Fast, Good, Cheap – The Craftsman’s Triangle
Humans have been using handheld, rudimentary stone implements for some 2.5 million years, but it wasn’t until around 11,000 years ago that humans began to develop their tool production skills. Instead of simple, cone shaped chipped stones, tools became highly polished axe shaped implements, ideal for a hunter-gatherer life style. This was the beginning of the Stone Age, the period in human history that marks the advent of tool production. The name comes from the fact that most of the period’s cutting tools are made from stone.
Let’s face it marking gauges are not flashy, cost very little and after the piece of furniture is produced, there is little evidence or much thought given to what part the marking tools played in its production.
But in my opinion, one of the most important tools used by woodworkers, and the one that I reach for in most of my projects, is the humble marking gauge.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend called to say she wanted a simple, no-frills box made for her teardrop camper, and would be round to talk details. A couple of hours later Louise appeared with trailer in tow.
The box was going to be for storing clothes and had to fit within the under-shelf area, be easy to slide in and out and have a lid.
Since the entire inside of the trailer is beautiful maple ply wood, I decided to use 19mm furniture grade ply.
In 1862, John Basely invented the first stepladder by putting a hinge at the top of two ladders so that they could be folded and easily stored. Born in Pennsylvania, Basely was a master carpenter and inventor, receiving the first US patent issued for a safety stepladder. Ladders had of course been used for millennia prior to his invention, but the changes Basely made to the design were hugely important, including the addition of hinges and using flat steps instead of rungs for safety. As you can imagine, he went on to become a very wealthy man.
This article will not make you wealthy, but it will give you a lift in life and an insight into the mechanics of making a stepladder.
I have at least 4 different stepladders ranging in height from 1-2m. Often when reaching heights for a project, a few extra centimetres make all the difference in reaching those hard to reach areas.