If we walk on two legs and think to resolve puzzles, problems and concepts of design and we build and negotiate solutions, making and creating is intrinsic to us. Whether we will evolve into unconstructive beings remains to be seen, but I look at blocks of wood used for building walls and can’t help but shape them with my hands and a few tools to make a scoop or a spoon or a spatula.
When I choose my tools I look at different parts of them. Usually I find myself looking at something old, something from the past, and I respect the quality hidden beneath the superficial and neglect to its inner character. I don’t really look so much for sets or even ones from the same maker now. These are not really the ones I reach for. Yes, I admit I do look at tools, a chisel, for character I don’t find in new tools. I like interesting tools I suppose. You know, the ones that have different woods and even steel blades that take and hold their edges differently too, but let me sharpen them. I had a set of chisels where the bevelled edges came to a sharp edge on the long side edge bevels. When I pressed them to the stones they felt sharp enough to cut into my fingers so I couldn’t sharpen them properly. I called the makers and told them of the safety issue and they said to sand the corners. That didn’t seem quite right to me somehow and especially as they were one of the most expensive on the market. Another maker I bought chisels from supplied chisels where the cutting edges kept fracturing when I chopped with them. Again I brought this to the attention of the makers and they did nothing about it. Of the 100 old chisels I have bought I never had one where the edge crumpled, fractured, didn’t take or didn’t hold a good edge. These three chisels cost £7 for the three plus shipping. They will last me about 50 years if use them throughout every day. It will take me 20 minutes each to get them how I want them. I think that’s good value for money. I buy character because it textures my life. I like texture like this. There’s a history in them and they have history yet to make. I like tools to have personality before they lie on my bench.