The recent slowdown of Van’s Aircraft due to issues with laser-cut parts and the ongoing internal review of the business (due to run through mid November) has begun showing knock-on effects in the homebuilt market. Cleaveland Tools, which was recently purchased by Flyboy Accessories’ owner Blake Frazier, is reporting a drop in tool sales over the last few months.
In a disarmingly honest video, Blake describes the current situation with the company and encourages builders and would-be builders to reconsider holding off on tool purchases, among other things, making the argument that you really can’t have enough tools. (Even though he has a dog in this fight, he is right.) He also notes a number of special holiday offers and products and predicts that prices will increase going into 2024.
Cleaveland Tools is, like many who provide products and services into the homebuilt ecosystem, small and specialized enough that even moderately sized swings in supply or demand can be hugely challenging. And specializing in metalworking tools makes them especially reliant on Van’s fortunes, though they’re not alone; the head of one midsized avionics supplier told me RVs account for about 90% of their business.