years ago, Rockwell Tools rolled out a brand-new line of handheld
power tools at the National Hardware Show. It caught many of us media
folks by surprise. I remember wondering to myself, Rockwell, as in
Delta/Rockwell? Could this be a legendary tool phoenix rising out of
the ashes? If you've run across what I'll call the "new" Rockwell
at your local hardware store or on-line retailer, you might have
wondered the same thing. Is this the same Rockwell that was stamped
on the machines in high school shop class or on that heavy, old
circular saw in Dad's tool cabinet?
in a manner of speaking, the answer is both no and yes.
Taylor, vice president of marketing for Rockwell Tools, recently
provided me a more formal introduction to this growing line of DIY
and woodworking power tools. If you've been curious about what's up
with Rockwell, hopefully this will clarify things.
Tool's parent company is Positec Tool Group, which was founded in
1994 as an OEM tool manufacturer for a number of different brands
sold here the U.S. and abroad. After many successful years in the OEM
business, the company decided to begin developing its own tool lines.
Then, in 2005, Positec launched two new brands at that Hardware
which is a full offering of electric yard and garden tools, and
Rockwell Tools. Rockwell's product line includes both
professional-duty and more economically priced construction and
what about that familiar name? Craig explains it this way: "Rockwell
has such a long heritage in building quality power tools. We at
Positec thought it was a crying shame to see that brand out of the
marketplace and a trusted name no longer used. Although there was no
transfer of ownership, we acquired the brand name and are carrying
forward its proud tradition for a new century." According to
Taylor, when you read the name Rockwell on one of these tools, it's
intended to deliver the same performance expectations as the tools
you remember from years gone by. Rockwell is definitely back in the
power tool business, albeit through a new and different company.
just five years, Rockwell's product line is quite impressive. In the
company's professional tool line, they offer circular saws, recips,
jigsaws, corded and cordless drills, angle grinders, sanders, miter
saws, bench grinders, a plunge router, power planer and a unique
sawhorse with integral vise called the Jawhorse™ . The company also
manufacturers the SoniCrafter™ multi-tool with a wide range of
attachments for remodeling and DIY. A second line of tools—Rockwell's
ShopSeries™ —includes a variety of cordless, handheld power and
benchtop tools aimed at more budget-minded DIYers and woodworkers.
assured me that Rockwell is "dead serious" about backing up its
shop-trusted name with the quality. The tools are manufactured in a 1-1/2-year-old state-of-the art Chinese facility. Its million square
feet cover all phases of tool production, from castings to painting
to final assembly and packaging. Rockwell is headquartered in
Charlotte, North Carolina.
are one of only a few independent tool manufacturers out there. We're
not part of a great big conglomeration of power tool brands like some
of our competition is. Rockwell is a stand-alone brand manufactured
in one facility."
extension of Rockwell's commitment to quality and customer
satisfaction can be seen in the "Free Batteries for Life"
program. As the name implies, the concept is pretty simple. If you
purchase a cordless Rockwell or Rockwell ShopSeries tool and the
battery dies, they'll replace it for the life of the tool. The offer
covers both NiCad and Li-Ion batteries. You need to register the tool
initially and pay the shipping charges for replacement batteries, but
otherwise the batteries are free to the original tool purchaser. And,
there's no need to send the old battery back to Rockwell; just
recycle it responsibly.
six bucks and change, you've got a new battery," Taylor says. "When
we first launched this battery program, people wondered if we were
serious. We definitely are. The program is designed to give our
customers unlimited power...It goes against our grain to throw
perfectly good tools away just because their batteries die."
reports that over the past year or so, Rockwell has made significant
strides in earning the trust of professional tool users. However,
buyers are fairly evenly distributed between pros and DIYers or
woodworkers. The SoniCrafter multi-tool and JawHorse tools have been
the company's most successful products so far, and overall
distribution continues to grow.
where are things headed? Taylor hopes that, as we move past the
current recession, those who would have hired to have projects done
several years ago will now consider doing that work themselves. "We
want to help people re-learn and re-engage in the love of
craftsmanship and in building something with their own hands. We're
people that love tools, and we're building tools for people that love
tools...at a price everybody can afford."