By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Until July 27th

Tools or 'things' as therapy

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Haggerleases17/06/2019 20:31:32
90 forum posts

Hi all.

I remember reading in the wonderful book 'How to keep your Volkswagen alive' by John Muir, about how the author, when angry or annoyed with how a repair was going or after suffering a 'busted knuckle' would feel his tools, and he would do that until sense and love returned.

Sometimes I do the same, not just with good quality precision tools, but with nicely made objects too, things that are lovely to see, feel, or use, or perhaps even hear or smell. Maybe it's the lovely oily pop of a piston from a cylinder, the click of a ratchet, or the reassuring click of a good torque wrench.

A lot of the things we mechanically attuned types hold dear have a sensory value that cannot be ignored.

Anyone else do the same?

Daniel17/06/2019 21:11:38
210 forum posts
37 photos

Yep, completely with you on that one.



Boiler Bri17/06/2019 21:18:36
792 forum posts
279 photos

MMMMn depends on the tool!!! Nowt like feeling a good spanner, or feeling like one for that matter! Especially when you got bored with setting the dividing head and moved one hole too many and bu!"£"! up your latest creation.




Edited By Boiler Bri on 17/06/2019 21:20:03

Mick B117/06/2019 21:40:27
1071 forum posts
59 photos

I like the smooth hum of my lathe and the feel of latching in the power feed.

In my pocket there's an example of what I think's the best little 4" adjustable spanner made, with a nice Parkerised finish and all the handling surfaces polished by use. Sometimes I just run the worm up and down for the feel of it.

I have a nice, worn Mole wrench clone that feels just right as the toggle link locks up and unlocks. Occasionaly I've been able to recover a broken tap or drill with it by gripping the tiniest protruding shard.

I guess many of us have our own little amulets.

Jon Lawes17/06/2019 22:20:00
308 forum posts

Mick, who makes that spanner please, I've been forgetting to buy one for a while!

Tools are very theraputic. For me its the old machine tools. At the end of a rubbish day using the lathe keeps me sane and leaves me tired and content.

John Paton 117/06/2019 22:38:15
163 forum posts
6 photos

And it works for babies too.

When my son was just months old I would return home from work and be handed a screaming lad wrapped in his 'Babygrow' and shawl.

I found the best answer was to quickly get changed and take him out to the workshop. There I would do some turning on the Myford, making parts for my Stuart Turner 'Real' engine while supper was being prepared indoors.

I had to drape a muslin over his head to protect hime from stray swarf and splatters of cutting fluid. He fell silent literally within a minute or two. (but returned indoors later smelling of suds oil as much as I did!)

My wife could never understand how and why I could calm him down when she had failed.

I suspect it is genetic and yes, he chose engineering as a career!

Rik Shaw17/06/2019 23:11:58
1297 forum posts
350 photos

As the last suns set over the workshop the old chap is wrapped in a trust

with the love of his tools, belittled by fools, replacing a once urgent lust

for those lovely young fillies all fragrance and lace and so very, very enticing

NOW what stops me dead is a Swiss boring head, ground threads, silky smooth - so exciting!


Edited By Rik Shaw on 17/06/2019 23:15:39

Hopper18/06/2019 04:31:32
3651 forum posts
72 photos

Robert M Pirsig said (somewhere) in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" that when you work on your motorcycle, what you are really working on is yourself.

True words.

Blue Heeler18/06/2019 05:50:18
173 forum posts

Tool lovers unite

Henry Brown18/06/2019 07:44:07
38 forum posts
4 photos

That extends to lovingly cared for old wood too, I can't help just putting my hand on a patinated piece of furniture as I walk by...

John Paton 118/06/2019 08:18:20
163 forum posts
6 photos

Oh no Henry, thats just weird and kinky! You risk backlash for encouraging people to put filthy, oily fingerprints on priceless domestic treasures. Door handles and light switches are one thing, but furniture ..noooooo!wink 2

Mick B118/06/2019 08:36:20
1071 forum posts
59 photos
Posted by Jon Lawes on 17/06/2019 22:20:00:

Mick, who makes that spanner please, I've been forgetting to buy one for a while!

Tools are very theraputic. For me its the old machine tools. At the end of a rubbish day using the lathe keeps me sane and leaves me tired and content.

Well, it was Bahco who made the thing that I bought - but it took a couple of decades of riding in pockets, plus a string of situations where its availability was welcome, to make it what it is now...


Bob Stevenson18/06/2019 08:37:05
269 forum posts
6 photos

.....I prefer to run my hands over a naked woman myself, but, gettting back to John Muir and 'How to keep your VW alive', that whole book should be an obliged read for all who make stuff and use IS the very essence of 'making' and craftsmanship in one volume. ...

......Highly recommended, and very funny to read as well!

Guy Lamb18/06/2019 08:49:42
54 forum posts

The obverse of course is 'tool abuse'. Once witnessed a micrometer being used as a G cramp whilst welding and another, a Neanderthal swinging an shipwrights adze in his garden thinking it was a mattock.

Perhaps Esther Rantzen could be persuaded to open a dedicated hot line where such outrages could be reported?


Plasma18/06/2019 08:49:59
278 forum posts
38 photos

I love all my tools, machines and assorted nick knacks.

It would be hard to pick out any favourite but I too have a 4" Bahco mover that seems to always be close by.

My current favourite is a Facom ratchet screwdriver set, which has a ratchet handle, bits, 1/4 drive adaptor and 5 sockets in a box 5 x 2 inches. It's so cleverly designed I just love using it.

The smell of a well used and oiled tool transports me to my shop where ever i am. Should i be disclosing this in open forum?


Henry Brown18/06/2019 09:41:13
38 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by John Paton 1 on 18/06/2019 08:18:20:

Oh no Henry, thats just weird and kinky! You risk backlash for encouraging people to put filthy, oily fingerprints on priceless domestic treasures. Door handles and light switches are one thing, but furniture ..noooooo!wink 2

Probably because my Dad was a carpenter! I've had more than one final warning about mucky door handles and swarf on the carpet though John...

Samsaranda18/06/2019 09:44:04
724 forum posts
5 photos

And here was me thinking that I was wierd, apparently it’s safe to come out of the closet but I don’t think that our other halves will understand our obsessions with metallic objects.

Dave W

Mick Henshall18/06/2019 10:01:39
511 forum posts
28 photos

My Gramps brought me up and I spent my childhood with him in his workshop and at his work as a signwriter, I have a Brylcream jar which has some mixture of polish in it, this resides in my workshop and a sniff takes me back to the 1950's and all is well with the world and before anyone mentions health issues I have been sniffing since 1982 when he died and I am still here to tell the tale at my mid 70's oh and just a quick sniff now and then

Mick 😎 🤔🇬🇧

not done it yet18/06/2019 10:05:15
3015 forum posts
11 photos

I daresay that if one needs ‘therapy’, whatever works must be good.

Do these tools work better after being ‘caressed’? Fidgeting with a piece of equipment, object or tool is one thing, caressing seems to be entirely a different matter!

I certainly prefer a smooth, well designed and crafted tool to a rough and ‘awkward to use’ one - but that is simply on a technical level. It was the reason why I changed my lathe from a chinese heap to a Raglan, even though the latter was 50 years, or more, old.

Plasma18/06/2019 10:10:21
278 forum posts
38 photos

NDIY the Raglan is a splendid manufacturer, I had a 5 inch and a loughborough as well as the vertical mill. I upgraded to a new Boxfod X10, that does not have back gear or auto carriage stop or one handed speed adjustment. Wish I had kept it now!


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
TRANSWAVE Converters
Meridienne Sept 2019
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Allendale Electronics
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest