Thursday, 2 November 2017

Good And New Tools Over Mediocre Fish and A Side

Just as human beings evolved with their technology and tools over thousands of years the evolution of my craft also evolved with the tool collection. Without a vise how can you use a draw knife? What are the physical requirements for a shave horse?

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 I needed a workbench/surface. I saw the Japanese traditional surface which was close to the ground to be used kneeling. I had a 5"X5" cedar post off-cut about 3' long. I saw cut a groove to accept a stop which is piece of wood to fit in the groove which projects above the surface to keep the work piece from moving in one direction. With this simple device, I could get to work. I could saw, plane and carve against the stop. Without a drill or brace, I was left nailing pieces together or joining them with tight fitting joints. I should mention, I decided to work with hand tools rather than electric tools at the beginning because I wanted to learn those skills masterfully. I have since realized the joy of working with non-powered tools - quite a profound and unique feeling indeed.

This starting-from-scratch approach to tool acquisition appealed to me greatly because I saw it as a sort of complicated problem solving project. In other words, I valued the process and took it slowly intentionally in order not to cheat myself of the valuable learning process gained with each step of this "evolution".

 At a certain point I decided to start investing in good and new tools. I compared acquiring a tool to eating at a restaurant and taking chances on the fish or chicken! It was always an easy decision to spring for the long lasting, very useful tool which provides joy and the facilitation of high quality work. There are quite a lot of tools necessary to meet the minimum requirements to make fine objects. It seemed every time I had a new project there was another tool I needed. But I knew that it was the right thing to do and eventually this process slowed down and I am left today with the collection of necessary tools which I invested in along the way. It's a collection that suits me and my work and has become a natural extension of my hand! I would love to go into more detail, so stay tuned for future blogs on the subject of tools.
One example: I bought a block plane from Lie-Nielson,...
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...springing for the unfavorable exchange rate from US to Canadian and UPS brokerage fee (which was a surprise) only to find that it was faulty. I sent it back and waited weeks for the return taking every precaution necessary to avoid being charged import taxes and the broker fees. I got mistakenly taxed again and had to file for a refund. All the while, I knew that all of this was worth it. I was correct. This properly tuned tool allows for fine work to be done. It has served me very well and having it in my collection is of great value to me.

Thanks for reading.

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