Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Galoot?
How do your plane blades compare to XYZ brand blades?
Is it true that your blades are only hardened to HRC 62?
Why can’t we find Galoot-Tools products at Lee-Valley, Tools for Woodworking, Highland Hardware, Woodcraft, etc?
Do you have a walk-in store?
Where do you manufacture?
Why are your blades so expensive?
Made in China means cheap junk?
So, you manufacture in China, do you kill American jobs?
1. What is a Galoot?
According to Wikipedia, a galoot is a hand-tool aficionado. A galoot is an individual who prefers to use hand tools in preference to power tools. Many galoots spend numerous hours hunting for and restoring old tools that others would consider scrap metal. By replacing missing parts with shop made or purchased after-market parts, galoots lovingly restore old tools to levels of performance that matches and often exceeds the performance of the original tool.
Through the Internet and a many tool-collectors’ meetings Galoots have developed a highly active community of old tool users and collectors. Galoots are a highly diverse and multi-faceted community from all traits of life spanning from woodworking professionals to hobbyists to tool collectors. Currently galoots are primarily restricted to North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan. With a rich tradition of woodworking using hand tools all around the globe and the ever-expanding reach of the Internet, we anticipate that galoot communities will develop all round the world.
2. How do your plane blades compare to XYZ brand plane blades?
Our blades are made of forge welded sword steel with a laminated piece of tool steel. The steel for our blades is hand-folded and hand-hammered for hours to achieve unparalleled crystallographic structure and to drive out all impurities that reduce the performance of the blade. Master craftsmen with many years of experience perform all critical process steps in high-end blade making. In contrast to other manufacturers who use hydraulic hammers but claim to hand forge our blades are forges in charcoal forges using hand hammers.
Our design is similar to top of the line Japanese plane blades; in contrast to Japanese plane blades our blades are made to fit Western Stanley-Bailey type planes (currently #4 smoothing plane and #5 Jack plane). Our blades have the same thickness as other premium replacement blades (i.e. 3/32 inches, 2.4mm) and fit most bench planes without modification.
Advantages our blades are
Superior vibration dampening as compared to blades made of a single piece of steel
Easy to sharpen with conventional water-stones or oilstones
Superior durability comparable to A2 cryogenic steel
Extreme hardness (HRC62)
Superior crystallographic structure
3. Is it true that your blades are only hardened to HRC62?
The simple answer is NO.
In practise it is extremely difficult to measure hardness exactly. Hardness is tested by pressing a diamond into the steel and measuring how deep the diamond indents. Typical measurement uncertainty of hardness testers are 1.6 hardness grades. The National Physical Laboratory (UK equivalent of NIST) measured deviations as high as 2.6 hardness degrees. In addition the exact definition and measurement procedures to measure hardness varies from country to country. Our hardness specifications are worst case specifications, the lowest ever measured hardness of our blades. Other vendors will use just the opposite and specify the highest ever measured hardness. The the result is that the hardness value of our blades will be significantly higher than what we specify. In addition our differentially hardened blade will feel significantly softer than a fully hardened blade since only the last third of the blade is hardened to the final hardness value.
4. Why can’t we find Galoot-Tools products at Lee-Valley, Tools for Woodworking, Highland Hardware, Woodcraft, etc?
We strive to offer you the best prices for unparalleled quality. To keep our prices as low as possible we do not distribute our products through large retailers. As a result our blades are offered at a 3x discount over comparable Japanese plane blades. (Of course Japanese plane blades do not fit Western planes)
5. Do you have a walk-in store?
In order to keep our costs down we do not have any walk-in stores.
6. Where do you manufacture your blades?
Our plane irons are manufactured in a small remote mountain village in Mainland China. Our factory is the cradle of sword making in Asia. Steel production and sword making in Japan and other Asian countries can directly be traced to our manufacturing facilities. Japanese swords (and to a lesser extend Chinese swords) and Japanese plane blades are critically acclaimed for their unparalleled performance. We are proud to be the only manufacturer that is capable to produce Eastern style blades for Western woodworking tools.
7. Why are your blades so expensive?
Comparing the cost of our blades to today’s after-market blades is not a fair comparison. Our blades consistently outperform any blade on the market. This performance boost comes at a price. Our blades are significantly more difficult to manufacture than any blade currently offered for Stanley Bailey planes. When compared to high-end Japanese plane irons our planes irons are offered for a price that is up to 10 times less than a comparable plane iron.
8. Made in China means cheap junk?
Our plane irons are indeed a bargain when compared to high-end Japanese plane irons. We never compromise price vs. performance. If you look at it objectively our blades are aggressively priced but certainly not cheap or junk. It is a myth that everything from China is junk. All US based high-tech companies (Intel, Boeing, Cisco, Apple, etc.) operate world-class research and production facilities in China. Like with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
9. So, you manufacture in China, do you kill jobs in the US?
Our plane irons are manufactured using traditional methods that are not known to US or Western blade-smiths. In fact our company produces and sells tools that have never been offered; so not a single job has been eliminated but we generate high-quality jobs in the US.