Make a Ridiculous Tool, Get Good Breath and Win
One of the coolest woodworking things I’ve seen is where a guy named Mike Burton made some awesome scrapers for cleaning up crown moulding using , ready? , table spoons.
A second cool thing: John Sindelar’s tool collection, which is worth more than the GNP of several Latin American countries. Burton, a professional woodworker, and Sindelar, a farmer and cabinetmaker, have simply let their freak flags fly.
I never thought, “Man, that Mike Burton is one cheap chicken-scratcher.” Nor did I think, “John Sindelar is one rich yuppie fool.”
I’ve never understood those extremes, which is why I love my $9 Zona saw and my $900 Wayne Anderson smoother and use them both on almost every project.
Recently we’ve been having some fun on this blog on this topic. Sawmaker Andrew Lunn is removing some of the decorative details from his saws to lower the price. As a joke, I made a saw from an Altoids tin and posted photos of it saying it was the new cheaper Lunn saw.
Some people were not amused.
However, Matt Hodgson, a custom planemaker with Gabardi & Son Toolworks, was. He got into the spirit of things and made a bullnose plane from an Altoids tin. I was drinking some coffee when I opened his e-mail and almost scorched my nostril hairs with hot Italian roast.
For the record, Matt makes *much* nicer infill planes. I’ve borrowed one for a couple months to review. Check out his web site for details.
After seeing his “plane,” it gave me an idea. A perfectly stupid and dumb idea. Let’s have a toolmaking contest with Altoids tins! Yes, I used an exclamation mark, so you know that I’ve consumed a beer (a rye-based IPA, actually).
Here are the official rules: This contest is not valid for the terminally closed-minded or uptight. Make a “tool” using an Altoids tin. Take a photo of it. Send it to me (email@example.com) before midnight July 31, 2009.
The winner will receive a one-of-a-kind prize: The unbound printer proofs to my new book “Handplane Essentials.” I’ll sign them in a bodily fluid if you like. Wipe them with Woobie II, whatever you want to ensure the package is worth more when you sell the proofs on eBay.
This is a readable book! By that, I mean you can actually turn the pages! There’s a hardbound cover and the printed signatures of the complete book. They’re just not all glued together. It’s a great conversation piece, and suitable for burning by any of the local chapters of Wives Against Schwarz.
So save that next Altoids tin (or ask Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick for one of her eleventy-billion ones). Make a tool. And amuse the rest of us.
– Christopher Schwarz