Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lee Valley

I've always been a fan of Lee Valley Tools from Canada.  They have the best customer service bar none.

I recently ordered a new product from a flyer called the Thread I.D. Nut and Bolt kit.  Certainly not a critical kit, but I've been burned a few times with using plastic ID cards to determine a nut or bolt and getting the metric vs imperial wrong for close sizes.  Anyway, it was an impulse buy, right?

The kit took forever to arrive as it was very backordered, but I did eventually receive it sometime in early June.  After I returned from my vacation, I had a letter from Lee Valley.  Essentially, Lee Valley determined that the kit mailed out didn't meet their quality standards because the thread size numbers can wear prematurely.  They included 2 cards you can use with the kit in case the numbers on the kit become unreadable.  They also refunded the full price of the kit.  This was all on their own; I never called them about the product.  Here's a scan of the letter:

I can't think of another company that, out of the blue, refunds a product you purchased because they later decided it wasn't as good as they hoped.  This isn't some safety issue... it's a box of labeled nuts and bolts.

In a related Lee Valley customer service story, I purchased an amazing Japanese file and some file handles.  The handles didn't work for me... basically the file's tang was so hard that the file handle's threads couldn't cut it to hold.  For the $5 each, I assumed I could reuse them somewhere since the hassle and cost of shipping them back would cost the same as the handles.  Months pass and I come home to a voice mail message from Lee Valley customer support saying they see I ordered these handles and want to know if they are working okay for me.  I called back to say they didn't with the Japanese files, but I kept them anyway due to the hassle/costs of returning them.  They refunded the cost of the handles and let me keep them; they have since removed those handles from their catalog as they only worked on cheap soft files (soft files?!)

Lee Valley continues to impress me (so I'll continue to store some money with them :)


  • Dyami Plotke said...

    I second you opinion. Lee-Valley is the best. Many years ago I ordered an aluminum straight edge from them. Shortly after I received it I was notified by them that it didn't meet their standards and I could return it. As it met my standards, I've kept is and use it to this day.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    I honestly haven't heard anybody complain about Lee Valley. Well, I have an uncle in Calgary that complained he wants to buy the whole store, but I think that's unrelated.

  • JSWalcott said...

    Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, I find myself in a similar situation to the files/handles quandary that prompted your Lee Valley comment. I too have the same Japanese files, ordered handles that are supposed to thread on (NOT from LV) - and the tang is too tough to thread. How did you resolve this? I noticed your video regarding Domino file storage shows them w/o handles, so maybe that was the answer? :)

  • HalfInchShy said...

    No problem on an old thread :) good to see the old stuff come in useful sometimes!

    I don't use the handles on those files. I was always comfortable without the handles, but thought to try them out in case it gave better control. So, you are correct, the answer was no handles. I've since purchased some rasps from a French manufacturer and he sold the handles separately as well. I grabbed a few of his handles to try out on some of my handle-less rasps. They are still in the drawer :) Someday, I'll have the biggest unused-handle sale ever!

  • JSWalcott said...

    Thanks Paul-Marcel, I'll try then sans handle and see how I like them.. I'm also considering epoxying them in... will see. When you do decide to have that sale, let me know - I may have a few to throw in as well :)

  • HalfInchShy said...

    I had thought of epoxying them in. The Liogier rasps I have are epoxied into their handles; for a rasp, I don't mind the handle since you work it a little harder. The Iwasaki plane files I have in the drawer photo are finer work; handle might help, might not.

    If you do decide to epoxy one in to try it, try using a 5-minute epoxy maybe an hour before you want to use it. Then you can try it out. If you don't like it, heat the tang end of the file and you should get it to release. The faster curing epoxies aren't as strong, usually, plus after just an hour, it really hasn't fully cured. Gives you a way out :)