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Monday, April 4, 2016

The tools at hand

It's said that when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails. Obviously it makes sense to have a lot of different tools in one's quiver. After all, we are a tool using species -not the only one, but the one with the most extensive tool kit.

People tend to use the tools and skill sets they have already have to solve problems. If you have a machine shop and the skills, a lot of your solutions will involve metal. A carpenter will try to solve problems using wood. A fiberglass man will build way too many things of fibers and resin. What's surprising is how many of those solutions actually work.

That's great, but sometimes it makes more sense to use a different material. Recently I was working on a tabernacle arrangement for my small sailing scow. A tabernacle is what holds a folding mast in place. Traditionally they are made out of wood.

My wooden design looks pretty clunky so I thought that by reinforcing it with fiberglass I could use less wood. Then it occurred to me that I've a nifty little welding machine and could actually make it out of steel. The steel would have to be treated to prevent rusting, but it would make a very strong arrangement and not very bulky at all. Right now I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to build it, but it's nice to have options.

I guess that's the point.



  1. Options in materials are good too. If you have the tools and the knowledge to process different types of materials to perform a similar function, you have many more options again. Then, you can use what you have at hand.

    1. It helps to have a "junk" pile of scrap materials. You never know what will come in handy.

  2. Can you REALLY have too many tools? :o)

  3. I used to have a wire fed welder that would do stainless. Stainless is what you need to use near salt water. A 300 series, I would think. Maybe 316 SS.

  4. Can you get your hands on some stainless?