If you’re a hand-tool woodworker, you have – at least in large part– Fred West to thank for the astounding number of high-quality hand tools available today, though you may not know it. But if you’re a maker of high-quality hand tools, there’s little doubt you had the pleasure of knowing Fred.
Fred was a true patron of the hand tool world, in the best Renaissance sense of the word; he spent a great deal of his time, energy and money to help promote makers and their wares. He’d often buy multiples of new tools (and sometimes commission custom designs), then send them anonymously to woodworkers young and old whom he thought needed them and/or would appreciate working with them. And not once did he ask anything in return, either of the makers or the lucky recipients. He did it for the love of craft; no strings attached. (You can read more about him, and what a number of his woodworking friends had to say to him, in