Give us a call and talk to a “Fuller”, Gary, Debbie, Diane, Lisa or Warren Jr.
W.L. Fuller Co Inc. is a family owned, third generation, manufacturer of the best Countersinks, Counterbores, Plug Cutters, Taper Point Drills, Brad Point Drills, and Step Drills. All made 100% in the U.S.A. today. With over 60 years experience manufacturing tools to cut woods, plastics, and metals, we can recommend and supply the tools you need to get the job done while saving you time and money. All of our products carry our “Satisfaction Guarantee”. Most orders are shipped the same day they are received. W.L. Fuller Co Inc. also stocks and distributes woodworking tools from other U.S. Manufacturers.
The growth of the Fuller family provided the business with its first employees. In 1945 Warren Fuller Jr. began to work on a full-time basis, drilling, tapping and deburring and sharpening the countersinks. The tools were being sold to boatbuilders and hardware stores locally and in other areas of the country by an uncle. At this time the first catalog was printed -- a pocket fitting edition complete with photographs and prices of the latest countersinks. The tools also included a line of tools to make venetian blinds.
During the late 1950's, Warren Jr. renovated the countersink design -- a change that is extensively used today. Originally the flutes of the countersink were straight in design. In the new model the flutes are slightly slanted. This modified the tool from a scraper to a cutter. The design allowed the wood chips to clear, preventing clogging.
In 1961, following the death of Warren Fuller Sr., Warren Jr. incorporated the business. During the next years the Fuller family and business grew rapidly. By the 1970's it became obvious that even the expanded Warwick Ave. location was a far from adequate space. The younger members of the Fuller family were taking an active interest in the business, and by 1979 when Fuller moved to its present location, most of the seven children of Warren Fuller Jr. were working in the business.
Today W.L. Fuller Inc. is operated by a team effort of the Fuller family and 60 company employees. Management rests with the 3rd generation of owners, his children; Diane, Gary, Debbie, Sandy and Lisa. Since personal service is the secret of Fuller success, great pride is taken in customer service, fast delivery and a superior product line. While computerization has allowed a complete control over inventory, all orders are still manually priced and personally checked. Even though sales have increased 300 times over those of the early days, W.L. Fuller Inc. advertises very little, proving the success of word-of-mouth advertising and customer satisfaction expressed over the years.
Warren L. Fuller
May 14, 1929 to August 31, 2005
It is with our deepest regrets that we inform you of the loss of our father, Warren L. Fuller. His passing was due to Hurricane Katrina as he was a resident of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. He survived and escaped the hurricane only to die of a heart attack one day later in a high school shelter where he was waiting for his companion of 20 years. She had been injured during the escape and was hospitalized. We had traveled to his town to rescue him and were only a few miles from him when he passed. As owner of W. L. Fuller, Inc., he had prepared his children to continue with the same service and quality you have become accustom to. We look forward to continuing the business relationships he enjoyed and building new relationships as he would have.
THE FIRE - March 17, 2003
On Monday, March 17, 2003, a fire destroyed most of W.L. Fuller, Inc. The fire was caused by sparks from a grinding machine getting into the dust collection system just after 1:30 in the afternoon. An employee noticed the fire, ran outside and started yelling there was a fire in the building. Fortunately it was a warm day and all of the windows were open in the 14,000 square foot, two story building. Everyone got out safely. Most employees left their personal belongings thinking the fire would be extinguished and they would be let back in. That was not the case. The office and plant areas of the building were completely destroyed. There was nothing to go back to. What remained was a three story addition that was added on to the rear of the original building. The first floor of the addition housed the grinder and dust collection system that started the fire as well as our heating treating facility. The addition was fire proof (brick & steel) and remained standing. The second floor of the addition housed our stock room. The stock room was not damaged from the fire but was soaked by hoses of the fire department. For the next few days, some of our employees helped to rummage through the debris finding anything that was salvageable. We did recover a number of file cabinets, desks with items still in the draws and one printer, but very little remained from the fire. Others began setting up a temporary office in a mobile office trailer that had been stored on the property. A spare computer we had purchased years ago was brought in from its dusty location at one of our homes. The back up tape from the night before was loaded onto the spare computer (thank god it was a good backup). A small telephone system was purchased and installed in the mobile office trailer and hooked up by the local cable service. Within two days we had a functioning office with one computer, telephones, printer and a fax machine. Next we began cleaning, rust preventing and repackaging all of the tools that had been sitting on our stockroom shelves ready to ship and had been soaked during the fire. It was a monumental task that took months. To this day we still have a number of products that do not sell very well which we have not had time to clean. We had approximately two to four months of sales worth of items on inventory. Some of the items we purchased from other companies and we continued ordering as we did before the fire. The items we manufactured were a different story. We had lost all of our machinery. We could not manufacture anything. Another office trailer was rented and both trailers were moved along side the remaining building with the stock room on the second floor. A dumb waiter was constructed to move tools that were ready to ship, down to the office trailer where we set up our shipping room. The office trailers were kind of like working in a sardine can. We did not have any running water or indoor bathrooms. Fortunately there was a donut shop right next store. The spring, summer and fall months were not too bad but winter was a very difficult time for us. Three 6500 watt generators had to be started and kept running each morning, one for each trailer and one for the stock room. We began shipping orders with partial quantities of our products in order to get small quantities to as many customers as possible. The backorders started piling up and created a mountain of paper work that we were not accustomed to handle.
A number of years before the fire we had purchased the building next door to us because we did not want to have to move out of the building we were in. We moved once in 1979 when we were a smaller company. We would do anything to avoid having to move again. The company continued to grow and we knew that eventually we would need more space. Our plan was to move the manufacturing to the second building allowing us to spread the offices and stock room out in the first building. The fire pushed those plans ahead. The second building was being rented out to two other companies. We had to ask one of the companies that was renting on a month to month basis to leave. The first building was destroyed and would take over one year to rebuild and get ready to move the office and stock room back in. The most difficult part of recovering from our fire was rebuilding our manufacturing facility. We had a building but the electrical service was insufficient for our needs and needed all new machinery. Many of the machines we had before the fire were custom manufactured just for our products. Some of the machines were quite old. We found a twelve station CNC machining center that could combine the individual steps we did in the past into one process that produced a finished tool. After successful testing of the machines running our parts, we ordered three of them. The slow economy, all though bad for sales, turned out to be good for machine purchasing. Instead of waiting fourteen to sixteen weeks for delivery, the manufacturer actually had one machine on the floor, one almost finished and the third would be four to six weeks. Even though we had found some equipment, it would still be some time before we could get electricity to those machines. Electrical panels had to be installed. Circuits had to be run. The machines had to be installed and set up. A large generator was purchased to run the automatic machinery. We had hired an electrical contractor shortly after the fire. Between the manufacturing facility and the new office building, they worked here every day for a little over a year. During the time we were getting the manufacturing facility ready, we tried to have our tools manufactured by other companies who had equipment capable of producing our most popular products. The companies, who were not going to charge us more than we sold the tools for, could not meet our quality standards. Our efforts were fruitless. The backorders for our products continued to pile up. There were many other things needed in our plant to be fully operational like heating and air conditioning, compressed air, lighting, work benches, shelving, measuring and testing equipment, safety equipment, air cleaning and vacuum system, grinders, hand tools and much more. Among the first tools we were able to produce were Brad Point Drills, Step Drills and small quantities of Taper Point Drills. It took about eight months for us to be back in full production to the point were we could produce enough tools to fill new orders and complete backorders. We had a number of set backs during that long process. Our three CNC machine centers turned out to have a manufacturing defect which caused an internal part of the turret to break, shutting the machine down until a new turret was shipped to us and installed. That new turret would also eventually break. Each time a turret broke, the machine would be down for up to a week or more. We were running these machine twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The loss of production while we were trying to recover and get tools to our customers was maddening. We were making promises to customers that they would get their orders by a certain time and then we were not able to keep that promise because yet another turret broke. We even had the company get us a spare turret to save shipping time when one failed. It took the machine manufacturer almost two years to finally solve the issues we had with their machinery.
We are very grateful to all those customers who stuck by us during one of the most difficult periods this company has ever had. There were some days that we just could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. During the winter months we would come in to ice cold office trailers, computers shut down and phone system shut down. We would wait for the generators to be started so the heat would come on, the computers would start and the phones and fax machine would start ringing. Most of the calls were answered with “Sorry, we do not have those in stock yet”. As it turned out, the fire was a double edged sword. We now have new automated machinery that has allowed us to design and produce additional products. We have expanded our office and stock room into our new building. We are now up to date on all new fire and safety codes. We have a fire proof building and a vacuum system with its own sprinkler system. We have our family, our employees and we have our customers.
Front of old building.
Side of old building.
Front and side of building completely destroyed.
* Postscript - In an effort to save money during the war years, Warren Fuller Sr. located a deal on gallons of near orange paint for his boats. With this purchase began the use of orange as the Fuller business color. The reader will note the use of orange in Fuller advertising flyers, packaging, and throughout this web-site.