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 Joel's Blog at Tools for Working Wood

It should not be this hard - We Discontinue Nicholson Patternmaker's Rasps Because of Quality Issues.  

02/19/2010


In general I don't like apologizing for bad tools. Since we pay return postage on everything if there is a problem with a tool that's not an anomaly we either get the manufacturer to fix it or we discontinue the tools.

So long Nicholson 49 and 50 Rasps!!!! you had a great run, we loved selling you, but since you moved production to Brazil I have had to apologize too many times.

In the background of the pictures is the edge of my own personal Nicholson 49 pattern-maker's rasp that I used for years. Since I learned about hand cut rasps such as the Aurious and introduced out own Gramercy Rasps I haven't liked the 49 and 50 as much but at half the price they reflected a really great value and they work great on their own terms. I used them for 20 years before knowing of any better.

With the move to Brazil quality dropped and we started getting them back. Look at the new Brazilian production in the foreground: The teeth are off center in the body, which means that teeth are partially punched unevenly on the edge of the rasp - which will scratch unpredictably, the teeth are crowded together and they will clog more easily, and the toothing on the edge is much larger than before and forms an unwelcome ridge.

As of now we are discontinuing these rasps until Nicholson, actually the Cooper Tools which owns them fixes the problem. This leaves us with a gap in the mid-priced rasp area which we will try to fill but for now I would rather not sell them then have the hassle of defects and returns.

PS - this isn't a single anomaly - we are returning boxes of these rasps.
PPS - A few years ago we used to sell Nicholson saw files - when quality on that dropped we switched to what we now stock - Grobet.

Tags:Product News, Sales, and Promotions,Woodworking Tools and Techniques
Comments: 11
02/19/2010Charlie Moore 
Joel,
This is very sad indeed... Quality hand tools are becoming a rare beast.
On a side note, though. Check out the link below for these rasps. I have a 10" fine one and it works very well and the price is right. They claim the teeth are hand struck as well.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Files/Dragon_Hand-cut_Rasps/Dragon_Large_Hand-cut_Rasp.html

My 2 cents...
Take care,
Charlie
02/19/2010joel http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com
Charlie,
I know about dragon rasps. pretty good for what they are but I think the shape isn't as ideal as regular pattermaker's rasps for woodwork. For hand cut rasps for cabinetmaker's I think the Auriou and Gramercy rasps are better profiles - also in a larger selection.

joel
02/19/2010Garth 
If the quality of a particular tool does meet your high standards, it should be discontinued until adjustments are made. If there is no improvement, it should not be sold. I trust the reputation of TFWW when I buy tools and I have never been disappointed with the final result. I expect TFWW to sell tools that are either the best or noted as a good value. Anything less hurts everyone.
02/19/2010Timbow 
With your customer service and return policy, it's easy to understand why it is
necessary for you to do this. Recognizing that this is a business decision, I
would like to thank you for standing on principle, too. The best answer to
shoddy manufacturing is a refusal to buy.

That's a pretty compelling photo.
02/19/2010Andy 
Joel,
Sorry to hear about this loss of one option for "raspers".
I think you're absolutely doing the right thing by returning
and discontinuing these. Hopefully Nicholson will get the
message that quality is important!
As for decent mid-priced rasps, what do you think of the
"Hand Cut Rasps" that Lee Valley sells for $20-30? If I
recall correctly they're Czeck-made. My Gramercy is
absolutely the best rasp I own, and is certainly a joy to
use. But in my experience the LV Hand Cut rasps offer quite
a lot of bang for the buck, and are a significant step up
from el cheapo machine-made rasps.
Andy
02/21/2010Gary Roberts http://toolemera.com
So much for the magic of industrial 'out-sourcing'. I have a set of Nicholson rasps, purchased about 30 years ago that are still going strong. I thought of replacing them some years back but found the current crop, even then, to be sub-par compared to the older ones.

It's good to see TFWW is on top of tool quality, as always.
Gary
03/06/2010Martin Lundeen 
I recently bought my first "nice" rasp in a B&M store, a Nicholson #50. Their display had a display affixed to the case, and despite comparing the 3 they had for sale, I just couldn't find one that looked quite as nice as the display which had been fixed to the display for who knows how many years. So, I bought a #50, assuming I was just being too particular. I guess it wasn't just an overcritical eye. (MADE IN BRAZIL). It works, okay, but not as well as it should for the price. Disappointing, especially as it was a "pick out your own birthday present" scenario. I just should have trusted my instinct and asked to buy the one on display. Had been meaning to email you and see if I was the only person who had noticed the lower quality. I should have just ordered from you all, and will do so in the future.
03/09/2010Steven 
It is your concern for quality that brings me back to your store. I don't mind the
cost of a better tool.
03/10/2010David A. P. http://arsarboris.com
Nice to have a reliable source for high-quality tools. Kudos!
04/22/2010Larry James 
This page needs to be updated based on this blog post: "On The History and
Manufacture Of Rasps."

Larry
12/01/2010Bob 
The page selling the tools has been removed but there are still more than a few references dotted around the rest of the site. At the very least you should point them all in this direction. Practice what you preach, guys.

P.S. you should sell keyboard protectors too to catch the drool.
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
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