On the subject of “homely tools,” reader Smudgy writes:
“I love these cheap-ass 4-in-1 screwdrivers, a la this Habror Freight special. $2, or $1 if they’re on sale, or free if you’ve got a coupon, it gets about 98% of what I need done, done. It says it’s a 4-in-1 screwdriver but it’s actually a 6-in-1: the sockets for the two dual screwdriver tips happen to be sized exactly for the two most common hex-head machine bolts in your average household appliance. Whether I’m fixing up my washing machine or my furnace, I can get most of the job done with just this one gimmicky tool. And they’re pretty sturdy. I’ve had my current one for maybe 5 years. Sometimes, they wear out when the spring loaded bearing in the driver tips wears out, but that can be mitigated with a bit of tape for a snugger fit. Or sometimes, the rubber grippies on the handle wear off. The biggest risk is really just misplacing it. But for the price , it’s cheap enough to replace, and I’m not sure there’s a tool made that gives as much all-around household utility per dollar.”
On the subject of “maker sartorial,” I got a message from David Gordon. He’s a shepherds crook maker! How cool is that?
“I’m a stick-maker. I make shepherds crooks and all kinds of walking sticks, including with carved heads. Wherever I go, I wear a military style waistcoat designed for attachment of assorted pouches and other carrying pockets, originally intended for ammunition, a side-arm, and medical packs. Instead, I carry a Japanese pruning saw, for cutting shanks, a larger folding saw for cutting thinner tree-trunks into small logs to season, and assorted woodcarving knives, chisels, and rasps (especially acid-etched-tooth Japanese woodcarvers rasps). Effectively what most people would carry in a toolbox, I carry about on my person. The carrier vest is designed to be stab-proof, very important when cutting blackthorn or hawthorn, and the pouches can be attached as convenient for working.”