The following blog post contains artistic (no, that’s too strong a word), um, renderings of the female human body that might offend if you are the kind of person who blushes while visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art or viewing other high art, such as “Porky’s II: The Next Day.”
Click at your own peril.
If could own only one handsaw in the world, it would be the Disston D-23 that I and my friends have long called “The Naked Lady Saw.”
I first encountered the saw in the basement workshop of Carl Bilderback, a union carpenter, tool collector and woodworker in La Porte, Ind. The somewhat homely D-23 was hung among the other rare saws in Carl’s collection. Carl specializes in tools that are one-of-a-kind, such as a Disston D-95 with an original stainless steel blade and an unusual Disston compass saw with a rosewood handle and interchangeable blades.
And, true to form, the Naked Lady Saw is one of a kind.
Owned by one of Carl’s supervisors, the sawplate is engraved with the owner’s family crest, his name and the images of three naked women.
“He put naked ladies on all of his tools,” Carl explained.
Well one day Carl went to at a garage sale at the guy’s house and this D-23 saw was for sale. Carl bought it and put it in his collection until one year the Mid-West Tool Collector’s Association asked its members to bring their “ugliest tool” to a meet. Carl took down the Naked Lady Saw and labeled the three ladies: “Ugly,” “Butt Ugly” and “Not Bad.”
While Carl is not a professional art critic, I agree with his assessment. “Butt Ugly” reminds me of my 8th-grade math teacher, or someone who has been the victim of a blind plastic surgeon.
On the other hand “Not Bad” shows some promise. She is prancing forward toward the viewer with a surprising amount of lightness and – dare I say – poise.
As Carl noted, carpenter J.C. Lowe did his best work on nipples.
Yesterday, Megan Fitzpatrick and I visited Carl and poked around his tool collection all afternoon. Carl has been liquidating parts of his collection lately and I told him that I wanted to buy that saw if he ever decided to sell it.
Then, in a moment of grace that “Butt Ugly” could only dream of, Carl gave me the Naked Lady Saw. This might be one of the tools I am buried with. Both to amuse me in the afterlife and to protect future generations from “Butt Ugly.”
— Christopher Schwarz