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20 June 2016

Made in Sheffield

I had the great pleasure of seeing some of the finest tools being made this last week. 
The city of Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, England, has long been recognized as one of the top homes for quality tool manufacture.
With markets being flooded with cheap steel and tools in recent decades, the best of the best survive by continuing the emphasis on high quality production, customer satisfaction, and flexibility.
May they survive and flourish into the future.

I shall be publishing videos of both visits on my YouTube channel in the near future, as part of #TOOLMake16. More details on the #TOOLMake16 challenge here.

Footprint Tools

A family business that restructured to continue after the Great Recession (2008/9), basically because their customer's couldn't cope without them. Now that is customer care!
Edge Hardening Brick Bolsters
Footprint Tools can trace it's history back to the 18th century with the establishment of Alfred Ridge & Sons, who supplied boring tools to the navy.
Today, manufacturing and supplying a select range of high quality tools, 'Made in Sheffield', and providing a contract forging service, the family have set a good foundation for the company's future.

(Those of you in North America may see the Footprint brand on hand planes. This is by license, and they are not made at the company's works)

On a personal note, I would love to see Footprint Tools re-introduce their excellent forged woodworkers chisels.

Fitting Stock to Stem
Joseph Marples

Another family business, specializing mainly in marking and measuring tools for woodworkers. 
Manufacturing since 1840, it's fair to say they've more than got the hang of it!
Many traditional methods, mixed with a little modern technology, ensure that end users benefit from top quality tools, that will last a lifetime.
Another 'Made in Sheffield' success.
Look out for the reintroduced old Corporate mark, ‘Trial 1’ on a special, superb quality selection of their tools.