“…(I)t was a fact that more tools were spoiled through a simple want of care than were worn out by constant use.”
When I teach classes, I have to restrain myself from saying something incendiary to many students who are frustrated with their tools, even precision planes that cost hundreds of dollars. Here’s what I want to say:
“Of course the tool is fighting you. You haven’t shown it any love.”
Even the best and the most pedestrian tools must be cared for in equal measure. Sharpen them before they get dull. Wipe them down with oil after every use. Ease their hard edges and wax their handles.
These things are discussed in this excellent article dug up by carpenter Jeff Burks, who deserves his own blog (hint). This article was originally published in Scientific American. The following scan is from an 1873 edition of The Manufacturer and Builder. Including this nugget:
“Now, one word about lending tools, and that is – don’t! We know of nothing more aggravating than to work nearly a whole rainy Saturday putting tools to order and then be required to lend one to some shiftless mortal whom we are sure will turn the edge, knock the handle off, and probably throw it down wherever he happens to use it.”
Download the entire article here. It’s a good, quick read. Also, a reader has typed in the text into a .doc file that you can download if you prefer that format.
— Christopher Schwarz