About Us

Classic Hand Tools staff outside the showroom in Witnesham

Classic Hand Tools Ltd was formed in 2003, first operating out of a garden shed and then a shop in Needham Market. For many years now, the home of Classic Hand Tools has been a showroom in Witnesham, Suffolk, close to the town of Ipswich.

The business is owned by Mike & Mary Hancock and Alex Primmer, who have been involved with the sale of quality hand tools for over twenty years.

At Classic Hand Tools, we endeavour to provide the finest quality tools with excellent customer service.

Wherever we can, we support small independent tool makers and enjoy promoting their products to a wider audience through this website, woodworking shows and open days. 

We are a small independent outfit with established personal contacts with some great people in the world of woodworking from around the world.

Please enjoy shopping on our website and look forward to receiving your custom.

Meet Our Staff

Alex Primmer

Our showroom and mail order sales manager.

Alex has been with CHT from pretty much the start, so has great brand and tool knowledge.
He has finally been "awarded" an assistant (see below) so he can concentrate more fully on our order fulfilment and customer service.

Alex has taken several woodworking courses with the likes of John Lloyd, Chris Schwarz, Derek Jones & James Mursell as well as loads of product training with Tormek, Veritas, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks & Robert Sorby Tools.

Fraser Goldie

Our latest recruit. He's been with us a few years now and his impact is yet to be seen.

He has been "in training" with The International Boat Building College at Lowestoft, has done some in house stuff and will be doing several courses over the next few years to get him up to speed.

The idea is for Fraser to become Alex's assistant manager so Alex can put his feet up a bit (even though he has them up a lot already). The signs so far are not promising (only joking Fraser!).

Joy Allen

Our showroom and back office mum who helps us with our marketing, website and sales.

Joy has also been to West Dean College to develop her woodcarving skills.

Joy does just about everything at CHT and enjoys pyrography having been tutored by Bob Neill.

Andy Taylor

Andy helps with sales, and stuff we don't really understand - IT.

An aspiring woodturner having had initial training with Mark Hancock.


Albert does a lot of our packing and despatch. So any mistakes are generally attributable to him.

Albert is our Grandad and much respected for his knowledge of finishing and fishing (or so we pretend).

Mike Hancock

Mike has been around hand tools, old and new for over 25 years.

Tends to be a bit of a back seat driver these days, wrestling with boring budgets, pensions, show planning, logistics and Ipswich Rugby Club so the guys at the showroom can have all the fun!

Mike is occasionally allowed out for shows if there is a decent restaurant (read: pub) in the area.

Mary Hancock

Our super efficient accounts manager and occasional woodcarver/pyrography/woodblock print artist.

Mary learnt her woodblock carving skills from Merlyn Chesterman and Rod Nelson at West Dean College and her pyrography from Bob "the burner" Neill.

Alex Hancock

The spawn of Mary and Michael, Alex has helped deliver that which is before your very eyes - our wonderful new website!

Now his focus is on improving our online presence so we can provide a better experience for our customers.

Occasionally we have a Ryan or David working with us. Both great chaps and quite knowledgeable.

Contact us


Feel free to visit - please just give us a call first.

That is only so we can advise that we have what you wish to look at.

10am-4pm Monday to Friday is best. Other times by arrangement.

Call Us

Call us on 01473 784983 and one of us will actually answer the phone and try and help you.

Our customer service is pretty good, something the boss is very particular about. We don't always get it right but we genuinely make big efforts to be helpful.

We get a lot of repeat custom and would welcome your call.

Note on Old Tools

For those of you who only ever want to use old tools in their work and have a specific requirement for an old tool - please let us know and we will try and find it for you.

Occasionally we will buy old tools - mainly good usable chisels, some metal planes, gauges etc.

Please give us a call first to discuss before making the trip to visit us. We may also do house calls when we are in your area.

See us in action
We're always sending our staff to be trained on the tools so that they can provide the best advice and expertise to you.

Fraser, Mike and Mary make chairs

Joy and Mary make lino prints