Rockler: useless tool inventor? Or is this a useless topic.

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Forum topic by Craftsman on the lake posted 02-22-2013 01:22 PM 2590 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Craftsman on the lake

3710 posts in 4449 days

02-22-2013 01:22 PM

We have a Rocklers in my area. It’s about 30 miles away and I love to visit it. They have some good stuff. It’s not inexpensive but with their sales it’s manageable. And I have to admit that the store is populated by knowledgeable staff and they bend over backwards to ‘make it work’ for you. That being said:

I’ve also gotten the feeling over the past few years that they are tool inventors, or at least they latch on to inventions and market them. The thing is, are most of their ‘new and innovate’ products more like what are sold in infomercials? Rockler cookies, depth gauges, glue brushes, simple jigs that pop up now and then. Now they’ve got a new paint mixer/pourer. And for what they are they’re fairly expensive. I know that some people have praised some of these things. And if you’re truly getting use out of it then I guess it’s better than I thought. Or did you spend $$ on it and want to think that it’s useful to you?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of Rockler stuff. It’s the go to place for any type of hinge or hardware. I even own some of their fairly useless stuff. They’re having a killer sale on cherry this week. I’ll buy 100 bd/ft. But, do they seem to throw a new ‘kitchen magician’ at us once and awhile and convince us that we can’t live without it?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

28 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3996 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 01:27 PM

I like the idea of silicone glue brushes, but I ended up buying some silicone basting brushes and cut the bristles shorter. I give them credit for trying to push the envelope and move things forward, though I don’t think everything they tell is some new miracle item really is. But like anything in a retail market place, you throw it all out there and see what someone is willing to buy.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 3031 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 01:30 PM

There are quite a few items I see there that I just roll my eyes and shake my head at. I will have to say though, I love their silicone brushes. They have them on sale occasionally and well worth the $$$ to me.

Maybe I would say the same thing about their paint can top/stirrer if I bought it too. No,no I wouldnt =)

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 4189 days

#3 posted 02-22-2013 01:35 PM

I’ve bought a few of their products and so far it has been hit or miss. I have their dovetail jig and am pleased with it. On the opposite end of the spectrum I had high hopes for their pocket hole clamps but I never could them to work to my expectations.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4328 days

#4 posted 02-22-2013 02:08 PM

“Or did you spend $$ on it and want to think that it’s useful to you?”

I believe there is something to this question. When reading some tool reviews on this site, I often ask myself if the reviewer is biased by the simple fact that he just spent some serious money on the tool and wants it to be a good investment so much that, to him it was a good investment.

Nobody wants to think himself a chump. I wonder if writing a glowing review on this site is an attempt to exorcise the chump demon.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 02-22-2013 02:18 PM

What do you expect them to do? Just keep selling the same old crap and remain competitive in the marketplace? Companies that don’t innovate die. Period. Universally.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 4169 days

#6 posted 02-22-2013 02:20 PM

I think a company like Rockler has to be a little creative in that regard to survive against the big box stores that can sell products for less. Like Rich said, innovate or die.

That said, I generally like their Rockler-branded products, albeit most of which are relabeled versions for other suppliers. For example, their FX router lift is a Jessem and their turbine sprayer is the same as HF’s version. I even have a set of Incra router bits, Rockler-branded, that are identical to the Whiteside version (though not all their bits are Whiteside, of course).

Much of their branded stuff, like jigs, templates, brushes, etc. are probably also just rebranded from some other company. I might be wrong, but I doubt a company like Rockler can afford a big R&D division for truly new and unique products.

So, I think Rockler’s modus operandi comes from making you “think” they are innovative…which is good enough.

-- jay,

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 3031 days

#7 posted 02-22-2013 02:23 PM

If you go to Rockler regularly, you know they always have some “super deal” at the register that they try to sell you with every purchase. Right now it’s a crow bar (ummm, ok?). A couple of months ago they were selling these little LED lights that went onto the shaft of your screwdriver so that you could see when putting in a screw under a cabinet. I’ll have to say, the guy trying to sell me one got a bigger chuckle out of the waste of $3 that it was than I did.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3259 days

#8 posted 02-22-2013 02:43 PM

There comes a point to where products are useful and add value to the woodworking process, and products are cheaply made, heavily marketed for a very short period of time, then fall off the map. I see a mix of both from a lot of retailers. Once the overwhelmingly negative reviews start pouring in, the product gets deep discounted or discontinued.

Also there is the Harbor Freight mentality. Let’s face it, HF is CHEAP. Rockler and others would like to get some cheapskate business rolling in. Unfortunately because the Rockler name is worth something, when the cheaper “value line” widget shows up and it is half the price of the quality widget being carried, people are expecting Rockler quality and getting HF quality.


View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30599 posts in 3349 days

#9 posted 02-22-2013 02:55 PM

A lot of sales are dependant on new inexperienced woodworkers or lazy ones looking for a magic tool that will do the job for them. When I was starting out, I thought I needed the cool gadgets. The more time you spend in the workshop the more I realize how useless they are. On the other side of this, there will always be someone trying to sell a “Veg-O-Matic” type product (if you’re old enough to remember them).

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1656 posts in 3598 days

#10 posted 02-22-2013 03:16 PM

So far everything I have purchased from Rockler has been great.

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 3894 days

#11 posted 02-22-2013 03:49 PM

In essence, I think that a lot of their products are based on the concept of trying to “build a better mousetrap” ie. stuff designed to make easy tasks maybe slightly easier, but more complicated. I get the same feeling when I read the woodworking “tips” submitted at the beginning of many woodworking magazines.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 4518 days

#12 posted 02-22-2013 03:56 PM

Innovation is a messy process. Every tool we use today was new once. This is how free enterprise works: you design products you think are an improvement on existing technology or meet an unfulfilled need. You take the risk of investing in them and bringing them to market. Some succeed, some fail. If something is truly innovative, people will embrace it and it will be successful. If it isn’t, believe me, Rockler and other companies pay the price. I’m not sure what the point of this thread is, exactly.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View rkober's profile


137 posts in 3303 days

#13 posted 02-22-2013 04:57 PM

I’ve been impressed by some of their branded products: router lift, t-track, and hold downs come to mind. Unfortunately some of the cheesy items that you see them pushing leaves a bad taste in your mouth and makes you question all the products. On the other hand, if they’re turning the items maybe someone feels they are valuable (or they’re chumps). There are items that they roll out, such as the table saw coping guide, that one could easily make themselves (and I have). However they’ve added some features and documentation so someone doesn’t have “reinvent the wheel” (which is sometimes the fun of it imo).

-- Ray - Spokane, WA - “Most people don’t recognize opportunity because it’s usually disguised as hard work.” - Unknown

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3486 days

#14 posted 02-22-2013 05:06 PM

Craftsman, I have always found your post very well thought out and interesting, but on this one seems to me that you missed the mark. Seems to me you are saying Rockler is dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. Their bench cookies were a big success, who knows if lightning will strike again n the same place. If you want them around for longer and specially if you want the privilege of going to a store instead of buying everything online…..give ‘em a break..huh?

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 4100 days

#15 posted 02-22-2013 05:15 PM

I laughed at the silicone glue brush when it first came out. Then I read where some people were very impressed with how well it worked. I finally broke down and bought one for myself to see what all the fuss was about. I now think that the silicone glue brush is a great product, a “home run” in my opinion. That being said, I don’t buy a lot of Rockler products. They don’t have a “brick and mortar” in my area and the shipping costs are a killer, so it is somewhat cost prohibitive in my case.


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