…I do get a little flack from time to time. Why I do this or do that, say this or say that and so on. Some of it I wittingly or unwittingly bring on myself. Fitting out my garage workspace has brought some of that but never on purpose and it made me realise that in many cases people want me to be like them when what makes me me is of course not following others or and especially the mainstream crowd. When I started my second class in the USA I taught machine woodworking too. I never taught it again because I felt there was so little to learn about machine work it was hardly worth it. What I was teaching was far from mainstream and highly individualistic. It was the true power of the power tools I consider the most powerful—hand tools. But I thought to myself why not leave it to the salesmen and sales outlets. This was pre-online stuff of course. I went against the flow and actually I believe I was one of the then only schools teaching purely hand tool work in woodworking there. Within three years my school was full time year round, such was the demand. Since then that’s grown exponentially and woodworkers of every level see the true value of working with hand tools. It was a success! Today of course we have expanded that far more and we have never taken sponsorship on our sites to date. We’d make and reach a lot more if we did but it keeps us true to our vision, clean and individualistic.
But then too I thought about something I think is worth mentioning. I work in my workshop setting in a way that really suits me. By that I mean that I have custom fit the things that I want custom fitting to suit me. Now,for the main part anyway, I can pluck a tool out and put it to task in a split second. I have gradually shied away from boxing everything in chests and boxes so that they are freely available minute by minute. That doesn’t mean that lesser used tools are not stowed and even boxed. They are. Saw sets and unused back up stock of saw files for instance.
I suppose now, in essence, my garage has become the toolbox and every tool compartmentalised according to my reach, twist ability and comfort. Rarely do I have to remove one thing to pull out what I need. I was struck by the odd comments here and there and would describe them mostly as perhaps more first-world problems we often encounter today. Electric outlets below waist height, water running too slow from the taps. That sort of thing. Often the comments might be exaggerated by pluralising what should be singular. Or suggest that something is dangerous when it’s actually not at all. Perhaps tools that seem carelessly placed or used when they are not either. Sometimes it could be a build up of tools allowing some clutter on the benchtop during a task or series of tasks I might consider it to break my flow to clear or clean at that moment when the shot is taken. My needing to remove one saw to reach to another from a dowel may well be irksome to one person but it’s not at all to me. I am just thankful for having the two saws, the dowel to hang them from and then the garage to work in. I do see that people can be concerned about such things and it’s easy to worry but they are indeed small issues in the whole of life and often not a problem at all. As one person said, “Sweat the big stuff.” I am really not at all offended by things people say or even feel defensive of my choices. I do what I like and feel comfortable with. Others can try it and if they like it they can keep it. If not they can take it down. I do think that it is worth mentioning here though. I just want people to really enjoy their experience of being a hand tool enthusiast.
There are two houses I have found it difficult to be in and feel comfortable; workplaces too. One is the domain that is so squalid and dirty I don’t know where to walk, touch, lean or sit. The other is one where everything is so pristinely neat and arranged that it seems not to be accommodating at all, exclusive even, and I feel even my presence might be contaminating what’s there. This also is true of a workshop, a toolbox and a tool drawer. I have known some woodworkers who insist on refolding the foldable pocket knife I recommend for woodworking every time they use it. perhaps dozens of times a day. I ONLY fold mine when it’s going with me out of the shop, rarely. Why? Well it’s a bit like chisel tips meant to protect the cutting edges and the user. You are more likely to cut yourself doing it than if left on the bench. Others replace the chisels from left to right in size order throughout the day. I prefer not to. On the other hand I find it useful to have my three saws hanging in order from small to large in a left to right pattern.
Occasionally I will indeed place a tool out of synchrony with my normal patterns and I may well take a picture showing something in the image that seems juxtaposed to my normal standard of order. I do apologise for that.
Oh, more adaptation here. Not at all intensional as I have a vise holder for my laptop, but the drawer, combined with my bench stool makes a perfect match for working with it at the bench.