Tempting Tools (ms)

In my younger years I was a tool collector but not on the level of one friend of mine.

The room where you are sitting and reading right now, does it have molding along the floor or ceiling, maybe on the corners? Today we buy the stuff precut and ready to install but a couple hundred years ago that luxury was not available. A carpenter or cabinet maker would use a wood plane shaped exactly opposite the desired end product. After countless runs of the plane along the board the molding would be finished and ready for the next step. When I think about the amount of work that went into each piece my arms gets sore. My friend has more than 200 such planes and uses them regularly for he is a furniture maker of the very old school. I never took it that far.

I was more concerned with the every day tools, the kinds of things one might grab to take care of a chore on a weekend; wrenches, pliers, a saw, those kinds of things. Well, when you are young and full of anticipation and eager to prove your worth around the first house you ever owned these are good things to have. I just never knew when to stop.

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of wrenches there are not to mention the sizes! Of course one must also buy metric equivalents for the way they make things anymore you never know. As a result I am the proud owner of two tool boxes each with enough wrenches to take apart a car, foreign or domestic. I have also done very well in rulers, tape measures, knives, electrical tape and drill bits. This took a long time to accomplish, mind you. I did not float a loan just to equip my tool box nor did I max out a credit card. All these things were acquired on an as-needed basis; the problem is that I eventually began finding an as-needed at least weekly, sometimes more often. I had become a tool junkie.

I could not pass a tool rack without pausing to stare, to run my fingers over the shiny smooth handle, to breathe deeply the scent of newly machined high grade steel…so intoxicating. How could I not take something home even if it meant bringing it into the house undercover, to be secreted in a tool box away from prying eyes and probing questions. There it was safe until it could be brought out in solitude and peace to once again be looked at, fondled, fully enjoyed. The experience was akin to nirvana.

Fortunately I was able to get the help I needed. A friend asked if I remembered when I last used a particular set of wrenches. “When last I changed oil in my car…four, five years ago.” He, along with my wife who saw an opening and took it, pointed out the error of my ways. I stopped at that moment and haven’t bought a tool since.  Well, maybe one or two but I quit again right quick.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 29, 2011.

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