Small tools

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A folding rule is quite useful for keeping cuts and measurements consistent. It can double as a straight edge if a line does not have to be too precise.

I have mentioned a blacksmith made scribe before; it is a simple but highly effective tool I use often. It will scratch into almost any surface. To be a good tool it has to have a point made from good steel, many are made from used files. In a pinch because of the sharp point it is also a very useful stiletto.

A gimlet is useful for starting screw holes or giving a drill a good starting hole. I have known men to use a gimlet as a leather awl and it works well enough for such in a pinch but a leather punch is better.

The English made pad saw I own is useful for small cuts in tight spaces or for making a keyhole along with a myriad of other small cuts. This one is of the very highest quality. While I have a preference to American made steel the English is quite good. The workmanship of the English and Scottish tool makers are among the best in the world but they are not always consistent in their workmanship or quality. Their cost also does not always equal the value of the machine made American tools.

American companies like Disston have made quality tools affordable enough for the average man to own. With such quality tools any man can be a carpenter because he can afford the tools. Though not all men have the skill or artistry of a tradesman. The tools do not make the artisan, the man who wields the tolls does. It has been that way since the beginning of time. Ever since I learned that the Christ had been a carpenter; I have always wondered what kind of artist he was. I rather suspect he was far more skilled than I.

I have watched men skilled with the simplest tools in their hands forge absolutely beautiful creations. Men who did not need to impart a bit of art into their project could not but help but do so. A man skilled with his hands can make a good living if he is lucky. Even if he is not so lucky he can improve his own home and give his family something they can be proud to look upon day after day.

I am no artist, my creations are simple and crude but they work. I was not gifted with the artists eye but I was gifted with the will to do my best. My best may not be pretty but it does what it was made to do.

Archimedes Drill

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The Archimedes drill is a tool as old as Rome if not quite a bit older. A simple spiral shaft allows it to spin easily and when behind a drill bit works wonders for boring out small holes for rivets or screws. These two came to me by accident falling into my tool box after I paid a teamster in good honest coin for the pair of them.

They are useful for a variety of tasks around the place and fit well in my tool box. That they are pleasant to look upon and do their intended job rather well. I have to admit sometimes I hold the larger of the two and work the drill just to see it twist; though if the wife were to ask me what I was doing I would tell her I was cleaning the thing.

The larger of the two was made in California, a fast growing state that I expect will only grow larger as time passes. It is a good sturdy piece and works well. The smaller of the two was made in Germany and is splendid for making small starter holes for screws and decorative work.

The gold rush brought countless souls to gold rich California but I expect only a very lucky few grew rich from gold. That is the way of it where gold is involved. Where gold is found ruin follows which is why I want nothing to do with the gold fields. There is the rumor of gold in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory. That is well within the heart of the Lakota Nation. When fools move to get at that gold many a man will find his hair decorating a Lakota lodge pole. As I rather admire the Lakota and the Cheyenne allies I know where my sympathies rest. But the Lakota and their allies are hopelessly outnumbered and face a people with a logistical base and corn fed horses. While I have little doubt of the outcome I can wish it were otherwise. But I expect there will be a hell of a war over it. What will remain to be seen is how ugly it gets. I expect it will be a conflict legends are made of.