Quality tools in coastal New Hampshire?
March 20, 2008 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Where can I purchase quality handtools within 50 miles of Portsmouth, New Hampshire?

I've lived here for about a year now, and I cannot seem to find any retailers that carry quality tools. I'm looking specifically for handsaws, mortise chisels, marking gauges, etc. I love to shop for tools, look at tools, hold tools.. Woodcraft has a meager selection, Home Depot is a joke... I'm willing to drive as far north as Portland Maine, and if necessary I'll go to Boston, but I'd rather not. New Hampshire is preferable cause we don't have sales tax!
posted by Glendale to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not opposed to used tools you can occasionally find some treasures at the Tool Shed in Waltham, MA. It's a hole-in-the-wall that sells 2nd hand stuff. My wife, who builds rustic furniture with mostly hand tools, has found some great stuff there.

The regulars tend to know the days he puts out new stuff, and they'll show up on those days when the doors open. I don't think it takes long to become a regular.
posted by bondcliff at 10:18 AM on March 20, 2008

If you're willing to drive a little further than Portland, Lie Nielsen Toolworks has their showroom in Warren, Maine (Google Maps puts it at 120 miles, one-way). My handtool aficionado husband loves their stuff (though he orders online).

He's also had some luck at garage sales/antique stores/flea markets.
posted by Lucinda at 10:25 AM on March 20, 2008

There's a Rockler store on Gorham Road near the Maine Mall in Portland.
posted by machaus at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2008

Looks like they have a presence in NH too.
posted by machaus at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2008

If you're ever in NYC, GarrettWade might be someplace to check out.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding Lucinda's suggestion of Lie Nielsen. Excellent tools, although they are are higher-end in terms of cost.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:08 AM on March 20, 2008


go to Lie Nielsen, where you can get some of the best newly made tools in the world. They are expensive but they are not that expensive. Just a few will make a big difference. They are very enjoyable to use.

And then, since you are further away then you want anyway, you should head up to Liberty Tool in Liberty Maine, which is like the mecca of used tools.

I actually prefer their sister shop in Hulls Cove but that's all the way to Bar Harbor.
posted by sully75 at 11:17 AM on March 20, 2008

Find out where your nearest Snap-On, Matco, and Mac tools dealers are. They sell tools directly to mechanics at all the places where there's a decent number of mechanics working - auto dealerships, tire places, etc. Their dealers drive around in big trucks filled with tools, so you'll have to catch them when they've stopped somewhere to sell.

Really nice professional quality tools of all shapes and sizes, for as much money as you can spend. Catalogs, too.
posted by coffeefilter at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2008

Response by poster: Awesome.. Thanks for all the great responses, guys! There's actually a chance I'll be heading within a couple hours of Bar Harbor in the next few months, so maybe I'll check out Hull's Cove too :)

Thanks again!
posted by Glendale at 12:48 PM on March 20, 2008

Hulls Cove is majorly awesome. It's a total mecca. Small place but it's jammed wall to ceiling. I'd shoot up on 1, if you are up for up for a bit of a long drive, hit Lie Neilson, go to Hulls Cove, and then go a little inland on the way back, hit Liberty. There's also Captain Tinnicums Emporium in Searsport, at least, I think so. I think it's owned by the same people. It's on 1.

I'd definitely call ahead. Hours are going to be variable in the used tool store places. Better in the summer.
posted by sully75 at 8:08 AM on March 21, 2008

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