The Right Tool for the Job (A Mini Rant)

Yesterday, Kevin and I were making birdhouses.  After we looked up the correct measurements, we created a parts list.  Nothing more than a few specifically sized boards, a few nails and a wood screw.

Once we knew the sizes of the wood we needed, we pulled the boards from the stacks that had already been air-dried.  Kevin began cutting each board to the right dimension.

That was the easy part.  Next came drilling the holes - not just the entry hole for the bird, but also ventilation and drain holes.  These too were fairly easy to do on our new drill press with a simple brad bit and forstner bit.  I even learned a new skill - how to run the drill press.  (Not quite as intimidating as I thought it was.)

It was time to nail our creations together.  Using finishing nails, I grabbed the hammer.  Darn thing weighed as much as my arm.  I was supposed to hit that tiny nail head with it.  My brain immediately said, "Yeah, right."

So, it was onto a search for a smaller hammer.  I ended up using a machinist's ball peen for the job.  Much easier for me to handle.  Then Kevin remembered he had a trim hammer in the house.  After playing with it, I have to agree, it's the hammer for me.

I don't know, maybe I'm a wimp.  But, I truly think most hammer manufacturers never expected a woman to pick one up.  Come to think of it, with the prevalent use of pneumatic nailers in the world today, maybe real hammers aren't even used by many men anymore.  Seems like every do-it-yourself show I watch on PBS now has most everything being put together with either pneumatic or electric tools.

Another case in point, we went looking for coping saw blades the other day in town.  Did we find them?  No.  Lot's of jigsaw and reciprocating saw blades, even a hack saw blade or two, but nothing even close to a coping saw blade. 

So I have to ask the question, are people powered hand tools becoming a thing of the past?  Will people still be able to find wood items that are truly 'hand-crafted'?  Or will the definition of 'hand-crafted' evolve to include those items that are made completely with power tools?  I noticed that even the old fashioned art of 'whittling' can now be done with a power carver.

The right tool for the job is now more confusing than ever. Are there more options or less out there today?  All I really wanted was a hammer that fit my hand.


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