Tooltique was originally started in the late 70’s selling quality reconditioned used tools and Antique Tools, it was established by my father (Known as Mick to many people) who has since retired. Having grown up with old tools I personally wanted to do something different so trained to become a self employed tradesman in the industrial building sector (Steelworks). Over the years I was encouraged to take over but other interests took me in a different direction.
In the mid 1990’s I finally settled down and I guess having grown up with antiques etc. my focus gradually moved from cars to antiques & collectables. I always resisted the urge get involved with the tool business, probably the result of living with them in my youth so didn’t view them in the same light at the time. However a series of events and the skills I had acquired over the years resulted in me having a workshop and after a good conversation with my father I took more interest, I guess once it’s in your blood it never fully leaves you.
Before the web, I always remember my father having to clean and re-clean items in his shop after they had got wet from selling them on the markets, back then there wasn’t antique fairs or other places to sell tools so it was always hard. December traditionally was his hardest month of the year and my father resorted to selling Christmas trees just to keep the business afloat in the early days, it used to be his hardest period of the year but in hindsight I have to applaud his resourcefulness and his determination not to give up. Old tools as you can appreciate left a mark of mixed feelings having seen him work 7 days a week year after year, why would this man want to do this when he clearly was capable of doing well for himself in the rat race of life. There lies the answer I guess and after all this time “I get it” having worked for other people all of these years. He was one of the pioneers, one of the few who saw the importance of the subject and one of those few men who helped to preserve many antique & vintage tools that are around today.
Ironically it was the web and his retirement that eventually closed the business for a time, however like all good things in life Tooltique is rising from the ashes to once again to become a reliable focal point for collectors and craftsman to buy and sell their tools.
Early last year (2014) I finally prepared to jump ship and got a good workshop and equipped it before embarking on my new career and now fully rely on my passion for the items I buy and sell. I’m never going to get financially rich from this, but richness comes in many forms, that’s the bit I now get, especially after finally seeing my children who are now embarking on their own careers.
Every purchase people make here is appreciated and needed to keep the business alive and as such i’m very much like my father where the customer is the priority. It’s energised by my family, taking Tooltique to new heights with the benefit of long term knowledge behind it and the opportunities ahead, i.e this website’s wider audience over those opportunities available to my father.
I’ve worked with my father to amass a starting collection and hopefully it can grow with a little help of some good customers. There has been a lot of conversations and its been a huge learning curve of which i’m sure will never stop but it’s interesting and I’m really enjoying it, even though I do tend to look like I’ve been working down a coal pit after a day of restoration.
A big advantage I have here is knowing where and when not to restore and to what level restoration removes the charm of a piece, it takes many years of experience whilst my father is alive and kicking there is no better judge of this. He has always told me, good dealers do the right things, replacing the right parts if needed and do not to touch what could be important items. They will research correctly advise correctly and will describe items correctly and not misguide those that may have less knowledge.
In a way its really strange writing this about us page, however I do respect his work ethic & honesty and will make sure that this continues to be consistent attribute in the Tooltique Business. Although I have written this it has to be said I’ve always been confident in my own ability and do not lack any skills required to take the business forward, if anything I aim to enhance it, ultimately the proof of this can only be measured by a growing customer list and their satisfaction.
Joanne is my rock and she is usually the first contact for most customers, she is becoming more knowledgeable every day even though she still insists a router is pronounced rooter (she’ll kill me when she reads this), so if you do call it’s not Pam Ayres the poet but a my lovely wife who is very helpful and a great asset to the business.
Those who know Joanne and myself will also be aware that we have triplets (2 boys and a girl) we also have another son who was 18 months old at the time of their birth. Boy did my wife give me a hill to climb, its been a very hard but rewarding experience and never dull.
Ryan is training as an electrician whereas the other two have done their college courses and found out just like so many other youngsters that it was just a total waste of their time, so needed to find work. As a result I am teaching and training them to run this business whilst I have a few more good years left in me. It’s certainly now turned into a labour of love in more than one aspect but their attitudes are good and their work ethic is willing so that’s always a good start. Callum and Brandon are certainly names to watch out for in the future and are bringing some much needed energy to the business, keep up the good work lads!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope it gives an insight behind Tooltique and will hopefully show there is more behind this website that just old tools.
UK Postage: As you can appreciate there is a lot of work needed to bring these tools back to life as a result I do get quite dirty when working in the workshop. I do have to allocate a whole day to postage/packing as a different operation because of this, so I pack all orders every weekend and order the collection from Hermes for 1st thing Monday mornings. We have now started to also pack on a Wednesday for Thursday collection, so depending on what day you order it will vary the delivery time. please allow 3 – 7 days for delivery for the UK.
Tracking numbers will be emailed to you as soon as the parcel has been dispatched.
Overseas postage: All orders are packed at weekends and sent out 1st thing Monday mornings (see notes above). Please allow 14-21 days for delivery, although this can be quicker depending on location.
We find the best postage to send on each parcel depending on country destination and will refund back any overpayment paid on the postage, if this is found to be not exactly what customer has paid, so rest assured we are working to help the customer, so you return and use us again.