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Mark Aspery told me that when he went to work as an apprentice he was "given plenty of time" to make his own tools. he wasn't "allowed" to purchase a tool until he'd made one for himself that was satisfactory to the Master. Once he'd learned to make his own tools, the thought of paying for someone else's mass-produced tool lost it's appeal. The thought being that when a potential customer came to the smithy, they'd see the craftsmanship that had gone into all the tools in the smithy. I've tried to emulate that to a certain extent. I have to admit that I've purchased all but one of my hammers, but every other hand tool I use I have made. 'Course mine aren't up to the level of craftsmanship of the ones JR just showed us. Real purty, real purty.

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Larry, you are that good now.

You can usually make a good tool quicker than you can drive to 4-5 different stores in town and purchase something that is not what you want, but may get the job done. Those one off creations with sloppy welds, out of square cuts, and all the other faults created by excessive speed, are make-do tools and have a place. The place is usually in the junk pile as soon as the project is completed. And that is ok, as it got the job done.

For a tool you are going to use more than once, the extra time spent making it right pays dividends each time you use the tool. Making it "pretty" warms your heart knowing you made it. The point of making tools beautiful is pride and craftsmanship. Bragging rights are when someone starts drooling over YOUR hand crafted tools, knowing it did not come from a big box store.

Wait a minute !! Aren't we the ones drooling over the 3 tools posted at the beginning of this thread? I am sure the maker of those tools is smiling watching us drool.

It is all about doing the best you can each time you can.

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