Extremely Average #42: Amazing Customer Service

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 02-13-2010 05:31 AM 2176 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 41: True Dat Part 42 of Extremely Average series Part 43: Henry Wood Detective Agency: The Burnt Office »

Today I received a call from Dale at ACME Tools in Cedar Rapids.

A couple of weeks ago I asked if they had any router plates. Dale said that they were out but there were some that were supposed to be arriving any day. He checked the computer, and the order was a couple of days past due. I find the people at ACME tools to be helpful and they are very patient with my lack of knowledge. The next two times I walked in, Dale saw me and said that the Rosseau plate wasn’t in yet. I didn’t even have to ask, he just remembered.

Yesterday my Rousseau router plate arrived from Amazon. I had finally decided on Monday that I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to give ACME the sale, but I was ready to get going on my table. So when Dale called today, I had to tell him that I had just received one. Not only was he nice about it, he proceeded to give me all sorts of tips about how to install it. After a few minutes, when it became apparent that I wasn’t following everything, he said, “I won’t be here tomorrow, but tell you what; I will draw a diagram and put it under my register.” About 15 minutes later he called back and told me that he was ok at drawing but his written explanation wasn’t quite so clear, so he set up a little display behind the counter to show me how.

I thanked him profusely and hung up the phone. I love ACME tools and this is just one of the examples of how great they are to their customers. And today I wasn’t even a customer; I had bought it from Amazon! If you have an ACME tools nearby or perhaps one day you will pass one, please take a moment and drop in, I am sure that they will be as friendly as the Cedar Rapids ACME Tools.

My Rousseau Model 3509 router plate is quite cool. I am eager to get to the point where I get to install it. Today was not the day however. Today I needed to route dados for the 3/8th inch threaded rod. As part of my extensive collection of three router bits, there is a Freud 75-106 3/8th Up Spiral Bit, which has yet to taste wood. I love my Freud circular saw blade and was excited to see how this bit handled the task at hand. When I cut the dados in my workbench, the Amana bit cut wonderfully, but being a down spiral, I could tell it wasn’t the right bit for the job. It pleases me to report that the Freud bit is magical in its cutting prowess. The first pass was approximately 1/8th an inch, as a test. The Freud cut like a hot samurai sword through a pile of Jell-O with tiny bits of fruit in it. The up spiral created lovely shavings and pulled them out of the way.

To cut the dados on the edges of the eleven inch 2×4s I rigged up a setup using the stretchers and part of the dado jig. The first step was to take one of the guides off the jig and clamp it to the stretchers. The first two boards went fine. The third didn’t go so well. I wasn’t quite careful enough with the clamping and the board got pulled away from the guide. I have included a picture to show what happened. Another cut was made, and though it doesn’t look pretty, it will work just fine.

The longer stretchers require the dado be on the face of the board, so I carefully marked each stretcher. The stretchers were clamped to the twins, Teri and Tracy, who are my saw horses, if you are new to the blog. This setup worked really well and the cuts went without incident. So now the next step is to cut and sand the 4×4s. I don’t know how the router table will look or work when I am done, but I can say the stretchers are much better than the ones I did for the workbench. So I am happy. Ok, I am off to watch the rest of the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics.

-- Brian Meeks,

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5035 days

#1 posted 02-13-2010 05:38 AM

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5343 days

#2 posted 02-13-2010 05:48 AM

And the beat goes on….................................................................

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Kacy's profile


101 posts in 4543 days

#3 posted 02-13-2010 05:59 AM

I’m bewildered, confused, dazed … and that was even before I discovered that my wife had put the SI swimsuit issue on my desk. Maybe you can help … what is the threaded rod for, and why does it need to be so neatly cosseted in the dados? (cosseted is one of my most favorite words—next to dado, of course)

-- Kacy, Louisiana

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4799 days

#4 posted 02-13-2010 06:03 AM

that cut would be so much easier ,

if you had a router table (LOL) !

your tenacity is refreshing ,

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 4524 days

#5 posted 02-13-2010 07:07 AM


The threaded rod runs through the 4×4 leg. There will also be a dowel peg in the end to hold the stretcher up. Hopefully it will make more sense as I progress.


I was thinking that exact thing!!!


-- Brian Meeks,

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4792 days

#6 posted 02-13-2010 12:33 PM

Nice job on the routing Brian. It set me to comparing how my first routing work came out, but we don’t really want to talk about that, ha ha. Fun to watch the build, and I’m sure with your methodical approach it will turn out very well. I won’t be in the shop for awhile, so it is especially enjoyable for me right now to see others carrying out their projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5280 days

#7 posted 02-13-2010 02:57 PM

This looks good, Brian. And I really enjoy hearing customer service stories such as you experienced.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4532 days

#8 posted 02-13-2010 03:50 PM

I am a regular customer of the same Acme store and I have always been very pleased with their customer service.

As an FYI – It was only about a year ago that they started marketing to the woodworker. Their core business was (and still is) tools for the construction industry. They didn’t embrace woodworking until the Fine Woodworking Store across the street closed a little over a year ago. We woodworkers are a fussier breed, we ask more questions and we are slower to make decisions. Nonetheless, Acme has done a good job adjusting to the nature of woodworkers.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 5171 days

#9 posted 02-13-2010 05:36 PM

It appears that you are getting where you are going.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4573 days

#10 posted 02-13-2010 07:18 PM

keep them coming I just love to read your blogs history or no history
and the way you let´s us know how you do work with your project´s
and show it in a (as mr Bertelson says :-) ) picturebook for us
I just love them when it´s abaut explaining some tecnickal stoff
and as photo-man you now a picture says more than thausend word´s
and your sawbuks looks great when they are employd


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