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Wait List Updates

Update 2023-09-07: Our current Wait List has ~1500 folks on it and the average wait is 28 – 32 Months. You can use this link to inquire on your status.

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

Postage and Packing

There are new postal rates coming out in the UK in October and this has prompted me to revamp the P&P charges on the site. Due to past difficulties in managing stock, customers often could buy only one item at a time and ended up ordering multiple times. Acknowledging this I made my postal rates as low as I could, and as a result often ended up paying more for the stamp than I charged for P&P to the customer, but on balance it worked out OK.

Now that Don has sorted out the ordering system the dynamics of the orders I take have changed again. I am seeing Increasingly larger orders, I did increase the flat rate charge but this made it expensive for customers that only bought one item, and with the recent addition of axes to my stock list the larger orders can still be close to double the P&P charge I make

Again Don has been able to help with this- So taking into account the new postal charges we have been able to work out a new system, depending on where you are there is a base rate- which has been reduced in most cases- if you only order the smaller blades this is all you will pay. Heavier items such as Axes, Gouges and Twca cams may add to the this base rate to come up with the final postage figure. I am not going to put up the loading that each item has, not because it is secret ( you can look at the postage charge at checkout anytime and see what you would be charged) but because it is complicated, varies region to region and due to the odd hikes in charges at different weights it isn’t intuitive. However it looks like it will be a much more equitable system, and if it turns out not to be, I will tweak the figures again.  My aim is to make and sell high quality tools, not make money from postage.

Awaiting Changes

Don Nalezyty

 An Introduction

If you follow Nic on facebook, you will know that I’ve started helping with the website. Some of you may know me from the spoon carving community, but my profession is in IT. When Nic asked if I’d be interested in supporting the site, I was happy to help out with something that ties together two passions.  (Yes, I’m uber geeky!)

We’ve updated the technology and processes behind the scenes over the last few months. Much of this Nic has talked about here, but it has not really been visible in the shop until Tuesday.  We added a password protected section to the Shop and opened it to folks on the top of the wait list to place back orders. Nic will be working hard to complete these in the next month.

Wait Lists

One more visible change Wednesday was the removal of the old product specific wait lists. Those lists were limited and cumbersome to manage, so we created a new wait list. It is important to us the list is accurate, since it will be used to grant access to the back orders section of the shop. This will happen periodically when Nic is ready to take orders.

As detailed in Tuesday’s post, there was a great deal of effort to clean the wait list, but we would like to make it better. There will be an email going out soon to everyone on the wait list. You should update your information following the instructions in the email. This will verify that you are still interested and waiting for a turn to purchase some of Nic’s blades. I have added a page to the site to allow folks to add their names to the queue. You can find it in the menu under Shop.

This new list combined with password access to the back order shop means that everyone will get an opportunity to order rather than relying upon being online at the right moment and lucky enough to submit an order before all the stock was sold.  Given the long list, folks may have a long wait, but when they reach the front of the queue they’ll have access to the site for 24 hours to complete orders.

We’re both happy with how the last sale went. We hope this new more equitable system will make everyone else happier too.

Back Orders and the Wait List

We have opened a new back order section in the shop and will be taking orders over the next day or two. Before you all race over to the shop and attempt to order, I wanted to give an update on the changes we made and how the process now works, but first we need to briefly cover what’s happening with product wait lists as it’s a big part of the new process.

As previously mentioned, the old wait lists and ordering system had problems.  The new process is relying on a single unified wait list for back order-able items. There were nearly 1600 email addresses on the old product wait lists, which had to be merged, cleaned of duplicates and invalid email addresses. The new list is now down to 650 prioritized emails based on the order in which folks joined the wait lists.  (650 sounds like a lot, but before you lose hope – we suspect a large percentage of these will not result in sales.  We’ll know better in a few days.) This unified wait list is used in the new process outlined below.

Here’s the quick summary of  the new process:

  • The back orders section of the shop is behind a password
  • Emails have gone out to the first block of people on the wait list
    • Instructions on how to order are in the email
    • The password is in the email
    • Passwords expire 24 hours after being sent
  • Those who received emails will have that 24 hours to submit orders, then we will be letting the next block through with a new password.
  • This will continue until I have taken a month’s worth of orders.
  • Back ordered blades should be shipped within a month.

Please note that the sharpening section is not back ordered nor  password protected, so these are normally shipped the next day. If however you order sharpening kit alongside back ordered blades then the whole order will be shipped when the blades are completed.

I am also getting daily, sometimes hourly requests for axes and adzes or to be put on wait list for these.  Currently the wait list only covers back order-able blades, but once we have this system working well I may start to include these in a separate list. Any new information will be put up on here.

Midlands Woodworking and Power Tool Show – Newark

I will be packing the van today and heading off to Newark for this show, open on Friday and Saturday. I will have unprecedented stock of blades!  Have now finished the shaping and  Heat treat on these adzes and got edges on them late last night so hopefully can make and fit some handles over the course of the show, these are prototypes and will not be for sale, but if I get them up and running you are welcome to have a go.



National Botanical Garden of Wales

I will be at the Woodcraft Weekend   –  it is not a big show but one of the first that I did when I made the transition to toolmaking, and have found it to be very friendly and welcoming, has good memories for me. That first time I went we were put in a marquee and in the middle of January it didn’t look too promising, but I was next to a group of stickmakers and they tried and then bought many of my blades. In the process we left lots of shavings on the carpet which the cleaners had a tough time removing. So next year we were delighted to be moved to the main glass house which is a fabulous place to spend the weekend, warm and bright even when it snows- which it has a few times.  Will be there again this weekend, making some handles for some axes that I made as prototypes in the run up to Christmas. I have a good amount of stock and will be selling all that is unsold on my site at 9pm on the 16th. I realise that as demand for my blades has far exceeded my ability to supply this method of selling is not really working for many customers, so changes are going to be made. More about that in my next post after I have this show finished; as ever I set a high target for the stock I wanted for this show and the last couple of weeks have involved long hours at the forge, but all the blades are finished, the van is packed and ready to go.


The site has been quieter than usual this month as I have earmarked all stock for Harrogate show , to the untrained eye my site must look quiet all the time, I often get emails asking if I have ceased trading as everything is out of stock. The situation is that all stock I put on sells out within a matter of hours, the wait list is, as ever the key to catching these brief windows of opportunity. All stock left unsold after the show, and I expect there to be a lot will go up on my site on Monday  21st at 1pm. I did a similar thing after Westonbirt show earlier in the year and the site crashed under amount of traffic as I was halfway through uploading the different items of stock; this time I will close the site, upload all the stock and then re-open it hopefully on the dot of 1pm. I will be restocking again before Christmas but will be off to London for a marathon 4 days of courses at the Greenwood Guild in early December so this might be the last chance for the Festive season for my customers across the Atlantic.

Bizarrely I had a film company phone up this week asking me to forge some ice tongs and carving tools, but the deadlines were impossible as I was committed to attending this show. I did fleeting wonder what bevel angles and temper would be appropriate for ice though.

However if you can get to Harrogate I would strongly advise it; I enjoy this show immensely and find the atmosphere great. It is indoors and electricity is everywhere and I am glad of that, at this time of year an outdoors show could be miserable, instead I will be warm and illuminated.  I have yet to meet a green woodworker that doesn’t use some sort of electrically powered tool for their sharpening and all the manufacturers will be there and you can see various machines running, many will let you have a go on them.  And of course there are other carvers and turners  demonstrating and lots of high quality hand tools old and new.

My stall will be well stocked, on the Friday at least. I will even have a few axes-  They are ground now and it is amazing the difference that is makes, the interplay between a forged finish and a crisp shiny bevel is fabulous.


And lots of smaller blades.


At the show I will also be doing some demos, handling an axe and also explaining how I sharpen my curved blades; Alex Yerks shot some footage of this at Westonbirt earlier in the year so a video is definitely on its way, I just need to finish off the audio.



A quick post to let you know that I will be attending Treefest at Westonbirt this weekend and Bank holiday.  I really enjoy this show and it is such as shame that it is the last one. On a positive note between a couple of days teaching axe forging  I have been stockpiling blades and have good supplies of all my stock items from the site and even a few axes, but if you are hoping to get one of those then I wouldn’t leave it until the Monday. Any unsold stock will be listed on the site when I get back on Tuesday 30th.

I always demonstrate at Westonbirt and this year is no different, will be forging axes and adzes. The big news, just confirmed is that I will have a Celebrity Guest Striker- Alex Yerks from the US. Its very odd, we have been in contact for years through Facebook, and I nearly managed to visit when I was in the States last year, but it fell through. This year he came over to the UK for spoonfest but his schedule was too tight to come down to Wales. Then is turned out that he was going to be In Amsterdam whilst we where on holiday in the Netherlands so we met up. mryerks

Then it turns out he is back in the UK, so we finally get to forge an axe together. Its going to be a great weekend, come over and say hello!

Treefest at Westonbirt



It has so far been impossible for me to keep up with demand since opening my site, I am making every blade myself from scratch, and the batches I put up tend to sell out within a couple of a days. As I often say on the phone, I can make them quicker but the quality would drop and that is not what I am about. The wait list on the site is the best bet to catch a blade when it is in stock, the site will automatically email you when I have listed new stock, but they are not reserved so it is better to act quickly.

This system works reasonably well, it is certainly better than relying on me to remember and email the 200 odd people that are on various lists. However it doesn’t cope well with orders of different blades and recently customers have had to order multiple times to get the tools they are after. Currently though this is the best system I can offer as it can take me a long time to cycle through all the out of stock items and a mixed order might take months not weeks to fill. Also the wait list gives me an idea of demand so I can concentrate on the items with the most customers waiting.

I do try and keep my postage rates as low as possible in light of the fact that people end up making multiple orders. Currently this is £4.00 flat rate in the UK and £7.50 for EUR/ N America / AUZ / NZ.  Other Destinations available if you email me. It is not uncommon for me to spend more on P&P than I charge, but on balance it seems about right.

I have never factored in any charge for the time taken to actually pack the item as my view is that whatever you make you have to sell, and this takes time. Going to a show, taking an order down the phone or someone coming to the workshop to pick an item up all take way longer than packing an order that has been managed and processed by the website, with a good mix of new packaging boxes and recycled wrapping – the workshop next door makes fleece sleepsuits in an astounding variety of patterns and I have access to all their offcuts- it is actually very quick to pack an item now.

There is one way I could cut prices a bit further and that is to use a franking machine, however as many people that have been on courses at my workshop have found out the local post office and shop is a real gem. The owner Lil has cut down on the items she sells, but the basics are covered and it is the focal point of the village and I am proud to support it. On rare occasions that she has sold out of milk she sends me back to the workshop with a jam jar toped up from her fridge. If I went down the franking machine route, as a few local businesses have, the post box would still get filled but the income going through the post office would drop making closure more likely. Plus I often spend the entire day locked in my workshop, the few minutes walk up to the post office and chat at the counter is a welcome break I look forward to.


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