I suspect that I learned more about math, civics and language from “Schoolhouse Rock!” than I did from school itself. The magic of “Schoolhouse Rock!” is the magic of all good education. That is: It is so engrossing that you don’t realize you are learning heavy and important lessons.
Practical geometry is one of those topics that can be intensely boring – just look at the beginning chapters of any 18th- or 19th-century text on woodworking, which almost always begis with chapters on geometry. And they are all as dry as a popcorn fart.
The fact is that practical geometry is one of the most exciting subjects for a woodworker. If you can find someone to explain it to you in the right manner, geometry will change your life and your work at the bench.
And that’s why we are dedicated to the work of Jim Tolpin and George Walker, who have made it their life’s work to explain workshop geometry in as many ways as possible – from the academic to the absurd (a talking dog?).
Of all their books, “From Truths to Tools” is probably my favorite. I can give this book to anyone, from a third-grader to an octogenarian, and they will enjoy the heck out of it. It is like a graphic novel for geometry. Each chapter is a discrete short story – heavily illustrated – that explains a very complex subject in simple terms. When I edited this book, I had to stop every few chapters and clear my head. It’s that good.
— Christopher Schwarz
The following is an excerpt of “From Truths to Tools,” by Jim Tolpin and George Walker, illustrated by Andrea Love.
9 thoughts on “Marking Implements – Truth in Your Tools”
I learned more about math from these two books than I did over 25+ years of education (I have a PhD). I recommend By Hound and I to middle and high school teachers looking for practical and applied ways of teaching math and geometry to students. Good stuff!
Genuinely wish I had these when I learned about math, I may have struggled much less.
Math? Heck, I just learned a biology lesson; never knew that popcorn farts…
And really, shouldn’t ALL farts endeavor to be as dry as popcorn farts? I certainly want all of mine to be.
From Truths to Tools is still my favorite book on the shelf for all the well spoken reasons Chris mentions here.
Nothing about your personal, if I recall from the one episode with Roy Underhill talking about the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker.” I think you called it a Joiners marker, the half knife, half Brad awl. Not to detract from the two books but I have been trying to locate a good photo of one whether it be yours or even a museum piece.
Regardless, guess I need to make a purchase of a couple of books, soon as I shuffle monies from one account into another.
I believe you are looking for a “striking knife” – it has a marking knife on one end and a scribing awl on the other. Adam Cherubini did an article on them in the April 2005 issue of Popular Woodworking.
It is sort of like this:
But the blade should be slanted.
Yes! School House Rock, Grammar Rock, etc., were excellent vehicles of learning–I still send their episodes along to friends with kids–learned more from a 2 minute video than any teacher who droned on endlessly…..
Comments are closed.