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Lee Valley Luthier supplies

13018 Views 26 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Yurgis
I E-mailed Lee valley and suggested that it would be nice if a section of their catologue could be a place for luthier supplies and that Canadian Luthiers would prefer to buy Canadian.....Maybe if enough of us E-mailed them something might happen.....Lab

Here is the response

Thank you for your e-mail. We have forwarded your e-mail to our New Product
committee for their possible consideration.

We always appreciate hearing about the kinds of products our customers are
looking for and we look forward to hearing from you again.


Caroline Brisson
Internet Customer Service Representative
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I'll hit them with a similar email tomorrow:smilie_flagge17:.
Nice idea. I was browsing Stewart-Macdonald just last night thinking Lee Valley would do this stuff way better.
I agree, great company. Trouble is, I don't know if the market is big enough to take a risk on. We'll see...
Zdogma....Probally thats what they will determine. But you know, there are more of us around than I thought there was. Even in this small town of ten thousand people I have met at least a half dozen people who are builders and there are probally more. Even now I am in the market for a couple of Silicone rubber heating blankets and I have to buy them from the US because I can't find a supplier in Canada..When you are a builder you soon find out that it is indeed a very expensive hobby and we spend big bucks to feed our habit....Nothing ventured .....nothing gained....Lab
I agree completly. They do have a very small selection of instrument makers tools. However if they were to organize their tools and products that are good for instrument makers use into a sub catagorie in their catalogue it would be a good thing. I also will send them an email. I'm certain if they were to take a serious look they could come up with alot of the items we get from the states.
Lee Valley is a store I've been using for years for quality tools and materials. At one of their locations they actually have a guitar that someone made from exotic wood pieces that they sell.

Another interesting piece of information, Lee Valley was a spin off from their primary business which was surgical tools - they actually designed a very popular and innovative scalpel which is in high demand in the medical community.
Lee Valley are very cool. Veritas makes EXCELLENT tools. I love their hand planes. I have a alot of Lee Valley in my workshop. I agree a lutheir's section would be neat. Sounds like they are definately a company that listens to it's customers:

"We listen. If you want us to change something or to carry another product, let us know; we may not end up doing what you want but we won't ignore your comments. We have had a lot of good advice from customers over the years and appreciate it....And, to reinforce the part about listening to customers, we have a number of customers earning royalties on products that we manufacture based on designs received from them."

Maybe some of us could even help design some new tools based on ones StewMac and the like carry.
I sent them a similar note and got pretty much verbatim what you got. I don't buy much from Stewart Macdonald any more. My great uncle used to make fiddles and he left me a ton of home-made tools when he passed and I've tried to keep up that tradition and make my own scrapers and shapers and bending jigs when I can. I usually only fall back on the pro shops when I need something precise like calipers or a well made ruler. Even if Lee Valley could fit some instrument-specific measuring tools (like the notched ruler for neck work) into their arsenal I'd be a happy guy.

And before I sound like I know what I'm doing I should add the disclaimer that my luthering skills are amateur. But I like to tinker and I figure I've got a lot years of tinkering ahead of me, why not acquire things to tinker better, right?
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I too have hit them up with an email. I like Lee Valley. I also like Stew Mac but they are a tad expensive for common items such as abrasives. (really pushing the self stick 3M arent they) and some of their specialized tools are not anything one cannot do themselves. Things like the neck jig are jut plain ... well cash grab. No disrespect to Erlewine, his videos and books are the best.

Wonder if the market is big enough.
Certainly the market is big enough. Lee Valley also does on line in the US.
I emailed them explaining (in a nut shell) the difficulty of getting stains, dyes, finishes and adheasives across the border. I suggested that if they were to re group all their items that would be applicable to instrument making into one section of their catalogue and add some more items perhaps do some research and find what would be a good fit for them. I also said I did not expect all lee valley stores to suddenly start stocking lutherie supplies but if they were to make them available on line only it would be a great start.

I received a very nice response from them much like the others mentioned but they also stated that they were glad to learn about the difficulty of obtaining certain items from the US.

Keep sending in emails guys. They will listen, Tell them how much money you spend in a year on instrument making etc. where you spend it. What you can't get in Canada but would like to and that you would sooner give the money to them than some business in the US. It can only help the cause.
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what are you having trouble finding?

I was thinking or starting a reranch type site for canadians since so many people have a tough time finding nitro. I buy it by the case. Its just paperwork to get it accross the border.
Well, I looked everywhere I could think of for lacquer, sanding sealer, fillers, and other compatible stuff for finishing and never found anything. And couldn't order it from the US, so that was really frustrating. I compromised and went with what I knew, oil based stains and Tung Oil, and I'm not sorry I did. But I will be starting another project and would really like to use a coloured lacquer if I could find the stuff.
Oh, and I will also send off a note to Lee Valley.
what are you having trouble finding?

I was thinking or starting a reranch type site for canadians since so many people have a tough time finding nitro. I buy it by the case. Its just paperwork to get it accross the border.
Understood, but most of the people here do not buy by the case. I think that your Re Ranch type website is a great idea and I hope that you do it. Stewmac cannot ship it across the border. I am fortunate that I live close to the US border and utilize a parcel service in Port Huron. I simply drive across and pick it up. Usually I don't get nailed for customs or taxes. However there are a lot of hobbiest and first time builders that don't know how to source products in Canada if available. Then there is the dreaded and despised brokerage fees by courier companys. If a company such as Lee Valley were to have a small instrument makers section (on line only) that carried a variety of finishes, adhesives, tone woods, and some speciality tools such as StewMac carries it would be a great thing for a lot of people. Example a new hobby builder needs a tool to do a certain job, He goes to Stewmac and presto there is the tool made especially for his needs. Lee Valley may very well have a similar or the same tool but it's not listed as guitar widgit fixer so the new hobbiest may very well buy from StewMac because there is the tool made specifically for tha job. Shipping & cross border fees etc. Finishes are also seem to be a comodity of mystery to many. If Stewmac sells Nitro for guitars the hobbiest know that is what they want. Nobody else talks about nito except guitar guys. Everybody else just calls it lacquer. Lee valey carries it but if they said it was nitrocellous lacquer for guitars a lot of people on forums like this would buy it from them. Lee Valley is great company to have around, I spend a lot of money with them and I spend a fair amount of money at Stewart Macdonald. If I had my druthers I would give it all to Lee valley.
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Yes I agree Lee Valley is great. Not many places offer their type of service anymore. I also like how clean their locations are. Its a no BS outfit.

I think my supplies site might happen after all. Theres gotta be enough guys who need a few cans of nitro now and then, nut files, pots, cloth wire, etc. The common but not so common stuff. I also can get any car color in a can from the 1920's on. Some people think thats cool. I do anyway. I'm still waiting for that client who has a '59 tbird and wants me to match his strat up.

But dealing with the public can also be a huge pain. Thats why I gave up retailing 15 years ago.

For your nitro, sealer etc needs I can get it all for you at the same price reranch charges but in CAD dollars.
Send me a price list, I'll buy.:smilie_flagge17:
Just let us know when...

YJMUJRSRV, please do it, please do it...
I did the same as bunch of you guys and also emails Lee valey... Got the standard email reply, but if enough of us do it we will have it...
Count me in and I would imagine there are alot more as well.
From the Lee Valley web site "About us" page.

We listen. If you want us to change something or to carry another product, let us know; we may not end up doing what you want but we won't ignore your comments. We have had a lot of good advice from customers over the years and appreciate it. We also get some bad advice; the trick always is in being able to tell which is which, something we are still working on.
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