About Crucible Tool
John Hoffman, Raney Nelson and Chris Schwarz
Raney Nelson looked like he was pregnant with a particularly profound idea when he approached my workbench in September 2015. But that’s typical. He looks that way when he’s had too much coffee. Or too little. Or just enough.
We were teaching a class together with our friend John Hoffman at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. And during a break in the instruction, Raney began to explain an idea he’d been mulling over.
“I’ve been trying to work out something like a modern equivalent of the guild system – you got any thoughts on something like a tool-making collective?”
I offered only a mouth-breather response, so Raney said a couple more words – and just like that we were interrupted by a student needing help. The idea dropped to the floor. But during the next few weeks, Raney, John and I began talking about forming a tool company, even though John and I had enough on our plates with Lost Art Press, and Raney was task-saturated with Daed Toolworks, his own tool-making company.
As it turned out, all three of us had a long list of woodworking tools we wanted to make. Not copies of this or adaptations of that – but things that we needed to make our personal furniture making easier.
Unsurprisingly, all three of us wanted to make tools that reflected the sort of furniture we like to build: simple, unadorned, useful and made to last for generations.
We also realized that John and I had already built the backbone of a business that could sell and fulfill tools to woodworkers all over the country without too much tweaking. Raney had built an encyclopedic knowledge of the processes needed to build precision instruments using hand skills and simple machines. We all lived within two hours of one another. And – perhaps most important – we didn’t annoy the crap out of each other even when we were in each other’s business for a week at a time.
At that moment all three of us said: We’re stupid if we don’t start a tool-making company.
Crucible was incorporated in late 2015 after a long evening that is simply called the “fried chicken dance party” (which we do not discuss. Ever). And since that first moment, our plan, goal, aspiration, whatever has been simple: To make stupidly good tools that we honestly fricking need.
We don’t make precious things for collectors, such as rare examples of oddball tools that never worked well to begin with. There are no serial numbers or limited edition this or that. And we don’t make tools that someone else already makes really well. We have enormous respect for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Lee Valley Tools and other companies that have ushered in a new golden age of toolmaking. So don’t look for us to make a Bailey-style jack plane.
Instead, we make tools that have been overlooked or desperately need to be improved or refined.
Everything we make involves companies and individual makers in the United States. We find old family-run businesses to supply our components. We machine, finish and assemble our products in our workshops in Indiana and Kentucky. And we ship everything from our warehouse in Indianapolis.
We’re a small company – three guys – and we plan to stay small. We may enlist the help of friends and family to handle shipping, customer service, website work or graphic design. But when you send us a note or give us a call, you are dealing with one of us.
Most importantly, you are talking to someone who knows woodworking in a deep I-do-it-every-day way, someone who uses Crucible tools every day at the bench and someone who wants tools that exceed expectations.
And someone who will never ever discuss the “fried chicken dance party.” So don’t ask.
Shipping & Returns
All prices include domestic shipping via FedEx SmartPost. In-stock tools ship within 48 hours of ordering then take five to seven business days to arrive. If you think your shipment has been lost, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tools can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. To return a tool, please pack it carefully in the original packaging and send it to: Returns, Crucible Tools, 13599 Sweet Briar Parkway. Fishers, IN 46038. After your package is received you will receive a message acknowledging the return and a notice of your refund.
All Crucible tools are guaranteed for the life of the tool against defects in workmanship. If you have difficulty with a tool, send us an email at email@example.com.
Crucible will never sell, rent, loan or give away your personal information to anyone. We will not send you marketing emails. We will contact you only in regard to your order – never to sell you anything. Your personal information is safe with us.
Crucible does not ship outside of the United States. In the future we may offer our tools through international retailers.
Where Can I Try Your Tools?
In conjunction with Lost Art Press, Crucible sells its tools on the second Saturday of every month from its workshop in Covington, Ky. (The street address is 837 Willard St., Covington, KY 41011.) If you can visit the store, you can try out any of the tools we offer, use them in a workshop environment and ask questions of the makers and designers.
We also routinely travel to cities in the United States with the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events. Check our blog for upcoming shows that we will be attending.