I probably paid $5 bucks more before shipping on a lower end kit. Then you find out you don't like it, it's not up to your standards, etc. I also am one that is an impulse guy, at times I buy a few kits from one of the venders on here, and get them but by that time I don't feel like making them.

Then you have that emergency, you just used your last cigar kit, and a good customer comes up and wants a cigar in South Harmon Institute of Technology colors (if you are a movie buff you will get that one) for their neice. Oh she is heading back in 2 days, of course you don't want to let this person down. (Of course you don't think of disassembling one you made and switching it out).

I have been so busy at work, and my mind is rambling, I need to get back in the shop and release some stress.

But round about what are your thoughts about WC? Do you ever buy stuff from them?
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
307
Location
Laurens,SC
I have to post a cheer for our WC in Greenville,SC. 45 minutes away. I walk in the door to an eager greeting from 1 or 2 friends I would not have met elswhere. I know as well as any one this is good buisness. But it is constant. All are experianced in at least one line of wood working. And will eagerly call in other staffers when they don't have my answers. Even the owner when there. Lots of classes. But I ask a question on a visit and they go to teaching. And it isn't like I buy a lot, I don't. They never leave it just shoping. It's a visit. Yes pricey. Sales are all ways coming. I buy few pen sets there. The way many of you have talked who have spoken of the venders here, and the way our venders help every way they can here, I feel the same about them. Especially after ordering from some and talking with them. They make me look forward to ordering again. And others here. Thanks for giving me such a great place to spend time and learn all I can remember. And look up when ever and as often as I feel I need to.
 

mtgrizzly52

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Joined
Feb 24, 2008
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326
Location
Kalispell, MT, USA.
My WC is 255 miles away in Spokane, and I love any excuse to drive to Spokane so I can visit Nick and his wonderful family and employees. Even though I can only buy directly a couple of times a year, when I walk in the door, it's like I was just there the day before and I'm part of the family. There is a lot to say about customer service like that.

In addition, if I have any problems with the products I buy from them, and it's usually at least a hundred dollars per visit....er...or more, (don't tell wife!!!) they are willing to do whatever necessary to take care of the problem. If it wasn't for John, one of there star employees, I would have never gotten this far into this crazy hobby. He is extremely knowledable about pen turning and has the patience of a Saint.

Overall, the Spokane WC is my favorite store and I hope like heck they never have to close their doors as so many of the others have had to do across this country!

mtgrizzly52
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Albion, MI, 49224
Compared to places like Lee Valley or Lie-Neilson that have some of the BEST hand tools available IMHO. I really find some tools that WC sells not so much. Then again they do offer grand deals on items that I have no issues with.
 
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holmqer

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Aug 3, 2007
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CT, USA.
I am fortunate to have one WC within 15 minutes of home, and another 20 minutes from work. I visit these two shops often. I find that the added value of being able to go get my hands on an item of interest, and walk out with it if I like it, makes up for the fairly minor price penalty that I pay to use a brick and mortar shop.

When you toss in sales, and their support of the turning community the value of using the local shops improves. Generally, if my local WC has what I want, I get it there.

I'm not sure if this is unique to my local WC, but Lie-Neilson and Lee Vally make regular visits there to promote their products and set up big displays to give hands on time with all of their hand tools to the public.

They also have some sort of demo almost every weekend to show off some tool or technique.

These are all benefits that you do not get with online retailers. None of these benefits come for free, so if you want them, you have to be prepared to pay something for them, which translates into a fairly minor price premium.

All of these arguments would apply to any business with brick and mortar frachises like Rockler or Dick Blick, so the issue is not really specific to Woodcraft.
 
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