"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Q&A Tools

Talking to Karl, an old friend of mine the other day. We are both tool fanatics in that we both believe in using quality tools. During this discussion I was bemoaning the dearth of good machetes to be found on the market. Now for Karl this is no problem, he is a jeweler/blacksmith/knife maker and so can put together pretty much whatever he needs. I however must make do or in this case alter what I have to make it serviceable.
Case in point was a pretty horrible example of a Chinese made machete. Oddly enough the steel was not entirely terrible and would hold an edge. The grip though was a true nightmare. Too deep in the hand, split through its length and fissured just under the knuckles enough to make it impossible to use without a glove. It was made from some unrecognizable timber and for some reason sat in the hand in such a way as to make it impossible to strike a clean blow- the blade would always twist in the hand as it landed.
In a fit of desperation to get a job done one day I tore the old handle off and ground the rusted old rivets out. I then quickly made up a new splint grip out of native sycamore and fastened it with stainless steel bolts. Five minutes sanding on the linisher and I had a comfortable and solid grip good enough to last until I could buy a real machete.
I then discovered I had entirely changed this tool. It now cut cleanly and struck precisely and with force. I could use it for hours with no trouble. That was around five years ago....


  1. Great to see that the adjustment made totally made a not so good tool a delight to use and for hours at that! Otherwise I could see it going to the junk heap or maybe "landfill" if it didn't get recycled into a totally different use.
    A question Ulf, How did your figs go? You should be looking at a breba harvest now with some fruit set for the summer.

  2. The landfill/recycle option was certainly on the cards I must admit. It was originally more an act of desperation that saved it.
    The figs have done well indeed! I still have two in pots which continue to produce brebas as often as possible.