Tools. Men have used them even before the discovery of fire - a rock hammer to shape spear heads, a log kept handy to quell the local wildlife. Fire improved the quality of these tools, metals were melted and poured into moulds, resulting in sharper cutting edges and more accurate shapes.
So many thousands of years later, we still have them around. The hammer and the chisel, probably the oldest hand tools around, can still be bought from your neighbourhood hardware store. And they will still be there when my grand children become men and it will go on. Because, despite all of our technological evolution, we still do not have any worthy substitute.
Tools are very dear to me. Despite their relatively low price (okay, so some of them do cost the earth) their true worth lies in the instant that you need them. You can't open a 10 mm bolt with a 19mm spanner and vice versa, for example. My tools might be scruffy and hardly any of their chrome remains, but I know they do the job.
Some of the best spanners I have are the oldest. My grandfather was quite handy with tools and his old Britool and BSA spanners are still around. Proof that if they are kept reasonably well, hand tools will last forever. There are no electronics to go wrong, no motors to burn and definitely no computers to crash. Tools are just metal and wood. Raw and thus pure.
No, I don't lend my tools. Experience has taught me that with books and tools, if someone borrows them, in all probability, the ownership title transfers on to their names. So yes, if you need something from my tool chest, get your bike to my place, use the required tool and you can be on your jolly way. Just don't ask me to lend it to you because it won't happen. Ever.
When you use tools, you have to realise that they can be dangerous in the hands of a man who doesn't have a clue as to what he's doing. A simple screwdriver can maim, even kill. A wrong sized spanner can round off a bolt head at the least, or knock out a bloke's teeth at worst. If you intend to use tools, you should read up a book on workshop practices. Simple things like know how to hold a screwdriver or using a vice (instead of a set of pliers) to hold a job can save you a lot of pain. And bloodshed.
The advent of electricity has pampered us to a large extent. The files now lie largely disused because of that nifty hand grinder and the one perched on the work bench. But for that last few thousandth of an inch, you cannot go wrong with a hand file. The grinder will simply take off too much metal, and as you know, scrubbing away the shiny stuff is a one way process. So yes, technology and its power tools have reduced the workman's effort drastically, but they still haven't rendered the simple hand tools obsolete just yet
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