The Importance Of Relating To Your Tools

I got a question from Mitch in episode 3 of the Ask Brian Boggs Show, with a little bit of background, he asks:

“Have you ever seen Tin Cup?” Yes, I have. “There’s a scene in there where Kevin Costner, as a character, is annoyed, and breaks every one of his golf clubs, except the beloved seven iron. Do you have a tool you have a similar relationship with?”

I don’t know if you’re meaning the beloved seven iron, or the ones I’ve all busted up. I have both. I have tools I’ve destroyed. I think all the ones that are left are my seven iron. I have quite a few of them. I think that even when I thought about this question, because this one came in earlier, it really reminded me of the importance of the relationship I have with every tool that I use. That relationship is one where if I’m paying attention to it, if I’m listening to it, it gives me all the information I need back about how to tune it up, how to sharpen it, what it’s used for, where it’s good, and where it’s not good. Whether it’s a spokeshave, band saw, a chainsaw, it doesn’t really matter.

Every tool that you use, (the way I look at it) is looking for someone to have a relationship with. It wants to be used certain ways. Being a self-taught craftsmen, I have trained myself to listen to that. That has been my teacher, in a sense. The relationship to my tools is in a lot of ways similar to one’s relationship to any good teacher. There’s hardly a better teacher than the tool you have in your hand. It deserves a lot of respect. If it’s not performing well there’s probably something you can do about it other than smashing it up. Those relationships are really important.

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