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Reply by coloradoclimber

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Posted on Woodcraft or Rockler?

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coloradoclimber

548 posts in 4523 days


#1 posted 07-10-2011 07:05 AM

um, proximity to home is the only factor and only when I need something TODAY, which is rarely.

I would shop at either one, or rather not shop at either one, no preference. Why, because they are both tending to lower and lower quality wares, more limited in store selection, and they cant match prices on the internet. I suspect it has to do with competition from the internet and the stores just trying to stay alive. Woodworking as a hobby is pretty expensive and woodworkers are either hobbyists with enough money to afford to buy better than what rockler or woodcraft carry or they’re cheap as the day is long and are unwilling to pay for a reasonable tool. Both stores seem to be tending toward the HomeDepot model of carry the cheapest junk people will buy to try to make a buck.

I understand both rockler and woodcraft carry a larger selection and more specialty products than a home depot but the internet carries even more.

So what does that mean, it means I buy most of my woodworking tools and supplies off of the internet. Yes I understand the internet is KILLING local stores. But unfortunately a brick and mortar just cannot carry the same range and selection as what is available on the internet and I have yet to see a brick and mortar beat the internet on prices.

What about that “hands on” experience of holding and fondling a product before the purchase. Here again the internet is making “hands on” obsolete. When I go to woodcraft I get the opinion of one, maybe two, old guys that may or may not have ever used the product. If I go the internet I can read a hundred reviews and find details a store clerk is never going to be able to match. And once I’ve done my research on the internet then it’s just one or two clicks away and the product is on it’s way to my house, usually to arrive within 2 to 5 days. And for me, and probably most hobbyists, if I put my order in on monday or tuesday I have what I need in my hands by friday so I can work in the shop on the weekend, and I don’t have to drive 20 minutes to an hour, to find out the local store does not have the product I want, and if they do it’s 20% or more more expensive. The internet man, it killed book stores, video stores, and these days it’s killing just about every other type of brick and mortar store as well.

I’ve never taken a class at rockler but have taken a couple classes at woodcraft, again because of proximity. Rockler is over an hour away and woodcraft is 20 minutes. Both of the classes at woodcraft were, um, unsatisfactory. The first was an introductory class and just too chaotic. I think mostly because of the inexperience of the students. The instructor kept bouncing back and forth and trying to give individual help to the slower folks but ended up not finishing the material and leaving the quicker student sitting around twiddling their thumbs. The second class was a specialty class and ended up being more of a sales pitch than a class. It was like, “We sale this product to do that, and that product to do this, and some of those products to do something else”. Didn’t learn too much, except more about woodcrafts product line, which I could have just found on the internet. These days the classes offered by my local woodcraft are getting fewer and fewer and definitely tending toward the introduction to beginning introductory basic woodworking.

My local woodcraft does sell festool and some incra products, a smattering of powermatic and jet tools but they are definitely tending toward cheaper and more offshore tools.

I don’t know how much money you can make running a woodcraft but I gotta believe it is getting harder and harder.


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