“You have never been able to resist taking an otherwise useless hand tool and making it work, nor a vise or any other piece of woodworking equipment.” Rusted scissors are lifted from the bottom of an old basket in a junk shop and the name searched out with a scratch of a thumbnail. I had never seen it that way, but the truth is the truth. I saw an R Groves saw on eBay and saw the pitting described by the seller. When it arrived for the princely sum of £32 I knew that the plate was irreparable. I’m sure the seller must have thought me just another mug, but this was a saw I wanted because the handle and the brass back were just fine and so too the studs.
I could of course have sent it back for a refund because the seller did not state that the blade had pitting holes all the way through the plate and that the plate was kinked and buckled too. Truth was I didn’t care. I wanted the other bits because changing the plate was just a few minutes work. You see the Spear and Jackson saws of the 1960s era sell for just a few pounds and I had several 10″ versions to replace this one with. The truth is that these saws have excellent steel but the handles are dead ugly. I think in about ten minutes I had a saw in the saw chocks being sharpened and when done the saw matched any of those £150 versions.
So that was the start to my week. Beyond that I have been successfully developing new ideas and designs one of which you won’t believe me if I tell you. Something I am still learning is to be aware of the hidden things in life. My enthusiasm spills over into the lives of others. In secondhand and charity shops I leave Hannah alone. She’ll dig down deep into the rust buckets and come out with a brass ferruled, boxwood-handled bevel-edged 1/2″ chisel as she did last week. She bought three hand tools for £1.50 and I told her she should be ashamed of herself robbing people like that (Joking). I think two thirds of her woodworking tools have come that way and she’s not afraid of the hard work restoring them.
The work I do relies on such things you see. I don’t need more tools, not for myself that is, but I am learning by them. My digging and scraping, sanding and repairing are the way that I have gained some really fine tools. Tools I could never afford even. But it’s not ownership that’s important, it’s the knowledge they give me and the knowledge I can spread. Yes, I know people learn from what I worked hard to put together, but what does it matter if the good news spreads in ways I never planned for it to? Some people copy and some people do it purely to maker gain. It does not matter. I don’t really care much at all.