This will sound like a commercial and in a way it is, but I think it should be told.
My kids are now parents of our grandchildren who are out in the world working, going to college, and the youngest is in High School. At Christmas time we send checks to all of them so they can shop for themselves. My oldest daughter asks me every year what gift she can get for me and I respond by sending a list of tools etc. currently on my shopping list, and insist that she surprise me with what she selects. This past Christmas things took an unusual turn.
One of the items on the list was an Earlex Steam Generator needed for bending wood. I had provided her with a listing from The Highland Woodworking catalog because I have always had a good relationship with them and their price was competitive. And sure enough it arrived and was in perfect condition. As it is my practice to bring my new acquisitions to my woodworking club to show new and interesting items to club members, I brought the steam generator along with several other items. The next morning I was unloading my truck and the bag with the generator slipped out my hand and crashed to the concrete floor. When I unpacked the bag I found the plastic case in hundreds of pieces. Ouch!
OK, I’ll call the Earlex factory and order replacement parts to repair it. I cut all the connecting components from the plastic case ready to reinstall on a new case. And then I called the factory and they said they did not have the plastic case and if I wanted a new one I would have to buy a whole new unit. Ouch again. Then I sent them a polite letter expressing my opinion that a company should backup their products with needed parts. I got no response so I ordered an army surplus first aid box with a good rubber gasket around the top and planned to install the parts on it.
In the meantime I sent an email to Chris Bagby, the owner of the Highland Woodworking store with whom I had previously found to be a very helpful guy. I retold the story to him, not really expecting him to do anything but be aware that a supplier was not backing up his merchandise. Chris replied that he would look into it. About the same time the first aid box arrived I got word that a new Earlex steam generator was on the way to me. And it arrived a few days later. I finally had the courage to send a thank you note to my daughter telling her the story and how much I appreciated the gift. At the next club meeting I will take the broken box, all the component parts, and the first aid box, and offer it to anyone in the club if they will pay for the first aid box. A win win conclusion.
For years I have verbally plugged Highland Woodworking as a great place to buy anything you need for your workshop. Their catalog is extremely well written to explain how the products shown work for you and why they are needed in your shop. I can assure anyone who reads this that there is no better place in the world to buy woodworking tools and supplies. The care!
And their online newsletter is fantastic!