A very hectic week has kept me out of the shop almost entirely. Well … that and a continued confusion about what a fix for the backwards tool box looks like.
Scratching the woodworking bug has thus mainly been reading about woodworking, or more specifically tools.
Rabbit hole ahoy
That rough little Stanley #84 boxwood rule I picked up has proven a persistent item of interest to both me and the Small Shop Assistant.
Turns out the rules are collectible, so of course there is a wealth of information available online. The worst of which is Boxwood and Ivory by Phlip E. Stanley the full text of which is available on archive.org.
I say worst because I think this book has induced a small episode of madness as I started poking around the tubes to find more and more information. Part of the fascination I have with the rule is that they’re not made anymore. That is, there aren’t any makers of this sort of rule that I can find. Facsimiles, and imitations yes. But the high quality brass bound 4-fold rule in boxwood just doesn’t seem to exist. Given the growing interest in and availability of handtools I find this a little surprising.
The part of the book I found most interesting is the materials and manufacture. It turns out the rules were made in all sorts of woods, providing they were straight grained and hard wearing. Hickory, hard maple, rosewood and even mahogany were used. The manufacturing process, no matter how mechanized it became always seemed to include hand work. It’s fascinating to me that something that requires such a high degree of precision retained hand work to reach that precision.
When the book gets into accessories (divider pins, beam compass fittings) I found the need to clamp down hard on my inner collector.
I do think I’ll try and pick up a nicer version if I see it, but really I’m surprised there’s no independent tool maker building these things yet.