The past 30 years have seen an ever-increasing rise of cheap manufactured goods imported from China and that has led to a change of attitude in the consumer of the West. The dispensable tool was born along with fast fashion, faux furniture, furnishings and many other products designed to deceive the untrained eye.
Plastics pollute the world and the sight of countless bottles and bags floating in rivers and seas in many third world countries, as a result, should embarrass us all. Out of sight out of mind is a very ignorant attitude and like most western countries that have shipped most of their pollution and manufacturing overseas, it’s a scandal. As we know, large corporations are renowned for evading their responsibility with virtue signalling and ineffective programmes. I’m no swivel-eyed eco-activist but when has enough damage got to be done before something real happens. Money talks as they say and until governments around the world can recognise consumer behaviour is partly to blame and tax the existence out of short life goods, nothing will change. Personally, I’d like to see single-use plastic given a disposable charge recognising the future costs that these products create.
Regarding tools, I see the short life hard point saws and other tools have been designed for limited use given the same punitive import charges. There needs to be that incentive to buy quality and re-sharpen by hand that worked so well for so many years. Compare Diamond plates to oil stones, the latter could last a lifetime with the correct maintenance of keeping them flat.
My son, now a fully qualified electrician went through his training with absolutely no tool sharpening skill training! It’s a joke really and I’m sure having worked with so many tradesmen in my life there are a high percentage out there who can’t sharpen anything more than a pencil. That’s purely down to the disposable tool industry!
It’s a fact that natural resources are depleting and with the insatiable demand from other countries with a new consumer base that the demand for these resources will continue to grow. Prices for commodities are rising naturally but how long will it be before things really change? When those disposable tool prices significantly rise, not through labour costs but due to costs involving power, transport etc.
Skills such as saw sharpening properly aren’t something you get good at through watching a few YouTube tutorials that’s for sure, yes it gives the basics but it’s not at a professional level. Poor sharpening as we all know makes a tool cut less effectively than it could, which results in more effort and less control.
How long would it take to become a master saw sharpener? The 10,000-hr rule applies to becoming an expert! There is far more to it than someone suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect knows.
So there will be those with proactive tendencies, who will learn in advance and hone their skills and those who will become dependent on others! But unlike in the past those blagging it will be called out and easily spotted not by the general public but by the craftspeople who notice the difference when using them.
A standard in this field has to be set so that those who own high-quality saws can rely on the craftsmanship of saw sharpening. This can only come from an approved source recognised for quality and service who are happy to recommend & promote said professionals.
I guess that’s what Tooltique has always been about really, I’ve personally had to clear up many times after incompetent work standards. I do it every day when we refurbish old tools and these show time and again the previous users didn’t understand how to maintain them or simply didn’t bother. Quite how they were used is anyone’s guess but there is a significant difference between those tools that my father bought back in the 1980s and those that come in today.
I appreciate those who work to high standards and would always be true to my beliefs of not producing anything I wouldn’t myself pay for. Self-reliance is a great tool to have and learning to maintain your tools to a professional standard is paramount to the craftsperson’s work quality & productivity.
I often wonder what should come first, understanding and caring for the tools or the craft itself?
What could the modern carpenter do in a power cut?
Cheap disposable tools have a lot to answer for real, especially with the decline in tool maintenance skills and those reliant on these tools are building careers built on what will become unreliable foundations.
Things are also different from how they were in the past, the older woodworkers helped those younger with things like saw sharpening as they generally worked together. Today people are more isolated and dependent on very few resources of this type to rely upon.
Do you need to be a woodworker to learn this aspect of the trade? We will be starting our saw sharpening courses in the summer, contact us for details.