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Frequently Asked Questions
(OK: the not totally infrequently asked questions)

In addition to this page, you may also find the answers to your questions are covered in more depth in our Terms & Conditions, or on the Contact page of this site.  If you simply need help in How to Use the Shop, then there is a section dedicated to providing that information.  You may find re-assurance for the use of our site and service quality by taking a look at the comments made by our clients.

The following questions are answered in full, below.  If you have other queries not answered here or in the pages referred to above, then feel free to email me:-

Q:  You have stuff listed on the site which you can't deliver immediately. Why?

A:  Maybe the simple answer would be that we are not into instant gratification! The web had changed significantly since we built our first site (as the UK's first ever woodturning supplies site) very many years ago. To be frank it is fairly unsophisticated and it doesn't have all of the facilities that we would like. We hope to be able to update it soon, but it's a huge task for a small company. Even taking twelve thousand product photos will keep me out of mischief for a good while, let alone writing all of the product technical information that needs to go on the page - as well as keeping the operation running. Having this huge amount of work done commercially would cost a fortune we don't have and demands expertise that only we have. So, please, give us time and things will improve from the point of view of the website.

However, bearing in mind that we are a specialist working in a very narrow market with relatively few competent suppliers, we believe that we would not be serving the interests of our clients if we only showed items on the website that are available from stock. Given that so much of what we sell is stuff that many of our clients don't know about, or are searching for without knowing the correct name, the browsability of the 'available, though not instantly' stuff can be very helpful. For many users we act as a source of what is available in the marketplace rather than simply of what is in stock at a certain time on a certain day.

Some of the equipment we sell is built to order. Some has such a low turnover than any sensible operation would simply delete it from the stock system and say 'not worth it'. We don't. We try to make as much of the woodworking world available to our audience as we possibly can, even if that sometimes means waiting a while before you get your hands on it.

Even stock items sometimes go out of stock in the duration of a single day or even a single transaction. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by temporary demand. Sometimes the stock system is in error and so we are unaware that we need to reorder goods. We do try to keep on top of these things - we try damned hard - but we are not miracle workers. We are flawed and fallible human beings - just like you.

If it is vital that you know if an item is in stock, then please order by phone rather than the web. And if it is so all-fired important, why didn't you order it last week, when maybe we had it in stock! ;-))

Q:  How is shipping cost calculated?

A:  Our system automatically calculates shipping costs based on where you want the goods shipped to and the total weight of the shipment.  The decision is made simply on the basis of economy: the lowest cost routing is the one selected.  The outcome will obviously vary dependent upon the weight and your location, but, generally, heavier items are shipped by courier (air courier overseas, road courier in UK) and lighter ones go through the mail system - though we are reviewing this strategy in the light of the generally deteriorating performance of the postal services.

Q:  How long does it take to deliver to USA (Australia, Hartlepool etc. etc.)

Courier shipments take 2 to 3 days to the US, though we did once manage 14 hours door-to-door!  To other destinations, times are similar with the furthest locations being served on a 3-5 day basis (though experience shows it is normally it is closer to 3 than 5 days)  In the UK, we use a "Next Working Day" courier service so you will normally get your goods the day after shipping.  Lighter shipments which currently ship by mail services, are sent by First Class mail in the UK and by Airmail Small Packet service internationally: that should mean next day delivery in the UK and from 1 to 2 weeks - but not guaranteed - elsewhere.  If you have an urgent need, drop us a line and we will always do our best to help and will advise alternative services and costs.

Q:  What is the price in dollars (Euros; Rand, Australian dollars etc. etc.)?

A:  All prices on The ToolPost site are shown in pounds (Pounds Sterling, Great Britain Pounds-GBP, ).  To help you get a feel for price in your local currency there is a link to a currency convertor on the final invoice page: clicking on this link will take the total amount shown for your order and convert this into a currency of your choice, selected from a drop-down box.  (Try it, it's quick and easy.).  There's also a link to the convertor from the front page of the site, which allows you to enter an amount in one currency and convert it to any other.  The convertor opens in a separate window so you won't lose your place.

Q:  How do I know the payment system is secure?

A:  Perhaps because we are even more concerned that it should be than you are!  Our on-line payment system is separate from the site and is fully secure, having been auditted and approved by all of the major card issuing companies.  The service is operated by NetBanx, the UK's largest and most experienced provider of on-line credit card clearing services.  They are an independent specialist on-line banking organisation with considerable expertise in the area.  If you use this payment service we don't even get to see your card details at any stage: we are simply notified that payment has been received.  The details are collected from you by NetBanx, in a separate browser window, over a secure link.  As soon as the details are received they are removed from the internet side of the NetBanx system and placed behind a very secure "firewall" before the actual processing takes place, and replaced with a reference number.  You receive an on-line notification that your card has been accepted or not, and an email confirmation, if OK.  (As an aside, I worked in credit card security in "another life" and I can assure you that using your card on the Internet is far, far safer than the things you do with your card most of the time.  It is the Internet merchant who is at risk, if anyone - the consumer is very widely protected by the card issuer's schemes)

Q:  Do you deliver outside the UK?

A:  Most certainly.  In fact, a substantial proportion of the goods we supply are sent outside the UK, with the US being our single largest market for fine tools and equipment.

Q: How do I know what the total order cost, including shipping and taxes, will be?

A:  Once you have selected all the items you want, you fill in your personal details, including - most importantly - your location and are then taken to a final invoice page where you can see exactly what you are required to pay.  This invoice page shows the cost of goods, the charge for shipping, any taxes due and the total amount to be paid.  It is only when you have reviewed this that you press the button to make payment - after selecting the method you want to use from the drop-down list - or pressing on the NetBanx icon to pay through the secure on-line payment system.  Rest assured that there is no way that any payment is taken until you choose to pay by clicking a button and that only the amount shown on the invoice is charged - there are no hidden surcharges, extras etc. to pay.  Note that UK taxes (Value Added Tax, referred to throughout the site as VAT) are only charged to citizens of the European Community (EU) - of which the UK is a member state.

Q:  What taxes and duties will I have to pay?

A:  This varies according to you location but for most purchasers, the answer in "None".  Within the EU only Value Added Tax is payable (except for registered non-UK businesses).  Outside the EU it depends on the particular customs regulations in the destination state.  In theory, all imports into any country are dutiable but many countries waive this right, especially for personal imports, and all (I believe) give a  "personal allowance" below which nothing will be charged.  For instance, in the USA, it seems that nothing under about $250 is charged duty and we have so far never had any US client charged duties even when the value shipped has far exceeded this figure.  Very generous, those US Customs officers!  When we ship, we provide invoice copies as required by the customs regulations and any duties due will normally be collected from you by the shipping company (courier or mailman) - but only IF such charges are levied.  In our experience, it is only a handful of countries which charge duties on most personal imports.  The only way to check your rights and allowances is to contact your own Customs department and ask.

Q:  Can my credit card details be stolen from your site?

A;  Emphatically, "No", for the simple reason that your card details are never on our site.  If you pay through NetBanx, then your card details are only ever handled by them and their entire business is on-line security so they are not going to do anything stupid with them!  If you choose to send us your card details, they are not kept on line: indeed they are not even kept on a computer.  We maintain paper records, only, of this sensitive information and will never charge your card unless we have your express written permission to do so.  The sites of which to beware, in my view, are those that offer the "convenience" of retaining your card details to "save you having to re-type" - which they can only do by keeping your details on a net-connected computer.  Use such one-click systems at your peril - in my view.

Q:  What does "GBP" mean - and what's that funny "" symbol?

A:  GBP is the accepted international "shorthand" for the British pound - it means Great Britain Pound, I'm told which sounds awful when you spell it out doesn't it?  The symbol for the pound is although it is possible that, due to differences in keyboard and display alphabets, your browser may show:  .

Q: How do I convert your dimensions in millimetres into inches (and vice-versa)?

A:  Firstly, reach for the calculator or spreadsheet!  To convert millimetres (abbreviation 'mm') into inches divide the millimetres figure by 25.4.  If metres are mentioned, then remember that there are one thousand millimetres in a metre.  (Note: some folk spell metre as 'meter' which is OK - just helps the world go around).  In the other direction you convert inches to millimetres by multiplying by 25.4 .  One foot is twelve inches and one yard is three feet - just in case you needed to know!  If you want to have a visual comparison of relative sizes, this chart may help but not it is Not To Scale - always use a rule to be safe.

Q:  Some places I shop on-line give free shipping: why don't you?

A:  By being in a tool shop, I reckon that we're all saying that we're grown-up: that being the case, we all know that "There's no such thing as a free ride".  "Free" shipping (or free anything else, for that matter) is simply an undisclosed charge which you are paying for elsewhere.  We make all of our charges totally transparent.  You know what you pay for each item, what it costs to ship (and we charge shipping at cost price only, with no "packing" charge) plus any local taxes, if applicable.  We are 100% WYSIWYG!  We are also an international store - very much so - and the cost of shipping the same item to a client in my town or one the other side of the world in some remote and inaccessible location is not the same: if we charged the same, then one client would be subsidising the other - there can be no other interpretation.  If anyone would like to volunteer to be the guy who subsidises anyone else's shopping, then I'd be pleased to hear from him - or her - but I don't expect to be deafened by the roar of response!

Q:  How do I know that you have received my order?

A:  When you confirm an order by clicking the "Send Order Now" button or by clicking on the NetBanx logo a copy of your order is sent simultaneously both to us and to you, using the email address you entered in the customer details, page.  (If you type the address incorrectly, then the message will not arrive).  This email is a confirmation of your order and implies that we have received it too.  If you complete the payment through NetBanx successfully, they will also send you a confirmation of payment.  Finally, when we receive your order on our desktop, we will email you with a manual (yes, real hands and eyes involved!) email confirming your order and giving any additional information such as expected delivery date etc.  When the goods leave here, you will normally also receive another mail confirming shipment.

Q:  How long does it take to process an order?

A:  Our objective is to process all orders on the day of receipt, though international time zones means that may not mean the same to you as to us.  You should get the manual notification of order receipt within one working day of placing your order, at worst, and we strive to despatch the goods the same day.  If, for any reason, we are not able to do this, we will notify you accordingly.  It is sometimes the case that we get an order too late in the day to be able to process it and get it into the shippers hands that day, in which case it goes the following day.

Q:  Can I trust your company - you're so far away?

A:  In my view, Yes, but then I may be biased!  For that reason we submitted ourselves to the two most diligent on-line store verification programs: the Which? WebTrader scheme (Which? is the UK's consumer protection organisation) and Trust On-Line.  Unfortunately these schemes have since been closed, presumably because they found that there was no longer a need for their independent services in this business area?.  Such bodies check that the site is honest, truthful, is operated according to strict codes of practice, has fair, appropriate and comprehensive Terms and Conditions and offers adequate consumer protection.  If you want to be pragmatic then talk to our exiting clients - some of their comments are shown on the site.

Q:  Can I shop with you without using your on-line system?

A:  Our catalogue is our website - or vice-versa.  If you wish to choose items from the site and then send an email, fax or letter describing your needs, please feel free to do so - or you may simply choose to give us a call.  If you are unsure about putting your card details into an on-line system, then you can use the on-line ordering system but on the final invoice page, use the drop-down list to select a more comfortable method of payment.  If you are unsure at any stage, simply drop me an email.

Q:  Is The ToolPost an ethical company?

A:  We certainly try to be!  As explained above , we have ourselves vetted by the consumer protection organisations so that our clients are re-assured.  We do not source goods from "sweat-shops" or non-branded sources and do not own-label products.  The overwhelming majority of the goods we supply are manufactured in the UK and we have visited most of the factories with whom we deal to satisfy ourselves about their standards and procedures.  We pay our due taxes (sometimes grudgingly) and provide full documentation to Customs with all of our shipments to allow them to levy any local duties and taxes.  We do not engage in money laundering or have any connection with the drugs trade.  We make best efforts to conserve natural resources and energy with minimal production of harmful pollutants.

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1997-2006 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice.