Toolstop Visits Metabo - Exclusive Report
Posted by Mark Hunter - May 06, 2015
Since 2009 Toolstop has sent me around the UK, and sometimes into mainland Europe, to visit the manufacturer's of your favourite hand and power tools. Neil and I boarded a train to Milton Keynes in September of that year to visit Makita for the first time, and since then I've been regular visitor to Martin and Ray's training rooms, as well as to Eric's at Bosch's HQ in Denham, the DeWALT "BDU" in Slough, and even RIDGID's European base in Cluj Napoca in Romania.
However, the last time I got on a plane to visit Metabo's UK HQ in Southampton was back in 2010. We reckoned that was way too long to go without shooting our exclusive power tool demo videos for Toolstop TV with the German power tool company, so last week I packed up my Sony NEX cameras and ventured to the south coast of England to spend two days in the company of Metabo product manager Kevin Rowles.
Shooting Tools in Southampton
I left a Glasgow that was bleak, dark, snowy and cold, hoping that Southampton could offer me some respite from our famous Scottish winters. And while the sun was out, I can report that it was absolutely Baltic.
Unsurprisingly (in my experience) I got a few comments from the locals, upon hearing my Glasgow accent on how "it must feel tropical to you", when commenting on the weather. Look pal, we don't live in the Arctic Tundra...
Kevin kindly picked me up at the small but perfectly formed Southampton airport, and as he drove me to my hotel in the Metabo VW van, we discussed how the video shoot was going to go. This would be Kevin's first time appearing on Toolstop TV, and unlike veterans like Eric or Martin, he was understandably nervous, perhaps especially considering how well Kyle had done in the Metabo videos we shot back in 20101! (It's my opinion Kyle's promotion to a cushy new job in Metabo's German HQ was a direct result of his exposure on Toolstop's YouTube channel!)
What's the Hospitality Like?
I'll be honest, power tool company hospitality varies. Some of them throw lavish launch events when they release exciting new products, and invite me, and representatives of the key power tool retailers in the UK, to come along and enjoy an open bar, 5 course meals and top quality hotel accommodation, all with hope that I'll get some good video shots of the new tools.
Yes, it's a hard life.
Others struggle to provide a supermarket sandwich and a bottle of water. But I have to say Kevin and Metabo's hospitality was top-notch, starting with a cracking curry at the superb Coriander Lounge, where we further planned the next day's video shoot, and agreed on me being picked up at 8:15am.
My room for the night was in the Dolphin Hotel which I later learned is supposed to be haunted. While I saw no evidence of any supernatural activity, I did see evidence of a lovely cooked breakfast before I hauled my video gear out to Kevin's waiting van just before 8:15am. We set off to Metabo's offices and warehouse on the outskirts of the city, arriving well before 9am. While I got the batteries and SD cards in the cameras, nabbing a Metabo BSA 14.4-18 LED to brighten up the demo area, Kevin got the tea on.
Always Be Prepared for the Pasties
Preparation is always key to these video shoots. I'm relying on the guys who'll be demo-ing the tools to be prepared, and some are better than others in the preparation stakes. Metabo were obviously taking this shoot seriously, knowing full well that exposure on Toolstop TV is a key way to raise awareness of the tools they make to you guys. All of the tools we'd be demo-ing were laid out, batteries fully charged, and all that remained was for Kevin to scribble some crib notes on flip chart and steady his last-minute in-front-of-camera nerves, and we were good to go.
I prefer being behind the camera, but I do, when needed, step in front of it to present videos. So I could relate to Kevin's nerves and the anxiety of knowing that some of the pickiest punters on the planet - ie. you guys! - would be scrutinising his efforts at demonstrating the features and benefits of Metabo's power tools.
However, as is usually the case, once you get one video under your belt, and into the SD cards, you start to relax and enjoy yourself a bit more. That was the case with Kevin.
No sooner as we were getting ready to shoot our second video of the morning, when everything in the offices and warehouse stopped and call went out that "the sandwich lady is here!". Now, I'd forgotten about this ritual at Metabo, but Neil remembered it from our visit in 2010. Every morning at 10am a van arrives outside the offices from which you can buy rolls, sandwiches, pasties (I recommend the chicken and leak) and cakes. And it's a ritual no one at Metabo likes to miss.
Cover as Much Ground as Possible
Lunch purchased, we got back underway working our way through Metabo's excellent range of cordless drill drivers and combi-drills. Personally, I've always been a fan of Metabo's offering to this section of the power tool market, and it was great to see Kevin trying to max the SB18LT out by drilling huge auger bits into wood, and the determined little combi-drill stepping up to the task without the ESCP throwing a hissy fit. For me, this just demonstrated how capable and reliable Metabo's drills are, even though they may not have the huge presence on UK and European building sites as they probably deserve.
From cordless drills it was onto cordless saws. Metabo are really excited to have launched two new cordless crosscut saws, one of which has slide functionality. Because Metabo as the world's only 5.2Ah batteries, and because these batteries are so well made, including float-mounted cells (for goodness sake!), Ultra-M protection, etc, they're confident enough to create cordless saws that pretty much function as if they're corded!
Check out what I mean by watching our demo video of the KS 18 216 LTXand the KGS 18 216 LTX on our YouTube channel.
As the two days progressed we worked our way throw more and more of Metabo's catalogue, each tool of which will be on our website at the most competitive price possible, guaranteed in stock, and of course with free delivery.
From Metabo's super-popular mitre saws, to the W 18 LTX grinder, now with 5.2Ah batteries and a raft of safety features, to the ASA 32 L vacuum cleaners, we covered them all.
All Work and No Cocktails...
Now, while it's always fun, interesting and at times exciting to see some of the best power tools on the planet before my very eyes, that paled in comparison to the cocktails and food served in Turtle Bay, where I had dinner at the end of the first day's shoot. Oh my goodness.
And then finally, at the end of day two it was a last minute dash back to the Dolphin Hotel to collect my favourite sweater which I'd left hanging in the wardrobe, then on threw some ridiculously heavy traffic back to Southampton airport where I had enough time to catch my breath and a Costa coffee, before boarding the busy flight back to Glasgow.
We've got loads more trips to shoot exclusive videos lined up over the next couple of months, including a return to Makita and Bosch, and first time visit to Teng. So as the months progress you'll be seeing loads of video demos of your favourite power tools, plus lots of "first looks" at some of the new stuff these guys are launching in spring, including all the latest from Metabo.
But it's a big thanks to Kevin and the rest of the team at Metabo for their hospitality and the chance to see first-hand some of their new cordless power tools. We're as impressed as ever, and we can't wait to hear what you guys think about them! Talk to us in the comments section below.
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