Utility

Woodworkers spend money on foolish things every year. Why? We see it on the web in a video or the catalog and realize that it is the solution to a problem we do not have. So out flashes the credit card, and next week we are looking for storage space for the new item.
Most of what we buy gradually finds its purpose. In my shop, neatly put aside in chests, rests the tool porn I could not resist: my collection of Leigh Valley planes. Now, remember I am a carver. So I may trot the beauties out once a year, exclaim over them, ” My Precious!!”, use them for ten minutes, and away they go for another year. I might also trot them out to show visiting woodworkers; they are pretty impressive.
But resting in one for the drawers are the set of exquisite Japanese chisels that I bought in the early seventies that have never been used. Back then, I envisioned a different shop and future, making elaborately carved chests. The chisels were to be part of my primary toolset. Guess what? They’ve never been used. I take them out and clean them once in a while. The vacuous look on my face says it all. I still haven’t figured out how I’d use them.
Now I’m sure that you have your little secrets tucked away also. But, before you gainsay me, let’s take an inventory of the: pots, pans, mechanics tools, yarns, or photographic equipment that sits idle. I’m not accusing you of waste or impulse purchases. It’s just that despite carefully considered plans, things can go in wildly different directions.
The chisels are my touchstone to early days, and I probably will not part with them. However, I have parted with other things that don’t and never will fit into my work scheme.
Some years ago, I gave away a set of high-quality miniature turning tools to a turner who had the will but no tools. I had the tools but no intention to turn. It worked out well. At Christmas time, I was gifted with some lovely miniature Christmas tree ornaments, a small bowl, and a few other items. I also cleaned my carving tool collection of unnecessary duplicates by gifting knives and gouges to students.
The critical thing in gifting things is to consider the utility and need you have for the tool, not how much it cost you. Frequently people keep what they neither want nor need, based on its cost. That’s a false economy. You paid for it years ago, and its resale value might be pennies on the dollar. Give it to a good home.

One Reply to “Utility”

  1. Tools can be necessary evil purchase. I like you giving away those that are no longer used or intentions have altered. Thanks for joining in Louis 🙂 🙂

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