Tool Stories: The Titans Behind Your Tools

As fathers day is upon us, my friend, Jennie Ho is dedicating this Q and A to her father Man Kit Ho








Above: Mr Man Kit Ho, accompanied by company successor Jennie Ho, received 2018 Honorary Award from National Television of China for his exceptional contributions to Craftsmanship and Fine Engineering in lifetime achievement. Documentary of Woodwell Tools will be aired nationwide in Fall 2018.

Tool Stories: The Titans Behind Your Tools

Featured Guest: JENNIE HO of Beiter Technologies, aka Beiter Laser


Don’t fake it when you can make it. Confidence comes from authenticity.

– Jennie Ho

Q & A

  1. For those who doesn’t know you yet, tell us a bit about yourself and your tools.

Jennie: I’m the Founder & CEO of Beiter Technologies USA based in San Francisco, California, which manufactures and specializes in professional leveling and surveying equipment. Our best selling laser level, the “BART-3DG II” is consistently rated as the brightest and most user-friendly green laser level by our general contractor customers worldwide.

I’m also the Managing Director at Woodwell Tools Group which manufactures over 1000 SKUs of professional tools, under both our in house brands and private labels for companies in more than 50 countries worldwide. So that’s my professional summary; but if you go to my Twitter bio, you will get a livelier picture of me and my work. It will say “Multi-passionate global entrepreneur. Educator. Human Rights Advocate. Obsessed with time and happiness management, and life.”

  1. How did you get into the business?

Jennie: My father, Mankit Ho, was a carpenter and a GC. He started his tools manufacturing business, Woodwell, 36 years ago from scratch, back in 1982. As the oldest child in the family and the one resembling my father’s entrepreneurial personality the most, I shadowed him to international trade shows and customer visits since I was 16. I’ve witnessed the company’s growth from woodworking tools, to tile cutters, to laser measuring tools, to now power tools. In 2011, I took over the company’s management role and started to restructure the business to make it more transparent and customer-focused.

  1. What’re your biggest obstacles and how do they help you?

Jennie: Being in a manufacturing business is never easy. People tend to have misperceptions on our role as a manufacturer. Some big importing companies come to us expecting nothing but the lowest price, then they would sell the products with high mark up after a large spending on marketing. While these well-known brands definitely help the volume, their minimal technical knowledge pushes the entire industry to a price war and discourages quality and innovation. Very unhealthy.

For some end-users, they are still skeptical on the Made-In-China label, which I can totally understand. Some of the products made in China are in bad quality due to the reasons I mentioned above. But I have to say, there are always good and bad factories in all countries. In fact, a lot of goods we use, only makes sense to be made in China because of the entire supply chain ecosystem.

I recognize there’s a huge communication gap between manufacturers and end users. Traditionally manufacturers are “the best kept secret” of brands. They want to hide the roots of the supply chain as deep as possible. Hence, customers almost have no access to understand how and why their tools are made in certain way. Factories also have no idea on user experience to make better products. For years, I saw poor performance in some regions but got no answer from the middle-parties explaining why. Coming from frustrations and being obsessed with user experience, I finally created our own in-house brand, BEITER. And these days, through social media and our direct sales website, customers can communicate with us easily. They can also buy the tools directly from us, knowing every dollar they spend goes to the high quality parts in their tools, not advertisement or high management’s commission. This changes the entire game in the industry.

  1. What drives you? In other words, what keeps you in the business?

Jennie: Good question, ha! Like I said, working at a factory is tough, being a minority and a woman makes it even harder. I’m basically working between the production and sales world, living a very packed work schedule. But I enjoy the challenges and people I get to meet along the way. Every time I come to a hurdle, I think of my father who founded this business with almost nothing, and my 200 employees who have been with us for more than 20 years. I then ask myself “how can I best take care of them and their families.” It helps clarify all doubts. I know I have to prolong Woodwell’s and Beiter’s legacy.

  1. What is your secret to success?

Jennie: I don’t think of ourselves as successful. There are many definitions of success. If we look at revenues, there are many tools companies out there that generate way more sales. But if we look at customers’ satisfaction, we do pride ourselves to be the No.1 brand our customers trust for years and years and would recommend to friends. In fact, we treat our business partners almost as well as we treat our family, making sure they share the same values and that we can grow together. In my team, we invent the word “friendomers” for customers who we enjoy hanging out with, just like our close friends.

  1. For someone who wants to get into your field, what advice would you give them?

Jennie: Well first, get very clear on what aspects in the Manufacturing or Sales & Marketing field excite you. Once you have a clear vision, look out for an internship or a short-term project to test the fit. Small to mid-sized companies like mine, value culture and quality of staff a lot, so we do not hire often. However even if you don’t see any opportunities posting, reach out to the owner or GM of the business with your track records and pitch how you can potentially utilize your strength to advance the business. Keeping a humble and professional manner always help. And lastly, doing over talking. Always put your thoughts into actions. People can see.

  1. Who are your role models, or mentors?

Jennie: In business, it has to be my father. My father has a special gift in noticing trends and devoting 100% effort into making the best products even when they don’t exist yet in the market. I haven’t met any other human who’s as persistent and as focused as he is. He’s the best example of #PowerofOne

In life, I have met many great people in all ages along the way whom I honor as my mentors. I especially respect people who are compassionate, sensitive and confident to inspire others, in their most humble way. They might not even know but they do help shape who I am today. I also love to read. Ideas from entrepreneurial authors like Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin have made a profound impact in my early career.








My father checking on Beiter laser’s distribution in Thailand.
  1. Any important message to our audience?

Jennie: I spend a great deal of time giving back. This summer, Beiter joins forces with Tools & Tiaras sponsoring young girls from aged 6-19 to a customized summer camp to learn all about building skills. Your help can make a big difference in these girls’ lives. We are raising funds to put as many girls to the camp as possible. Before July, for every Beiter Laser you purchase directly on our website, proceeds benefit the Summer Camp. Details:

  1. Lastly, quote you live by:

Jennie: Will be my own motto: Don’t fake it when you can make it. Confidence comes from authenticity. When we do works from true heart, connection and trust come naturally.

Fun Fact Corner:

  1. Why “Beiter”? The word derives from a German word “bauarbeiter,” which means professional building worker. The professional aspect of the title and high quality in German engineering resonate to my belief and respect to our builder users, so I took a part of the word and make it our brand. Hence, it’s also pronounced in German way – “bite-ter.”
  2. What you have for breakfast? I don’t usually eat breakfast as a straight intermittent fasting practitioner. But I can’t say no to coffee, especially Pike Place Roast from Starbucks. Straight black. I can indulge 5 cups of that during trade show.
  3. If you are a superhero, which character will you be or want to be? Most people will associate me with Wonder Woman or Lara Croft. But if gender isn’t a concern, I’d love to be Dr. Strange. I’m passionate about many things in life and obsessed with planning and time management. Will be cool to have his academic knowledge and super power to travel through time.

Featured Product Corner:

The international bestselling laser: BART-3DG II, with breakthrough 3 sources of power system: alkaline batteries, rechargeable battery, and direct-current charger. You will never run out of power again.

Check out some videos here about Beiter Laser!


How to stalk Jennie:

Twitter: @jennie_beiter

Instagram: @beiterlaser

Facebook: @beiterlaser



Construction Lasers – more than meets the eyes…. like diodes, frequencies, and the color spectrum

Interested in learning a little more about laser diodes? Watch these 2 videos where one of the leading experts on laser technology, Jennie Ho, talks about the difference in laser beam colors and frequencies. Find out why laser beams are all different colors, and what it means.


Part 2 – See Jamie Sikorski of Cadex Tools asking Jennie all the questions!

Check out the factory where the lasers are made!

If you are interested in purchasing the Beiter Laser line, click the link below!

Beiter Lasers & Accessories


Connect your old Milwaukee Organizers, to the new PackOut system!

Pack-Aid is a Band-Aid for your Milwaukee PackOut system. It allows you to attach the old Milwaukee organizer to the new PackOut system

Here is the link to purchase this innovative solution to connect your 2 box systems!


Tool Box Foam – First Impressions are everything!

Do you own a tool bag? Or worse… a bucket?? First Impressions are everything, with both your customers, and those working around you.  If you portray to be a slob with your tools, why wouldn’t it be perceived that your work will be the same? It is time that we, as a whole, step it up! Make your trade stand apart. Better yet, make yourself stand apart from all the others on the jobsite.  Add a level of organization to your tools, to your job, and to yourself.  You will feel much better!

Do your tools look like this???

Image result for messy tools     Image result for messy tool bag   messy!! photo messy03.jpg

There is NOTHING Lean or organized about this.  If you remove a tool, how do you know it is missing?

Just the simple process of adding Kaizen foam tool box inserts to your arsenal will give people a better perception of you.  You will look and feel more professional.  When you know where everything is, a level of stress is eliminated.  When you are cleaning up at the end of the day, your are much more likely to leave with all the tools you showed up with.  As you open the drawer or toolbox and see that shadow of where your tool should be, you will now go locate and put it away in its proper place. So the next time you need it, it will be there, resting, safely, and securely. Protect your tools and life long investment with a little bit of Kaizen Foam (made by FastCap)  If  you dont see your tool box listed on, send an email to –  Maybe, just maybe, it is available or on the list to become available!

Wouldn’t you prefer this?





The Woodworking Show Presenters

I had the pleasure of meeting these guys at the Woodworking Shows. Give this video a quick watch so you know what you can expect to see, or, what you will miss!
The Woodworking Shows:
Bryce Beermann – Owner

Johannes Michelsen –

Laney Shaughnessy:

Bradley McCalister:

Roland Johnson:

Chuck Bender:

Ron Herman:

Jim Heavey:

Barry Gross:

Plus Many More!

Laney Shaughnessy at The Woodworking Show for Digital Wood Carver CNC

I had the pleasure of doing a quick interview with Laney Shaughnessy at The Woodworking Show for Digital Wood Carver CNC. He explains what to expect at the classes offered at The Woodworking Shows.

For Information on The Woodworking Shows:

For Information on The Digital Wood Carver CNC:

For Laney:


How to fix a hole in a commercial vinyl floor with FastCap’s SoftWax kit


How I fixed a hole in a commercial vinyl floor using FastCap’s SoftWax kit. SoftWax is a great way to fill holes in finished woodwork! The refillable kit comes with 20 blendable colors, a WaxWedge and a buffing pad. The hard shell case keeps the wax where you want it, when you want it.

Purchase Here:
SoftWax Kit

FastCap FastEdge LEAN edgebanding station with vacuum clamp.

LEAN FastEdge edge banding station with vacuum clamp. Are you a small shop with limited space? Would you like to be able to edgeband like the pros with just hand tools? Fastcap makes this possible. Check out this video!
Automatic edgebanding machines in a small shop is just not something you will find.  This is an easy solution to using the peel & stick edge banding. A couple of tips… Make sure the cut edge is clean, and free of dust. if you can see saw blade marks in the edge of the plywood, it will affect the adhesion of the tape.  Keep in mind this is a PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive)  It gets stronger with time.
Purchase tools here:

FastBreak Sander  –
SpeedRollerPRO    –
FlushCut Pliers      –
Quad Edge Trim     –
TriBlade Knife        –
Scissors                 –
SandDevil               –


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Food Safe Finishes

See Article Here

Food-Safe Finishes

Compiled by Garrett Lambert

About once a month someone asks what finishes are food-safe. The responses usually include one or more of “none,” “vegetable oils,” and “beeswax.” Erudite devotees of this topic will sometimes note that shellac, a natural product, is another oft-recommended choice.

Few, however, will reply that all modern finishes are food-safe once fully cured, a conclusion supported by two recognized experts on finishing, and the United States Food and Drug Administration. Note that the FDA does express a residual concern about finishes that chip.

However, there’s no future in arguing this issue with someone who believes otherwise, particularly if you’re trying to sell your work to him/her. In that case pick beeswax and offer to sell an accessory container of it (works wonders for profits).

Here is support for the proposition that “all modern finishes are food-safe when properly cured.”

With kind permission from Popular Woodworking and the author.
(Link to original:

The Folly of Food-Safe Finishes

Despite what you’ve read elsewhere, almost every wood finish should be considered food-safe.

By Bob Flexner

It’s a shame, but many woodworkers worry about which finish to use on objects that will come into contact with food or children’s mouths. The reason for the worry is that woodworkers have been conditioned by several decades of articles in woodworking magazines to believe that ordinary finishes like boiled linseed oil, alkyd varnish and polyurethane varnish may leach poisonous ingredients like metallic driers. And other finishes, like lacquer, catalyzed (two-part) finishes, shellac and water-based finishes, may leach poisonous solvent.

The idea that some finishes are harmful is reinforced by a few manufacturers who label their finishes food- or salad-bowl safe, which implies that other finishes are not.

A Non-Issue

The shame for woodworkers is that a lot of energy is spent on the issue of food safeness when none is warranted. Food safeness is a non-issue because there’s no evidence of any problem. So far as we know, all finishes are safe to eat off of, and safe for children to chew on, once the finish has fully cured (the rule of thumb being 30 days).

Think About It

  • Have you ever heard or read of anyone, child or adult, being poisoned from contact with a cured, non-pigmented finish?
  • Is it likely that any finish could be sold in paint stores or home centers without a warning if the finish were known to be dangerous for food or mouth contact? (Paint store clerks are rarely even aware that there might be an issue.)
  • If there were any evidence that common wood finishes were unsafe for food or mouth contact, why is no mention made on the MSDS (material safety data sheets)? All unsafe uses of products are required by law to be listed on these forms, along with information about treatments for resulting health problems.
  • Finally, does it make any sense that commonly available oils and varnishes that contain driers and solvents could be a health risk while the so-called “food safe” oils and varnishes, which contain the same driers and solvents, aren’t a problem? (These finishes wouldn’t cure without the driers and would be too thick without the solvents.)

I want to make clear that I’m not saying that all finishes are food safe—we can’t be absolutely sure about the safety of any curing finish. I’m saying that there is no evidence of any common wood finish being unsafe for food or mouth contact once it has fully cured, so a distinction between food-safe and non-food-safe is speculative.

For those who would then reply, “well, there’s no point in taking a chance,” I would say that we take chances everyday with almost everything we come in contact with. To rule out certain finishes when there’s no evidence of a problem is unreasonable and arbitrary.


A lot of the discussion about food safeness centers on what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows. The FDA doesn’t approve products, it regulates them. And it has published a set of regulations for establishing the food safeness of finishes. These regulations are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 175, which you can find at larger public and university libraries.

There are two conditions for meeting FDA regulations.

  • First, the finish must be made from among the raw materials listed on nine double-columned pages (additional ingredients can be added by a petition method). This list includes every oil, resin, drier and additive commonly used in wood finishes (polyurethane is covered in Part 177). It does not include lead or mercury. Because lead is no longer used in common wood finishes, and mercury never was, it can be assumed that all common wood finishes use only FDA-approved ingredients.
  • Second, the finish must be formulated in such a way that it does not leach more than a specified amount of extractive when subjected to a variety of specified tests. The point of these tests is to show the finish cures properly. It’s important to note that these tests must be done on every batch of finish to establish that no foreign substance has gotten into the finish (for example, from the finish having been made in a dirty vat), and that these tests are expensive.

No manufacturer providing finishes to the woodworking community puts their finishes through these tests. Thus, no manufacturer can legitimately claim they meet FDA regulations.

On the other hand, there’s no evidence of problems, so manufacturers feel pretty safe in claiming food safeness anyway.

The Issue of Metallic Driers

Metallic driers are added to oil and varnish finishes to speed curing. Without driers, these finishes take many days or weeks to cure.

Lead driers were once commonly used in oil and varnish finishes, but in the 1970s it was learned that lead is highly toxic, especially to children. The problem was associated with the relatively large amount of lead contained in pigment and not with the tiny amount contained in clear finishes. Nevertheless, to be safe, lead was removed from all commonly available paints and finishes, including oils and varnishes. (Lead is still used in some specialty art and marine finishes, and labels are required to disclose its inclusion.)

Other metallic driers, including salts of cobalt, manganese, zirconium and zinc, continue to be used in all varnishes and curing-oil finishes except raw linseed oil and pure tung oil. Without these driers, these finishes cure extremely slowly.

There is no indication that these driers cause health problems. A very small amount is used, and it is well encased in the cured finish film so that if any is ingested, it passes through the body without causing harm.

Other Finishes

All other common wood finishes also are safe for food and child contact. In fact, commercially made wooden bowls, baby beds and children’s toys are usually coated with one of these finishes.

The solvents, which cause some people to worry, evaporate out completely enough so they aren’t a problem. And catalysts, which can be toxic in their liquid state, become so fully reacted with the finish that there is no evidence of a problem.


The issue of food safeness in finishes is a classic case of the concept “validation by repetition.” Consistent, long-term repetition in woodworking magazines of a food-safeness issue, despite the complete lack of supporting evidence, has led to a widely held belief in the woodworking community that food safeness is an issue.

It shouldn’t be. No other segment of society treats it as such. A more reasonable approach is as follows.

You can’t be absolutely sure about the food safeness of any finish you put on wood. There could even be problems with mineral oil and walnut oil that we just don’t know of yet. There could also be problems with raw linseed oil, pure tung oil, wax, shellac and salad bowl finish, because we don’t know where these substances have been or what they might have come in contact with. None has met the regulations laid out by the FDA.

But, based on FDA regulations, the way finishes are made, the complete lack of any evidence to the contrary, and the countless other untested objects food and children come in contact with, there’s no reasonable argument for avoiding the use of any finish.

Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and his column appears in every issue of Popular Woodworking. He is also the author of the book, Understanding Wood Finishes, (Rodale Press) which is a must-read book for any woodworker who wants to understand finishing. (Available at; link goes directly to book page)

© Popular Woodworking • F+W Publications Inc.

The comments immediately below are by Michael Dresdner, also a professional consultant on wood finishes. Two more links to FDA sites follow Dresdner’s comments.

On food safe finishes (long)

By: Michael Dresdner (

Monday, 28 April 2003, at 11:58 a.m.

(In Response To: Food-safe Myths & Truths, Garrett in Victoria BC)

It is true that the FDA does not use the exact term “food safe.” It is also true that the FDA does not make rulings on finishes in contact with food unless the manufacturer specifically petitions them to do so. As this process is expensive, only those who care to advertise their finish as “food safe.” will bother getting FDA clearance. Many others would get it if they tried.

As for practical safety:

Shellac, like honey, another material made by bugs, is edible. You all eat it on vitamins, candy, and time release medicines, and sometimes also on fruit. Edible is a lot more definitive than food safe. Ditto for raw (but not boiled) flaxseed oil (also called linseed oil), and mineral oil, which is the only one of the three that will not dry (it stays liquid forever).

Most other finishes that cure to a solid film form a stable plastic once the solvents are gone. Eating some is just like swallowing a plastic bead. You will not be able to digest it, so it will pass through you unaffected. Can our bodies leach out heavy metals, or other damaging substances during digestion of plastics? Yes, it is possible, but do the math. You would have to eat a heck of a lot of cured finish to get even a small amount of contaminent into your system (typically, driers are added in amounts below 1%).

Is it possible for someone with a severe allergy or sensitivity to something in coatings to react to it? Yes, but then, it is possible to die from a bee sting or from eating strawberries if you are allergic or sensitive to either. Living with chemicals is a bit of a crapshoot.

Bottom line: For most of us, the danger is too small to worry about. If you are really concerned, use shellac, mineral oil (which does not dry) or raw (not boiled) linseed oil. All three are completely edible. But all have their drawbacks for bowls. Otherwise, use whatever you like and don’t worry too much about it. But do ask customers if they are particularly sensitized to any particular chemicals and take it from there.