Lee Valley / Veritas

I have never dealt with a company that was more customer friendly than Lee Valley. They make some of the best woodworking tools, and what they don't make they seek out items that meet their standards. If that was all there was to persuade you to patronize their online store it would be enough. But I am now a loyal Veritas patron because of the following two stories. I purchased a Low Angle Jackplane from them a few years ago. It was my first high quality plane I'd ever gotten based upon numerous people saying that is was probably the best, most useful bench plane ever made.

A few months into ownership and using it quite extensively I started to question the flatness of the bottom. I was having problems getting it to bite on thin shavings and the bottom was discoloring unevenly. This after planing lots of yellow pine and soft maple. So I called customer service.

I truly just wanted to see about re-flattening the base and was willing to pay for it because as a newbie woodworker I wasn't absolutely sure it was the planes fault. They wouldn't hear of it and told me to send the entire plane back and even gave me directions for shipping it back so it wouldn't cost me anything. I actually argued a little about maybe just sending back the body and they just wouldn't hear of it. I told them that I'd sharpened the blade many times, likely screwed up the bevel and there were some scratches on it so if they could just tell me how to re-f latten the bottom I'd be happy. This wouldn't due for them and they demanded that the only solution was to send it back and that a replacement would be sent the next day. Truly went the extra distance to make sure I had the best they could make and I'm just a nobody, everyday woodworker to them.

That one phone call earned them my money for the next few years. Even though others out there might have made similar products, for example on the router plane I just bought, that experience pushed me to giving them my hard earned money.

Speaking of that router plane, a year after I purchased it I got a letter from Lee Valley that they had an upgrade. Now I would have expected this, a normal company would charge you (maybe at a discount) to get the upgrade. That makes perfect business sense to me. But that wasn't the Veritas way in this case. They said on your next order to put in a certain product number and they'd ship it to me for free. Understand, this plane was great beforehand, absolutely no issues. This was just a slightly better way to make a part.

Lee Valley has earned my business with quality product but earned my respect and loyalty via their customer service. I can't recommend them enough.