The universal translator has nothing to do with transforming my English to German (the class is taught in English with German curse words and American showtunes). Instead, the universal translator is a tape measure that has both U.S. Customary Units (inches) and metric.
This way I can translate my drawings and instruction into metric without asking (for the thousandth time): An inch is about 25mm, right?
So I stopped in a hardware store in Munich named Suckfüll. It was a small store, smaller than your neighborhood ACE or DoItBest, but it had a shockingly good selection of woodworking tools. As I was looking for tape measures, I stumbled on traditional beech try squares (where both the blade and handle are wood) in several sizes. And miter squares that were also 100 percent wood.
The last time I saw that in the U.S. was never.
A little farther down the aisle and there was a complete selection of Two Cherries bench chisels, more than I’ve ever seen in a Woodcraft. Next to that – a full selection of carving tools. I turned around – wooden jointer planes and smoothing planes. And a full line of wooden-handled screwdrivers.
Lest you think this was a woodworking specialty store, the rest of the place was filled with typical hardware store stuff. Light fixtures, extension cords and small appliances.
Sadly, the only thing they didn’t have that I really wanted was Suckfüll T-shirts.
— Christopher Schwarz