Eight years ago, Craig Jackson founded Easy Wood Tools (EWT), a company that makes a unique line of carbide-insert woodturning tools, four-jaw chucks and faceplates in Lexington, Kentucky. Easy Wood Tools was first-to-market with replaceable-insert turning tools for consumers, and the concept was so successful that other manufacturers have since followed suit with similar tools. To read more about EWT’s history and development, click here.
In July 2015, Jackson announced he was selling his company to the Adjustable Clamp Company/PONY Tools, Inc., a Chicago-based manufacturer of the familiar orange woodworking clamps and Jorgensen clamping products. Jackson became PONY’s vice president of research and development as part of this transition, and he spoke with Woodworker’s Journal’s eZine about it in another Industry Interview (click here to read it). The EWT brand was to continue operations on its product line in Lexington as a subsidiary of PONY Tools.
Then, last May, EWT issued an announcement that Adjustable Clamp Company was suspending its operations in Chicago effective immediately — a step deemed necessary “due to issues unique to the Chicago business.” Business at EWT continued, but the announcement suggested that EWT was looking at all options in order to continue to operate. It was put up for sale last summer.
In what surely have been some uncertain times for EWT over these past months, the company is now independent and under new leadership. On Oct. 26, Chris Caliendo and his family acquired Easy Wood Tools, where he will lead as its new president and CEO. His intention is to steer EWT into smoother waters once again and grow the business as a leading manufacturer of woodturning tools.
“I was very excited to learn that Easy Wood Tools was maintaining operations and quickly took all steps necessary to acquire this great company,” Caliendo says. “I knew that they offered solid, high quality tools, made by a great team of employees, in a market welcoming new and innovative products.”
Caliendo, a mechanical and design engineer, owns another company that manufactures carbide and ceramic wear parts. He’s had a long affiliation with Jackson and EWT — Caliendo developed the process to manufacture top-grade carbide cutters for the original EWT products eight years ago.
“My team has owned the manufacturing of all the carbide cutters since that point,” Caliendo adds. “I have had the pleasure of having my components involved in these great products, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of supplying our customers with the high quality craftsmanship, innovation and customer service that is trusted with our brand.”
Caliendo shares ownership of EWT with his wife, Christine. Christine has a background in leadership, sales, customer service and sales operations, and she plans to focus her energies on EWT’s business development. Chris will be responsible for leadership and day-to-day operations. The Caliendos have a son who works for the family’s other manufacturing business and who also will be involved in EWT at some level.
The new owners have no future plans to relocate EWT from Lexington, nor do they plan to consolidate the brand in any way. “Our goal is to maintain and grow our line in the manner to which our customers expect,” Caliendo says.
He would not comment as to whether Craig Jackson would once again be involved with Easy Wood Tools in any capacity going forward.
But, one development Chris is excited to report is that he plans to bring back the company’s Easy Chuck products. He explains that those were temporarily discontinued at some point to address quality control issues of certain components that were not up to EWT standards.
“The process was delayed due to the former parent company ceasing operations, but we are working to set a timetable to reintroduce (Easy Chuck) to the market,” Caliendo says.
As Caliendo begins to lead EWT and set its goals for the future, Chris says their commitment is to leverage the ease of accessibility, innovation and trusted craftsmanship that comes from this American-owned family business, in order to benefit their customers.
“We are excited to bring our knowledge in design engineering, coupled with our strength in carbide components, to continue to make great advancements in the future technology of woodturning tools. We will be actively involved in the woodturning market to create future products based on the needs of all skill levels. We want to hear from our customers and we welcome all suggestions.”
To learn more about Easy Wood Tools, click here.