NOTE: If you comment on this entry, please don’t try to guess who the manufacturers are in the stories below. Chances are you will libel someone. I’ll delete any comments that attempt to guess their identity. Thanks for your understanding.
One of the things I won’t miss about public life is the occasional threat of violence.
I think a lot of woodworkers think hand tool woodworkers and toolmakers are laid back and everyone gets along. That’s not always the case.
To be honest, the people on the power tool side of manufacturing are (on the whole) far more professional and easy to deal with. They understand how tool reviews work and see the long game in developing a relationship with a writer.
The hand tool people are more like an Italian family.
It started with a few e-mail messages when I was at Popular Woodworking from people who threatened to beat me up if they ever saw me or met me in a dark alley.
Then, during a show several years ago, one of the vendors cornered me about why I wouldn’t review his tool.
“Honestly, I’m not interested in your tool at this time,” I told him.
The dude got in my face, and I thought he was going to punch me. All I could think was, “If he hits me, that sure would make a good blog entry. And I’ll be sure to mention his tool.”
But he backed down without whacking me.
My favorite encounter was with a company that sold sharpening supplies. After reviewing one of the company’s products (a favorable review in my estimation; they disagreed), their people asked to have a chat during a show.
They showed me one of their edges on a chisel.
“Tell me that’s not perfectly shiny and sharp.”
I looked at the tool.
“Shiny doesn’t mean sharp,” I said. “And I think I see some dubbing on the edge,” pointing to the glint on the tip.
“Why don’t you try cutting your own throat with it? See if it’s sharp.”
I handed the tool back.
That’s when the countdown to the Year(s) of the Hermit went into overdrive.
— Christopher Schwarz