Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apocalypse Now

Pausing from the chisels for a moment, in the comments box here, Dave was inexplicably moved to ask:

"God knows why the question just occurred to me, but Alf (and anyone else reading) - out of all of your thousands of tools, do you have a special favourite? A desert-island-tool, if you will!"

Scraping the desert island factor (if we're not to drown in axes, machetes and Leathermans) suppose you had 30 minutes to do a "supermarket sweep" of your tools and gather up the tool kit you wanted, which tool would you grab first, just to make darn sure you wouldn't forget it? Might be the most useful, but equally it might be the one with the most sentimental value, or the one with the most bells and whistles. Which would you choose?

After wincing at the idea for, um, a couple of days, and hoping that such an apocalypse will never actually befall me, I gave it some thought and opted for...

...the Record #043 mini grooving plane.

More specifically, my dad's #043. Technically I've, um, swiped it off him, but I don't think he minds. (Shhh, don't tell him, just in case he does mind...) As you see, it has custom short rods, which I made, and also a custom lignum vitae fence face made for me by BugBear. It also pretty much acted as the catalyst for my descent into plough and combination plane addiction; little did I know where that would take me. Add to that the fact it's just one darn useful and handy plane, and it ticks so many boxes for me, I couldn't really dream of choosing any other tool. First into the tool chest when The Schwarz comes round with the Limited Tool Kit police ;)

So that's mine. But the comments box is open; what would you choose?

(Talking of the comments box, anonymous comments are getting swallowed as spam, kids, and I'm pretty sure I'm not catching them all. Put a name to them, 'k? Thank you muchly)


  1. Without a doubt, I would choose my Clifton #7. I'm one of those who is of the view that you can do most bench-planing operations with a #7 and it's therefore the most useful plane. And the Clifton works so well. I smile every time I use it.

    Cheers ;-)

    Paul Chapman

  2. My favorite tool has to be my Starrett 4" double square. It's become the tool I absolutely touch the most in my shop. And it being so small, as the shavings pile up on my bench, it makes for more and more frantic searches for it throughout the woodworking day.


  3. Oh, 4" double square! Oh, gosh, yes, that'd be very difficult to leave behind. And I was only thinking to myself this morning what a shocking thing it is that I don't own a single Cliffie bench plane, and a #7 is really the only one I desire to upgrade.

    Hmm, starting to think asking this may have been a Bad Idea...

  4. Haha - I'm glad to be responsible for triggering some more unneccessary tool-envy!

    Well for the record (ooh, unexpected pun), I'm torn between an old record spoke shave which is the only usable tool that I managed to inherit from my grandad and a stanley #71 router which always manages to put a smile on my face. Simple things for simple people I guess.

  5. Well done on the Record 043, Alf! That would definitely be in my top 5.

    But I'd probably have to go with the tool that got me hooked on beaders; it's a small Preston beading tool that looks like hip bones (best way to describe it, I think). Woodcraft made and sold a bronze copy of it up until about 2003. I have one of them, too, but if I could only pick one, it would be the Preston. It's a lovely thing.

  6. For me, it has to be an ancient but well preserved adze-eye claw hammer which belonged to my grandad. Made in the USA by Standard, whoever they were. Perfectly balanced and just the prettiest old hammer you've ever seen.


  7. My Veritas apron plane! It fits in my apron nicely, the A2 blade takes and holds a keen edge, it just fits my hand and it takes a wispy shaving if that's what I want it to do. I can't imagine making anything with wood without having it at hand! Best of all, it didn't cost an arm and leg.



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