Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tools of the Trade (for Tali)

When i was in the States, i got to pick up some new tools at the Woodworking Shows, about which i have blogged. That was in Columbus. When i was in New York, i experienced the awesomeness that is Sephora. How do i explain Sephora? Well, it's kind of like the Veritas or Lee Valley of makeup, and going into the shop is like going into Woodcraft (i'm dying to see Highland Woodworking, mostly because the people there are super-nice) or Rockler, etc. CIMG1052 Sorry to belabour the point with all these shop names, but i am trying to make clear the comparison; Home Depot would be the equivalent to buying makeup at CVS (there's no judgement there--sometimes you pick up a mascara at CVS, but not necessarily foundation; when you need the odd forstner bit or hearing protection, you get it at Home Depot, but you wouldn't go there for a hand plane).

I didn't get so much at Sephora, and when i go to a woodworking shop, i take it slow as well. But sometimes, there are some breakthrough purchases that make a difference in your work. My sister Tali bought me a set of brushes (thank God these things are labelled--it makes things a bit easier), and it was the equivalent to receiving a set of chisels. Different tools for different jobs. No matter if your toolkit is for makeup, fine woodworking, or home repairs, your kit must be diversified for different tasks in order to ensure that the job gets done properly.

I'm not going to compare or rate the experiences. I was just thinking about how i felt a bit out of place at the Woodworking shows, where the vast majority of ppl there were white dudes over 40. When Chuck Bender told me i hit like a girl (the chisel with the mallet, and perhaps not hard enough?), i thought it was hilarious--he was right, and i want to emphasise that he was making a joke in good spirit--but it reminded me of my surroundings. Testosterone town.

When my sister wrinkles her nose at my woodworking tools, it's actually pretty ironic. She's got LOADS of makeup 'tools'. And when some guys wonder quizzically why women have so many different makeup accoutrements, let's call them, i would direct them to their own toolboxes (well, some. You know who you are!). Basically, everyone likes tools, no matter the format; they're adult-toys.

Rabbi David Debow pointed out to me that i'm in a pretty fortunate position--i get to play with makeup tools and woodworking tools. So i just want to end with a salute to my heroes; woodworking women, who walk in both worlds. I was very excited to see that the managing editor of Popular Woodworking is a woman--Megan Fitzpatrick (and fellow English PhD nerd--nice!). Of course, Kari Hultman's blog, the Village Carpenter is an inspiration. And, as always, my mother, who owns and uses all the tools in the house.


  1. the penis mightier . . .s connery

  2. See this link for a woman who does really nice work


  3. That was a delightful post. I really enjoyed it. The 'hits like a girl' line was funny.

  4. Thanks, Brian! Yes, Chuck is a character-he had us all cracking up at the woodworking shows, especially that particular comment...

  5. Nice post, Naomi! Your "hitting like a girl" can really come in handy, actually. That just means that your dovetails won't be blown out in the middle. :o) At the handtool Olympics at WIA last October, the guys who were timing said that all three of us (women) in the boring contest were faster than almost all of the men who tried it because we didn't push on the brace as hard. So consider "hitting like a girl" a compliment. ; )