A tool is like a good friend

Can't begin to describe the pleasure I get from working a piece of timber using a tool that had been passed down to me from a family member or a good friend. It's like having them near again, smiling their crooked smile, their muffled laughter at my earnest mistakes and false starts.

There is a certain amount of emotional legacy in each lump of machined and polished cast iron, or better yet, crafted piece of timber that holds a plane blade or saw that I have learned to hone or doctor myself.

I came from woodbutchers and tool setters. The thrill is still visceral and grows as my memories of those who gifted me the tools diminish.

This lovely all steel, Stanley 78, came from Bill Camp, my mother's second husband. Bill began his working life as a cooper, although he might not have used this Stanley in his barrel-making. Had to buy the fence peg mail order from Britain.

Have just used the '78' to clean up a recycled piece of plywood, a dismantled art travel crate that will have new life as a kinetic wall piece.

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