Busy listing yet more tools for sale, and it occurs to me it’s always been about the process rather than the result for me. Each extra tool I have decided to sell in an effort to streamline my shop grabs at me as I photograph and describe it. There was a reason I acquired it in the first place, often having to do with the pure pleasure of holding it in my hands and, in the case of many older tools I have picked up over the years, a feeling of connexion with the past — not that I have any false romantic notions about the past which for many woodworkers was a hard, very unromantic life. This feeling of connexion and continuity is grounding and reassuring in today’s lightening fast constantly changing movie.
Posting new items for sale on my website ‘handtools for sale’ page, I am struck by the irony of using today’s hi-tech methods to nourish a more fundamental human need: the impulse to make something directly, by hand.The moulding planes, hollows and rounds, rabbet planes, and other items that represented the leading edge of our tool technology a hundred or two hundred years ago are still capable of fulfilling the same purpose, namely to create something individual, well, and lasting, without the nagging feeling that if the power (to say the least) goes out, all will not belost.
I love these old tools because they connect me to to a feeling of accomplishment and — dare I say it? — control, that is all too frequently missing from the experience of sitting down at the computer and wondering if pressing the wrong key will erase everything.