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Today I learned that Woodpeckers Tools owns Blue Spruce Toolworks.
Woodpeckers is a USA manufacturer of premium woodworking tools and accessories. Blue Spruce Toolworks is known for their customizable woodworking hand tools.
I wrote about Blue Spruce Toolworks before, and little did I know at the time that Woodpeckers had already acquired the company.
I discovered this today, when I opened a box of Woodpeckers tools I had purchased, and there was a Blue Spruce flyer inside.
And yes, the Woodpeckers order did great damage to my wallet. I wanted one item and maybe another, but then I looked at my list of reader review requests and tacked on a couple more items.
It’s not very obvious from Blue Spruce Toolworks’ website that they’re owned by Woodpeckers. The only clue I finally found was that the address matches.
Digging into my email history, I found a consumer newsletter from July 2019 that I must have missed.
The subject line reads “Woodpeckers Trusted Partner, Blue Spruce Toolworks.”
We take a lot of pride in designing and building top quality layout, measuring and marking tools… and doing it right here in America. Another company just as dedicated to fine joinery is Blue Spruce Toolworks. Blue Spruce builds chisels, marking knives, coping saws and other beautiful, practical tools in a small shop nestled among the evergreens of Sandy, Oregon. In the coming months you will see an e-mail or two from Blue Spruce highlighting some of their finely crafted tools. We know you’ll find these American-made products a perfect complement to your Woodpeckers collection.
That doesn’t exactly say much about the relationship between the two brands. “Trust partner?”
There’s mention of the Blue Spruce marking knife in a couple of other Woodpeckers newsletters:
there’s no finer marking knife on the market than the Blue Spruce Toolworks Classic Marking Knife used here
But Woodpeckers doesn’t actually say it anywhere that they own Blue Spruce Toolworks, which I find strange.
Here’s what it says on Blue Spruce Toolworks’ website:
Blue Spruce Toolworks began as a part-time project when Dave Jeske designed and produced a simple marking knife specifically designed to address the needs of smaller scale, precision joinery. Over the years the company added products such as bench, dovetail, paring and butt chisels, frame saws, and our award-winning mallets. Dave continues to develop new products for Blue Spruce Toolworks while manufacturing and distribution have moved to Strongsville, Ohio and undergone significant capacity expansion to meet ever-growing demand for our tools.
So, it’s not mentioned on the Blue Spruce website either.
Looking online, there are mentions of Woodpeckers acquiring Blue Spruce Toolworks, but nothing from either company that I could find.
I finally found an announcement on social media, by Dave Jeske from Blue Spruce Toolworks. Here’s what it says in an Instagram post that dates back to August 2019, with the emphasis my own:
It has been almost fifteen years since I started Blue Spruce Toolworks in my garage shop. My passion has always been design and bringing new and fresh ideas to the woodworking hand tool community. From day one, I have been encouraged and overwhelmingly supported by everyone including family, friends, customers, fellow tool makers and the internet community. I have been blessed to have Blue Spruce Toolworks grow into a company that serves woodworkers all over the world. I want to share with you the next phase of the company. Blue Spruce Toolworks is now a subsidiary of Woodpeckers, LLC – an Ohio based company that has much greater manufacturing capability than I could ever dream of and a commitment to quality that is world class. They have been making high quality woodworking tools for over thirty years! It is always an honor to serve my customers and interact with my IG followers and I am looking forward to this new phase. There will be a transition time as manufacturing moves to Strongsville, Ohio. I will stay in Sandy, Oregon to do research and development of new woodworking tools. Thank you for your continued support and I hope to see you at some shows in the future! (Swipe for some pictures from the Blue Spruce Toolworks archives) – Dave Jeske
That’s the only official-looking confirmation or mention of this that I’ve seen.
Blue Spruce recently sent a newsletter about their marking gauges, which have marking knife-style blades. They are available in black, blue, or silver, for $130. The sale ends on 4/3/23, and the shipping ETA is June 2023.
I suppose this seems very Woodpeckers-like of them. But where’s the Woodpeckers-red version? Is it my imagination, or does that make this seem even more strange?
Blue Spruce Toolworks makes “hand crafted tools that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but are also a joy to use in the creative process.” $130 seems like a lot for a marking gauge but maybe someday I’ll buy something different from the company.
Woodpeckers’ ownership of the brand doesn’t really change things for me either way, as I’ve had mostly good experiences with their tools and customer service.
This isn’t good news or bad, it’s just surprising to me. The acquisition took place 3-1/2 years ago, and I almost feel like I’m the last to know. I would question how I missed this, but the relationship between the two brands seems well-hidden. I wonder why.
Whatever the reasons for that, now you know, all thanks to Woodpeckers slipping a Blue Spruce Toolworks flyer into the box with my order.