Ah...! That's Popular Woodworking
magazine, to complete the reference...
will remember when Adam participated in the discussions here - until,
I suspect, he felt drawn more to actually walking the walk than
to talking the talk. I'm glad that he has since emerged on the
pages of PopWW, and thank Chris Schwarz and the gang for their part
in reviving the flame.
More generally, as this interesting
discussion unfolds, I am reminded of aspects of my own family
history, in another line of work that has traditionally depended on
personal equipment (tools) brought to the job.
In 1946, when I was two years old, my
dad left Oregon to take a job on a cattle ranch in central Nevada.
Before heading south he ordered a Hamley saddle from the makers in
Pendleton, OR. It cost him $112, or about $12 more than one month's
wages of a ranch hand in those days. For most of the next 33 years
(except for some time when he had "starved out" and needed to do
something else to help feed his family) my dad depended on that
Hamley saddle for his daily bread.
It was a top-of-the-line saddle when he
bought it; he used it hard and it served him well. He never
acquired another one even when he was later able to afford one,
largely because he didn't need another saddle.
One of my brothers, the one who has
stuck closest to the Cowboy Way, still works colts and shoes horses
and rides most every day. He has a favorite saddle or two that get
the most use. But he also cares a lot about the variety and history
of western tack (riding equipment, urbanites), and his tack room is
filled with many more saddles, bridles, hackamores, related items
than he could hope to use - even though all of it is potentially
I have a similar relationship to the
tools that line my shelves and fill my drawers, and a symbolic or
figurative relationship with the old-time joiners or cabinetmakers
or finish carpenters who made a living with a few good tools. I'm
not trying to be them (any more than my brother is still earning a living as a ranch hand, as
our father did), and I feel no sense of guilt or embarrassment at
having more tools in my shop than I am going to use.
...thinking Peter Hyde would not get away with stashing his edge
tools under a plane seat these days.
December 19, 2005