Friday, February 5, 2010

My Favorite Tool

Years ago, I worked in construction, building houses. My favorite tool was my Estwing 28oz. waffle-headed framing hammer. I could drive a 16d nail in one hit with that hammer. (I also got carpal tunnel syndrome from using that hammer. But that's a different story.)

That hammer, because of its characteristics (its weight, its size, the pattern on its face, its textured grip, etc.), allowed me to do what I needed to do. Beyond that, it made it easier for me to do what I needed to do. No actually, that's not quite accurate.

The hammer didn't help me do what I needed to do. It helped me to do what I chose to do. In general, I chose to do what I needed to do, but the hammer played no part in that. I had a good boss on that job, and he helped me to determine what I needed to do. I also worked with some very experienced carpenters on that job, and they helped me to learn the right way to do what I needed to do. All the while, my trusty hammer was there just making things easier.

Not all of the tools I used were that way. My circular saw had a safety guard on it that made it difficult to see where I was cutting, and it got in the way when first starting a cut. It would then slide away as I went, but I would often hold it back out of the way when I was starting. The more experienced carpenters just removed their safety guards altogether. I'm sure there were accidents that the safety guards would have prevented, but I guess they were rare enough that most folks decided that the productivity gains were worth the risk. I was always amazed at how fast those guys could frame a house!

I used my saw because I needed to use it, and it was much faster than using a hand saw, but I don't look back at my saw with the same fondness as that hammer. In fact, I can't even remember what brand or model it was. There's just something about a tool that feels good to use: a tool that helps you do what you want to do, and then just stays out of your way.

1 comment:

pcFuel said...

Thanks a lot..