Tools. I love them. Sometimes I think I have enough, but then I go, “golly gee, I wish I could do that”. Except, I don't say “golly gee”, I say, “what the hell am I doing and why isn't “thing x” already in my shop!
I have a collection of tools. Some of them I buy: grinders, sanders, drills, etc. Some of them I make: presses, hammers, pliers. Some of them I try to make, but end up buying: power hammers, anvils, belt sanders, etc.
They all serve the same function: to act as an extension of me and facilitate expression. Tools are to metalwork as your mouth is to speech. They are NOT the expression, but each tool is like another motion your tongue learns how to do so you can better enunciate and emphasize a word.
I love to refine tools. Invent that. Master them. Learn neat little tricks that help make my expression truly mind. I can often be found rebuilding old tools in to something different. An engineer is probably rolling over in his grave thanks to my abominations.
I mess up a lot. But, I succeed a lot too. Some days I dedicate entirely to making tools.
Pliers were the first tools I ever made entirely myself. It was when I was 18 and really in to chainmaille. It just seemed wrong to spend 100 hours using tools made by someone else. My original pliers were pretty crude, but I used them anyway. After 15 years making them, the current ones I use/make/sell are pretty refined.
I once made a power hammer. I was in college. It worked okay. I used it for about 2 years before I moved on. I had to repair it daily.
I have made a million hammers. Okay, less than a million, but an awful lot. Each one has a different purpose behind it.
Times I go a bit nuts and do something like a lawnmower out of an old treadmill motor and 3 drill batteries. Usually, I stay on task.
The fine art jewelry, wrought iron jewelry and forge work each need an entirely different set of custom tools. Needless to say, to do this work it is required to become an expert at understanding, making and modifying tools.
I could keep writing, but if you are a tool person, you too would understand the cruelty in that. Instead, I'll let this blog post be mostly photo's and I'll share my collection with you.