I've got a problem. For a while now I've been following Chris Schwarz's blog, both at Popular Woodworking and Lost Arts Press. I love his book The Anarchist's Tool Chest, but one of his philosophies causes a bit of a problem for me. One advantage he gives in favour of using a chest to store your tools is that the limited space accommodates a limited number of tools. He sees this as a good thing because it encourages what he calls "tool monogamy".
|Hultafors splitting maul|
|Gransfors Swedish Carving Axe|
|Stefan Ronnqvist viking axe|
But despite all of this I'm still not ready to give up any of my axes. Romanticism is rarely practical and my relationship with my tools is not a practical one either. It is not about need. I thought about this when someone posted on a Facebook forum about spoon carving, looking for advice on the purchase of a new axe. Several of the respondents tried to talk him out of it saying that he didn't need to buy a new axe. It was clear to me that the enquirer wanted to buy one whether he needed to or not. It seemed strange to me (I hope this doesn't get controversial) that a group of people making and selling wooden spoons tried to talk someone out of a purchase on the basis of necessity Who needs to buy a wooden spoon? I love wooden spoons and use them all of the time, I don't need them and they don't fulfil a purpose that my old metal spoons didn't, but I do enjoy them and feel that my eating experience is enhanced by them. I apply the same thinking to my tools. I enjoy using them and they enhance my experience..
|Elwell felling axe|
The matter of cost isn't straight forward either. I am very fortunate to have disposable income and I use that money to do things that bring me pleasure. I know some people would scoff at the amount of money I might spend on an axe, but wouldn't think twice about spending the same on a weekends revelry. Most of the axes I buy are made by individual craftsmen and some have a waiting list. this means that with the proper amount of care there will be very little depreciation in value, in fact some are worth more than I paid for them.
|Cegga hunters axe|
The jury is out however. I definitely like the idea of applying tool monogamy to certain things, especially the bit about building a better relationship through fidelity to that one tool, but if I'm honest I can see my carving tools growing rather than diminishing. I think I might have a problem.
|Roselli all-round axe|