Today I finished up the first edit of the final bit of our forthcoming translation of A.J. Roubo’s writings on furniture and tools. (Don’t get too excited, it still has to travel a long way to arrive at the end of the goose – look for it in early summer.)
Today was devoted to plate 265, which describes “Autre Secretarie mobile Pupitre, et Petite Table a Ecrie.” AKA, an incredible unfolding, mechanical secretarie that I am hopelessly in love with. It is one part simple Creole-style side table, one part Transformer and two parts Jere Osgood’s Shell Desk.
As I edited the translated text, the words alone weren’t clear as to how the desk’s pigeonhole section pivots up. I had some detail drawings, but those weren’t enough to make the mechanism clear. Only when I opened “The Book of Plates” and took in the entire plate in full size did the scales fall from eyes. I immediately “got it” – like a Zen koan.
After that, the editing was a snap. I knew how the desk worked and could build it myself. My copy of “The Book of Plates” just paid for itself.
By the way, reader response to “The Book of Plates” has been incredibly positive (custom wooden box issues aside). It was a financial gamble that just might pay off. You can still get one before Christmas if you order it by Dec. 19 – all books are now shipping Priority mail, which will arrive in three business days.
Though it’s only 3:30 p.m., finishing plate 265 (and the other 87 plates) calls for a beer.
Because of the traveling and writing I do, I end up with tools I do not want or need. It makes me a little nuts.
Some of this is people who give me excess tools and say: “Find a needy student who could use this.” Others are tools that I purchase to write reviews, or because I need a tool while on the road, or to help someone out of a jam.
Many of these tools I’ll be giving away to students at my Hand Tool Immersion class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in 2015. But some of these tools are too specialized or exotic to put in the hands of a newbie.
And so I’m going to sell them off here on the blog starting tomorrow. I’ll post the mechanism for purchasing the tools tomorrow. Please do not e-mail me asking for a list of tools I’ll be selling (I don’t have time for that) or special treatment (that will only annoy me). Prices will be more than fair.
In the meantime, think about any excess tools that you own that could be doing good work in the hands of another woodworker. Whenever I visit tool collectors who have racks of user-grade tools, all I can think of is the unused potential gathering dust before me. To be sure, rare and oddball stuff is better off in a collection. But garden-variety bench planes should be on a bench somewhere (in my opinion).
If you want to purge your tools, consider selling them on one of the swap-n-sell areas on the woodworking discussion forums. Or there’s always eBay.
Once you pare your tools down to a good, basic set, you will find that taking care of your tools is easier because you have fewer. You will have a little extra money for wood, glue and finishing supplies. And the tools you sold will have a new home where they are used and appreciated.