Chris Schwarz's Blog

Eccentric Toolworks Taking Orders Again

Andrew Lunn at Eccentric Toolworks has resumed taking orders for his custom saws.

Let the whuppings and hand-wringing commence!

Last year Lunn stopped taking new orders so he could concentrate on eliminating his backlog of orders and figure out a pricing structure that would allow the former paramedic to make a living. This week, Lunn resumed taking orders and raised his base prices. A dovetail saw starts at $500.

Now before you get your panties in a twist and post something nasty in the comments section below, rest assured that plenty of panties have already been twisted on your behalf. Take a gander at all the comments posted on earlier blog entries I’ve written about Lunn. Here’s a Google search that will take you to all the juicy stuff.

I’ve always been amused by the controversy that Lunn attracts. He is probably the most introverted, unassuming and quiet toolmaker I know. Really, all he wants to do is make saws and other things for a living. He wants to use hand processes. And he wants to tune the tools to as a high a level as he can.

You can read a little bit about his processes on his web site. Lunn says he plans to post more photos and blog entries that show how he makes a saw in his one-car-sized shop in central Ohio.

For my part, here’s my simple take on Lunn’s saws. I have purchased two (both at full price at the time): a dovetail saw and a carcase saw. Those of you who have been to our shop know that I have a lot of saws and that I encourage visitors and students to try all of them , except the Eccentric saws.

These two saws don’t travel. They are the only tools I own that I’ve asked my co-workers to refrain from using. I guard them jealously.

Why? Because they are so damn personal. I cannot explain it any better than that. Loaning out one of those saws would feel like loaning out some underwear (sorry about the underwear theme here — I don’t know where that’s coming from).

In any case, I’m glad that Lunn has re-opened ordering because that means I can get in line to get a couple more saws. I might have to scrimp a bit more, but so be it.

– Christopher Schwarz

12 thoughts on “Eccentric Toolworks Taking Orders Again

  1. Michael Hammers

    Chris,
    This is great news! I am glad Andrew was able to work himself out of the backlog.
    I could not help chuckle about the veracity in which you protect Andrew’s saws. I am blessed to own four and they are stashed secretly away where only I let them out. These tools are some of the most "personal" I own.
    I cound not agree more when you say "personal"…they really are.
    To boot, Andrew is one of those rare "salt of the earth" types of fellows.
    Cheers to Andrew…

    Mike

  2. David B.

    If i had a dovetail saw that was selling for $500, I wouldn’t let anyone use it either. Mr. Lunn has made these saws a hard sale for me. I can remember, not that long ago, his dovetail saws were selling for around $150 with decorations. Then he doubled the price….then he removed the decorations…now $500? That’s a hard pill to swallow for me. I’m not sure what you can do to a dovetail saw to make it worth $500. By worth, I mean it adds to the function, dependability, or comfort of the saw. I wish Mr. Lunn all the luck with his endevor, but I have a lot of high quality options in the $100-$250 range.

  3. me.yahoo.com/a/ZaxU3tgbgMuFx.edKQylx4Ft

    What do you mean I can’t borrow your saw? What if I left you my ’67 split window Vette as collateral? Keys to the beach house for the weekend? Tickets for the Sox v. Yankees behind the dugout? C’mon, what’ll it take to let me drive that saw?

    [insert snicker here]

    always,

  4. Freddy Roman Maker & Restorer

    I happy to see that someone can charge that much for a new saw and get it. Yet I just don’t understand why a saw can cost so much. My LN is just as good as any of the saws out there. I understand the details, the feel, the look, etc. etc. but in the end we are just cutting wood and dovetails. CHOP CHOP just cut the joints and get in done. I make furniture to earn a living, and not make furniture to buy expensive tools. I just think of the 18th century furniture maker and how small of a tool selection they had. Why do we need soo many tools? We don’t! We just need the basics. I am sure it is a pleasure to use and would use one if I ever got it as a gift, but I can buy a Stanley 3,4,4 1/2, 5, 6, 7, 8 for 500.00 dollars.

    FR

  5. Amos

    I am a firm believer in the free market; if people are willing to pay $500 for a dovetail saw that’s great! I wouldn’t, but the fact that people may shows the incredible purchasing power of the hand tool demographic.

    I like the fact that Chris Schwarz not only writes about $500 custom saws, but also $60 saws (LV DT saw).

  6. Tim Williams

    It is fairly obvious that most people have never had a truly hand made, hand tuned, hand everything saw in their mitts. Let me just say this, I own two Crowns, a Lie Nielsen, an Adria, and a Gramercy Dovetail saw and I cannot wait to give Mr.Lunn my money for his finely crafted saws. (I still want to be buried with my Adria Saw)

  7. Mark

    I can find better things to do with $500 but still, he’s entitled to charge what his market will bear and more power to him. If the price doesn’t bother you though, another $200 will get you a Cosman saw in a nice presentation case, but the handle just ain’t as purdy.

  8. Chris C

    It will be interesting to see how he fares. the problem with a
    $500 saw is the size of the market. When you start getting into
    new saws that cost more than about $100, they begin to be very
    good. When they get over $150 they are exceptionally good. The
    question will be how much value added there is in the price
    difference.

    Given my experience(only limited) with the stuff from Wenzloff and Lie-Niesen saws, Andrew has a tough row to hoe. I wish him the
    best of luck.

  9. Josh B

    I’ve known too many people who have had small businesses flame out once it became widely known that they were offering a hand made product worth many times over what they were charging. Andrew made the right call in stopping new orders and then raising his price like this. It prices me out of the market for one his saws, but there are plenty of people willing and able to purchase a saw of the caliber he makes for the new prices. So good for him, it was a smart move.

    I’m friends with a custom jewelery maker who just had to go through the same thing. I’ve been buying silver from him for a couple years for LOML (silver is by far her favorite precious metal – lucky me) and the other women in my life. I was always amazed at how he could charge what he did for the quality of work he was producing, by hand, by himself. Then he had a kid last fall and his prices tripled by Christmas. He also started casting gold and platinum in addition to silver. I can’t afford to buy from him as often and when I do I’m lower on his list since I still buy silver for a couple hundred bucks and now he has yuppies lined up buying platinum rings for $10K a set. It’s all good though because my friend is happier, he’s not in danger of going out of business and has more time for his family. Also when I swing by for a visit I get to hang out while he casts platinum if I have the time and anything that involves two guys, a crucible, welding goggles and an oxy-acetylene torch is worth making time for! 🙂

    Too many small businesses run by craftsmen like fail to make the hard calls on pricing and end up out of the business or bankrupt as a result. Anything hand made, one at time like that is going to be expensive. It has to be if it’s going to be the sole source of income for the craftsman. Just look at how much you spend each month to keep your family housed, clothed and fed, how many $500 saws is that? Then add in all extra expenses a business incurs plus the uncertainty of retail sales and it adds up to a lot of saws to make and sell every month.

    Cheers,

    Josh

  10. me.yahoo.com/a/g77zPrkczPB8.ad63uxEVK8Z.w--

    Most of the screamers who have their sensitivities offended probably weren’t a threat to order a saw to begin with, be they $250 or $500.

    There are lots of options in the $25(used disstons)-$150 range for a dovetail saw for such folks – they needn’t be worried about trying to dictate what is available for everyone else.

    If Andrew keeps himself subscribed, all of the scuttlebutt is just details he doesn’t need to worry about. Keeping the actual customers happy is what counts.

    Best to anyone who wants to make tools entirely by hand and who can support themselves doing it.

    David Weaver

  11. Richard Dawson

    We should all feel a sense of relief that Andrew is selling saws and not underwear. There’s no telling where this blog would go.

  12. Peter C. Tremblay

    What’s with the underwear theme? 🙂
    This is why I really enjoy your writing it’s normal and down-to-earth, thanks Chris. This post had me laughing.

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