Today I wanted to give a big hat’s off to our modern tool makers. They come in all shapes and sizes and whilst they’re products are highly respected and admired there’s a lot more good they do besides which can easily be over looked.
We’re all used to living in a commercial world. Everyone has a product to push and in most industries there’s so much product to go around that we’re spoilt for choice – we’re not choosing between say the white bread or the brown but whether we want the brown bread in red packaging or blue. (Does it work to use that many colours in one sentence?). The trouble with too much branding and hard sales is it can lead us to become sceptical of all businesses and salesmen.
These scepticisms we’ve created can be a real party pooper in the wrong place and make it easy to understand why we might now and again hear remarks that tools today are over priced and frustrated comments along the lines that makers are fooling unwary customers in to emptying their pockets on products they don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are companies out there who favour the hard sell but this post is all about appreciating the tool makers and all they have to give. You don’t have to look far to find useful tips and techniques from a tool maker’s mouth. It may be a magazine article they’ve written, a blog post or an educational video. Of course there’s an incentive to sell but isn’t that par for the course? I’m talking about hand tools here and the makers may be an individual craftsman or one of the larger names we know well. The thing which most have in common is the passion which got them started; it isn’t easy to see something from conception to finished product and I can feel sure that when a craftsman decides to make tool making their business they are driven by a love of their work over a desire to inflate the bank account.
Let’s not stop at tool makers either, small publishers, teachers, authors all have something to sell and this need only encourages them to make a contribution of their own. As a result information and interest in the subject of woodworking has flourished. We have tools available to suit such a variety of needs and a lot of inspirational ideas put out for their use. Much of the education and awareness for woodworking is coming from businesses and this makes for a very healthy cycle.
Perhaps it would be nice if the most well made items were also the cheapest but since that rarely makes sense I think we can appreciate that the tools available do offer value for money. There is something for all budgets and whilst tools at the higher price brackets might not all be essential they will most often offer the best by way of performance, desirability and/ or quality. For many I’m sure that owning a tool which is beautifully made can do as much to spark an interest in using it as anything could. When products offer value for money the important factor changes from learning which is best to becoming aware which best meets our individual needs. If you are making an educated purchase then you really can’t go wrong. Without the choice and desirability of tools there is unlikely to be any where near as much information available covering such versatile interests for free. In fact without great sources of new tools we’d struggle to get started in the first place – there’s only so many antiques to go around. I know there’s alway a flip side to the coin but this is just a quick hurrah to the tool maker and a celebration of the effect that they have overall for our interest in woodwork.