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Axminster - doing a disservice to woodwork

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Mr T

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RANT ALERT: Warning this posting contains a rant.

Hi

I've just finished teaching a beginners course. Usually on these courses people bring all sorts of different planes for refurbishing, some good, some bad. This weekend someone brought a Groz smoothing plane they had bought new from Axminster. This was possibly the most useless plane I have ever come across. We put a lot of work in just to even get it to cu,t let alone cut well. The problems were as follows:

- The chip breaker profile was such that it was not possible to cut a shaving.
- The depth and lateral adjusters jammed each other when trying to get an even shaving.
- The frog adjustment meant that the mouth could not be lass than 3 mm wide.
- It took three turns to take up the backlash on the depth adjuster.

These are not geeky details such as are discussed on the hand tools forum, they are basic faults that stop the tool from even starting to do the job. Basically this was a rubbish tool. Now, I know it was cheap and many would say the buyer got what he paid for. But my point is that this is the sort of tool beginners would buy, they won't want to shell out for a Lie Nielsen. So a beginner, thinking he would like to try woodwork, buys a tool like this, finds they can't get it to make a shaving so they give up on woodwork.

Axminster used to be a company with integrity, and fair enough they deliver quickly, but I think they should have some responsibility for the quality of the tools they sell, even the cheap ones.

I feel better now!

Chris
 

MickCheese

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Maybe the buyer should have been told to take it back.

If nobody return them how will they know we are dissatisfied.

Mick
 

chipmunk

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Hi Chris,
I agree with Mick if it's not fit for purpose.

Can I suggest that you post a review on Axminster's website? - they do not seem to censor bad reviews.
Jon
 

wcndave

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I think the op point is that a newbie wouldn't know to send it back.

A newb should do research, read blogs, and talk to local experts, however someone like axminster can't really do this level of control.

Somewhere like workshop heaven has that personnaly selected aspect, however is therefore much smaller.

Its a hard one to overcome really, cost me a lot of money before i realised shopping at b&q and machine mart was not giving me the best results...
 

Mr T

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hi

Wcndave said
I think the op point is that a newbie wouldn't know to send it back
This is just what I meant. A beginner does not have the experience to know when he is being sold rubbish. He probably thinks it's something he is doing wrong, also most beginners would not think to do lots of research.

The truth is that these are rubbish tools that should not be on the market and I'm sure Axminster know this.

Chris
 

Unib

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Is this a plane they still sell Chris? The Axminster one for 20 quid?

I can see how a beginner wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a useless £20 thing and a LN – they're all more or less the same shape so to the untrained eye, much the same.

Have to agree that someone as reputable as Axminster (or Rutlands with their Anant planes which I've heard are pants too) shouldn't be selling this stuff.

For the money, it's amazing what Quangsheng are providing compared to this rubbish, all be it, a bit more expensive. There's no wonder the Chinese are taking over the world!
 

woodbloke

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Mr T":1bcsqxmy said:
RANT ALERT: Warning this posting contains a rant.

Hi

I've just finished teaching a beginners course. Usually on these courses people bring all sorts of different planes for refurbishing, some good, some bad. This weekend someone brought a Groz smoothing plane they had bought new from Axminster. This was possibly the most useless plane I have ever come across. We put a lot of work in just to even get it to cu,t let alone cut well. The problems were as follows:

- The chip breaker profile was such that it was not possible to cut a shaving.
- The depth and lateral adjusters jammed each other when trying to get an even shaving.
- The frog adjustment meant that the mouth could not be lass than 3 mm wide.
- It took three turns to take up the backlash on the depth adjuster.

These are not geeky details such as are discussed on the hand tools forum, they are basic faults that stop the tool from even starting to do the job. Basically this was a rubbish tool. Now, I know it was cheap and many would say the buyer got what he paid for. But my point is that this is the sort of tool beginners would buy, they won't want to shell out for a Lie Nielsen. So a beginner, thinking he would like to try woodwork, buys a tool like this, finds they can't get it to make a shaving so they give up on woodwork.

Axminster used to be a company with integrity, and fair enough they deliver quickly, but I think they should have some responsibility for the quality of the tools they sell, even the cheap ones.

I feel better now!

Chris
Chris, totally agree. I know what I'd do...email Ian Styles personally. He's a good bloke and takes this sort of thing very seriously, so that if a highly respected professional maker such as yourself makes a complaint, I'm pretty sure that something would get done about it. The other thing to do is to leave a damning review on the appropriate page of Axminster's site...it'll get published, have no fear. The other thing to bear in mind is that someone from Axminster will almost certainly pick up this thread. PM me if you want Ian's email address

Chris, before you 'sound off', are you sure it was a Groz? I've just had a quick peek at the Ax bench plane page(s) and unless I'm missing something, Axminster don't sell Groz planes - Rob
 

Mr T

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Hi

Rob said:
Chris, before you 'sound off', are you sure it was a Groz? I've just had a quick peek at the Ax bench plane page(s) and unless I'm missing something, Axminster don't sell Groz planes - Rob
Oh dear, this could be embarrassing, if that's the case then I should apologise to Axminster, it was a Groz and the student assured me he got it from Axminster, but I admit I have not checked this out.

Chris
 

Mr T

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Hi

I am relieved, I do not need to eat humble pie. The student has confirmed that he purchased the plane as part of a set with a block plane in a presentation box. Item number 200357, I quote from the catalogue:

"A boxed set of two of our most popular planes housed in a lacquered hardwood presentation case. Both planes feature precision ground bases. The pair comprises a No. 4 smoothing plane and the hugely popular and handy No. 220 block plane. A quick hone and away you go."

Now if that's not misleading I don't know what is! If the Indians have started making more up market planes that's good, I think the Chinese Quangsheng are excellent. But I don't think any reputable retailer should be selling the economy Groz planes.

Chris
 

Martin Brown

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Hello

I am part of the team at Axminster. If this item is not good enough we would always refund. Just contact our customer services team.

As the comments above suggest we take this sort of thing seriously, and will investigate.

Sorry you have been disappointed.

May I suggest you join us at our show? You can try many planes there, and in our shop. Just a thought.

Martin
 

Jacob

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I bought one of these from Axminster. Absolute rubbish.http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-ax ... rod377322/
They sent me another one which was also rubbish. They refunded the cost but they didn't want them back - obviously because they knew they were rubbish!
As has been pointed out- a beginner just wouldn't know they were so bad.
I notice they included my comments - so that's something in their favour I suppose, but they are still selling them!!! hoping to catch out the unwary.
I have boycotted them on several later purchases, by way of protest. If everybody did that they would soon get their act together!
 

Cheshirechappie

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Jacob":1lkxlv0a said:
I bought one of these from Axminster. Absolute rubbish.http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-ax ... rod377322/
They sent me another one which was also rubbish. They refunded the cost but they didn't want them back - obviously because they knew they were rubbish!
As has been pointed out- a beginner just wouldn't know they were so bad.
I notice they included my comments - so that's something in their favour I suppose, but they are still selling them!!! hoping to catch out the unwary.
I have boycotted them on several later purchases, by way of protest. If everybody did that they would soon get their act together!
I'm going to defend Axminster on this one. I bought a pair of these, and I'm very happy with them, especially as they cost less than £8, which is about the same sort of price level as an Ebay special once postage is taken into account. I'd agree with Jacob that the carbide scriber and pencil holder are a bit less than perfect (actually, the carbide scriber is totally naff) but the dividers are excellent value. My pair is nicely finished, the joint is nice and stiff so it holds it's setting without 'creep', and the points are easily trued with a file (mine didn't need truing).

Maybe there's a bit of a production consistency problem; but for that price you can hardly expect Moore & Wright or Starrett levels of quality.
 

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