Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Father Might Have Said...

..."A dull knife is a symptom of a dull mind."  Or, "A workman who doesn't take care of his tools won't do anything else right, either."


My father could repair more things with a pocket knife, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers than most man could do with any tools at their disposal.  This is a statement of fact, with no disrespect to the mechanic, the artisan, the maintenance person whose trade it is to "fix" things.  But most people can't fix stuff.

No one, it seems, repairs anything anymore, a trend Dad saw coming and seriously deplored. Throwing things away gets people into deep financial trouble, in his view.  He was not molded to fit into a consumer-based economy.

I have an oil whetstone no. 21 (shown above) for which my father paid fifty cents, price marked in two places on the box.  In that day, fifty cents may well have been half-day's pay.  This same stone, new, is available yet today and can be purchased for about fifty dollars.  I think that that is 9900% increase in price.

A few days ago BBBH and I were working together on a project.  I got out my pocket knife to cut a string.  "That," she said, "is pathetic.  Sharpen your knife."  I promised I would.  Dad would have been appalled.  His little two-blade knife had been sharpened down to this (shown below) before he died.  The smaller blade is not much wider than the thickness.  Dad's knife is shown with mine for comparison.

I have a lot of sharpening to do, and little time left in which to do it.














If you doubt what I say about no one fixing anything anymore, and you are not handy yourself, just try to find someone to repair your item.  After much searching across three counties, I finally found a man who will repair one of our malfunctioning machines.  He has a back-alley shop, and he is 76 years old.
So yes, it is easier and cheaper to "throw away" whatever and get a new one.  How ridiculous.

Oh, and Dad did have a large collection of tools.  Some things did require the "right" tool.

Today is D-Day.  Never Forget!

You might also like Retrotech in the Shop: Tools

9 comments:

Grace said...

I don't think my father could even change a light bulb much less repair something...He was a marvelous cook tho...

Jim said...

My dad tried over and over again when I was young to teach me to sharpen knives. I had negative interest. And now that I'm an adult, he happily sharpens my knives anytime I ask. And holy frijoles, can that man put an edge on a knife. But now that he's 72 and has survived cancer thrice, I think I should relent and let him teach me to do it myself.

Shelly said...

My grandfather was much like your dad in that he could and did fix almost anything. We still have some of the things he repaired decades ago and they are chugging along. We've become too much of a disposable society.

Vee said...

Dad could fix almost anything. My friends used to bring toys to our house and request that I ask Dad to repair them. Their Dad's did not know how. Most of the time, one could not even locate the repair site. He was a gem.

Vee said...

Oh, and I well remember D-Day, even though I was young. I will never forget.

Secondary Roads said...

I'm thinking that your dad could have crafted a fine sermon around that same idea. For this is, indeed, an illustration of a profound truth.

vanilla said...

Grace, cooking is an admirable skill. To some the tinkering, to some the cooking!

Jim, learn as many skills as you can from your father! Meanwhile, if I bring my knives over, could you get him to sharpen them for me? ;-)

Shelly, it is sad how we burden our landfills with usable stuff because we won't fix things. (Or we're tired of that color, model, etc.?)

Vee, it is true that Dad's repair jobs were not slipshod, but expertly done. "The Greatest Generation saved our bacon in the '40s.

Chuck, interesting that you mention that, for I was thinking of some spiritual/moral applications as I wrote the piece. And yes, Dad could have crafted a sermon from this.

Sharkbytes said...

I just love using my dad's tools. I think I'm going to blog about him tonight. Still talking myself into it.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I am looking forward to reading about your father when you choose to post.