Monday, April 4, 2011

Tool Lust

What is the tool you covet the most? 
Why? What would you do with it if you got it? 

cov·et : To wish for longingly.

This month’s EtsyMetal Blog Carnival** question reminds us of the old joke about the dog chasing after a car. The punch line being, what would he do with it if he caught it?

We’re like that with tools.  You see, like most of our metalworking friends, we are unabashed tool junkies. So, the tool we covet the most is the one (any one) we don’t have. Who knows what we would do with it once we got it (whatever “it” is). Who cares!

This is really all about tool lust. And don’t pretend you don’t know what we’re talking about. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, you’ve experienced tool lust at some point. Example: We were on one of our exploratory trips into the bowels of Los Angeles some weeks back. There are some truly amazing nooks and crannies to be found in any large city. In little Tokyo we stumbled into a Japanese specialty hardware store.  Is Japanese hardware so different from hardware anywhere else? Apparently so!

Once inside the door of the little shop, we were courteously greeted by the owner. So un-Home Depot like. Our gaze became quickly distracted by floor to ceiling shelves overloaded and bristling with tools of unimaginable functions.  This was way better than a trip to Disneyland, and clearly had the potential to be far more expensive.

We beckoned to the store owner. We were going to need an experienced guide on this safari.  For the next hour and a half we grilled this patient little man on the detailed operation and purpose of almost the entire contents of his store. Some tools were so specialized and esoteric that their purpose couldn’t be communicated by the shop keeper’s limited English and Kafkaesque pantomime. No matter, it seemed we were destined to get at least one of everything.

The shop keeper led us into the dark and cluttered rear of the store. With a quiet knowing smile he descended behind a counter. When he reappeared he held an object in his outstretched hands, which he offered to us almost reverently. It was a pair of scissors. We gently took the cutting implement from the shop keeper. This was no ordinary pair of scissors.  “For bonsai” said our host, “finest in all Japan”, as he motioned like Edward Scissorhands for effect.  Indeed, they were exquisite in their utilitarian plainness, clearly handmade, and razor sharp.  There was no way we were leaving that store without those scissors.

Which brings us back to the story of the dog chasing the car. We don’t do bonsai, but we have one hell of a good pair of bonsai scissors.

** This series is part of "Blog Carnival" a project of EtsyMetal. Each month, members of EtsyMetal share thier views on a common theme.

EtsyMetal is an International group of metalsmiths who create handmade Jewelry. More information about the group and it's members can be found at


  1. Great post!! Will you be doing bonsai soon?!!

  2. Well put. I can relate so well to "Tool Lust"!!

  3. LOL! that is such a great story and I know exactly what you mean. I have quite a few tools that I have never used also. I purchased an entire basement full of silversmithing & jewelry tools years ago from a woman who's husband passed away. He had everything and then some and his basement studio made me drool. I just wanted it all even though some of the tools I knew I would never use! A lot of the silversmithing tools are stored away since I don't actually make vases or bowls like he did. It's been at least 5 -7 yrs now since I've bought them and some of them are still in storage. But if I ever wanted to work on a larger scale at least I have them! :)

  4. That place sounds so fun! I got a pair of bonsai scissors... I actually had some bonsai trees! however the scissors were definitely not what they should have been. and then my bonsais died. not because of the scissors though I don't think.