The familiar











Essentials without an edge











Tools in action



DSC02245 (2)























The vaguely familiar

















Unorthodox use
































26 thoughts on “Tools

  1. Siavosh says:

    I love the pictures, thanks for sharing all this.

  2. Michelle Rossi-Voorhees says:

    I really appreciate your perspective. It makes me happy.

  3. Jim B says:

    Such beauty in everyday things.

  4. jackbaumgartner says:

    You are the best, Rick. That oven is spectacular. So is the emboss from the jack- did I get that right?

    • Rick says:

      Pret and his wife Paula have made some amazing outdoor, wood-fired ovens around their house, and in some cases, along the side of the little dirt road they live on. Paula’s work with breads, fire, and food-history is incredible. (She’s got a new book on cooking with fire due out this spring!). And yeah–that’s an imprint from the jack on that slip of wood. It would make a great tattoo! Thanks as always for the kind words Jack.

  5. Linda Master says:

    SWEET I love this post, such really cool stuff and I even knew most of –ok alot of–ok some of the how’s, why’s and what for’s!!!

  6. Jennifer Durant says:

    Excellent little photo journal Rick, you have a photographers eye as well as a woodwright’s knack. Let the creative juices flow… hope to see you guys soon!

    • Rick says:

      The crew is wicked patient with me as I’m taking one shot or another, Jenn. I leave a lot of good ones behind because I’m on the end of a board or I don’t have the camera handy, but do my best to document the different stages. One of us will be stopping by Gurneys very soon to pick up the MLB pile. Thanks for being so good to us!

  7. Richard Law says:

    Good stuff – so unfamiliar to a mere woodsman.

    • Rick says:

      I miss those walkabouts in the woods, Richard. We used to gather all sorts of stock from the margins of our local cranberry bogs in the day. Thanks for saying, Woodsman!

  8. John Wolf says:

    One was a Stanley compass plane, which are really cool but I’ve never found a use for. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. The opposing wedges under the jack are really cool too, always pays to check in at Blue Oak. I’m thinking another picture was a section of millstone? Finally, where does one get a drawknife with lime green handles?

    • Rick says:

      John! We were adzing out a little hollow on the inside face of the rafter bottoms and the compass plane was perfect for finishing the work. Do you know a great source for the opposing wedges for jacking? The waste off of opposing scarf joints! I never realized that until this year. And that was the runnerstone (the one that moves) from the Plimoth Grist Mill. They’d taken it apart last year in order to dress the stones. As for the drawknife, it’s a poor man’s lashing of duct tape until I either replace the split handle or lash it properly. Can I pay myself to spend a week tuning up my own tools? Good to hear from you–

  9. Timothy T. McTague says:

    Nice shot of the English Quarter Dress runnerstone made up of French buhrs.

    It’s too smooth to be the one in Sandwich.

    It needs a little dressing to grind well.

    • Rick says:

      Hey Timothy, you are correct, sir. The stone in the picture is from the Plimoth Grist Mill in downtown Plymouth. The picture was taken just prior to dressing the stone last year. Kim Van Wormer (my wife) is running the mill and she said, “the lands need more cracking/stitching lines–though they still work pretty good.” Lately, they’ve been working on fine-tuning the mill’s clutch which has been a little dicey for the increased amount of grinding. Are you affiliated with a mill or do you dress stones or both? Kim would welcome a visit. Email her directly if you’d like: You molinologists are a small and dedicated group and should all be in touch. Thanks for the note!

  10. coeptus23 says:

    B-e-a-utiful. Nice post Rick.

  11. The Shakers used burhstone grinding wheels. A friend of mine saved one from the excavator digging up a dam near a Shaker mill in West Stockbridge, MA. There is also one buried in the lawn at Hancock Shaker Village. My friend is an architectural stone guy, and amateur geologist. He traced the stone back to a quarry just outside Paris. Does your burhstone have shells in it?

    • Rick says:

      Shells in the stone? How very cool. Nice save by your friend. David, if you have a moment, can you contact Kim Van Wormer, miller at the Plimoth Grist Mill? I think it’s great that there’s such an interest in all things milling and all of y’all should be in touch. Kim’s been working with Jim Cricker on fine-tuning the workings of the Plimoth Mill. Do you know Jim? Good to hear from you.

      • No, I haven’t heard of Jim. I will try to find any photos of the mill stone. I will also try to remember to talk to my friend about the formation of the stone. It started out as a shellacious something or other and metamorphized into something else. I know, not very technical jargon, but it was quite a few years ago.

  12. Rick says:

    Shallacious D–Jack Black movie. Feel free to give Kim’s email to your friend as well, David. And thanks!

  13. George Lough says:

    One of the pictures shows a rock being moved by something labeled the “Grasshopper.” I am living on a terminal moraine. This is the perfect solution. I have got to buy or make one. Simple! effective! Why didn’t I think of that? Does anyone know who makes it?

    • Rick says:

      Hi George–I just texted Michael to ask where he picked his Grasshopper up and if he knows if they still make them. Variants of this tool have been around forever. You can see why, it’s so perfect for certain uses. Keep and eye on this string for a reply when I hear back from MLB.

      Terminal moraine-what you’re saying is that it’s wicked rocky where you live, aren’t you?

      Good to hear from you George-thanks for writing!

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