Friday, November 12, 2010
Iron Wheels--They're Here
I know many of you are patiently waiting for an announcement concerning our new iron wheels for the Glide Leg Vise and Benchcrafted Tail Vise.
This is the announcement you've been waiting for!
We sold our last chrome-plated vises today, and are happy to announce that if you place an order for vises as of this blog posting (Friday, November 12th), you will receive the beautiful, satiny iron wheels pictured above.
I want to to take this opportunity to say a few things about how we produce these wonderful tools. As you may know, our vises are made by hand. We don't mass-produce parts on CNC equipment and "hope" they end up working together once they reach the customer. Each component is tested by a human being before they are allowed to be shipped to the customer. We don't offer seconds. If there is an issue with a vise, it doesn't get shipped.
Proudly, since we began producing vises over two years ago we have yet to have a single vise returned. We take pride in our work. Our head machinist has decades of tool and die making experience, and he doesn't let anything out the door that doesn't meet his high standards. He is an old-school machinist of the highest order.
We are also extremely proud to be manufacturing these vises in the United States. Benchcrafted is a family business, and we are proud to be Americans. Our paternal grandfather worked in a local meat-packing plant for decades, was the proprietor of a small grocery and served his city and church throughout his life. He was often called upon to sing patriotic songs at local civic events (he was gifted with an excellent singing voice). Our maternal grandfather served in World War II and spent many months in a German P.O.W. camp. He weighed less than 100 pounds when he was liberated by Allied forces. Both were avid hobbyist woodworkers, patriotic Americans, and would be extremely proud of what we're doing here at Benchcrafted.
It was recently brought to our attention that the chrome-plated wheels that we had previously sourced we're not of American manufacture, even though they were cast with the name of the American company that manufactured them. We were somewhat dismayed by this. In light of this fact, we are especially pleased to announce that our new wheels are cast in a Midwest foundry, and machined to our specs just a few miles from the foundry by a company that has been doing this since 1945.
Being made in America, one would assume a grossly higher cost for these parts. Not so. The new wheels are just a few dollars more than the chrome-plated wheels, and the quality is higher. For a short time, we're offering both vises, with the new handwheels, at the same price we have since we started. The price for both vises will go up slightly after December 1st.
Please bear with us during this time of transition. Although we don't anticipate any delays, demand may push our 2-3 week lead time closer to 5-6 weeks initially. If you are thinking of vises for Christmas, you should order now to increase your chances of getting some new iron under the tree this year (but by no means a guarantee, as we have no idea what initial demand may be).
NOTE: A few customers have asked if the new wheels include the rosewood handle. They do. The handles pictured above are not yet machined to receive the handle.