I started responding to someone’s comments from a previous post and instead decided to turn it into a standalone blog post of its own. So here goes…
The discussion of the Rocky Top post has jumped to a subject I didn't ever really plan to address in this blog.
See, I have made the mistake in the past of showing off too many of my prize tools and creating a spirit of jealousy (among a small minority of readers) that was not good for the overall "friendliness" of the blog.
So I didn't want to come right out and let everyone know that my obsession with hand tools really started just about the time that I bought Gail that new stainless French Door refrigerator back in 2005. I had to get her a new fridge because I took the old one down to the basement, cut a couple of holes in the side of it and became the only boy I know with his own Guinness keg system at home.
Yes, I have the huge Nitrogen tank. Yes, I have the special "u" tap that fits Irish kegs. Do I bypass the chance to buy a 15 gallon barrel of Bud for $45 in order to spend $150+ for a mere 13.5 gallons of keg-wrapped Guinness???? You bet.
And just so you know, more than once I have ruled out using a photo on the blog because I didn't want to offend anyone. I worried someone could be offended at the sight of a workbench that looked like mine...where right next to the shavings on the bench was a previously room temperature, beer clean Imperial Pint tulip glass full of a two part pour of the black stuff with a perfectly domed creamy top showing off a custom Skiver shamrock.
My favorite picture from the Ireland vacation...Matthew (my best friend in the world) and me posing with "our van" near Galway.
And all of this helps answer the question, "Jeff, why is it Wood Magazine says Americans LOVE their routers and you hate them with every fiber of your soul?" Well, mainly I hate the noise. But it's also because I prefer the full sensory experience of hand tools...the feel of the plane in your hands, the smell of the wood shavings, the sound of the "SWOOOOOK" as the perfectly honed blade slices through the fibers, and the lingering taste of the bitterness of the Guinness hops that you get from combining a pint of Guinness with hand tool woodworking.
Coincidently, it is interesting how much those beloved ebony boards of mine look just like Guinness (see the "Et Tu, Brute" article in PopWood's October 2008 Out of the Woodwork or just look in the background of my profile photo over at the right side of this webpage). The heartwood is as black as can be, and the sapwood is the perfect shade of creamy tan. It’s no wonder those ebony planks speak to me on a primal level.