The Beginning

Hello! Welcome to Kelley Crafts. I would like to say this site is a long time coming but it wasn't. Not like you would think at least. We are Dave and Sara, a husband and wife team.

Kelley Crafts was created for a couple of reasons. The first reason, I just plain enjoy what I do. It's really that easy. I like making stuff, I consider myself and people like me "makers". We even cater to "makers" on this site. I think psychologically "makers" actually need an avenue to express ourselves in this way, or we will just go crazy. My day job doesn't allow for this kind of creativity, so I have to find another avenue. This fulfills that need. So, you're probably asking, "So, why do you have a store up to sell stuff if creating is key?" That's an excellent question! That leads me to the second reason and the main reason why Kelley Crafts exists: Making a better mouse trap.

Niche markets command a pretty spectacular price for things. It makes sense really because tools have to be engineered, and then there's marketing, and the cost to sell wholesale, etc. Woodworking as a hobby is a small niche market, and there are only a handful of major players in the mix for most of these types of tools and they are expensive.

So, it really started with my father-in-law wanting to get into turning on the lathe. Purchasing all of the supplies to sharpen regular HSS turning tools, not to mention buying those tools, and the knowledge and skill to get a good bevel takes some practice. My father-in-law lives a couple of hours from me and his schedule is as busy as mine, so setting him up and training him wasn't the most ideal situation. What was ideal, was handing him different tools, easier tools. For father's day my wife wanted to get her dad some carbide turning tools. Easy enough right? It is, except it's expensive. I understand the costs involved in building out such tools, so I can understand to a certain extent. We looked up the price of a three bar set from the most major player in the niche market and it was $360 for the bigger pro version of the tools. Add in tax and shipping if applicable and you're pushing $400 for three turning tools. Then the replaceable inserts were running $15-$20 for the same tools from the same company. It just didn't make sense. Sure, the tips that hold the cutters are machined and the cutters fit perfect but beyond that, they didn't even look cool. Does cool looking turning tools really matter? Hell yeah that matters for $360+! So, I did what I always do. I figured out a way to do it as good but cheaper.

The ends that hold the carbide inserts of the first sets I made were not professionally machined, but they work fine. I still use my originals almost daily. The ones sold on the site now are as professional as they get. The goal was not to directly compete with the major manufacturers. It was to give options to the consumer that I didn’t see when I was looking. I couldn’t find bars for all three style cutters sold without handles, so now I sell them and they are just as good or better than the other options out there. I also didn’t really like the handles on the commercial ones. They were plain and definitely not worth the extra cost of having manufactured handles on the tools when they are just painted pieces of wood. So, I decided to offer that option as well and I might be a little bias here, but I think my handles look much better than the other options. Of course, I don’t plan to ever sell as many as they sell, so I can make handmade handles at whatever pace I choose and offer those as an option, yet still cheaper than the big guys.

So, just selling the tools would be great I figured since I was making a “shop” already, I decided to go ahead and make some turning blanks and some knife scales stabilized and cast in Allumilite. There might be other items that make their way onto the store but for now, this is where we begin. Keep checking back for awesome creations from myself and my wife Sara.

Thanks for stopping by and we appreciate any feedback you might have.


David KelleyComment