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Woodcraft or Rockler?

by MedicKen
posted 07-10-2011 05:54 AM


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52 replies

52 replies so far

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Cosmicsniper

2202 posts in 3614 days


#1 posted 07-10-2011 06:12 AM

I frequent Rockler more often, but only because it’s on my way home from work…and I have a never ending supply of 15 to 20% off coupons (excluding power tools, of course).

I’m in DFW, so we have a Woodcraft, but it’s 20 miles in the other direction. I have made a few triple digit purchases at that store however.

I will say that the Rockler people are usually more willing to help than the Woodcraft people, at least that’s my feeling here in DFW.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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WayneC

14358 posts in 4553 days


#2 posted 07-10-2011 06:18 AM

I have had good experiences with Both. I have only taken classes with woodcraft. The woodcraft store is across town and Rockler is about an hour and fifteen minutes from here. The stock varies from one store to another. IMO there is more hardware, jig supplies and such at Rockler. More tools at Woodcraft. Woodcraft has a larger lumber supply between the two I have been to.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Drew's profile

Drew

46 posts in 3143 days


#3 posted 07-10-2011 06:35 AM

Majority of both are franchised. There will be Bad and Good. like there are Good and Bad McDonald Restaurants. Of the two, I like Woodcraft for tools and such. For wood, well the Rockler store that is close to me is Johnson’s Workbench. They are listed on the Rockler site as reseller. I get most of my wood from there because of distance to travel vs Going to the Woodcraft.

-- If A equals success, then the formula is, A = X + Y + Z, Where X is work, Y is play, And Z is keep your mouth shut." -Albert Einstein.

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 3095 days


#4 posted 07-10-2011 07:03 AM

Rockler by far. Sometimes Woodcraft… Eagle America, too. Many others plus Ebay and Amazon as well.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 4523 days


#5 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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pintodeluxe

5970 posts in 3269 days


#6 posted 07-10-2011 08:08 AM

Woodcraft. Their prices are better than Rockler sale prices. Some exceptional deals are available too –
Woodriver HVLP gravity-feed spray gun for $29. Are you kidding me?!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3095 days


#7 posted 07-10-2011 08:51 AM

Oh, sorry… I meant to say RocklerPro.com.

The same gun body as the Woodcraft is 39.99 at Rockler.com but is $31.99 at Rocklerpro.com. The woodcraft sells for $29.99. There are some differences, however… other than $2 in price.

The Rockler has free shipping. the Woodcraft is $7.50. Now the Rockler is $5.50 less.

But I don’t need one today, so I bet within 14 days I get a 20% off one item Rockler email. I always wait… and not very long.

The Rockler version has a 100 cc stainless steel paint cup (the woodcraft has a 120cc plastic paint cup). The Rockler has a 1 mm needle (the woodcraft has a .8 mm needle). The Rockler version has two step trigger control, the woodcraft might, to but it doesn’t say.

At Rockler, there are accessories for this gun listed below the gun that I might want or need, but there are none listed at Woodcraft.

I’m not knocking Woodcraft at all. I use them, but I am saying that I go for the bottom line like a broke man and make sure I compare apples to apples on features as well. I’m not kidding.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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Wintersedge

83 posts in 3429 days


#8 posted 07-10-2011 10:10 AM

A lot has to do with who is running the place. The Woodcraft here in Atlanta is run by Steve. He is a heck of a woodworker, his people are sharp and he has awesome contracts in place. You can order Benchcrafted, Lee Nielsen, Brese, Vesper.. just about anything top of the line is available and even some stuff that is over the top of the line. He stocks more of the better standard woodcraft wares. And there is a monster machine room available for you to try equipment out.

I see no need to ever go to Rockler.. now, what is hard is that Highland Hardware is equal distance to Woodcraft…

-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

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woodbilder

9 posts in 2979 days


#9 posted 07-10-2011 10:48 AM

Andrew above is mistaken, with all due respects, see Rockler for info. Most Rockler stores are family owned by Anne Rockler & family. Their independent Reseller is not the same as a franchise. Therefore most store personnel are Rockler employees on salary and benefits. The firm is well heeled and operates other enterprises under different names such as wood interest magazines.

WWCft are primarily franchise thus requiring lots of capital on franchisee’s part and all that goes with a franchise relationship. (Local store has changed hands several times in a dozen years).

If you really have a serious interest, you should be looking at industry business reporting stats.

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

770 posts in 3312 days


#10 posted 07-11-2011 12:00 AM

I’ve been to both stores. Wood Craft is over 3 hrs away and same with Rockler. I’ve spend a lot of money in Wood Craft both in the stores and on-line.

If it were me, I would open an independent woodworker store. Save the franchise fees and stock the things that more serious woodworkers use. Get some deals with Lie Nelson, JEt, carry some quality hand tools. Things people can touch and feel. If you are a good salesman you can always sell a solid quality product at a higher price. Make some deals with American suppliers! Put some wood storage off to the side and purchase lumber direct from the mills.

Setup a good website and ship items from inventory or right off the floor. Give that personal touch. Seems there is a lot of competition on the Internet. I do most of my shopping there now because there are no good stores around me. I am sure this is true in a lot of the country. As the Boomers retire I am willing to bet that more of them will pick up this hobby as I have.

On the other hand, I’ve been in Retail and it is a rough and tumble business, not for the faint of heart. You better have a boat load of cash in reserve until you build the customer base. If you enjoy the hobby and have never run a franchise or retail operation then get some professional assistance, and a good money manager. Do some research and travel to as many Wood Craft stores as you can and talk to the owners (before you call corporate).

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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rustfever

771 posts in 3766 days


#11 posted 07-11-2011 04:37 AM

Location, Location, Location
Ira

-- Rustfever, Central California

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3516 days


#12 posted 07-11-2011 05:07 AM

If your going to open one, open it in Orange county area.
I see you live Bakersfield, that is way too far.

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woodboatal

4 posts in 2968 days


#13 posted 07-11-2011 05:53 AM

I was trying to hold my tongue but elected to add a comment. We have both stores in St. Louis and they’re fairly close to the same driving distance. Each store has their on line of tools, have regular demonstrations, are well stocked with product and are staffed with knowledgeable people. The major difference in which store I choose to frequent is mostly based on the one that provides service to customers, are willing to help all customers in the order that enter the store and don’t show preference. That, in my opinion could be entirely different in another location, depending entirely on management and staff.

In my neck of the woods, the Woodcraft store offers classes that are lead by experts in their discipline of the hobby. Rockler doesn’t offer this here. Rockler does have many demonstrations of tools and methods which Woodcraft doesn’t do very often. They each have similar stock on hand, usually in sufficient supply and are price competitive. The difference in the two here is mainly the customer relations. Rockler shines far above Woodcraft in this, here in St. Louis.

This may be the absolute opposite in a different city but I and other customers are treated with respect at our Rockler store, not so much at Woodcraft. I have been totally ignored after asking for help at Woodcraft. It has never happened at Rockler.

-- Al

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SnowyRiver

51458 posts in 3936 days


#14 posted 07-11-2011 05:43 PM

I frequent Rockler more often only because its close. Woodcraft is 20 miles from me and I only go there if I am in the area. Although, the Woodcraft here seems better stocked than Rockler. Either that or its laid out better, but I can always find what I am looking for at Woodcraft, but sometimes Rocker is out of stock. I think the help is about the same….it sometimes makes me wonder if the people working at either do woodworking since often they dont seem to understand what I am asking. I have not done a study on prices but they seem about the same here.

I have had good customer service from both. I guess if I invested on one (start up) I might choose Woodcraft since I would like to see one in my area.

I havent taken classes at them…Woodcraft is the only one that has indepth classes and its just too far to drive for extended classes.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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helluvawreck

32086 posts in 3322 days


#15 posted 07-11-2011 06:07 PM

I like Woodcraft very much. My favorite carving tools are Pfeil (Swiss Made) and Woodcraft sells them so they automatically get extra business from me on other things. I like Rockler’s hardware and they have other things that Woodcraft doesn’t sell. In Atlanta we also have Highland Woodworking which is a really nice store. They are direct competitors with Woodcraft on the internet and I like the atmosphere a little better at Highland Woodworking (also (Highland Hardware). Unfortunately I don’t like Hirsch carving tools as much as I like Pfeil. Hirsch are not really that bad at all but I just think Pfeil has a slight edge on quality (heavier handle, marked clearly, slightly heavier).

-- helluvawreck aka Charles, http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

817 posts in 3599 days


#16 posted 07-18-2011 08:35 PM

I don’t have a local Rockler so have never been to their store. The nearest one is two and a half hours away and the next time I find myself in that area I may well stop in. There is a Woodcraft in my town.

I have attended three classes at Woodcraft. I always come out thinking “I don’t feel that was worth what I paid”. I took a bowl turning class and it started the students from a roughed out blank. It didn’t teach me how to get to that point on my own…

Today I have an appointment with the owner of our local Woodcraft to help me with designing a dust collection system. Hopefully it will go well, though I have not yet received a confirmation of the appointment time…

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Gene Howe

11709 posts in 3884 days


#17 posted 07-18-2011 09:48 PM

I have been in two Woodcraft stores. In the first one, in Tempe, AZ the floor staff (one 18-20 yo young man) couldn’t find me a rip blade after my own fruitless search. The mgr just gruffly told me that they didn’t stock any. What’s with that??? I vowed to never darken their door again, and I haven’t.
The second one was in Albuquerque. I wouldn’t have gone there either except I was meeting someone there. That store was well stocked and employed lots of friendly and knowledgeable staff. My friend told me that they have all sorts of classes each week. One wonders how come such a major difference in two branded stores!
Been in two Rocklers. Both are well stocked and have great staff. I always enjoy my visits there. I’m 165 miles from them and don’t know about their classes.
If Woodcraft corp. is so lackadaisical about customer service as to allow their franchisees to provide the non-service I experienced, (and others I’ve read about) I would be concerned about their training and commitment to your success. BTW, my experience with ordering from their 800 # nearly mirrors my experience at their Tempe store.
I think I would just open an unaffiliated store.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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SnowyRiver

51458 posts in 3936 days


#18 posted 07-18-2011 10:35 PM

Elizabeth…thanks for the info on the Woodcraft classes. I often wondered if they were worth the price. They always seem kind of spendy. Wonder if others have had the same experience. I have thought about biting the bullet and driving 20 miles for a few nights of classes, but I was never sure if it would be worth it.

The Woodcraft and Rockler folks here are always very friendly and they try to be helpful, but I dont know if they are always skilled in what they are selling. I feel like sometimes I know more about what I am looking for then they do.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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juniorjock

1930 posts in 4221 days


#19 posted 07-18-2011 10:38 PM

The one that has the “free shipping” promo.

- JJ

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Grandpa

3263 posts in 3131 days


#20 posted 07-18-2011 11:43 PM

No store is any better than the person running it. No warranty is any better than the people that make the sale. That is it pure and simple. I have a Wood Craft that is about 8 miles away. I have been there once and I had to ask for service. I see no need to go to those places. I have never been to a Rockler’s store. I only shop on line. They were really helpful when I made a mistake on my order. They took care of me. If you could find a place to order cheap in bulk for resale then you should put your name on the front door. A franchise is money spent for the opportunity to buy in bulk. My local ACE store takes care of me. When I walked in there a couple of hours ago for an O-Ring the man at the front door asked if he could help, told me to, “look on aisle 29, 1/4 the way down on the top shelf. Write down the price, You don’t need a number.” This man was in a wheel chair or he would have escorted me back there. I could have taken the 35 cent
O-ring back if I didn’t want it. They have customer service. If we tell the manager what the item is used for then sometime he gives it to me for his cost. I went to Galveston after Hurrican Ike to help rebuild. Give this man cost he said. This makes me support him all the time. No he doesn’t have all the fine wood working machines you are talking about but he has the same clamps etc. This make his store good.

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GregD

788 posts in 3592 days


#21 posted 07-18-2011 11:47 PM

I have both a Rockler and a Woodcraft store between home and work. The Rockler is close to work, the Woodcraft about in the middle. Over the past couple of years I’ve been building up my tool collection and I’ve shopped both quite a bit. Service is good at both.

Of the two brick-and-mortar stores I probably favor the Woodcraft. For jigs, accessories, layout, small hand tools the options (brands) at Woodcraft appeal to me more often than the options at Rockler. Rockler has a great hardware selection.

-- Greg D.

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gerrym526

279 posts in 4264 days


#22 posted 07-26-2011 10:21 PM

-I frequent Rockler for hardware (eg. drawer slides, etc) and finishes. Occasionally shop at Woodcraft for odds/ends (finishes, sanding supplies, etc.)
-I don’t buy jigs/fixtures from Rocker, although they manufacture a ton of them-easier to make them in the shop myself, and cost lots less
-Tools I get from Amazon.com if I need new, and Craiglist if I’m buying used
-Router bits from router bits on the web
-I’ve attended one class from Rockler, but wasn’t satisfied with the amount of material covered due to the short length of the class (one day)
-Would not invest in either store as a franchisee, in this economy no one has lots of disposable income to spend on woodworking stuff and both the Rockler and Woodcraft store in my area are struggling

Just my 2 cents on the topic.

-- Gerry

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Joe Lyddon

10669 posts in 4508 days


#23 posted 07-26-2011 11:24 PM

I was wondering where the majority of the LJ’s purchase their supplies, tools, finishes etc? I am not going to ask for internet purchases, just in-store.

Do you prefer Woodcraft or Rockler?

I’d say I’m about 50/50 between them…

What is the major deciding factor on where you make that purchase? Location and or proximity to home/work?

Product available? Price? I rarely go into a store… Rockler is close but Woodcraft is quite aways away.

What are your impressions of Woodcraft?
What are your impressions of Rockler?

I think they are both very good companies… Great customer service, etc.

Have you attended any of the classes offered by either?

No.

If you had an opportunity to invest in a store which one would it be?

I have no idea… I don’t know if Rockler even offers a franchise store… Woodcraft does, I know… Woodcraft may be the only choice (?)...

Have you had any bad experinces with either? How do you feel it was handled?

Never… Always have been handled painlessly for me.

I am very seriously considering a franchise with Woodcraft. In our area we do not have ANY local suppliers of quality woodworking tools, equipment or lumber. The closest hardwood supplier is 2 hours north or south. Its not too far to drive but when you need a small amount to finish a project or build a small project its too far to go.

I think you just may get a few customers that would visit your store… if they fall into your category.
I have no idea of how many Woodworkers are around you… That would be a gamble.

As far as tools go all we have is the normal, Home Depot, Lowes, OSH etc, and that leaves a lot to be desired.

I think it would be hard to compete with Big Box stores… on the same products…

Good Luck!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/index.php

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DantheWoodworker

18 posts in 2976 days


#24 posted 08-25-2011 01:58 AM

I like both. My local woodcraft is a larger and nicer store. Rockler has a better selection of power tools where woodcraft has more hand tools and stuff in general. The rockler does not do classes but the woodcraft has excellent classes. For me if I could choose to go to either store I would go to woodcraft. The rockler does not do classes but the woodcraft has excellent classes.

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tyskkvinna

1310 posts in 3441 days


#25 posted 08-25-2011 02:20 AM

I’ve never been to a Rockler because there aren’t any near me. But I go to Woodcraft all the time and I only have positive things to say about them. I love them enough that I will always choose them over any other local store if Woodcraft sells what I am looking for.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

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BobTheFish

361 posts in 3007 days


#26 posted 08-25-2011 02:52 AM

To be COMPLETELY honest, I don’t use either.

My hometown has a hardware store that actually can service me better than either rockler OR woodcraft.

Everything from wood dowels in about 10-20 sizes, finishing products including mineral oil, wipe on and brush polyis, danish oil, lemon oil,tung oil, linseed oil (two different varieties, boiled and something else) etc. 4 different varieties of stripping solution, brushes, paints, thinners, mineral spirits, EVERYTHING. Thirty types of glue for various applications from epoxies to 3M’s Super 77, Elmer’s white and mounting adhesive. Racks of sandpaper. An entire color line of stains (granted, it’s minwax but he WILL order anything I ask).

Plus, he keeps a tab for his better clients (i never asked to sign up though, as I only pop in maybe once a month).

And he’s a woodworker, meaning frequently he’s got self made projects scattered about, that give excellent inspiration.

The only things I can’t get from him are wood and heavy duty power tools, and that’s probably because despite all the stuff he carries (and remember, this is a hardware store, so he’s also saved me quite a bit when I replaced my vacuum cleaner belt, and rather than ordering a pack of four online at about $20 with shipping, I was able to get one from him for only a buck.), he does it all in less than 600 square feet of space.

As far as I’m concerned, my hardware store’s owner is like a small god.

As for rockler or woodcraft stores, we’ve never had any even remotely close to our area. I’ve done my shopping at both online.

Both have always put me off due to the premium they have priced their stuff at. And when shopping for wood, I REALLY felt like they were out to gouge me with their pricing. I’m willing to pay a premium for premium wood, but both have seemed way too steep. Hardware selection (knobs, pulls, handles, hinges, etc,) have been great from both. I tend to go to rockler for them first, because typically I can also pick up a few other rather difficult to find products that I don’t want to wait QUITE so long to have ordered when I buy locally. (I buy the soy gel stripper by the gallon at times, and my body loves the way its saved from those nasty chemical burns I always get otherwise).

But for the most part, nothing about either store demands the premium I’d have to pay. And in this market, price is everything. Plus, franchises have pretty strict rules about how things get done, and, quite frankly, I don’t see any benefit over setting up a shop like theirs, but cutting away from all the crap and making it your own. I’d suggest instead opening your own private store, and stock what the area you are in dictates.

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bunkie

412 posts in 3602 days


#27 posted 08-25-2011 03:03 AM

Sadly, there are no woodworking stores in New York City. My “local” Woodcraft is way off in Connecticut. We used to have Garrett-Wade on Sixth Ave. & Spring St. but they closed up and went all mail-order years ago.

I generally like Woodcraft stores. I’ve shopped them in New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. I find them to be well-stocked and the people to be pretty knowledgeable. The only Rockler-type store I’ve shopped is Woodwerks in Columbus, Ohio. They are in independent store that stocks some Rockler products. I used to live nearby and I really miss it.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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bobsmyuncle

110 posts in 3147 days


#28 posted 08-27-2011 06:55 PM

I give the bid to Rockler. I am in business, so I get the Rockler Pro pricing. They also have most of the specialized hardware that I need. Rockler’s screws, for example, are much superior to Woodcraft’s offering. And they were closer to me.

The Woodcraft just relocated. They used to be in a very out of the way part of town. Now they’ve sold to another owner and moved right around the corner from Rockler. Unfortunately, the new owner has made a lot of dissatisfied people. He treated his staff badly and most that were not fired left in protest. He’s also interested only in turners, from his actions. So he’s alienated the woodworking club (us square and flat folks).

When I walk into Rockler, I get greeted by name. When I walk into Woodcraft, if I’m greeted at all, I’m just another joe off the street. With the prior owner and staff, they all knew me.

So, I agree with the above, it depends a lot on the owner and staff and their level of service.

I would also look at demographics, while GenX is not so much into woodworking, there’s a whole baby-boom generation poised on retirement that might provide your ready market.

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mmax

185 posts in 3911 days


#29 posted 08-27-2011 07:13 PM

I have both within driving distance and Rockler is far and above the better store. I always deal with the Maplewood, MN store and the staff is friendly and very knowledgeable. I’ve never run into a situation where they did not have stock. Frequent sales on the their lumber is also a plus.

I fully agree with other comments regarding Woodcraft. They seem to have an attitude that they are really doing you a favor by letting you browse their store. I have been in their store numerous times over the past years, but always walk away dissapointed.

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

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EZAV8R

1 post in 2910 days


#30 posted 09-06-2011 04:47 AM

Rockler! Never again Woodcraft. I’m in middle TN and it’s equal distance to the closest Woodcraft store, about 80 miles. There is no Rockler store nearby so it’s always catalog or Internet orders to them. I had two nasty experiences with the Woodcraft store in Franklin, TN. After the 2nd incident I committed to never offer them my greenbacks again. That was about seven months ago. Don’t need em’, don’t want em’. There are sufficient other suppliers of everything a wood worker could want or need outside of the Woodcraft domain. Business with Rockler, American Eagle, and McFeely’s, has been great!

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derosa

1597 posts in 3291 days


#31 posted 09-06-2011 05:00 AM

I’ve never been to a Rockler, nearest one is about 3 hours away. I visit the woodcraft in Rochester somewhat regularly and have very mixed feelings about it. The staff there has always been friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, their selection of products can be decent (but not always), and they have mahogany cut offs for dirt cheap. I like the fact that they make it easy to find oils, finishes, router bits, good selection of bandsaw blades, and occasionally decent sales.

My main gripe is that their wood selection is poorly organized, poorly labeled and they don’t post any of the prices back in the lumber, you have to ask at the front desk what the price is for each species. As most of my purchases tend to be lumber I head over to Pittsford lumber where the selection is better, well laid out, and boards are priced. I know I pay more there but I seriously can’t stand stupid, easily avoidable annoyances to the point I will pay more. And their tool selection isn’t always the best. Last week they had only one brand of scroll saw and no pricing on it (this is a trend there that annoys me) so I went to sears and bought the Craftsmen professional on clearance for 86.00 marked down from 300.00 ( a really lucky find).

-- A posse ad esse

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Joe Lyddon

10669 posts in 4508 days


#32 posted 09-06-2011 06:01 AM

It seems to me that Woodcraft stores are independently owned; therefore, they can do what they want BUT must adhere to the Franchise rules & regulations.

I think Rockler stores are “Rockler”; therefore, MUST adhere to Company policies.

That may be the difference here…

Some Woodcraft stores may be better than others, etc. BUT, Rockler stores MUST be the same.

My ONLY contact with Woodcraft has been with their Home Internet Office… and they are SUPER GOOD!

Rockler has ALWAYS been SUPER GOOD with me… Locally or at the Internet Home Office.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/index.php

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longgone

5688 posts in 3764 days


#33 posted 09-06-2011 06:12 AM

I have never been to a Rockler or a Woodcraft store since there are none located in Louisiana. I have purchased online through both stores and mostly pre plan what I buy from Rockler when they have their free shipping specials or 20% coupons. Both have shipped quickly when I have ordered.

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DamnYankee

3312 posts in 3018 days


#34 posted 09-06-2011 07:57 AM

I live west of Charlotte, NC. The closest of either is a Woodcraft about 1hr away. I’ve shopped there on occasion and been very pleased with the information and customer service. The staff are at least serious hobbiest, or have previously made a living at woodworking.

That said, I travel a fair bit and when I do I go looking for woodworking supply stores.

My worst and best experiences have been with Woodcraft. The one in Allentown, PA was awful. The service was nearly non-existent, and barely knew the difference between a screw and a nail. The Woodcraft in St Louis, MO and Matthews, NC (the one closest to me) have been extremely helpful. I have since found out that Woodcraft is franchise and the service you receive is very dependent on the owners.

As woodboatal said above about St Louis – The Rockler and Woodcraft in St Louis are probably the two woodsorking supply stores I have frequented the most (spend a lot of time out that way with my travels). I have found both staffs to be helpful, though the Rockler staff prbably more so. I have found that while their inventories overlap, they are by no means identical. I find the Rockler store is more focused on basic supplies – blades, bits, finsihes etc while the Woodcraft store carries most of that plus more after-market accessories and larger tools (BS, TS, etc).

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

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maljr1980

171 posts in 2912 days


#35 posted 09-24-2011 03:03 AM

i like woodcraft but you are best off to find a local cabinet supply company or a place that specializes in industrial woodworking tools or finish carpentry tools. you usually find the cream of the crop when it comes to bits, blades, and machinery without the mark up, or those hard to find specialty tools that neither rockler or wood craft sells. as far as purchasing wood, find a lumber retailer, find out where the local shops get there hardwood and sheetgoods.

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PutnamEco

155 posts in 3742 days


#36 posted 09-24-2011 06:35 AM

My lumber I try to source locally, and have pretty good luck finding most of what I need. For hardware, I get most at the local supply house, or big boxen. What I can’t source locally, which in this rural area happens fairly often, online suppliers.
Woodcraft is a significant journey for me and I don’t often make the trek, unless other business takes me to the area. Nearest Rockler would be 6 hour drive one way, I have never been there. If I was to think about starting a store like Woodcraft, I would think strongly about opening an independent store, so as not to have to kowtow to corporate, but I’m a rebel and like doing things in my own way and in my own time.

I prefer shopping at my local supply houses and hardware stores, rather than franchises because the smaller business have a more enthusiastic staff, who seem a lot more interested in the products they sell.

Think restaurants, which would you rather eat at, your local Mcdonalds or your local Diner, Your local Macaroni Grill, or that real nice Italian place where the owner reminds you of your grandpa. It might be nice to stop at a McDs once in a while when your out on the road and don’t want to take a chance on the local cuisine, but in your home town, when you KNOW where the good food is…..

-- “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Vince

1196 posts in 3885 days


#37 posted 09-24-2011 08:12 AM

Woodcraft for me.

-- Vince

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rrdesigns

532 posts in 3641 days


#38 posted 09-24-2011 09:30 AM

No Rockler anywhere near, as far as I know, so Woodcraft it is (Oklahoma City location). The staff there is very knowledgeable and helpful and I am a frequent customer. They also send referrals my way for custom work which is a good thing. Only negative: wood prices tend to run on the high side. If I need a large order, I have it shipped from a supplier in Dallas.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

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Michael

135 posts in 3071 days


#39 posted 02-22-2014 08:57 PM

What came of your desire to own a Woodcraft franchise? I’m kicking around the same idea now. I’m assuming that you decided to not pursue the franchise. Why?

-- ~Michael, AnsbachArtisans.com

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CharlesA

3383 posts in 2253 days


#40 posted 02-22-2014 09:18 PM

The only Rockler I’ve been to is the one outside Pittsburgh (home store?). It was fine. My sense of Rockler is that they carry a lot more unusual hinges or some such, but also tend to carry some really cheap stuff as well. Never had a problem and mail order from them some.

Woodcraft is local and played a major role in my getting into woodworking. The local franchise is always helpful and has given me good advice. They’re the only retailer of exotic lumber in the area. We have a local woodworking store as well that I try to support as much as possible, but they just don’t carry a lot of stuff that woodcraft does.

I purchase a lot off the web, get most of my lumber at sawmills, and try,to,support local businesses. But if I were limited to one store for all of it, it would be Woodcraft.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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MrRon

5631 posts in 3699 days


#41 posted 02-23-2014 07:20 PM

I don’t have either store anywhere near me, so I buy most everything from the internet. Things like fasteners, I buy in large quantities from industrial suppliers like Fastenal and McMaster-Carr. I like to buy whatever I can from MLCS because of their free shipping policy. Having a fully equipped shop; I really don’t have to buy very much and my HF budget dictates my purchases. I only buy from HF when I’m sure their product is reasonably good, like their “F” bar clamps.
I have purchased items from Woodcraft when they had a store near me and was satisfied with the purchases and service.

View woodmaker's profile

woodmaker

321 posts in 3147 days


#42 posted 04-21-2015 02:19 PM

I drive 90 miles to Woodcraft in Franklin Tn.
There is a Rockler in Atlanta, but I seldom ever go that way.
I shop in-store and on-line at Woodcraft; only Rockler if I need some specific jig I’m too lazy to make..

-- Mike

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

574 posts in 2001 days


#43 posted 04-21-2015 02:38 PM

Mail order is all Rockler for me but the closest of either store is about 4 hours away for me. I do try and hit one or the other up when I travel. As for the actual stores I’ve been to I think Woodcraft (at least the ones I’ve been to) have a little better stuff.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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Bogeyguy

548 posts in 2524 days


#44 posted 04-21-2015 03:04 PM

Woodcraft $$$$$, Rockler $$$$$.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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Arlin Eastman

4261 posts in 3017 days


#45 posted 04-21-2015 03:27 PM

I do not have any withing 500 miles so all of my stuff is ordered on line.

Rockler has a lot of stuff others do not have but their prices are 15 to 20% more also

Woodcraft I have bought from and find them reasonable and very friendly

Craftsupplies I buy from but after Dale Nish passed away 2 years ago things have started going down hill

Klingspor I get all of my sanding supplies from

Packard I have bought from

Lastly

I do not thing I would invest in a franchise store. Woodcraft requires you to have at least over $1m in assets.

If you are wanting the Name exposure that is fine but why not start your Own from scratch and make it better then both of them.

I really wish you good luck on doing one and finding a good place. Make sure there is no one else around with in 1 hour and have a GREAT business ethic.

If you get it up and running and have a website I would like to buy from you sometime. :)

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

878 posts in 3521 days


#46 posted 04-21-2015 03:52 PM

Woodcraft. No Rockler Store in OKC or Tulsa. Have used Rockler on line though, back when they had a great selection of hardware. Now it seems that they are more into high priced “gimmicky” stuff. The hardwood selection at the Tulsa store is better than in OKC, even though both are owned by the same franchisee. I try to buy most of my hardwood on line from Bell or other supplies. Better choice-better pricing even with freight. Freight or sales tax, you usually have to pay one or the other if you buy locally or on line. Free freight makes all of the difference in the world. But both Woodcraft and Rockler a still a great place for woodworkers, albeit a little pricey.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3383 posts in 2253 days


#47 posted 04-21-2015 04:02 PM

The online retailers are trying to differentiate themselves. You’ll find better hand tool resources at Lee Valley than at Rockler. Peachtree seems to carry all kinds of stuff that others don’t. Woodcraft carries nice, store-branded tools. Rockler tries to go for the convenience items that are a bit gimmicky, but can be helpful. They led me into the silicone glue accessories that I love.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Splash's profile

Splash

19 posts in 2310 days


#48 posted 03-06-2018 05:58 PM

Ford versus Chevy. Both are good for tools and jigs. My experience is that Woodcraft has more tools….Rockler has more “accessories”. Both have good finishes and stains/dyes. Rockler has Arbortech..Woodcraft has Kutzall….that kind of thing.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1160 days


#49 posted 03-06-2018 08:47 PM

Woodcraft gets my local business. Primarily because the only Rockler store is an “authorized” seller. Their primary business is selling industrial/contractor grade tools. Their back room where the Rockler stuff sits is an afterthought.

As others have stated, regardless of the name on the sign, the people inside are what makes the difference. The management and staff at my local Woodcraft have all been awesome. Every time I visit.

Similarly, classes have less to do with their location and a whole lot more to do with the instructor. Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach will frustrate the piss out of you! I’ve taken several classes at the Woodcraft. Every one of them was taught by a loyal customer or trusted 3rd party. While the store manager had to sign-off on the course content and schedule, there really wasn’t anything “Woodcraft” about the classes other than the location and student discount.

I think a better business plan will evolve if you figure what specifically is missing from your local market and figure out the best way to fill the gap. Provide products and services that can’t be had anywhere else locally and/or are difficult, or more expensive to purchase online. Big, heavy things might be a good place to start. Amazon and the other internet retailers will eat your lunch on small stuff that’s easy to ship. Where a local shop can make inroads is on items that are expensive to ship.

I have a great Woodcraft, a mediocre Rockler, and an Amazon distribution center nearby (hello same-day delivery!). What I don’t have close at hand is a good hardwood supplier. The Woodcraft doesn’t carry very much in either variety or quantity and their prices are a bit high. There nearest retail supplier is on the opposite side of town nearly an hour away. I would think a store specializing in hardwood lumber might do well in my area.

Maybe your local market is missing finishing resources. If so, then opening a shop that specializes in finishing might be more profitable than a be-all, end-all franchise. Offer a wider variety of finishing products than the chains, more “live”, on-the-spot expertise in store. Offer a variety of finishing classes. Maybe offer shop time and equipment for rent. Become “THE” local expert on finishing. Just an example…

Perhaps the marquetry market is under-served in your community…..

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

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splinter56

6 posts in 1484 days


#50 posted 03-06-2018 09:11 PM

I like Rockler for hardware and Woodcraft for tools, although the lines are blurred at times. Both stores are about an hour away from my home, but are in fairly close proximity to each other. There is also a Bass Pro between them, so whenever i make the trip it’s usually pretty expensive when i stop at all three. For lumber, I have a hardwood lumber yard that is close, so that is my go to for material.

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