I’m a child of the Cold War. I remember the drills in elementary school where we curled up under our desks in the event of a nuclear attack (to kiss our butts goodbye I suppose).
One of my closest friends, Bill Tofflemeier, was obsessed with the Soviet Union and spent a lot of his earnings in junior high purchasing smuggled goods from the U.S.S.R. His room was covered in enormous propaganda posters featuring heroic drawings of Lenin.
I was so jealous.
It’s taken me 27 years, but I think I’ve one-upped him. Thanks to a very generous reader I now own an awesome Soviet machinist square and straightedge.
The Soviets were known for overbuilding things (Tofflemeier had some really cool belts and military equipment from there), and these little measuring tools are no exception.
Both tools have beveled edges, which makes them more accurate. I use the straightedge for checking plane soles and the like. The square is great for sharpening. I can check the camber or the tip of a chisel with the square while the cutting tool is still in a honing guide.
Mostly I like the Cyrillic writing, the cool instructions indicating the tools were made in 1986 and the story (which might be fake) behind the tools.
The story goes that these tools were en route to Cuba when they were captured by an American military ship. Then they languished for years in a warehouse. When I got them, they were still in their original packaging.
I know, I know this isn’t useful to you. Unless you have a friend who deals in smuggled goods…¦.
– Christopher Schwarz