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LJM

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Can anyone recommend a supplier of woodworking tools in or around Cheshire, ideally independent and not Axminster? Their branch in Warrington is handy enough for me, but I prefer to support independent retailers if I can.

Cheers
 

Cheshirechappie

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Graham's Machinery on the Sealand Industrial Estate just outside Chester are not bad. They're mainly set up as an industrial supplier of tools, fasteners and welding supplies, but do have a woodworking section in their showroom. Workshop Heaven or Classic Hand Tools they ain't, but they have a range of smaller machines and 'bit better than DIY' hand and power tools. The car park isn't up to much (go at a quiet time if you can), but whenever I've been in looking for something a bit out-of-the-way, the staff have always been very helpful.

GMS - Woodworking Tools and Accessories
 

Alpha-Dave

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Just out of curiosity why do you see Axminster as ‘not independent’? They have 8 shops rather than just one, but I don’t see how that makes a difference in reality other than they are their own importers rather than just being a distributor of stock?

Keeping skills alive locally makes sense, such as buying things ‘made in UK / England / Cheshire’, but I don’t see how choosing one distributor over another does anything.

Then on the positive side, Axminster do actually make/machine things in the UK.
 

LJM

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Just out of curiosity why do you see Axminster as ‘not independent’? They have 8 shops rather than just one, but I don’t see how that makes a difference in reality other than they are their own importers rather than just being a distributor of stock?

Keeping skills alive locally makes sense, such as buying things ‘made in UK / England / Cheshire’, but I don’t see how choosing one distributor over another does anything.

Then on the positive side, Axminster do actually make/machine things in the UK.
I simply like to support the little man, ideally locally. I used to use Toolite in the Forest of Dean, who are a family run business, able to supply everything that Axminster can (obviously with different brands in some cases) and would happily source anything not on their shelves. They also priced competitively and would match or beat without quibble. That’s the sort of business I like to support.
 

Alpha-Dave

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I understand, I like that sort of business too, especially if you can see the products before you buy, and build a rapport with the staff.

The ‘buy local’ idea, I think came from the concept that if we don’t support our local shops (e.g. by buying from the internet), then they will go under and we will only have the internet, which is a race to the bottom.

There is an argument for ‘support your local bricks &mortar store’ to include places like Axminster. Perhaps I’m luckier than most, the one in Newcastle is excellent compared to many of the other distributors/power-tool shops I have been to.

Interestingly, I think that the buy-local idea has reversed in recent years, and I will buy from a small company over the internet to support them, even if they are far away.
 
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bushwhaker

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IMO
We will have a market and fair prices only when there are many independent players.
When several corporations remain, they negotiate and form a cartel. The market is dead.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Just remembered another one - C J Bent and Sons in Church Street, Warrington. They're a long established ironmongers of the old school which a quick google suggests is still going. Don't know if they're still there, but they used to be in the nice curved-fronted building on the corner of Church Street and Manchester Road. No website - telephone orders and over-the-counter only.

Edit to add - a bit more googling suggests they may now be a dormant company. It's a good few years since I was in the vicinity - could someone a bit more local advise whether they're still going or not?
 
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clogs

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There was a good old fashioned tool supplier in Ashton-under-Lyne a few years ago.....quite near the big church/police station on the traffic island
bought quite a bit from them inc a new Stanley plane and a couple of Stanley spoke shaves.....
Parking was poo tho.....
 

MAC65

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Just remembered another one - C J Bent and Sons in Church Street, Warrington. They're a long established ironmongers of the old school which a quick google suggests is still going. Don't know if they're still there, but they used to be in the nice curved-fronted building on the corner of Church Street and Manchester Road. No website - telephone orders and over-the-counter only.

Edit to add - a bit more googling suggests they may now be a dormant company. It's a good few years since I was in the vicinity - could someone a bit more local advise whether they're still going or not?
I believe CJ Bents were taken over by Cromwells, and moved from Quadrant House to a retail unit along from Screwfix, used them for a few times but they weren’t a patch on Bents, I think Stuart was the only staff to move over to them.
 

LJM

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Perhaps I was spoiled with toolite and Tewksbury Saws down the road in one direction and Tuffsaw and Fiddes down the road in the other direction!
 

Blackswanwood

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Just remembered another one - C J Bent and Sons in Church Street, Warrington. They're a long established ironmongers of the old school which a quick google suggests is still going. Don't know if they're still there, but they used to be in the nice curved-fronted building on the corner of Church Street and Manchester Road. No website - telephone orders and over-the-counter only.

Edit to add - a bit more googling suggests they may now be a dormant company. It's a good few years since I was in the vicinity - could someone a bit more local advise whether they're still going or not?
I remember going to C J Bents in that building with my dad to buy nails in the late seventies - shame most of those places have disappeared although in all honesty I'm probably part of the reason as being able to order online and getting it delivered is a far easier way to shop for most stuff.
 

Cheshirechappie

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I believe CJ Bents were taken over by Cromwells, and moved from Quadrant House to a retail unit along from Screwfix, used them for a few times but they weren’t a patch on Bents, I think Stuart was the only staff to move over to them.
Firstly - welcome to the forum!

Thanks for that info. Shame- I was fond of Bent's. Still got a Tyzack dovetail saw with a very worn Bent's price sticker on it, and they were great for ironmongery of almost any sort. If they didn't have it, they'd order it.

Still, that's the way of the world, I suppose.
 

Cheshirechappie

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I remember going to C J Bents in that building with my dad to buy nails in the late seventies - shame most of those places have disappeared although in all honesty I'm probably part of the reason as being able to order online and getting it delivered is a far easier way to shop for most stuff.
Those nails might have been made very close by! I gather that Quadrant House was built just before WW1 as the head office for Rylands Brothers wire works, part of which occupied the site of what is now Sainsbury's. Among Rylands' many products were wire nails. Rylands became part of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, later British Steel, some time before WW2, and probably vacated their offices at about that time, but I don't know when Bent's came to occupy it. That probably also explains why Bent's had the nicest parquet floor of any ironmongers or tool shop I've ever been in!
 

Blackswanwood

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Those nails might have been made very close by! I gather that Quadrant House was built just before WW1 as the head office for Rylands Brothers wire works, part of which occupied the site of what is now Sainsbury's. Among Rylands' many products were wire nails. Rylands became part of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, later British Steel, some time before WW2, and probably vacated their offices at about that time, but I don't know when Bent's came to occupy it. That probably also explains why Bent's had the nicest parquet floor of any ironmongers or tool shop I've ever been in!
Indeed ...

3A1305B4-73BB-4789-B0F2-E81A7460B49E.jpeg
 
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