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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I’ll be back to teach there next year.
— Christopher Schwarz