Pony Tools Suspends Operations

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Pony Tools, which has made clamps in the United States since its founding in 1903, closed its doors earlier this month in an announcement that surprised woodworkers and other toolmakers.

However, the Easy Wood Tools subsidiary that Pony purchased last year, is continuing to operate and fill orders, according to company officials.

Details about the closure are scarce. The phone number for Pony’s public relations officer is no longer functioning and calls to the Chicago headquarters have been unanswered.

However Douglas Holman, the chairman and owner of Pony (and great-great grandson of the founder), issued a statement about the closing through Easy Wood’s social media:

“I am writing to inform you that on May 19, 2016, Adjustable Clamp Company d/b/a Pony Tools Inc. informed its Chicago employees that it was suspending operations in Chicago effective immediately. While this step was necessary due to issues unique to the Chicago business, the Company’s Easy Wood Tools division remains open and continues to operate its business. It is our hope that there will be minimal, if any, disruption to the business of Easy Wood Tools. This suspension of operations in Chicago has not affected our ability to fill Easy Wood Tools orders.

“The company is looking at all options in order to enable Easy Wood Tools to continue to operate. We are hopeful that you will continue to support Easy Wood Tools during this transition and we appreciate your past support. We will put forth our best efforts to keep you updated as more information becomes available.”

Pony’s orange clamps and wooden handscrews have been ubiquitous sights in woodworking shops all over the world.

While it seems Holman’s statement leaves the door open for the company to resume operations, perhaps under new ownership, you might want to stock up on orange clamps nonetheless.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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21 Responses to Pony Tools Suspends Operations

  1. waltamb says:

    Writing was on the wall.
    Pony I believe outsourced much of their manufacturing overseas for many of their products.
    That leave Dubuqe Clamp the last American Made Clamp Company.

  2. Frank Stanek says:

    Jim,

    FYI If You need “Pony’ clamps stock up now…..Dad

    *From:* Lost Art Press [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Monday, May 30, 2016 8:55 AM *To:* fps@stanekadvisors.com *Subject:* [New post] Pony Tools Suspends Operations

    Lost Art Press posted: ” Pony Tools, which has made clamps in the United States since its founding in 1903, closed its doors earlier this month in an announcement that surprised woodworkers and other toolmakers. However, the Easy Wood Tools subsidiary that Pony purchased last “

  3. Tom Hoffman says:

    Anyone know if this includes Jorgensen?

  4. novicetom says:

    I recently bought two large Jorgensen hand screw clamps from Wood Werks in Columbus for what I thought was less than half price. I asked the clerk when I checked out about the sale and he just said they (Wood Werks) just got a really good deal. I didn’t notice until I got home that these were “Made in China”. I guess from the previous comments this is not unusual, but it is the first time I have seen the core product line of their clamps made overseas. Also the Adjustable Clamp Company lists nothing for hand screw clamps or kits on their website. If they are simply moving operations overseas, it certainly seems like a cowardly way to announce it.

  5. hickorygw says:

    Sad day indeed. Hope someone pick up the company and continues to make these great clamps. I’m headed to the store and pick up a few more clamps.

  6. toolnut says:

    A lot of companies are leaving Illinois. The statement of “issues unique to the Chicago business” makes me think they may end up in another state or as some have suggested another country.

  7. Denny Rice says:

    The Chicago closing is very sad. A company that has been around for over 100 years must have done something right. I really don’t understand them announcing this through EWT either? I wouldn’t think it would effect their line of EWT anyway. The last time I knew all EWT are still made in America and right here in Kentucky….

  8. Eric R says:

    Man, my Jorgies are the first clamps I reach for without even thinking about it at glue-up time…
    (I also hope, if they move, they move to a different state, and NOT a different country.)

  9. potomacker says:

    We are certainly all praying that the executives who outsourced production to China come out of this ‘reorganization’ well compensated and squeaky clean.

  10. Scott Taylor says:

    We can complain about the offshoring of companies like this all we want but it is purely the fault of the consumer. Americans became addicted to lots of cheap imports and low end goods all the while lamenting the demise of American companies. Very few put their money where their mouth is, they are all at Wally World and Horror Freight.

    I will walk to my shop in Redwing Boots wearing Pointer jeans (thanks Chris for that heads up…) and get my stock in a US built RAM pick-up. I pay more, I get better stuff and I can keep my head up.

  11. While I am only moderately disappointed…I am not surprised…even a little bit…

    As a teacher and facilitator of “traditional crafts and architecture” I see this as more “growing pains” than anything else for this old company….We (at least many of us) are becoming more “global citizens” than locked into “America is Best.” From a Ram truck to a wood clamp, you can find all sorts of diversity in these many items from all over the world’s economies…form who made it to where the materials came from that formed it…

    For me it isn’t much less about “country of orgin,” and more about the “industries behind the product.” I look (the best I can) for socially and environmentally sustainable companies and industries…When I can’t do this…I try my best to “offset” the loss with more effort elsewhere in my purchasing dollar as a consumer. I also support the HUGE trend in the renaissance in…”bespoke”…goods and services. This ranges from “locally grown” (and supported) small farms to local lumber and stone for our architecture…and anything else the supports the economy within 500 kilometers of where I am at a given time…

    This company…our faithful Pony’s…will survive or be replace with something just as good I am sure…But then again I am the eternal optimist…

  12. went out and bought a full set of Easy Wood cutters today, just in case…

  13. I’m not sure how much if anything was still being made in Chicago.
    They were pressured into going offshore by major retailers some time ago.
    I’m not sure if they were paying for retail space, but I’ve notice them getting rotated in and out of
    retailers and industrial supply firms that are known to practice that business model.
    The more they offshored, the mored the specialty shops turned their back on them (but those
    were small numbers, comparatively).

    The above should be treated as heresey/gossip, of course. I have no direct relations with the company. I always blame the consumers, ultimately. They choose where to shop.

  14. I have an acronym that I use; C.R.A.P., Chinese replicated American products. It isn’t necessarily the consumers fault because the executives can line their pockets with the money they save on cheap labor and inferior materials.

  15. gdblake00 says:

    Having worked in Illinois a few years ago doing commercial remodeling for a large food chain I can tell you the whole state is a union strong hold. My own experience with these union workers is that you have to pay about 30% more for labor and get half the work out of them. My guess is this is just another case of union employees over demanding and under performing making it impossible for the company to operate at a profit. The best way to get back to American made quality at a fair price is to get rid of the unions. Union bosses live large by taking big chunks out of their members paychecks and continue to buy off Democrat politicians to insure their strangle hold on their members and the companies that employ them. I hope they reopen in a state where people still have a work ethic and get to keep all that they earn instead of the unions sucking the life blood out of them.

  16. I love Easy Wood tools and I hope the company survives. I believe Easy Wood turning tools are the only way to go for a woodworker who only occasionally turns a few pieces. I also love my Jorgensen twin screw clamps, although for years my attitude toward clamps of all kinds has been to love ’em and leave ’em ( http://woodworkingfortheloveofit.blogspot.com/2013/08/all-clamps-are-not-equal.html ).
    I have usually tried to buy American made products like my growing collection of Lie-Nielsen tools and my Ford pickup truck. Some of the exceptions to this are some tools from our friendly Canadian neighbor, Lee Valley, and the high quality German engineering available from Bessey Clamps and a few power tools from Festool.
    My next major purchase will be a dust collector from Oneida Air Systems in Syracuse, NY. Their HEPA filtered dust collectors appear to be very high quality American made products, as well as the healthiest to use.

  17. novicetom says:

    Chris, This may not be the Lost Art Press forum, but doesn’t Rule #3 apply?

    • I was afraid this post would ignite political commentary and it has (on both sides).

      Please note:

      3. No political, religious or social commentary of any sort. This restriction includes users’ quotations, signature lines and avatars. If it’s not woodworking, don’t post it.

      I’m going to let the previous comments stand because I just don’t feel like being a cop. But please don’t continue. This site is supposed to be an oasis away from the political world (like your workshop).

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