Three Hammers

Posted on December 23, 2011


So many possible puns on post titles (It’s hammer time, You can’t touch this…etc, etc) but I’ll resist them all.

This post is actually more about three people, than it is about three hammers. The Things we Make archive clearly records that I know how to make hammers and these are the same basic design of plane adjusting hammer that I’ve made before.

For the last 3 years I have organised a Hand Tool Secret Santa event for woodworkers on the various internet forums I have belonged to. I’ve enjoyed these, but for me there is something slightly hollow about exchanging gifts with people you’ve never met. Adding to that the issues with lost deliveries, disappearing participants and so on, led me to decide not to do it this year. Instead I thought I would use the time to make something for three woodworking friends who I see on a regular basis, known as the Peak Hydraulic Group. Although we met through internet woodworking forums, this turned into a more traditional ‘sitting in pubs’ kind of friendship. Let me tell you a little about Brian, Doug and Jacob.

After what probably amounts to years of interacting online about woodworking, Brian and I realised that we actually only lived a couple of miles apart. We also share a further coincidence of both having spent the early years of our working careers at Rolls-Royce in Derby, albeit in very different decades. Not only that, but it turns out we both have the dubious qualification of having lived in the town of Runcorn at some point in our lives. Brian is an engineer from the generation when engineers were taught how to do things properly; his knowledge helped me get the powered lead screw feed on my metalworking lathe operational.

Doug has the honour of having appeared previously on Things we Make, as he has been a huge help on the early stages of the attic project. Originally from a plumbing trade background, Doug has worked in most areas of the building trade and is the kind of bloke who will skilfully turn his hand to anything that needs doing. When I needed a fan for my spraybooth, Doug knew someone who had one. When I wanted a particular type of hinge for the Alcove Unit, Doug got hold of some for me. I am quite sure that if I asked for a penguin or a left-handed screwdriver Doug would be here with it this afternoon; resourcefulness and a generous spirited nature.

Jacob is the third member of the group. It’s an uncommon name and to my amusement, I found out last night that he’s not even called Jacob, his name is John. This is apparently due to there being another boy with the same name at his school, so 50 or so years ago he became, and remains to this day, Jacob. Coincidences arise here too; Jacob and I both studied Architecture and he also briefly worked for the same Building Contractor that I now work for. Jacob has a wealth of knowledge on traditional joinery techniques, having spent years making sash windows for historic buildings. He has a no-nonsense attitude to tools and techniques that regularly sticks two fingers up at the new fads and obsessions of the internet woodworking community. Theres a lot to be said for having a strong voice of tradition to challenge the new new things when they come along.

So three hammers for three woodworkers and long may my nights in the pub with Brian, Doug and NotJacob continue.


Posted in: Ed, Furniture