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A New Chapter - Ron Hock - 01-18-2023

It’s about time for me to re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I rarely read a book more than once, but I’ve read Robert Persig’s profound treatise on the search for the meaning of quality four times, taking something new from it each time. One significant takeaway for me is the elusive nature of the concept of quality. What imbues one thing with higher quality than another? We often know the answer but cannot articulate it. A frustrating intellectual exercise, to be sure. But we know it when we see it, right?

I’ve been making and selling blades for hand planes for over forty years. I fell into this high-quality industry quite by accident. That propitious stumble in 1982 suited me; my experiences, abilities, and interests were well served by the straightforward nature of the manufacturing and the eager appreciation of the customers – you. And I’ve been continually dazzled by you for all these years. Our customers are decent, intelligent, high-integrity people. I don’t know how to thank you for your steadfast support over all these years, nor how to express my gratitude to the Krenov School for getting this whole thing started.

Linda and I struggled through the start-up learning curve, and the market for hand tools grew, pulling us along to our modicum of success and sense of accomplishment. It would never have happened without Linda, Larry Kellogg in the shop, Julie Burns and Mark Taylor in the shipping department, and the enthusiasm of customers like you.

If this sounds like a swan song, it is: Lee Valley Tools is acquiring Hock Tools.

Rob Lee has been my friend for many years. And I admire his work and that of the engineers at Veritas. He’s promised to take care of my family name that’s engraved on each product and carry the Hock Tools legacy into the future with the same products, specs, suppliers, etc. Rob wants the transition to be seamless for you, the customer, so we’ll do our best to help him get up and running with our product line. There will undoubtedly be some wrinkles. We ask for your patience while we iron them out.

We hope to finalize the transition by the first of March, but that’s a flexible deadline. And we won’t just disappear – come say hi at Handworks. We’ll proudly be in the Lee Valley booth.

Linda and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your loyalty and enthusiasm all these years. We’re looking forward to new creative pursuits and unstructured time to engage in them. But, for now, I’ll find a copy of Zen and the Art -- and start a new chapter.



Ron Hock
16650 Mitchell Creek Drive
Fort Bragg, California  95437 USA
011+1+ 707-964-2782

RE: A New Chapter - barryvabeach - 01-18-2023

Ron,  congrats.  You are a class act, selling to one of the best at class and customer service.  You couldn't dream of a better acquirer. 

BTW,  Zen is  one of my all time favorite books, though one of my favorite sections is how he says two different people can look at a motorcycle, and one can just focus on the shapes and the colors, and another can just see the engineering of getting the motion of the piston to translate into turning of the wheels.

RE: A New Chapter - Handplanesandmore - 01-18-2023

Congrats! Retirement means starting to do things you can't quite afford to do while working. Have a great journey that will last another 40 years and more!

What does it mean Lee Valley buying your business? Name/goodwill aside, all your existing stock, materials and machines, to be shipped to their plant?


RE: A New Chapter - TraditionalToolworks - 01-18-2023


You probably don't remember me by name, but I'm sure you would remember me if you saw me in person. I've met you and Linda a few times at the LN show that TLN used to do at the Crucible in Oakland.

Much congrats to both you and Linda, and hope you'll have a bit of time to spend doing things you want to do in life. That is what I continue to strive for myself.

I try to teach my son that we all need to find a job that we're passionate about, and you found that and were able to live in such a beautiful area, I'm retiring in NorCal from the Bay area, and building a house and shop for that...10 years or so when TLN held those shows, hand tools were getting much more popular, in large part due to Chris Schwarz, IMO. Chris and his wife used to attend those crucible shows also...

Great to hear that Rob Lee is stepping up to the plate and taking your tools into the future. I hope that provides you with enough flexibility and/or dividends in the future so you can have more free time with your wife.

It's a wet year, stay dry up there. I have a few friends inside the lost coast, they've been having their share of problems with the rains. Clear Lake was the lowest I've seen it this year, but it's filling up a I type (today is dry however...

Congrats again Ron, well deserved!

RE: A New Chapter - Aram - 01-18-2023

Congrats, Ron. You run a great business, and so does Rob. Thanks for the help and advice you've given me over the years -- and the pile of blades I've built tools around. All users, of course. Best wishes on the next phase of your lives.

RE: A New Chapter - paul2004 - 01-19-2023

Well, I'm glad you sold your company to another quality company.. It would have been a shame if the buyer of Hock decided to run your company into the ground and just use your reputation to sell garbage.. I'm sure Lee Valley will make you proud .

RE: A New Chapter - MarkSingleton - 01-19-2023

What a terrific "fit" for the sale. Two well known quality companies. Sounds like a win/win to me.


RE: A New Chapter - TraditionalToolworks - 01-19-2023

(01-19-2023, 12:28 AM)paul2004 Wrote: Well, I'm glad you sold your company to another quality company.. It would have been a shame if the buyer of Hock decided to run your company into the ground  and just use your reputation to sell garbage.. I'm sure Lee Valley will make you proud .
You mean like Grizzly did with the South Bend name?

I'm sure Rob Lee will do better than that.

RE: A New Chapter - Pedder - 01-20-2023

Ron and Rob, I'm happy for you!

RE: A New Chapter - 2beast - 01-21-2023

Congratulations Ron!
Thanks for all you have done for our woodworking community