Some New Tools At Rockler Have Me Worried
I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter, but I do like to check in throughout the day to respond to my followers, and to see what might be new in the world of tools. A couple of days ago a tweet from @RocklerDave pointed to some new products that Rockler.com will be carrying. As a lover of tools, it was my duty to click on the link to see what was new.
The link took me to a page full of over 150 new products that Rockler.com is carrying. Most products on the first page have to do with furniture building supplies, routers bits, and the newest products were mostly for pen turners. These are all great things, but not really the kind of items a finish carpenter like myself would be interested in. None the less, I was still happy just looking at what was new, that is, until I clicked over to the second page. It was on the bottom half of the second page where the sea of yellow tools began.
I have been shopping at Rockler for a few years now, and I have always been impressed by the variety of hand tools and the uniqueness of many of the tools offered. My trade is construction, but the big box stores don't carry the precision tools that a finish carpenter needs. Rockler has been a source of many of my layout tools, marking tools, and other specialty tools. I liked knowing that I was getting quality tools, and I liked being able to buy tools from some of the smaller brands.
The sea of yellow on the page was a list of Stanley and Bostitch hand tools that Rockler was now selling. I want people to know that I don't have a problem with Stanley or Bostitch hand tools; and like many, I have a few Stanley hand tools and use them regularly. My concern is that Rockler is now selling them; just like every other hardware store; I shop at Rockler because they are not like every other hardware store. These yellow tools are almost always made in China, and are probably taking shelf space away other higher quality tools. What really bothers me is that these tools are not much cheaper then the high quality equivalents.
So why do a few Chinese tools at Rockler worry me? My concern is that this is just the beginning, and that if they continue in this direction, they will be just like every other hardware store I hate going to because of the lousy selection. If we look at other stores like Lowes, we know that when they started selling Bostitch tools, they stopped selling American made Estwing tools. Of course I could just be overreacting, but I think it is worth it to care.
To be fair, Rockler does have some other cool new tools on their list like the Flexzilla air hoses, and some new Magswitch kits and attachments.