After the Stanley company turned into a seller of screwdrivers and hinges, I soured on US made woodworking tools. There were fantastic tools being made here, but they cost as much as a car payment. As I always had a car payment already, I turned to German and Swedish tools, as well as the occasional English one (Oops, I forgot about the spectacular quality of Canadian tools, and the value of Eastern European ones).
Then I ran across the smaller manufacturers like Gramercy and Flexcut. Flexcut blew me away with quality and value combined. I already had the carving tools sharpener (superb), when MJ surprised me with the gift of the folding carving knife, after I was commissioned to carve a spoon for the book A Gathering of Spoons. Wow. It was love at first cut.
Then last summer rolls around, and I have a large walnut bowl to carve (it still isn’t finished.) If I had not found the 2″ Flexcut gouge on the Highland Woodworking website, it probably never would have made it to the stage where it is now. And I had intended to mortgage the house and buy a Swedish gouge made by Hans Karlsson. Now I have a gouge and a house.
At any rate, I also have a re-vamped carving bench. More on that later.