Articles on this Page
- 11/16/18--14:50: _Using Clever Techni...
- 11/16/18--14:50: _Innovative Old Scho...
- 11/16/18--14:50: _ANICORN's Second Wa...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Design Job: Pratt I...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Vintage Japanese Fi...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Reader Submitted: "...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Anton & Irene's...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Turn Your Two-Wheel...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _Dutch Design Week 2...
- 11/19/18--11:06: _How Woodpeckers, Po...
- 11/20/18--08:48: _Design Job: Henkel ...
- 11/20/18--08:48: _Which Airports are ...
- 11/21/18--01:58: _Using a Soft, Skirt...
- 11/21/18--01:58: _DIY Bar Clamps, of ...
- 11/21/18--06:47: _Design Job: Start '...
- 11/21/18--06:47: _Australian Engineer...
- 11/21/18--08:42: _Winner of the 2018 ...
- 11/21/18--08:42: _Here's a Cheap, Ric...
- 11/21/18--08:42: _Tools & Craft #...
- 11/21/18--15:29: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 11/16/18--14:50: Using Clever Techniques to Restore a Hopelessly Rusted, Frozen Vise
- 11/16/18--14:50: Innovative Old School Furniture Designs: Combination Chair-Tables
- 11/19/18--11:06: Vintage Japanese Fireworks Catalogue Illustrations
- 11/19/18--11:06: Reader Submitted: "Unfinished" 3D Printed Vases
- 11/19/18--11:06: Dutch Design Week 2018 Highlights: Robot Love
- 11/20/18--08:48: Which Airports are Most Likely to Delay Your Thanksgiving Flights?
- 11/21/18--01:58: DIY Bar Clamps, of Any Length You Choose
- 11/21/18--06:47: Australian Engineer Invents Brilliant Automotive Pulling Tool
- 11/21/18--15:29: Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #130: Homeland Cabins
Making a boat anchor is easy: Just buy a heavy cast-iron vise, neglect it for 27 years and boom, you've got a rusty piece metal that can serve no other function.
Unless, that is, you're the Swiss tinkerer behind the My Mechanics Youtube channel. He acquired an old, rusted and hopelessly frozen Gressel vise for $20 and was determined to bring it back to its original glory and function. To do so required a lot of creative problem-solving, including building some clever little jigs and contraptions to get the darn thing apart:
I sat through the entire video and didn't get bored once. However, if you're sneaking peaks at the office and the boss is about, here are some time codes for jump-cutting:
- 00:00 preview
- 00:35 loosen the stuck movable jaw
- 02:09 disassembling
- 04:39 restoring the spindle
- 05:11 removing the pins
- 05:45 restoring the movable jaw
- 06:58 restoring the body (fix jaw)
- 08:14 sandblasting
- 10:09 painting
- 11:02 making the missing part
- 12:10 restoring two screws for the missing part
- 13:10 restoring the jaws
- 13:27 reassembling
- 15:53 showing off the finished product
Here's an innovative vernacular piece of furniture popular in past centuries: A chair that doubled as a table.
It speaks of thrift, ingenuity, and a scarcity of materials or space. While the ruling classes undoubtedly had both the room and budget for separate tables and chairs, a commoner family living in a small abode would need furniture to do double duty. The chair might not have been comfortable, but it was certainly useful.
There's a fair amount of latitude as to what shape the tabletop could be.
Once folded down some of the tables, like this one, simply rested on the chair arms.
Others were secured into position via pins, like the ones seen in the hog slaughtering table.
There were bench-length variants too with, of course, storage beneath the seat.
While the form factor has fallen by the wayside, its spirit lives on in every recent college grad's futon-couch-bed.
A couple of weeks ago, Honk Kong-based independent watch company ANICORN released their first official collaboration with NASA in honor of NASA's 60th anniversary. The first ANICORN x NASA watch was limited to 60 watches worldwide and ended up selling out in just one minute.
For those who missed out on the first ANICORN x NASA watch, we have some good news. ANICORN just released a follow-up watch, marking their second official collaboration with NASA:
The Ver.ACES watch is inspired by NASA's iconic Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES)—you know, the classic orange one. Anicorn provided us with a little extra history about the iconic suit, also known as the"pumpkin suit":
"The ACES is a full pressure suit that began to be worn by Space Shuttle crews after STS-65, for the ascent and entry portions of flight. Introduced by the United States in 1994 to replace the Launch Escape Suit. Worn in case of an emergency bail-out over the ocean during launch or landing. The suit is a direct descendant of the U.S. Air Force high-altitude pressure suits worn by the two-man crews of the SR-71 Blackbird, pilots of the U-2 and X-15, and Gemini pilot-astronauts, and the Launch Entry Suits (LES) worn by NASA astronauts starting on the STS-26 flight, the first flight after the Challenger disaster."
The watch itself is a stainless steel timepiece with a Cerakote ceramic coating and a transparent caseback, which all feel appropriate given the technicality of the ACES. The watch comes with an accompanying black textile strap that features an embroidered NASA logo and the GPS coordinates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Each watch will be marked with its edition number and includes a metal plate specific to this collaboration.
The full, carefully organized package includes the watch, an accompanying strap, a black Milanese bracelet, a NASA patch and a metal warranty plate. These will likely sell out fast even though they retail for $765, so if you're interested, purchase one here.
The Foundation Department at Pratt Institute invites applications for a full-time tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor rank to begin Fall 2019. The successful candidate will primarily teach the Space, Form, Process (SFP) course with the ability to teach in at least one additional area, and will be versedView the full design job here
Imagine you're running a successful fireworks company in Japan--in the 19th century. Your product is so stunning that word of it has traveled around the globe, and you've got would-be buyers overseas. How would you create a catalogue? With over 100 offerings in your arsenal, you need some way to show potential buyers what each firework does, but photography technology of the era won't cut it.
What you'd have to do is hire some illustrator, then individually demonstrate for them each and every firework you produce. They would then have to sit at an easel and attempt to recreate, using paintbrushes, the light show they'd seen in that night sky. That was the path undertaken by one Ryuta Hirayama, who founded Hirayama Fireworks Mfg. in 1877 in Takashima, and patented his fireworks in the U.S. in 1883. Japan's Yokohama City Library got their hands on an old English-language Hirayama catalogue and made the scans available online.
Sadly it appears some of the pages have been torn out/removed from the original, but we've cut out the surviving individual images for your viewing pleasure.
Since I use 3D printer quite often to make prototype models, people always ask me why don't I make real products with this machine. It would be possible if my printer was a high-end one, but the low end machine I casually use in my studio isn't able to provide enough quality.
I came up to the idea to use this an advantage, and the unfinished vase was born. You can pour water and stick a brush for cleaning in the unfinished part of the vase.
Brooklyn-based design studio Anton & Irene is known for designing digital experiences for various clients, including The Met, Spotify, Google and Netflix. Anton & Irene's diverse digital design portfolio is one for the books, but something a little different on their website caught our eye. The NU:RO watch is the studio's first physical product, and we're impressed by the cleverness and overall simplicity of its face design.
Anton & Irene founders Anton Repponen and Irene Pereyra decided to break down the traditional clock found on most analog watches by isolating the hour and minutes into two separate dials. The hour and minute dials are placed across from each other, and an hourglass shape in the middle indicates the full current time. And that's it—simple.
To learn more about Anton & Irene's jump from digital to physical, we asked them a few questions:
What was the transition from designing digital products to an analog one like?
Quite hard. When you're used to being an expert in a certain field, it's quite humbling to be put back into a position where you're not sure how to tackle something. We had to find a whole set of new people to collaborate with in order to make this watch a reality, and as we weren't able to fully understand the production process, we had to do a lot of research to feel somewhat comfortable. It was a very steep learning curve.
What were some of the key lessons you learned along the way?
Get a lawyer, get everything trademarked, and assume your costs are going to be much higher than you initially project. We also realized we hadn't very seriously considered things like storage, shipping, taxes, international import taxes and having to be available 24/7 for people's questions and concerns. We're a small studio and we realized we basically inadvertently started a whole separate business without scaling up internally.
The most important lesson however, is to get advice and help from people you trust—and most importantly—know what they're doing. Matthew Waldman (the founder of the watch company Nooka) is a dear friend of ours and walked us through how to deal with the actual production and factories in Hong Kong. He also put us in contact with his right hand man in Hong Kong (Eddie Law) who oversaw all production for us. Without those two people we would have been completely lost.
Do you plan on designing more analog products in the future?
Yes, we'd love to. We would consider it a success if we could produce something every year, though that seems ambitious at our current scale. Though we spent the first 10 years of our careers becoming more and more specialized (as designers into digital design specifically), we've now become more interested in broadening our skill sets again and getting our hands in all things "design". We're big fans of the Italian designers (like Massimo Vignelli) who would design everything—posters, branding, chairs, interiors—and didn't let a title pigeon-hole them into only doing a certain type of design. Now we've already done some branding, a ton of digital design, and one product, so I guess the next thing would be furniture or interiors!
NU:RO is available for $300 in a limited run of 500 here.
A company called Orbis has developed a hubless aluminum wheel fitted with an electric motorcycle motor inside. Incredibly, this weighs--and, they improbably claim, costs--about the same as a standard, conventional wheel. Yet it adds 50 horsepower per new wheel and turns your 2WD car into 4WD.
As a proof-of-concept, they retrofitted a Civic Type-R with two of their wheels to create a powerful hybrid. In the video below, they start off driving the car powered only by their Orbis Ring-Wheels, then engage the gasoline engine for some spirited 4WD hybrid power:
Here are the technical claims the company is making, along with an explanation of how it works:
I've already got an AWD vehicle, but if I didn't--and if Orbis' cost claims result in actual deliverables--I'd absolutely be tempted into buying two and connecting them to create a 4x4 hybrid.
There is also this tantalizing possibility, according to the company: "ORBIS Ring-Drive wheels can be added to any vehicle with or without motors." How cool would it be to pick up some derelict junker with a dead motor, and get it going again by adding four new wheels?
The company also states that their Ring-Drive wheels improve handling: "The ORBIS Ring-Drive wheel has the lowest center of gravity of any known wheel design," they write. "The motor mass is just inches off the ground, improving vehicle stability, acceleration, braking and cornering dynamics."
There is, however, a discrepancy between the second and first videos above. The second video unequivocally depicts the added motors as being integrated within the wheels themselves. However, the Type-R case study states that "To complete this prototype, the rear seats were removed to accommodate two Zero Motorcycle AC electric motors and controllers that turn the rims via a fixed 6.2:1 gear ratio. This equipment adds approximately 180 pounds to the original curb weight of the Civic Type R." If the cost of adding the wheels requires removing the rear seats, then the proposition becomes less attractive.
That being said, Orbis' accomplishment is still technically impressive, and I look forward to seeing where this goes.
The Robot Love exhibition was one of this year's visitor magnets at Dutch Design Week, located at a historical factory for dairy production (Campina). The factory was closed down three years ago and is now establishing itself as Eindhoven's newest cultural hotspot. The industrial architecture and raw aesthetics made it a perfect location for bringing a large audience of humans in close(r) touch with robots.
"Can we teach robots how to love, and what can humans learn from them?"
Contributions from over 50 artists are exploring the emotional bond between humans and robots. Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are seen as newcomers that need to learn and be educated. Unlike a robotics tech-show, this exhibition is clear call for mutual attention, care and love.
At the factory's entrance, we walked by a large-scale robotic mother and child who seemed to share our curiosity for the exhibition. Read on for a few more of our favorite discoveries at Robot Love.
This is not what you would typically expect when entering a robot exhibition. In the center of the big factory hall, Grotto, formed by enormous latex pillars, demonstrates an extreme robot physicality.
Dutch designer Bart Hess created this piece back in 2015, and it is probably one of the largest pieces in his explorations on materials in relation to the human body. The Grotto installation raises questions about the materialization of robots. Why is the prevailing image of robots still that of smooth and cold machines resembling people?
We spent some time waiting for any motion within the installation but soon realized that these anonymous columns of wrinkled skin were here to stay.
The Waiting and The Tourist
When we walked by this humanoid walrus waiting on a bench, we were not sure whether it wound start moving. The hybrid sculptures by Dutch artists Margriet van Breevoort are so hyper-realistic that they alienated completely situations like waiting on a bench. We took this photo carefully to avoid interrupting the walrus that starred into the distance waiting for something, someone. Perhaps for another creature joining the bench?
With her sculptures, Margriet seduces us to believe in something impossible. Later on we looked into the eyes of The Tourist, which seems to be a traveler from a distant world, lost in the here and now. Where does this tourist come from, and to what world does he or she belong?
Pinar Yoldas is known for her futuristic projects at the intersection of art and science. In her latest video work titled "Artificial Intelligence for Governance" we arrived in 2039 where a 3D-animated cat had taken over the world. The Kitty AI spoke about the past crises that could not be solved by our politicians, such as refugee policies and climate change issues.
The adorable cat seemed harmless, but once it explains the inability of humankind to manage the complex issues of our planet—and why she had to become the first non-human governor—this kitten is more serious than ever.
Annelies, Looking for Completion
Who is this crying woman in the corner? At first we were surprised to see people taking pictures instead of helping her, but we soon realized that this was an android. Annelies is a robotic clone that looks exactly like Angelique and Liesbeth Raeven, better known as the artist duo L.A. Raeven. The identical twins are known for celebrating their symbiotic relationship through artistic performances.
Their android robotic sister cried in the corner and demonstrated the lonely feeling of being incomplete without the other(s). She responded when people got close to her and looked up when being touched—but her silent crying never stopped. She was an impressive example of how pure electronics and a silicone skin is able to make people feel emotions and transmit the feeling of loneliness. View a video here.
Visit Robot Love
The Robot Love exhibition is realized by Ine Gevers and the Niet Normaal Foundation. The goal of the exhibition is to create awareness and get people out of their comfort zones in a positive way. The diversity of the exhibits and surprising approach to robotics and artificial intelligence made us see things differently and question today's status quo.
From my first shop teacher to my last, all have stressed the importance of wearing eye protection in the shop. Applying tools to materials inevitably creates flying shards with unpredictable trajectories. So how is it that woodpeckers, who have a tool at the end of their face that they slam into trees up to 12,000 times a day, never wear safety goggles, yet never seem to turn up at the ER with a scratched cornea and sheepish excuses?
For that matter, how do camels, polar bears and beavers keep sand, snow and water out of their eyes?
Woodpeckers actually have a leg up on all of them. These wood-processing avians have evolved these:
That protective tuft of feathers, located midway between the business end of their beaks and their eyes, is actually there to deflect chips. I know it sounds like malarkey, but ask an ornithologist.
Woodpeckers also have a feature shared by aforementioned camels and polar bears (and aardvarks and sharks, among others) called a nictitating membrane in their eyes. If you've ever seen the movie "Men in Black," you know what those are:
Here's a better look:
That third eyelid comes in awfully handy for keeping out debris--but, sadly, evolution left it off our list of human goodies. Instead we got thumbs that we can use to work tools, and to reach into our pockets to grasp the money needed to buy a pair of safety goggles.
You will work as part of a dedicated Industrial Design team and collaborate with Packaging Engineering, Manufacturing, Formulation, Technical Knowledge & Observations and Consumer Insights to research, explore, design and develop new andView the full design job here
This week many of you will fly back home for Thanksgiving. In addition to the strain of pretending you're a big shot to local townies, you'll have to endure the horrors of traveling at the worst time of the year.
Will your flight be delayed? Probably. But just how bad the wait will be is largely dependent on what airport you're flying out of. To illustrate the difference, travel blog Asher & Lyric combed through air travel databases and compiled the following infographic:
So if you're flying out of Phoenix and into Salt Lake City, you'll have a great Thanksgiving. But if you're using one of the three NYC-area airports, you're totally screwed; we recommend bringing along a copy of "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," which you can probably watch in its entirety while you're still waiting to taxi.
By the bye, R.I.P. John Candy. That guy doesn't get enough credit.
Cracks in water pipes start off extremely small, and are thus impossible to detect over many miles of pipes. Over time water does its thing, steadily widening the crack until catastrophe ensues and you have a water main break. If the crack could have been detected when it was still miniscule, it would have been easy, quick and cheap to repair. Cleaning up after a water main break, however, is a messy, prolonged and expensive affair.
Robotics engineer Dr. You Wu spent six years creating something that could solve that problem. Current water leak detecting technology relies on sound, using microphones attached to pipes to listen for changes in water pressure. But that technology only works for relatively large leaks--10 gallons per minute of water or more--and only works in metal, not plastic, pipes.
Dr. Wu's solution can detect leaks of just 1 GPM, coming from cracks as small as 4mm, and in any sort of pipe. His Watchtower Lighthouse Robot is a small, soft shuttlecock that is inserted directly into a pipe and is borne along by the water flow. As it passes a leak, the slight diversion of water tugs on the skirt of the shuttlecock. Soft sensors around the perimeter log the direction of the tug, as well as the shuttlecock's location in 3D space.
The shuttlecock is captured in a waiting net at a T-junction or hydrant further down the line. It wirelessly transmits its data to the operator's computer, and the location of the leak pops up on Google Maps. "No digging is required, and there is no need for any interruption of the water service," Dr. Wu writes.
That news report is from January. Later in the year, the Lighthouse Robot became the U.S. winner of the James Dyson Award:
You can never have too many clamps, as the saying goes, and those of you who do a lot of glue-up work undoubtedly have some Bessey K-Body clamps, Jet clamps or pipe clamps lying around your shop. And there's no substitute for a good metal clamp. But let's say you're in a pinch--maybe you're at a secondary shop or in a remote location--and you can't get your hands on your real clamps. What to do?
The Japanese woodworker behind the Self-Build YouTube channel came up with this DIY idea, which relies on just a few pieces of hardware and some dimensional lumber of whatever length you choose, depending on your application:
“The most challenging missions are my favourite. Like making a motorcycle cockpit usable at 299 km/hr.” Daniel, HMI Designer Drive the research, design, prototyping and production of human machine interfaces. Leading your team, you will make functional user interactions that are brand and consumerView the full design job here
A lot of mechanical things are created by tightly fitting one part onto another. This works well, but when things go wrong with a car, mechanics have to remove a lot of these parts: Power steering pulleys, harmonic balancers, Pitman arms. In many instances these parts have never been separated and are reluctant to divorce; resourceful mechanics must therefore painstakingly devise and construct their own one-off tools to finish the job.
Australian engineer Peter Milekovic's job is to make mechanics' jobs easier. To do this he devised a clever engine stand that allows access from any position. When used in conjunction with Milekovic's game-changing Mechanics Mate universal pulling tool, jobs that took hours or days can now be done in seconds:
As one commenter on the video wrote, "Anytime someone sees a problem and uses their skills to solve it is excellent. This, however, isn't just solving the problem, it looks to make the problem desirable. If I bought this I would be excited every time I had to use it. "
You can see more demonstrations of the Mechanics Mate in practical use on his YouTube channel. Also note that he takes the time to answer commenters' questions; if there's something about the tool, the set-ups or potential unseen applications that you're wondering, chances are you'll find the answer if you scroll down.
This week the National Inventors Hall of Fame announced the winners of the 2018 Collegiate Inventors Competition, which asks college students to demonstrate the future of innovation. We dig the competition because it focuses on actual, practical, real-world problem-solving objects. This year's Gold winner of Undergraduates came up with Rhino, a rotary hammer tool attachment for stonemasons.
The process of repointing (re-mortaring) bricks starts with joint-raking, i.e. removing the outer layer of mortar. This messy, time-consuming process can be done with a hammer and chisel, or an angle grinder if you want to make the work "exciting." Rhino makes the work far quicker and more accurate:
Rhino was developed by M.I.T. students Elizabeth Bianchini, Kyler Kocher, Ann McInroy and Sam Resnick, with faculty advisor Dr. Warren Seering. Congratulations to the winning team!
Looks like it's your turn to get into the barrel this year, and you've been selected as the unlucky host for your family's 2018 Thanksgiving gathering. It's a burden, a hassle and an imposition. But luckily for you, we've got a great, passive-aggressive way in which you can unhealthily vent your frustrations.
The key is to quietly inconvenience your unliked relatives--you know, the ones who dare to have different political views from you--but you've got to be slick about it. The communal nature of Thanksgiving precludes you from making crap food, because you've got to eat it too. But the sheer number of bodies you'll be allowing into your domicile provides an opportunity to exploit rag-tag seating situations, since there's not enough room for everyone at your dining table.
The sturdy banquet table stored in the basement? Bring it out and set it up for your med-school cousin and her family. Someday she'll be a doctor and save someone's life, so she deserves the best. But your worthless other cousin who works in Fashion or Marketing and chews gum at the table despite being a grown man, he and his lousy brood should be seated at a rickety card table.
It doesn't have to break immediately, but it should rack and wobble enough to make using the gravy bowl feel like trying to refuel a PT boat in stormy seas. Choose an uneven patch of floor to increase the drama.
Amazon is awash in folding tables. Sadly some of them run $100 and are actually sturdy. So we recommend you go with a lousy $26 model like this one. While it has some good reviews, the one-star reviews had this to say:
- "Poor quality table, legs are not even, the surface is curvy and useless."
- "When I went to use it a few months ago, I noticed that there was a huge crack in the bar between two of the legs."
- "Two screws were missing from the bottom support."
- "I am very disappointed with this table. Don't expect to put any weight on it because its surface is only supported by a thin layer of Masonite. The table edges are surrounded by a poorly fitted piece of rubber/plastic. I suspect it will fall apart if it is exposed to high levels of humidity for any length of time or gets wet."
You hear that? Make some soup! Or get an extra-large gravy boat.
I own pretty much every hand tool ever invented. Then again, I'm a tool collector. But the reality is that many amateur woodworkers who don't think of themselves as collector also amass a huge range of tools. It's because they need them! As amateurs, we do a wide range of work, and in most cases we don't have the opportunity to borrow specialized tools (especially sharp ones).
This situation was not and is still not the case in professional shops. Professionals specialize, and they only have the tools for the work they typically do. If something comes out of left field, or if they do not feel they have the expertise to do even a recurring task, the typical solution is to outsource the work to someone else.
It was always this way, and maybe more so in the days days before power tools. Unless you specialized, you could not work fast enough. An additional problem: it was prohibitively expensive to have all the specialized tools needed by various corners of the trade.
You can see this situation very clearly in The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton. The chest was purchased, fully stocked, from the firm of Christopher Gabriel & Sons, a very well known and successful plane maker and hardware store (ironmonger). The tools in the chest were eminently covetable. When I look at the chest, I am filled with envy, and I know I'm not alone in these feelings.
But if you look closely at the inventory that came with the purchase, you realize that you can't actually build early 19th century furniture with the tools. And indeed you were never supposed to. The tool chest is a great example of the specialization in the woodworking trade. What defined high-end custom woodworking in 1797? It was the difference between joinery and cabinetmaking. High-end furniture of the time was veneered, inlaid, and to some extent -less so than in earlier times - carved. The original tool chest had no veneering tools. The set includes a set of gouges in the kit, but they aren't a carver's kit. There is also nothing for finishing.
The reason for these gaps wasn't that Seaton workshop didn't build carved and veneered furniture; it's that, like everyone else, they specialized. Carving was a different guild. After the cabinetmaker built the basic carcase, specialists who worked either independently or within the main shop would handle the veneering, work the inlay, carve and finish.
Seaton didn't have carving tools in his tool kit because he didn't need them. If he knew how to carve, this work would be ancillary to his main work -- almost a hobby. As a carver, he would work very inefficiently compared to a professional carver. Having a nice set of carving tools that would not be regularly used would be a waste of money. Seaton's tools - full sets of chisels and saws, and a good range of planes that is far more diversified than what a less successful journeyman would have - signified his prosperity. He had much more than a beginner would have just have the minimum to get the job done.
It's also interesting to note that there are several veneer hammers in the toolbox that were not part of the original inventory but must have been added later. Why? My best guess would be that Seaton decided later in life as a successful cabinetmaker to to bring operations in-house and either do the veneering himself or by others in his shop. But as a beginning Journeyman - when the case was purchased - he would be specializing and didn't need veneering tools.
The picture above is of the book about the Seaton chest and a couple of planes made by Gabriel that are in my collection.
In other news:
While I am on the subject of specialization, I want to give a shout-out to Sharpenmygouge.com. This is a carving tool sharpening service started by Mark Atkins, a student of Chris Pye (and under Chris's watchful eye). While most carving tools sold today are sharpened at the factory, Chris Pye teaches that we need to "commission" our tools before use. The factory sharpening leaves the tool usable, but not optimal. When you get a new carving tool, or if you are resurrecting an abused one, you will probably want to lengthen the bevel, and if you follow Chris, to add an inside bevel. And of course the tool itself needs to be uber sharp. This service is really too expensive for a casual sharpening, but well worth the expense for that initial commissioning, especially if you haven't ever used a properly commissioned carving tool. Unless you have the proper equipment, tools that need a lot of work will eat up a lot of your time. In general, a properly commissioned carving tool can go ages with just regular and consistent stropping, so there is a lot to be said for starting off right.
This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.