Popular Woodworking 2004-10 № 143, страница 105

Popular Woodworking 2004-10 № 143, страница 105

3 Most Essential Tools

You can't buy them, but you already have at least two.

When I started woodworking in New Hampshire with my fellow over educated wood-butcher buddies in the late 1960s, one of the most alluring aspects of working wood for a living was looking at, fondling and generally coveting fine woodworking tools. The guy who brought a new and interesting tool into work would get to be the leader of the pack - at least until he was topped by someone else showing up with another nifty tool acquisition.

I clearly remember when the lead carpenter brought in a thin-bladed, European-type miter saw (which made our rather clunky and heavy Stanley miter boxes look like crude stone-age tools). He was looked upon with great awe and amazement. Then he

showed up with a set of brand-new wood-handled chisels that actually fit your hand and could take and keep a razor-sharp edge. Soon after, blue-painted hand planes that were of far better quality than any we could find on the shelves of our local hardware store (though not antique stores, where we regularly unearthed Stanley "Bed Rocks") began to appear in this one individual's toolbox.

It seemed that nearly all these tools, branded with names such as Marples and Record, were coming out of England. It turns out that the "British invasion" wasn't just happening in the music scene; it

was in the tool world, as well. It soon became apparent to everyone on the crew that the bar was being raised every time this certain someone managed to get himself out of town. We finally wrangled it out of him that he had, indeed, found tool nirvana - a store on the outskirts of Boston that was selling a mouth-watering variety of imported hand tools.

After various threats, my crew mates finally extracted the directions to the place, allowing us to make the first of many pilgrimages to the original Woodcraft store in Woburn, Mass. Standing before the altar-like displays, we

drank in visions of wood-handled chisels, specialized hand planes, bar (not pipe) clamps and many other "esoteric" tools that most of us had never actually seen in person. Woodcraft was the first place I laid eyes on a brand new jointer plane, a cabinetmaker's oval wood-handled screwdriver and a new timber-framer's mortise chisel - and I had to have at least one of each.

A similar phenomenon occurred when we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts on the way home. Over time, I did manage to acquire a wide selection (of tools, not donuts - well, actually both).

But then one fateful winter day, I experienced an amazing (though bittersweet) epiphany. I came to understand that tools - like donuts - were only a means

by Jim Tolpin

Jim has operated a finish carpentry and custom cabinetmaking business since 1969. He has written several books, including "Table Saw Magic" and "Measure Twice, Cut Once" (Popular Woodworking Books).

102 Popular Woodworking October 2004

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