Surprises (Good Ones!) at the Atlanta Woodcraft

As a long-time customer of Woodcraft, I know what to expect when I walk through the door of one of the stores: natural wood displays, racks of wood at the back and a usually decent selection of hand tools.

But I don’t expect to see a Ron Brese infill smoothing plane for sale. Or an entire display case of tools from Chris Vesper in Australia. Benchcrafted vise hardware? Czeck Edge marking tools? Those things aren’t in stores; they’re only available on the Internet.

Well the Atlanta Woodcraft is an outlier. And it’s a good thing.

Owned and operated by Steve Quehl, the store carries products from the small makers that you won’t find in any store or in the Woodcraft catalog. Why? Well Steve is as passionate about hand work as just about anyone I know. He’s attended most (if not all) the Woodworking in America conferences as an attendee, not an exhibitor.

He’s an enthusiastic member of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and its Peach State Chapter. And he’s very much the kind of guy who likes to support cottage-industry toolmakers. So he recruits them – sometimes relentlessly – and promotes the tools to his local clientele.

As a result, his store is a bit different. After Woodcraft and Lie-Nielsen parted ways, you couldn’t buy Lie-Nielsen tools in Woodcraft stores. But you can in Steve’s Woodcraft – he has maintained a personal relationship with the Warren, Maine, manufacturer.

He also carries Old Brown Glue, a fantastic liquid hide glue, the Knew Concepts fret saws and on and on.

And it is because of Steve’s enthusiasm that I have been teaching at his store for the last three years. He has 10 solid benches, extremely well set-up hand tools and a staff that really knows their stuff. When Al Trevillyan prepares your stock for a class, it is flat, square and perfectly to size.

So if you are in Atlanta, stop by the Woodcraft store there north of the city. It’s worth the trip. And if you need a Chris Vesper bevel or any of the other items that might be in short supply or hard to get, give Steve a call at 770-587-3372 or send an e-mail to atlanta-retail@woodcraft.com.

And I’ll be back to teach there next year.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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11 Responses to Surprises (Good Ones!) at the Atlanta Woodcraft

  1. quietkayak says:

    It gives me hope to see someone stepping outside the box. In this case,
    the big box (store)

  2. I wish my local Woodcraft were like that one. Would be a big improvement.

  3. John Cashman says:

    Good for him. Atlanta seems like a great area for woodworkers. Sadly, the Woodcraft closest to me just closed in January. Perhaps if they were run by Mr. Quehl, they’d still be around.

  4. That was such a nice article to read.

    It’s a surprise to hear that not all chain stores are the same. We need more people like Steve who take things into their own hands instead of simply following. Good for you Steve – way to be a leader.

    Best wishes,
    Chris

  5. Bartee says:

    Yep, I live 1/2 mile from the store. I visit there a lot.

    Steve is a stand up guy. Trying to run a great business in a very difficult environment.

    I had to work all day Saturday, or I would have been in your class. I saw the cars there on Sunday morning. It looked like you had a nice crowd.

    Hopefully next time.

    Thanks for supporting Steve and coming to Atlanta for classes.

  6. Mark's says:

    It’s all true. We’re very fortunate here in the Atlanta area when it comes to woodworking in all its flavors. Great local lumber suppliers, good schools within easy driving distance, an active woodworking community always ready to share outstanding talent, and of course, great retail establishments like Steve’s. I’m glad you mentioned Al. He and the rest of Steve’s staff are all first rate. Steve is one of those guys you can talk to for five minutes and you just know you’re getting good information and guidance. Thanks Steve. You’ve more than earned your customer’s loyalty. And thanks to you too Chris for once again coming to Atlanta. The welcome mat is always out.

  7. Steve says:

    Thank you Mr. Quehl. Maybe this will catch on at other Woodcraft stores. This is what’s truly missing.

  8. Ron Hock says:

    Steve and his store are exemplars to which other woodworking stores and their owners should aspire. Thank you, Chris, for spotlighting this exceptional store. And keep up the good work, Steve!

  9. Scott S. says:

    I would love to own a Woodcraft franchise, especially with the freedom to expand beyond the corporate bounds.
    Unfortunately, the 5-600k entry fee is a tad beyond my means.

    Kudos to Steve and co.

  10. Glen says:

    Sounds like a great place. Well done Steve. Steve should add one more Australian tool maker to his fantastic lineup of small batch suppliers. That is the supreme work of Colen Clenton. His marking out tools are truly the very best Australia has to offer. I am biased though as I have personally bought just about every different tool he makes! Clenton tools put the icing on any woodworking experience. Love the blog Chris.

  11. Robert Balfour says:

    As a former employee of the Atlanta store, I can say that Steve is also an excellent employer. He really pours into his staff’s professional development and encourages them to gain new skills in woodworking. If it weren’t for him, I would have never cut a dovetail or tenon by hand and I would have no clue what to do with a hand plane. This commitment to treating his employees well has left him with an extremely knowledgeable staff that truely loves to work wood. Thanks Steve.

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