The twelve tools of Christmas, 2020

2020 hasn’t exactly turned out to be a great year. Getting stuck at home for this amount of time is a bummer… but it is somewhat good for getting small projects done (or at least that’s the theory). With the supply-chain being what it is this year, best to get in early.

  1. The Anarchist’s Workbench by Christopher Schwarz. (Lee Valley, C$34.50), but it is a free PDF download. If you like historical books, this is the last in the Anarchist series, and looks at the history of workbenches.
  2. This was on my list last year, but makes it again… a Japanese tool, more specifically a plane (kanna). I have bought two planes from Tokyocraft on Etsy. They always have great second-hand Japanese tools, and reasonably priced.
  3. An axe from Toronto Blacksmith. I haven’t bought one yet, but they seem well designed, nicely made, and local.
  4. Ever wanted a Stanley No.1? Likely too costly, but now there is an option from Lee Valley, the Veritas Bevel-Up #1 Plane. A different take on the No.1 with a bevel-up blade. (C$249)
  5. Need a tiny pocket plane. something that would fit in an. apron pocket? Try the Veritas Pocket Plane. This thing is tiny and so well made. Veritas is a true innovator when it comes to planes. (C$119)
  6. Japanese saws are easy to use, and quick. What about a Convex Crosscut Kabata, designed to use the natural arc of your arm as you saw. (C$39.50)
  7. Not really a tool per se, except for drinking coffee in the workshop, but the Kupilka seems like a cool idea. Made of wood fibre and thermoplastic they are made in Finland. (210ml, Canadian Outdoor Equipment C$28.75)
  8. A carving tool from Chipping Away perhaps? This Canadian store is a one-stop shop for carving tools… from beginner to experienced carver, there is something for everyone, including some neat bird carving kits.
  9. Combination blue (4000 grit) and yellow (6000-8000 grit) coticule sharpening stones from Belgian. Various sizes and slurry stones, from Fendrihan.
  10. Sharpening stones need flattening? Diamond lapping plates, 300 and 800 grit (C$65 and $80 at Knife).
  11. It may seem odd to use a broom, versus a vacuum, but there is something inherently satisfying about using a hand-made broom to clean up wood shavings. I have a couple from the Granville Island Broom Co. Less noisy too. Or perhaps a Swedish dust brush or Japanese Bunnuku dust pan?
  12. Sometime in the workshop a folding rule is a convenient way to measure things 1-2m in length… way better than a tape measure. Big Bear Tools has Hultafors brand in 1 & 2m lengths, in wood, aluminum or fibreglass, metric/imperial. For a great overview of these oft-forgotten measuring tools, check of the Hultafors website.
A 210ml Finnish Kupilka

There are also a myriad of custom hand tool makers out there. Maybe a beautiful handcrafted custom hammer from British company Kinetic Customs, or a replica Medieval tools from Daegrad Tools in Sheffield (England).

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