Classic Hand Tools Blog

All things Woodworking...

About us

Classic Hand Tools Ltd (CHT) was formed in 2003 and is now based in Witnesham, near Ipswich, Suffolk.

CHT is owned by Mike & Mary Hancock and Alex Primmer who have been involved with the sale of quality hand tools for over twenty years.

The CHT staff are as follows;

Mike Hancock who has been around hand tools, old and new for over 25 years. Tends to be a bit of a back seat driver these days, wrestling with boring budgets, pensions, show planning, logistics and Ipswich Rugby Club so the guys at the showroom can have all the fun! Mike is occasionally allowed out for shows if there is a decent restaurant (read: pub) in the area.

Alex Primmer is the showroom and mail order sales manager. Alex has been with CHT for about 13 years so has great brand and tool knowledge. He has finally been “awarded” an assistant (see below) so he can concentrate more fully on our order fulfilment and customer service.

Alex has taken several woodworking courses with the likes of John Lloyd, Chris Schwarz, Derek Jones & James Mursell as well as loads of product training with Tormek, Veritas, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks & Robert Sorby Tools.

Mary Hancock is our super efficient accounts manager and occasional woodcarver/pyrography/woodblock print artist. Mary learnt her woodblock carving skills from Merlyn Chesterman and Rod Nelson at West Dean College and her pyrography from Bob “the burner” Neill.

Joy Allen is our showroom and back office mum who helps us with our marketing, web site and sales. Joy has also been to West Dean College to develop her woodcarving skills. Joy does just about everything at CHT and enjoys pyrography having been tutored by Bob Neill.

Andy Taylor does help with sales and stuff we don’t really understand – IT. A fledgling woodturner having had initial training with Mark Hancock.

Albert & Phil do the majority of our packing and dispatch. So any mistakes are generally attributable to them. Phil is not particularly suited to woodworking as he has a tendency to injure himself. Albert is our grandad and much respected for his knowledge of finishing and fishing (or so we pretend).

Our latest recruit is Fraser. He’s been with us a few months now and has yet to make a decent cup of tea or coffee. He has been “in training” with The International Boat Building College at Lowestoft, has done some in house stuff and will be doing several courses over the next few years to get him up to speed. The idea is for Fraser to become Alex’s assistant manager so Alex can put his feet up a bit. The signs so far are not promising (only joking Fraser!).

Occasionally we have a BillAlex, RyanDavid or Jimmy working with us. All great chaps and quite knowledgeable.

CHT endeavours to support small independent tool makers and enjoys promoting their products to a wider audience through this website, woodworking shows and open days. We are a small independent outfit with established personal contacts with some great people in the world of woodworking from around the world.

Some famous manufacturers appear on this site, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Clifton, Robert Sorby, Pfeil, Brusso Cabinetware, Norton, Ron Hock, Veritas, Blue Spruce Toolworks, Gransfors Bruk, Muller, Bad Axe Toolworks, Barr Speciality Tools, Auriou, Lost Art Press books, Sterling Woodworks, David Barron, Ray Iles, Toishi Ohishi, Norton, RH Preyda, Flexcut, Tormek, Thomas Flinn Saws, BenchCrafted Hardware and several others.

We hope you enjoy shopping on our website and look forward to receiving your custom.

SHOWROOM – Feel free to visit – please just give us a call first. That is only so we can advise that we have what you wish to look at. 10am-4pm Monday to Friday is best for you. Other times by arrangement.

CALL US – one of us will actually answer the phone and try and help you. Our customer service is pretty good, something the boss is very particular about. We don’t always get it right but we genuinely make big efforts to be helpful. We get a lot of repeat custom and would welcome your call.

NOTE – OLD TOOLS – For those of you who only ever want to use old tools in their work and have a specific requirement for an old tool – please let us know and we will try and find it for you. Occasionally we will buy old tools – mainly good usable chisels, some metal planes, gauges etc. Please give us a call first to discuss before making the trip to visit us. We may also do house calls when we are in your area.

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