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good stuff vrs not so good was...Re: Tools

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  • Jared
    - Indeed, everything is relative, my comparison of current fascination with the past, and the ever more disposable modern society was a mere pondering, that
    Message 1 of 86 , Feb 5, 2006
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      Indeed, everything is relative, my comparison of current
      fascination with the past, and the ever more disposable modern society
      was a mere pondering, that apparently was valid enough to expand on,
      weather very true or not. People buying old junk, simply becuase it
      is old, even if they will never use it for anything, does demonstrate
      this fascination, in my own defense, I try to only buy things things
      that I will actually use, I am very practical, with a strong eye for
      quality. My favorite christmas present this year was a slick, hollow
      ground draw shave, probably 50 or 60 years old, it is difficult or
      very expensive to buy a new on of equal quality, the same can be said
      of several other hand tools. So then the truth lies entirely in
      function as you said, its not the fact that the tool is old, instead,
      its the function value and price compared to an equal new one, so
      basiclly economics. And my part of fascination with the past is the
      fact that I want the hand tool in the first place, not that I want old
      tools. Form is most important as it regards to SCA, if I were
      demonstrating work, I would rather have the brass and rosewood layout
      tools than shiny new ones of plastic and chromed steel. So there I
      would again opt for the old tool, as long as it was fully functional.

      As for the attachment to gadgets, every time they invent cool new
      jig or tool apparatus, and feature it in rockler or grizzly, we should
      all stop and take a closer look, and really think just how often you
      will even use it, and how much will it really help. I have a few cool
      gadgets in the shop that arent worth the shelf space, let alone the
      price tag. I find I only end up with this junk if I buy quickly, but
      items that were well considered, prove usefull.
      The most horrifcly useless thing Ive seen yet would have to be the
      power tape from B+D, When I saw the commercial, I said, theres
      something you cant sell to a craftsman, but some else will think its a
      good idea and buy one for him. Then I got one for christmas. Its
      even worse than I thought, powering a tape in and out was not a
      problem that needed to be fixed, and the thing is way too big to fit
      your hand, and too heavy to hang on a belt. Other than the potential
      for having powertape races, I cant see were I would ever use it. Its
      even worse than the scroll saw with a lazer guide, who do they think
      theyre selling this stuff to?
      Anyway, (before I started ranting), my point was, we can easily
      buy just as much brand new, useless junk as old junk.


      -- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "James Winkler" <jrwinkler@...>
      > Wandering into the world of sociology and anthropology a bit... I
      can understand where you might percieve that we're somehow at a *peak*
      of this behavior and would agree that it certainly appears that what
      we do today is extreme, etc. But, I've often pondered how much of
      this is a perspective based on my own limited word view (the
      Enisteinean 'relativistic view' thing...) and a desire for something
      slower and simpler that I can keep up with... (the 'Grass is always
      Greener over the Septic Tank' thing)... and how much of it is
      universal apocalyptic social evil... I'm honestly not sure. I
      would point out that MOST of our commercially available views of the
      Middle Ages are founded on the semi-scientific views of the Victorians
      who were obsessed with anything OLD... Chinese, Medieval, Egyptian,
      Roman... pick a culture... and its happened before that too... It
      seems that the world spends an awful lot of time looking backward...
      it likes to think that 'those who don't study history are doomed to
      repeat it'... I've found that this is NOT the truth... The truth is
      that if you don't study history everybody else will repeat it better
      than you can...
      > From some of my readings and bits and pieces of some of the Roman
      writings and other scribbling from long before my time... I think
      that what we're seeing is neither new or unique but simply a matter of
      proximity and scale. If you think about it, the striving for 'new
      and improved' is what has pushed mankind forward from bashing each
      other with wood sticks and rocks to bashing each other with rattan
      while wearing cool armor... I can almost guarantee you that the first
      guy who walked up and showed his buddy "Ug" a rock and said...
      "Hammer"... had Ug look at him and say, "Put a handle on it and you
      have something..."... and his next buddy probably said, "Yea... saw
      something like that down at the village... but they had em' made out
      of granite rather than sandstone."... and, undoubtedly, our boy
      chucked his 'hammer' and started some R&D work on building a new one...
      > You write about "grandpa's junk"... wow... that's an interesting
      point... yea', there is a certain 'eye appeal to it'... But I suspect
      there might also be a certain parallel between buying 'old tools' and
      filling our tool kits with them and the concept of cannibals eating
      their enemies to take their spirits and strength into themselves.
      Even hard-core tool collectors don't buy every old tool they can
      find... unless they're planning on re-selling them to wanna-bes who
      need a start someplace (the antique store that has them on display is
      a prima-facia case for this argument...) This may sound really cold
      and blunt... but, if you take all the romance and BS out of it... we
      generally take this old stuff onto ourselves for primarily one of
      three reasons...
      > 1: Plunder
      > 2: Trying to keep _________ alive (clinging to the past)
      > 3: Spiritual empowerment through totums
      > .. and I'm not saying that this is BAD in any way... but I've
      always wondered how much 'cool old junk' folks like Galileo, DaVinci
      and Edison kept around themselves....
      > There WAS a time when when I did exactly what you were talking about
      thought... if it was 'cool', 'rare', 'old'... ummm 'probably worth
      something', etc.... I'd buy it, hug it, cherish it, try to use it, put
      it on display, etc... but what I begin to find out is that there was
      often a reason these things hit junk shops... and that reason was
      precisely the same reason I started getting rid of a lot of it...
      they were junk and there were better things available to perform the
      function of actual wood-workin'... [I still have more of this junk
      around that I care to think... the CLASSIC is the STANLEY 45 and 55
      Combination Plane sets... they're beautiful... appeal to the gadget
      guy in me... and are, for most purposes... totally useless... the DO
      look cool though... I'm probably hanging on to them in anticipation
      of making a bunch of bucks selling them to somebody else.]. Now, all
      this being said... I *AM* 53... so I've had half a century to fill my
      world with junk and... as appropriate to my station... have reached
      the point where I look back down that mountain and say... "What the
      hell was I thinking?" ... then I start looking at what tools I *DO*
      use in my universe and start cherishing those because I'm the
      *grandfather who's tools are valuable*... (at least to the youngin's)
      > I really think the issue is best addressed by the design concept of
      'form follows function'... if the 'function' IS "form"... then by all
      means... get the old tools. In the case of SCA stuff where we're
      trying to get a handle on medieval methods (to satisfy personal
      curiosity)... hand tools are going to bring you closer to an
      understanding of the medieval mindset (and pace of construction...
      slower, less distractions... they didn't have TV commercials, Wal-Mart
      or Nintendo... )... but... if you're a modern carpenter or cabinet
      maker... the parameters of the world we work in generally do not
      allow for the luxury of gentlemanly spindle turning as the Victorians
      > I don't think there is any 'good' or 'bad' in any position on this
      question... or any 'right' or 'wrong'... there is simply "what is"...
      and "what is" is what works for you...
      > Just some thoughts on your question...
      > Chas.
      > =============================================
    • JBRMM266@aol.com
      Some years ago, I visited the Virginia Museum in Richmond with the lady who is now my wife. In the Mediaeval section there were several religious statues,
      Message 86 of 86 , Feb 16, 2007
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        Some years ago, I visited the Virginia Museum in Richmond with the lady who is now my wife. In the Mediaeval section there were several religious statues, including one of St. Denis with his head tucked underneath his arm (cue music about Anne Boleyn's ghost).
        When my lady friend asked why he was so depicted, I explained that martyrs were often depicted in ways that identified how they were martyred . . . at that time I hadn't heard the legend about him picking his head up and carrying it back to the church.
        A docent heard me and asked if I knew why another statue (I forget who it depicted) had these little glass or crystal panels in the chest. The identifying sign clearly described it as a reliquary statue, and I explained how the statue had at least originally contained some part of the saint's skeleton, probably a rib or two, considering where the panels were.  She appreciated the explanation, and it left me wondering how much more about the works in that section she didn't know.
        When we visited the Treasure Houses of Britain exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, there were no docents anywhere in the Mediaeval/Renaissance area.  I spent a lot of time explaining the armour, and both of us spent even more time explaining that the children in the family portraits were not all girls despite wearing dresses (boys not yet breeched) or that that was not a noble but a royal family (Henry VIII and all his children, who were never all together in one room like that), and so forth.
        But the armor and the paintings were right out there, and one could easily have touched them. My wife almost fainted a couple of times when I pointed out a detail in a painting, my finger about an inch away from the surface. "Don't touch it, don't touch it!"  Well, I wasn't going to, but there were no barriers to it.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: tstar2000@...
        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 5:15 PM
        Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Tools

        I will have to agree with you, Will. The museums I have visited in the US have the attitude that you shouldn't touch or photograph anything. This was a real shock to me when my wife and I managed a trip to London a few years ago. Unless it was cordoned off or behind glass, the British museum didn't seem to care if you were to actually touch such sculptures as the Discus Thrower or some of the carved lids on various Medieval tombs. This became especially apparent when the Egyptian exhibit came to Oklahoma city form the British Museum. The very same sculptures that I was permitted to touch in London were so off limits in my home town that I was given a hard time for leaning in too close. Also, the curators here on the States don't seem to know much, or they just won't sacrifice the time to talk with a mere amateur historian. Both at the British Museum and the Tower of London I was able to engage into in depth conversations with the experts, even to the point of being introduced to the curator of the Crown Jewels at the Tower. Most enjoyable and informative - and in London they were QUITE familiar with the SCA, showing enthusiasm for someone who obviously had a genuine interest. ; )
        In Magical Service,

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