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JOEL Joel's Blog

Holiday Delivery Issues, Gift Certificates and Short Supplies


Holiday Delivery Issues, Gift Certificates and Short Supplies 1

Our local grocery’s background music playlist has shifted to all Christmas tunes, so it’s not too soon to talk about holiday shopping. In this tumultuous year, when we all could use a gift even more than usual, gift giving is going to be a bit trickier.

I think it’s worth a moment to discuss picking a woodworking gift, the issues we are having with supply this year and delivery problems nationwide. Incidentally, the latter two issues affect every business in every industry all across the country.

With all the orders to stay at home, many people rediscovered the joy of making things with their hands, creating greater than expected demand for woodworking tools. So we have had to deal with shortages because of demand all year. In addition, our own manufacturing was shut down for three months, and we are still behind now. Our suppliers have had issues upon issues that have hampered manufacturing. Take one of our suppliers, who needed steel last May. They ordered steel. The steel comes from a distributor that in turn orders from a mill that had shut down all spring. The mill might have restarted up, but they have to catch up, so the distributor ended up with nothing to sell until July. So maybe by sometime in fall our supplier might be able to ship their stuff, but lag behind their targets for the rest of the year. Other suppliers' stories are even more convoluted. So we are getting supplies, but they are very irregular. This affects what we can offer.

This makes giving a gift more convoluted as well. In general it is really hard to pick a tool for someone else unless they have given you a specific list or are truly a newbie with nothing. The more stuff someone has, the harder it is to guess at what they would want. If you really want to pick something, we can suggest some of the fancier, more decorative tools in our store such as anything by Colen Clenton. Your giftee probably has a square, for example, but Colen’s are really nice. However, a far more practical present for the advanced woodworker, if they haven’t given you a list, is to get a gift certificate. Gift certificates are available in amounts ranging from $25 to however much you have in mind. And you don’t have to worry about delivery because we just email it to you.

If you are the woodworker in question and you actually know what you want - and you want the world to know it too - a wishlist is a great thing. Unfortunately we don’t have formal software for this so that you could just click a button, but we are a small company and we would be delighted to keep track of what you want. You can email your wishes to and let your loved ones know to reach out to us at that same email address and we will sort it out. Just remember to have your friends and family know which email you are using.

Finally we come to the newbie. If you know what you want to give to inspire or aid, it’s a simple matter to order it. Otherwise if you need specific suggestions, please email us at or call and we will help you figure it out. BTW calling might seem faster but email will get a response anytime.

Bear in mind that gift certificates do have the great advantages of time and availability. Our stock information on the website is pretty accurate but because of transportation issues we really don’t have a firm idea when stuff is coming. Normally this time of year we also put up shipping lead times. This year we are not offering Express shipping. The reason is that we have been told by FedEx that they can’t guarantee them and won’t refund late deliveries. Our shipping reps’ advice: Leave lots of extra time for delivery. FedEx and the USPS are overwhelmed, so whereas stuff used to take a max of 5 days from here to California, we are now being told to leave at least a week and a half to really two weeks. Northeastern US shipments seem to still be one or two days but we don’t know if this will hold as the holiday gets closer.

Our basic advice is to shop every early. If you can’t please consider either a gift certificate or when you order, be prepared to also have a “I ordered in time - it’s not my fault” card for under the tree.

A quick mention on our own Gramery Tools and BT&C product lines. WE are currently out of a lot of stuff but it's temporary. Holdfasts our single most popular product ever, should be back in stock on November 30th. We are making our new Spoonmaker's Drawknife as fast as we can and they are going in an out of stock as the shop finishes batches. Our award-wining line of handsaws will be back in stock probably the first week of December. We have lots of sharpened blades ready to go, we just need to get the handles attached. Our 1:8 Dovetail Gauges will return in the middle of December (we are busy using the CNC for drawknives). 1:5 Dovetail Gauges are in stock now.

This has been an extraordinarily trying year with lost loved ones, lost careers and lost connections. This Thanksgiving is the first time in a generation that I will not be spending the holiday with my extended family. Despite this feeling of loss, we recognize that we also have much to feel grateful for. We are especially grateful for the support we have had from the woodworking community, for the new customers who found us and for the existing customers who have sustained us; for the generosity and understanding we have been given when items have taken longer to ship, had limited availability or any other difficulty; for the excitement and joy in your craft that you shared with us; for the simple “Stay safe, New York - we’re rooting for you!” messages many of you typed in the “Notes” section of your order. We wish everyone a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.
Join the conversation
11/25/2020 Dave Polaschek
I’ve been thankful for you for months as you send me things from my list as they come into stock. TFWW is my first stop when looking for new woodworking goodies.

And with nearly the entire country exploding with virus now, “Stay safe, everyone - we’re rooting for you!”
11/25/2020 Pat doherty
Whenever I want to see what’s new in woodworking.including books,I check out you guys first.most of what I have ordered from you has been delivered timely.other things that were not in stock like my Ashley lles chisels were absolutely worth the wait.thank you happy thanksgiving and merry Christmas to you
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.