OldTools Archive

Recent Search Bios FAQ

187655 Philip Yarra <philip.yarra@i...> 2009‑01‑28 Another bio
Seems sharing my bio would be the polite thing to do, so here goes:

I'm just about to be 37, I live in Melbourne (the one in Australia, 
where it is currently 40 degrees Celsius and we have fire weather 
warnings). I have been a galoot without realising it for a few years 
now. My initial motivation was saving money - why spend $180 on a modern 
Stanley plane, when I can pick one up at a garage sale, and with a bit 
(okay, sometimes a LOT) of work I can have something better. As I've 
restored my first major project (a Stanley #5) I've really come to enjoy 
the satisfaction of taking a rusted old tool and making it back into a 
useful, and pleasing tool.

I have also grown to prefer hand tools over power tools. I'm not averse 
to electrons, per se - in my work as a systems administrator, I push a 
fair few electrons around every day. My reasons are:

- I like the quiet satisfaction of pushing a hand plane or winding a 
hand drill

- I'm not that skilled in woodworking, so hand tools let me make 
mistakes slower than power tools do (and sometimes I can even stop or 
correct mistakes)

- I think it is foolish to discard thousands of years of hand-tool 
skills in favour of power tools - it would only take a small shift in 
our society to make ready access to 240V difficult - how then will you 
repair and build?

- sometimes I just can't be stuffed trailing extension cords around the 
yard, when I can easily take a bit and brace and have the job done in 

- power tools wake sleeping children, and scare those who accompany me 
down to the workshop (ever had a frightened child try to depart the 
kiddie-backpack vertically while you're using a jigsaw? Not fun). Hand a 
kid an old file and some scrap wood and he can entertain himself for, 
oh, up to two minutes at a time

I have a small workshop, which started off as a comfy little space, but 
as tools and such have accumulated... well, it's getting rather cramped 
now. My wife has not only given permission, but actively encouraged me 
to build a new, far bigger shed... now I just need the time to get that 
done. For some reason, working + helping to raise three little kids 
keeps me pretty busy.

I'll try to get some piccies together of my collection* of restored, 
to-be-restored and needs-no-restoration tools (amazing what some people 
throw away - I was stunned to find my neighbour throwing out a box of 
spokeshave, rasps, files, planes, drill bits, saws, knives etc recently).

Regards, Philip (enjoying being with 'my people')

* collection seems to be a loaded term - I mean simply that I have some 

Recent Search Bios FAQ