Friday, August 17, 2012

Lead Time Updates

Boy do we feel like this guy lately.

We know lots of you are itching to get your vises. And we are itching, no clawing to get them to you. We've been wrapping lots of stuff lately (rails, flanges, sliding plates, roast beef sandwiches--hey! we gotta eat!) and now we're into machining handwheels, by far the most time-consuming aspect of our vise manufacturing. Since releasing our new handwheels we've been swamped with orders. For those of you who ordered the new vises, we're approaching the 6 week lead time here in a week or so. I'm not going to be overly optimistic here, and we owe it to you to be completely honest. We're probably going to blow past that mark.  But not by much.

But here's the silver lining. We're lagging because we're making lots of vises. So once this current run is finished we should be sitting pretty, unless Oprah decides she's getting into the whole Roubo bench craze. I've played out the same exchange over and over in my mind "what's your lead time?.....none! we actually have vises in stock for a change!" That will happen. I can feel it. So, bear with us for a bit more. It'll be worth it.


The Crisscross has been poured. And next week we'll pour the castings for the brackets that make the Crisscross easy to install. Then both parts get some time in the Bridgeport mill to make them fit for the Benchcrafted label. Wait a sec, the Crisscross is cast with our name already on it. So there it is, its guaranteed. The Crisscross is going to be awesome!

Carver's Vise

Progress on the Benchcrafted Carver's Vise is moving along. This week we finished off a couple of the smaller parts. For this first run, we'll be making only 100 vises. This is one product that we don't plan to stock or have a lead time on. They will be batch made and available on a first-come, first-served basis only.

Have a nice weekend.


  1. 6 weeks? When you sent out the email stating you were going to take orders again you stated 4-6 weeks so "blowing" past 6 and non mentioning the 4 insults my intelligence. You should have had the dates figured out before you sent the original email. That is the excuse you said all along is that you did not want to over commit and her you hae done just that. Also rather than posting an update on your blog you should email all of the people who placed orders that would have been the better thing to do. Sitting pretty for you really does nothing for all the people waiting. A discount would have been better.

  2. We're sorry that you feel your intelligence has been insulted. That is never our intent. We're doing our best to meet our lead time estimates. And so far we're on track. We said we'd probably go past the 6 week lead (we're at 3 1/2 week right now), but its not a guarantee. We may make that deadline. We just thought it fair to mention the possibility so folks can have a heads up. Lead time estimates are always a best-case scenario. Sometimes unforseen events make a delay, like sickness, a machine malfunction, or supply issues.

  3. "Lead time estimates are always a best-case scenario."

    That's not really true. From a project-planning perspective, a better approach is to compute both worst-case and best-case times, with enough optimism/pessimism included to result in a 90% chance that the actual time will fall within that interval. Then publish those two numbers as your lead time range estimate.

    It takes practice and experience to become a good enough estimator that you reliably hit that 90% mark, but it's not difficult.

  4. Hi Jameel,

    Good luck in the final push! It sounds like you guys have a lot on your plate, including some extra beef.

    It boggles my mind when some (anonymous) people can't handle the idea of having to wait perhaps a week or two extra for a piece of high-quality low-volume hardware or tools, like your vises. Prediction of lead-time is science and essential for giant companies with global suppliers, however I would think that people would perhaps understand the difference in a small business such as yours. Quality sometimes takes more time than quantity, and as is case here, I some things are worth waiting for.

    Lastly, if lead-time estimates perceived as insults to one's intelligence, perhaps one needs to re-estimate their perception of one's own intelligence.



    ps. Somehow I can't imagine L’Art Du Menuisier is going on Oprah's booklist. However, I'd keep an eye on Martha, she's a crafty one.

  5. Thanks for the kind words of support Niels. Knowing the vast majority of our customers feel the way you do makes us feel privileged every day to be doing this.

  6. I have no problem waiting a week or 2. What I do have a problem with is a company not taking orders and saying they are not taking them because they want to make sure they can deliver on their commitments. Then when they do take orders they still under deliver. If one is that detail oriented you would think that when they start taking orders they are ready to deliver on their statements for the previous 18 weeks (12 week lead time + 6 week production). The other problem I have is the lack of respect for paying customers. It would not be hard to send an email out to the paying customers explaining the delay. I doubt all of them read the blogs. For a "small" company the high touch approach would be more inline with their size and a blog post would be more fitting of a larger company.

    It is all about setting and delivering on expectations and communicating. If it were me I would reach out to paying customers directly, you owe them a little more than a blog post since commitments were shifted. I guess all I am really peeved about is not being contacted directly. That I had to search out answers.

  7. So are you gun shy from the abuse or can you give us an updated estimate? I still have a bit of work to do on my bench before I have to have the vises but it would be good to have an idea just how lazy I can be and get away with it...

    Also, since I was interested in the criss cross we may be approaching the time when it does not become two orders?

  8. John,

    Sorry for the delay. I've been down at Kelly Mehler's teaching a bench building class for the past week.

    We're sending out a general email this morning with an update. We should start shipping by the end of the week/early next week.

    You should wait to order your Glide until we have the Crisscross ready. We'll be posting detailed info on installation sequence fairly soon. Stay tuned to the blog.


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