I spent 25 years as a consumer in this industry, I’m looking back at
all the times I called up one of my favorite suppliers and was
frustrated to hear that the tool, finding or stone I counted on
having in my grubby little paws the next day was out of stock. I
always assumed that a backorder was the result of the distributor’s
poor planning, disorganization or apathy.
As a new vendor, with product that is on backorder I’ve got an
insight as to what suppliers are up against. I’m driving my
distributors nuts. As a result of Hanuman’s kind words and Rio
Grande’s feature article about the tools in their Fall 2003 News and
Product Review http://www.riogrande.com/news.htm hundreds of orders
have poured in, far exceeding what we imagined. The distributors
have frustrated customers, expecting immediate gratification (my
favorite!) only to be told that they can expect delivery in 2 to 3
Here’s the scoop. Tool production is a lot like jewelry production.
Early production runs can be slow. Often the transition from
prototype to production can be tricky, or worse- a dreadful
disappointment. I spent many insomniac nights, imagining a mountain
of tools for me to touch up on my beloved Power Hone. I’ve been
fortunate to have gorgeous production. My manufacturer really cares
about their product, they take great pride in their work. I’ve been
happy with every edge of every tool.
It’s going to take us a little time to fill these orders, and get
the production up to speed. If I have to choose between quality and
quantity, I’ll choose quality every time. Good things are worth the
So if you call up one of your suppliers and find something is out
of stock, pause and think of the chain the product goes through on
it’s way to you, And maybe cut the person on the other end of the
phone some slack.
If you are one of the distributors who is waiting for product, thank
you for your patience, and I’m sorry for making your customers
Kate Wolf in Portland, Maine
P.S. There will be a set of Wolf’s Precision Wax Carvers at the
Tucson Silent Auction.