Canadian Woodworking

Carl Buys Some Tools

Author: Don Wilkinson
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: December January 2017
carl buys some tools
carl buys some tools

It started with a screwdriver; a slot­ted one because he needed to open a paint can and drive a screw into the wall to hang a picture. Then he bought a hammer to drive in the screw because he found it too difficult to use the screwdriver.

Besides, the screws he bought were Phillips head. Then he bought a ladder so he could hang the pic­ture higher than 4′ off the floor but then the picture was crooked so he needed a level. And maybe a tape measure. And a different hammer, because the ball peen he had originally purchased couldn’t be used to extract the screw he had ham­mered into the wall at the 4′ height. Then what’s-her-name pointed out the gaping hole left in the wall from when the ham­mer slipped. So now he needed a trowel and a sanding block.

Thus began the great tool purchase extravaganza of 2016. By the time he was finished he had purchased at least one of every tool ever known to man, including a stone axe he found while at the local museum.

Yes, Carl had decided to buy his own tools since he could no longer borrow mine after I told him they had all been “stolen” by a band of wandering gyp­sies. So Carl went on a tool buying spree of such proportion that he single-hand­edly saved the local Rona and Home Hardware stores from a slow extinction.

Now, on the surface, Carl deciding to start his own tool collection wasn’t such a bad idea. For one thing I was hoping it would keep him from lurking around my shop and tool shed with those big buggy, puppy dog eyes popping out of his head as I tried to demonstrate what each tool did. I swear, that man learned all about life from watching Tool-Time reruns. He’s Canada’s answer to Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor. Just not as compe­tent, that’s all.

I hadn’t seen Carl for awhile, not that I was missing the poor dim boy, you understand, but the other night he came by after supper and before I could hide he tracked me down and invited me to come over to visit his “shop” and see his newest tool purchase. I’m going to have to install an Early Carl Warning System.

Carl’s shop isn’t really what you might call a “shop” in the normal sense, in that it’s simply a large, crumbling, concrete block structure of indeterminate age and even more indeterminate structural integrity. There is a large crack zipping up one wall that I could see my house through, and a large missing portion of roof sheeting that allows one to watch the birds or stars passing overhead. The rear right corner of the floor sags a good 7″ where the creek had undermined it during one of the annual floods a few years ago. That of course, is where he had set up his shiny new, and somewhat crooked, table saw.

Carl had purchased a table saw that supposedly could stop the blade instantly on contact with skin, which I thought was an inspired purchase. It seems he had seen a demonstration of the saw where the salesman had used a hotdog wiener in place of his finger and run it though the spinning saw blade, where­upon the blade had made an impressive bang and vanished into the bowels of the saw, leaving the wiener unharmed. I could foresee hearing that loud bang a lot. Carl was so impressed by this that he plunked down his money instantly. But now that he owned the beast he was wondering just why anyone would want to use a table saw to cut up hotdogs. I honestly couldn’t answer his question.

I was getting more than a little depressed as Carl dragged me from wall to wall of his shop, proudly showing me every tool he had purchased, almost all of which he couldn’t use and most of which he couldn’t even identify. Carl had tools that I had struggled for years to pur­chase. And not just cheap knock-offs either. No, Carl had bought the best, the top-of-the-line models, the ones that guys see advertised in the magazines and drool over. The ones that I can no longer afford. It wasn’t fair. For crying out loud, he even had tools that were better than mine.

I decided to borrow his brand-new $1200 sliding compound mitre saw. I had some ceramic tiles that needed trimming.

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