Growing up, even before I wanted to build furniture, I was always a fan of tools. Even if I had no idea what they did, if the design caught my eye I wanted it. The East Coast yard sale circuit had a plethora of old, paint worn, hand tools for the taking and I must say I took a few.
As I started to become more involved in woodworking, these tools that where once simply a collection of found art, became my tools of the trade. When I started my own shop they came with me as well. They lined the walls with assorted shapes and colors, all still useful and all with a story to tell.
If something works I have a hard time replacing it.
Change does not always come naturally to me and with these tools I felt the same way. There is something about well made older hand tools, it's not only that they were made to last forever, they also bring with them a certain feel. You could say they bring a certain seasoning to each project.
I have new tools. I don't want you to picture a medieval space with torches burning on the wall and my crew sharpening stones to plane down the next board. But a lot of the new tools I have were bought as tools to fill gaps left by my 'old' collection.
No matter how much I love my vintage tools, if the yard sales of my youth didn't have a screwdriver with a #1 square drive head, I'm screwed.
Needless to say my shop walls became very mismatched. And where there used to be a gallery feel to the colors and sizes now there was just confusion. Maybe I will look into some full sets of tools, I thought, and see what this new era of hand tools has for me. And I have to say it was one of the better decisions I have made.
Gone are the days of having to teach new guys in the shop which decade of tools to use for which project. Everything is color coded to brand, everything is labeled for what it does, and even though they didn't come from someone else's garage they still work. And what I learned is, all these new tools also have a story to tell, and my hands are the ones that get to start the tale.
I am very happy with the DeWalt brand for hand tools. The 8-piece DeWalt Maxfit Screwdriver set (DWHT62058) is great to use, well marked, and very easy to select the right screwdriver. The 16, 20, and 22 ounce hammers are all well weighted and fit nicely in hand. And the cream of the crop, the 168 piece mechanics tool set (DWMT73803) is a well organized, easy to carry, and is filled with all the right attachments to get the job done.
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