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Sold out!

As hard as it is to believe, there’s been an upside to COVID-19 social distancing – and it’s woodworking related.

A new assignment has me writing a tutorial on powered sharpening systems. I’ve done several of these tool tutorials, and my approach is to include photographs showing the tools in varying shop situations, as well as illustrating machine parts, setup and the like.

To do that, however, I need to have the tool. No problem if I already own one, and when I don’t, I can usually get a sample directly from a manufacturer. But this time around it’s proving more difficult. I’ve contacted the makers of a number of sharpeners, but they have none in stock – they’ve all been sent out to stores and distributors.

In those cases, I’ll often just buy me one. While it might not be something I’d been pining to own, buying one helps me get the article done, and I often find that by using it for an article the tool proves to be more useful than I thought. So, I started checking woodworking supply websites, only to find that each machine I looked at was backordered.

Curious, I started randomly looking at various items and found that many of them are also backordered. This prompted me to contact a friend who works at a supplier just to ask about it. Sure enough, he told me that woodworkers have been buying tools and supplies in unprecedented numbers. Social distancing and quarantines in these days of COVID-19 have created a boom in woodworking tool and supply sales. Who would’ve thunk?

This pandemic has been a scourge, and we’ll all be glad when things get back to normal (if that’s such a thing anymore). But amid all the daily bad news we get about the virus, it’s good to see that there has been at least one surprising perk of staying home. Even better that it’s benefiting woodworking.

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