Wednesday 22 June 2016

A Big Surprise

Last week Saturday I received a letter from DHL (which is the main parcel service in DE), that a packet is waiting for me - at the main custom office.

What the heck.....???

There was no more explanation than, that a packet from the USA could not be delivered and had to be picked up at the main custom office.
Okay then.
Luckily the custom office is not far away from where I live. Its location is in the port of Duisburg, which is the world largest inland port.

Port Duisburg

Their opening hours are fantastic - 7:30 am - 2:00 pm. I think they are more oriented to business than private customers.

So I explained my colleagues at work that I will be later one morning and made me on my way the following day.

At the custom office they asked what I have ordered and if I have got my bill with me. I hadn't, because I hadn't ordered anything.
Then they told me that they have got a packet for me and they weren't able to find out what's inside and what's the value of the content. 
So I had to open it onsite. They handed over the packet to me and I thought they were kidding me.
Outside of the package there was a custom declaration describing the content and the value.
Unfortunately they did not know what a mortice chisel is nor what it is good for.
As I saw the declaration I had to grin. So I opened the packet in the presence of the officers and all of them were staring at me.
There was a little envelope in the packet too with a small note and now I had to laugh because I was so surprised.
Inside the packet was an Ashley Iles mortice chisel. So I explained the officers what a chisel is good for, that this is not a new one and that I guess that the value is about 50 Dollar.
Yep, that isn't the truth but you have to know that due to EU import rules you have to pay taxes for every good which is over 45 Euro.
They were still struggling with the declaration and I showed them the little letter which was inside the box which was saying that it is a gift.
To make it short we agreed that I will pay the import taxes and off I went.

Here is what was inside the box.

Mortice Chisel in scabbard

A nice 6.35 mm ;-) wide chisel

And now, here is the resolution about the mysterious senders of this gift.

This packet is from Ralph (The Accidental Woodworker) and Bob (The Valley Woodworker).

Ralph reported about giving away some tools in one of his last posts. I read that with interest and thought by myself that this is a great idea.
As I have learned meanwhile Ralph and Bob forged the plan to send me this chisel as a surprise.
And dudes, I am surprised and amazed. I still did not know what to say apart from thank you and that I'm glad to know such guys even if we know each other only over the internet.

Our interest and passion for woodworking and nice tools is connecting us.

That tool will get a special place in my shop to remember about this nice story.

So guys, take care and stay healthy.


  1. Hi Stefan
    Here in Portugal is even worst... if is outside the UE.
    The waiting time is around 4 to 8 weeks - less if you pay a small fortune to DHL/UPS to manage it for you.
    Then a trip to the customs, just like you describe, and we must pay import taxes, the forms, custom handling and vat on top of all that...
    Gifts are expensive - lol

    1. Hi Antonio,
      It's not easy to get your gift. At least if it is coming from outside the EU.
      I saved the fee for DHL for taking over all task and have done it by myself. Luckily I could manage it to pay only the import taxes.
      Talk soon,

  2. I am surprised again Stefan. I wasn't aware that you had to pay a duty on a gift.
    I got the same surprise of a 1/4" and 1/2" mortise chisel from a reader of my blog. I didn't need 2 1/4" mortise chisels and you were the first person I thought of.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      Don't sweat about it. The import rules are complex. A gift is free up to 25 Euro. From 45 to 150 you have to pay taxes (not custom) based on the value of the gift. The only exception is that it is a very personall gift (don't know what this means).
      It was just a few bucks and it was worth the fun.
      Thanks man!
      As soon as I'm back I'll give it a try.
      Talk soon,

  3. You are very welcome Stefan, it was all Ralph idea, my contributions was to get your mailing address and I paid for the shipping.
    PSt its not a 6,35 mm chisel, it is a good old Imperial 1/4 inch chisel :-)
    We giggled about you handling an Imperial chisel he he, but we are pretty sure you will get the hang of it :-)

    If it put a smile on your face everytime you handle it, then we did our jobs! Enjoy
    Great idea Ralph!, glad I was able to contributes

    Cheers Stefan
    Bob and Rudy

    1. Bob,
      You got the shipping address somehow tricky :-)
      It will definetely remember me about this story. And it a pretty nice one.
      Btw, isn't it much easier to measure and calculate in metric?

    2. No it isn't. Imperial rules.

  4. Yah, like Ralph says, the king is dead, long live the queen! :-)

  5. Guys, now I know why the heck UK would like to leave the EU :-)