View Full Version : Shepherd Hand Tools Store

Doug Evans
05-04-2003, 7:25 AM
Hi Folks:

Ben and I are opening up a combined retail manufacturing storefront location in Cambridge, Ontario very shortly. The retail side will cater to the needs of the hand tool crowd, and we would like to know what people would like to see in this type of facility?

As a starting point, we are located in an old factory (170 Water Street) backing onto the Grand River with major streetfront exposure. We have cleared out the front section of the 600 ft^2 facility, sanded floors and painted walls. We have four prominent antique tool dealers from four different parts of the province stocking our shelves on consignment. It is a place where you should expect to find clean #7's, #8's, #4 1/2's, #112's, #45's, etc. in quantity and quality, along with a pile of other useable tools. We are proximate to a well-known exotic hardwoods supplier. We are also directly on the primary route to Southworks (a 200 dealer antique mall with an outlet mall in an old stone factory). In order to drive foot traffic, we plan to offer a limited range of similar products, such as clocks, ironworks, occupational photos, etc. As well, through a number of resources we plan to offer weekend seminars on hand-cut dovetails, use of wooden moulders, etc.

We are asking folks for ideas to improve the range of our offering and provide us with ideas for seminars, etc. The intent is to become a hand tool resource centre.

Any help would be most appreciated.



Dan Clermont in Burnaby
05-05-2003, 1:13 AM
Hi Doug,

Your plans are very exciting and I am disappointed I live on the West Coast. I think one of the weekend seminars you should hold is the "Build your Own Shepherd Smoother".

I don't get out to Toronto much but if I do I will be popping in.

Dan Clermont in Burnaby

Jim Shaver, Oakville Ont
05-10-2003, 7:43 AM
Hi Doug,

This is exciting news, I am looking forward to a Saturday drive out to see you and Ben in the coming Month. All the best on the store, it's great to have a Canadian source for this kind of interest!

Take care,

Doug Evans
05-11-2003, 8:40 AM
The store is a bit of a side-benefit to the occupation. I used to run a few antique tool booths in antique malls (Elora, Waterloo, St. Jacobs). All in, the best Cost of Sales I could do was 21%.

When we saw the potential of the store for retail, we looked at it as an opportunity to bring in foot traffic. I called on several of the Pickering Tools of the Trades Show Dealers located in different areas of the province and offered space at a straight percentage at good rates. George Goldbourn, Oshawa, Anthony Jannsens, St. Catherines, Bob Fenn, London, Dave Carrier, Mississauga, and ourselves. This keeps fresh stock and traffic coming all of the time. With Dave Carrier involved, it means you get maximum coverage. Most people wouldnt know it but Dave is at Aberfoyle, Christies, Flamborough and the like as the dealers are setting up (I know cause I see him). In fact, at the early entry at Flamborough, you can expect us to be in the first 10 cars at 5:00 a.m. with the big full-daylight flashlights. He travels several days a week looking for tools province-wide. What I'm saying here is that if you're heading for most places at 8:00 a.m., you're an hour or so late. I digress here.

The intent is to provide a store where people come to talk tools and methods. Yes. We will have a pickle barrel and a chair rail with a half dozen stools. There will be old occupationals on the walls (including the Warnock and Dietrich firms from Cambridge). The seminars are intended to be free "hands on" 2-4 hour sessions. Our shelving will eventually include integral benches , so that we can provide space for at least 5 people.

This is about fun for people to come in and find what they need and to learn more about hand tools in general.

Having sold antique tools for quite awhile, we know what moves pretty well. We will keep items up to $300 in the store and offer access to higher price tools on a request basis. On weekends, we will have special items on-hand such as #1's, boxed 55's, special cutter sets, etc. Eventually, our website will sell items weekly and we will offer balanced auctions on eBay.

Pickle anyone?



The factory actually made lineshaft at one time and I have a fri

Doug Evans
05-18-2003, 12:40 AM
Here are some shots from a few days back as we were setting up the store...

Doug Evans
06-06-2003, 9:23 AM
This store business is a lotta work! Just got the shingle up...


Doug Evans
06-06-2003, 10:07 AM
Here's that photo cut down a little...


John Schreiber
06-06-2003, 2:37 PM
If I saw that sign while I was walking down the street, wild horses, nay even my wife, couldn't keep me from entering. I'd lay my credit card on the counter and ask them to ring up what they pleased out of pure respect for your audacity. Then I might look for things to buy.

Best of luck in your venture.

Dave Anderson NH
06-06-2003, 5:49 PM
Beats the .....out of plexiglas and all of those other abominations. There is just something about a sign which tells a story. You tell ole Ben that he should hurry and heal. I was told by an authoritive source that a wee dram of Usquebahr is a great aid to the process.

Doug Evans
06-06-2003, 8:25 PM
The place is really beginning to take one a personality. We have some clean-up to do before the Grand Opening (date to be set).

It is a great environment to build planes. History surrounds us everywhere. Even the building housed a line shaft manufacturer during the early days. Cambridge was the home to Warnock Edge Tools and Shurly Dietrich Saws.

There are also a number of Woodworking business' in the area.

We get a number of people that are just curious.

The sign... it had to be... we have always seen ourselves as an extension of the way Spiers ran a business.

It helps having such an old-time base of antique tool dealers. Ben and I have been dealers at The Tools of The Trades Showfor a number of years now. The store allows us to help these folks run a better business. There is quite a bit of depth in their stock - one guy can pull as many as 25 Stanley 45's. We have 12's, 112's, about 3 or 4 No 8's for example. It is not quite like walking into John Walter's at Marietta, Ohio however, it has a similar feel. In our case though, we are a bit like a live museum, as we build planes in the retail area.

We will be adding courses soon which in turn will allow Ben and I to get some great learning experience (talk about fringe benefits).

I will pass along the sentiments to Ben, Dave... and the recipe for a quick recovery.



John Allman
06-08-2003, 9:51 AM
I had the pleasure yesterday afternoon of visiting the Shepherd Tool Company's new (old?) store. Ben was there and we had a good chat and I ordered three plane kits. Doug arrived soon afterwards and the chat continued. He suggested that I come and build the first kit there, so that they can help guide me through the process. I certainly will take them up on the offer and look forward to my kits being ready.

Doug and Ben are passionate about there company and where it is headed. Their knowledge of old hand tools is impressive and their willingness to share it is generous. Certainly they have accomplished a lot in the time they have been operating. Doug mentioned some of the ideas they are considering for the future. Very exciting.

The old tools that are on display and for sale are of generally high quality. I felt many of them were priced reasonably or even too low.

My biggest suggestion is better signage. The sign shown in the photo is great but it is a little small. I had checked the location on Mapinfo and have a reasonable knowledge of the area, but the road going by is busy and tricky, so I overshot the location and had to double back. A bigger sign that says Shepherd Tool would be advisable.

All in all a very pleasant afternoon and a worthwhile trip.