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JOEL Joel's Blog

Time Marches On


Time Marches On 4I'll say from the get go about this blog entry that it's not about tools, not about wood, not about actually making anything, but it is about history, my personal history. It's been a very stressful and long couple of months. We are working flat out on several projects that will allow our business to grow - but at the same time the payoff is in the future so now it's just a time sink that means other stuff gets put off. But the constant pressure of work has been over shadowed in the past months as several friends have passed away and I deeply feel their loss.

My parents are moving from their house that they have lived in since 1969, and that house has just about everything my family has accumulated since the 1930's. My mom wants to move, my dad loves the house, but they both agree that it's time. For me I am glad that they are moving to a less isolated place, but of course it's a serious break in my continuity. Very soon I won't be able to go home again. Emptying the house isn't easy. Since I live in an apartment, it's not like I need any new stuff so figuring out what to do with all the stuff they they don't want in their much smaller new place is a challenge. A few Sundays ago a couple of strong shop mates and I rented a truck and we moved the entire contents of the basement to here. I have tools and equipment in that basement dating back to when I was a kid. We also took with us a "kitchen full" of white cabinets that date from the mid 1960's when my folks redid their apartment kitchen - metal cabinets were "in" so that's what they got. When they moved to a house the cabinets lived in the basement and we new they live in the shop (picture at bottom).

My mom had a office typing chair from the early 1950's and a typewriter desk to match - I used the chair when I was a kid. They don't need it and I have a wooden office chair, but Kris, who volunteered his help, loves the style and took both the desk and chair for his apartment.

I mention all this because it's great!! This idea of continuity is a wonderful thing. Stuff outlasts us and it's a good thing. The worst part of lots of factory made modern furniture is that it won't last and the modern concept is that furniture is as transient a possession as a kitchen towel.

You should read this depressing blog entry by W. Patrick Edwards. I'll wait......

... He's right you know and if that small group of rich people aren't fueling an interest in antique furniture, the rest of us will get out of the habit of looking at furniture and increasingly furniture is not where we spend our money on conspicuous consumption. And that of course means that fewer and fewer of our children will have the urge to saw wood to size and make something to sit on, eat at, work at, or just pile books on.

The picture on the top is the old desk and chair in it's new permanent location - Kris's apartment. The picture on the bottom is of one of the old metal cabinets installed in the shop.

Time Marches On 5

In other news we have been introducing new products on a weekly basis and some weeks we have more coming out than others. This past week we added Hand screws which are made in the USA by Dubuque Clamp Works. I remember a few years ago when the owner of Dubuque was complaining to me that Chinese competition was killing his business and he lost a lot of the major woodworking accounts. We started carrying their clamps a few years ago and it's great to see the tide turning and right now just about all the major tool shops carry Dubuque clamps (although sometimes under their own brand).

I don't know what's new tools are coming down the pipe this Friday, (it's a lot of work to get stuff out the door) I do know that in the coming weeks we have several major category expansions.

I also should mention that next month you should come see us at The Woodworking Show, February 21-23, Somerset, New Jersey. We will have with us tons of hand tools for demonstration and sale, and a top notch Festool display and inventory with all the latest stuff and a contractor who can show you how he works faster and does better work with Festool power-tools. I'll have more information for you in a week or to - but reserve the dates now!

Join the conversation
01/29/2014 Jalex Gallie
I do dislike being re-told the future,that I witness daily, the blog referral does not help this bleak outcome. I do feel for your home loss, Yah I be through the same, life goes on. This new year means NEW stuff to buy and-or replace. I've made a new decision regarding obtaining used tools, I'll only take possession of a passed on persons tools if there given or offered to me by the family of the previous carpenter/craftsman etc. No more buying at auction, just doesn't feel rite in my hand, plus the new makers of tools need the monies more than the bargainers selling wares they know Not.
01/29/2014 Bob Garay
Ho Joel, I went through the same thing and fortunately had five brothers to help. I also am looking forward to the Woodworking Show in Somerset with a booth for CRAFTS. I have not seen you there before so maybe we can catch each other there. The last time we spoke it was a long time ago during a dinner during the Brown auction with the Pollacks and Herb Kean. See you in a few weeks
01/29/2014 milt johnson
My dad passed 15 years ago. still had house which they moved into in 1948. He loved and used tools. I inherited several generations worth of tools. I get great joy out of using my grandfathers chisels. My great great grandfathers tool box circa 1840 decorates our living room. I use my dad's hammer on a regular basis. This sense of connection brings me solace. So it takes great deliberation before I let anything go. I prefer to make get somebody in the family to take something before I sell it.
01/30/2014 michael spexarth
Before my Dad passed he gave me my Grandfathers gunstock carving tools (he custom made), all his carpentry & Cabinet/carving tools, smithing & builders tools. I still use them, wore some out, lost some, bought some.
Don't think any family member wants them, but you never know, doesn't really matter. What does matter, is they get on to someone who will use them as they were designed to be used. Which will mean they will enable further creativity/ideas to become real objects. Skills to continue. Nothing is worse for the future than lost skills, whether machines, materials or math, it is ideas and thinking and the skills/tools to express them.
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