When Ty Black started as a shop assistant last summer, he was bemused and amused that all my hand tools were stamped with my shop mark.
“I’ll bet your kids are stamped with this, too,” he joked.
Ty’s reaction is common. Many home woodworkers and tool collectors I’ve met take a dim view of marking your tools. It is “hubris,” according to some, because you are putting yourself on the same level as the maker of the tool. I’ve been told that I should only mark tools that I’ve made. Stamping lowers the value of the tool to collectors (though that attitude seems to be changing).
I have to laugh at these attitudes. When you work in a shop with other people, marking your tools in some way is essential so you can keep track of your tool kit. Lots of people own a Starrett 12” combination square, and when yours grows legs, the stamp is the only way to ensure it’s coming back home without a fight.
I’m not worried about theft, per se (though that was a concern in early shops). But before I marked every marking gauge, chisel and hammer, my tools would end up going home with my students. It was always accidental, but is was always annoying and stressful.
Of course, one can go overboard with a name stamp. See Joel Moskowitz’s blog today at Tools for Working Wood for a great example of this.
If you are going to take a woodworking class and still think a stamp is silly, mark your tools in some manner. Add a dot with some nail polish. Add a temporary stripe of brightly colored tape. Something. I’ve seen too much confusion at the end of a class when people are trying to decide whose chisel belongs to whom.
And if you want a fantastic stamp, contact Infinity Stamps. The company’s employees will design a stamp for you based off a sketch or whatever else you have. They are fast and great to deal with.
Gotta go. I have make a crapload of try squares today. And I hope to stamp them all before dinner. That’s another thing I like about my stamp. It announces happy hour for the day.
— Christopher Schwarz