The Tool Convention


There was some commotion in the Tool Chest. “Well,” the Hand Saw was heard to remark, “I know I am superior to you all. As Julius Caesar once said, ‘I came, I saw;’ and when I settle down to work you can hear something drop.”

“But,” said the Hammer, “there is no steadiness in your character. You shift forward and backward, while I am distinguished for always hitting the nail on the head. (Here the Nail was seen to furtively rub his cranium.)

“Mr. Hand Saw,” remarked the File, in a rasping voice, “have you lost any front teeth lately?” “Silence!” cried the Hand Saw. “It’s a shame that gentlemen must associate with such an ugly, cross-grained character as you. You try to scrape every one’s acquaintance.”

The Plane tried to smooth things over, and stated that he would have something to offer before the meeting adjourned.

“Oh, Shavings!” growled the File. Whereat the Paper of Tacks laughed till it burst its sides.

“Gentlemen,” said the Glue Pot, “while you can all saw, chop, hammer and destroy, remember! that I am the only one who can mend and restore. In me are the elements of true greatness.”

“I say,” said the File, “ain’t you somewhat stuck on yourself?” At which the Glue Pot fairly boiled with indignation.

“Permit me,” said the Spirit Level, “to direct your attention to the even disposition which I ever display. I make all things straight.”

“When you have a drop of alcohol in,” suggested the File.

“Your work, gentlemen,” continued the Spirit Level, with an emphasis on the “gentlemen” which was intended to crush the File; “your work is never accepted until I have examined it, and this I say on the—”

“On the dead level,” sneered the File.

The Sand Paper essayed to speak, but was promptly laid out flat, and advised that no unnecessary friction was desired. He had plenty of sand, however, and was only silenced by the Mallet, who rapped loudly for order.

“Where do I come in?” asked the Ten-Penny Nail.

“You don’t,” said the Claw Hammer, reaching for him. “You come out.”

The Jack Knife, who was something of a blade, opened up, and declared that he had a point which he would like to present, but was greeted with loud cries of “Shut up!” which he did, with a click, after threatening to cut the acquaintance of every one present.

At this moment the Auger commenced to stagger ’round, and vow that he would “let daylight” through every one, when the Lid-of-the-Chest, a slam-bang sort of fellow, came down with a whack, and said:

“Boys, I’m onto the whole crowd.”

And the hush thickened.

— James F. Doyle, from the March 26, 1890, issue of Puck – America’s first successful humor magazine and dug up by the official Lost Art Press burrow owl, Jeff Burks.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to The Tool Convention

  1. Sam says:

    Quite the bunch of rude mechanics, hope my tools behave better! Somehow though, I doubt it!

  2. Robert W. Foedisch AKA Bob says:

    Thanks for looking under your bed. I hope it isnt as dusty as mine is. Because did I was able to obtain a copy. I hope its not to dusty.

  3. Trevor Angell says:

    Sweet action. At which the turnscrew remarked, “Screw you, and the sawhorse you rode in on.”

  4. Maurice says:

    Il n’y a pas que Pépère qui entend ses outils lui raconter des histoires.

  5. Jonas Jensen says:

    It reminds me of a Hans Christian Andersen history.
    Good stuff.

  6. All they needed were a few rules so they could measure up.


  7. Abecedarian says:

    Try, and try again, the square could not find the right angle to cut in. It seemed every piece was on the bevel.

  8. mike siemsen says:

    The tools don’t argue
    fret or stew
    over greatness
    or honors due
    they work together in unison
    to create work
    square and true
    so take them to hand
    and treat them well
    do what you must
    buy and sell
    tune and sharpen
    and learn to tell
    which to use
    or leave in the chest
    which will perform
    a task the best
    use them all
    as best you can
    for it’s not the tools
    produce the work
    it’s the man

    or woman
    as the case may be
    (this last required
    to be PC)

  9. El says:

    Thought you’d been on the real ale again until I got to the reference at the bottom of the page!

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