Archive | 2018

Wait List Updates

We’ve been on our new wait list process for a bit over a year and I thought it was time I send a general update about how it’s been going.  We also have some updates regarding GDPR that impact everyone waiting for their invite so I’ll cover both in this post.

We’ve been tweaking the process in small steps, but overall it has simplified things for Nic and I in terms of managing sales and ensuring everyone gets an invite and opportunity to order when they reach the head of the queue.   Occasionally invites are missed, but we’ve been pretty good about issuing new passwords so folks get to place their orders.  One challenge is invites ending up in junk or spam mail folders.  Invites are sent with my email address:, so you can search on that email address for invites or if you’re tech savvy – create a filter that places it somewhere you won’t miss it when it comes in.  If you happen to search now and discovered you missed your invite, send me a note and I’ll verify and slot you back in the queue so you’re not waiting an additional year for your invite.

Yes, I said year.  Based on the current list of 994 and how many we’re processing each month it’s likely a year to 14 months before folks that signup today will get an invite.  Nic’s overall forging capacity per month is predictable, but we have to factor in his time for teaching courses and the prep that goes into each as well as obligations that keep him from forging blades for folks on the wait list, so the number of invites per month varies. Our goal is to ensure we’re not taking more orders than he can reasonable fulfill within 30 days, so the invites go out in decreasing batches starting the second or third week of each month tapering off as we approach projected capacity. Typically we’re sending anywhere from 10 to 150 invites per month with the average month right around 75 invites, so about 900 a year.

You may have been seeing a lot about GDPR or EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is coming into full force on May 25th, 2018 a week from today.  We’re impacted by this as we store your personal information to send you an invite when you reach the top of the queue.  Part of GDPR is explicit consent to use your email address to contact you.  Without this consent we’re forced to remove you from our list.  The signup form has been updated so anyone signing up is giving consent and we sent an email to everyone on the list requesting you update your settings.  If you haven’t seen this email please search for an email from me and hit the update setting button in the email to opt-in.  As right now, there are 480 folks that have not responded to a GDPR Opt-in email, so if you’ve ignored it please respond as noted above we’ll have to remove you from the list.  Please note, you must select the check box for email to Opt-In, implied consent is no longer good enough under GDPR.

If you can’t find the email and you want to be sure you don’t lose your place in the queue, you can select the link below and re-enter your info.  It will generate an error and tell you to click the link to send an email to you to update your settings, please do so and look for the email and complete.

Join the Wait List

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Hewn and Hone

It has been 6 years since I took the leap from blacksmith to full time toolmaker, as many will know all my work is done in house and this allows me complete control of the product that leaves my shop. Currently I have taken the decision that I want to be a craftsman not an employer and will not be taking on staff to expand production. I am very proud of Nic Westermann Hand Forged Excellence and want to keep this as true to my original ideals as possible. It has been really gratifying to see customers returning again and again to buy my tools, more aggressive advertising and marketing would have secured the initial stream of new customers but having a range of great, innovative tools meant they kept coming back. It has been a frustration that my tools are increasingly cloned but as other makers have said when they are aware of a better way it is hard to ignore it.

I used to sell a limited range of sharpening products on this site as it made sense to allow customers to maintain their purchases, many of you have emailed asking were it has gone as it was removed a few months ago. I had long wanted to design bespoke sharpening solutions for hand tools and expand this range however this would mean getting products made up for the site, conflicting with my view of Nic Westermann, and they certainly aren’t going to be forged, so I have started a separate company to bridge these concerns – Hewn and Hone, this will consist of me, Don Nalezyty and Alex Yerks.   Don, who provides the IT support for this site,  will be again be utilizing his skills in Web Design, IT and CADCAM, not to mention his background and experience in carving and teaching.  Alex’s background as a professional photographer and film-maker will be put to use in the numerous instructional videos we will be putting out.  Alex’s Kuksa carving, teaching and travels are well known and I am very pleased he is on the team. It has been a lot of work setting up the site, testing and refining new products, there are a lot of projects still underway that will be added to the site as they are completed. Letting go of doing everything in house for Hewn and Hone will also not put any limits on its growth, allowing me to continue with my first love, which is forging tools.

I have always admired old tool catalogues and wanted the new site to reflect that aesthetic, also the ethos that this site would, like my tools stand by its product rather than its gloss.  A few images may help to illustrate my point.

Firstly a small booklet I have, it funded its publication with a few adverts in the back, which is the best part of the book for me.

Whilst I like the style of this one for its clarity, simplicity and beautiful line drawing,

I can’t help but marvel at the boldness of the ad on the reverse of the page.

No gloss, just complete confidence in their product.  I was also reassured  because some of the products I have been commissioning include CBN and Diamond, I was concerned this would be a juxtaposition in an old style catalogue, but obviously not.

Followers of my blog will know that I like to investigate technical aspects of my toolmaking, with detailed experiments and I have carried this over to Hewn& Hone as you can see from my first blog post  Sandpaper shootout .  I will be carrying on in this theme with more tests, on both sites, whilst putting putting some handles on adzes recently I discovered a bizarre way to manipulate the handle that is worthy of more investigation and will be posting the results here. In the meantime have a look at the new site , there are some great new products to keeps your tools as sharp as the day you bought them, or sharper if you bought elsewhere.

Hewn and Hone

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