Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My birthday present

My sons took me out last week for a birthday celebration, perfectly calibrated to the things I love to do, and none of the things I don't.  First off, sushi for lunch.

Next, two store visits, in which  the guys would buy me anything I wanted -- the restaurant supply store and Harbor Freight, that cheap-crap extravaganza where you can buy the low-end Chinese version of any tool you might ever want.  Ah yes, they know me well -- I don't do well in fancy stores but show me stuff for $1.99 and I am happy.

In each of the stores we walked every one of the aisles, discussing all the things for sale -- what you might use them for, what makes them so expensive (or so cheap).  Stories of kitchen and shop mishaps of the past abounded.  A few legitimate needs were answered, plus a bunch of impulse buys, but of course the conversation and the companionship were the best parts of the afternoon.

Here are some of my new toys:

a sheath for my good Wusthof knife

an array of clamps, magnets, wire brushes and a little tape measure with a carabiner to hook onto your belt

and best of all, a little pull saw.  For years I've been working with a little electric saw that cuts nice and clean until the last 1/16th of an inch, at which point the wood breaks off in a splinter (lots of sandpaper used in my shop).  And for years I've been bemoaning the lack of a decent vise to hold the wood while I cut it.

The new saw solves both problems.  Because it cuts on the pull stroke, you don't need a vise, just a piece of wood clamped to the bench.  Nestle your dowel or whatever against the lip, hold the saw horizontally and saw against the edge of the wood till the teeth just graze the surface of the bench.  Just a bit of guidance from your left hand to hold the other end of the dowel against the wood lip, while the action of the saw holds the business end firmly in place with each stroke.

A wonderful birthday celebration!  We sure raised a couple of great kids.


  1. interested to see you use dowel and not flat strip. from northern ireland

    1. For larger quilts, I use flat lath. For little ones, often a dowel -- less weight to tote around, not fat enough to cause a bulge in the quilt.

  2. Now I know to stay out of Harbor Freight. So much cuteness! Must resist the clip-on tape measure. (I have one in every room, my purse, and the car.)

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  3. Sounds like a perfect birthday celebration to me! And Harbor Freight...too much good, cheap stuff!!!

  4. This sounds like a great birthday! Congratulations and many happy returns. Also I'm coveting your new big C clamps, I keep meaning to pick some up...

  5. What a terrific birthday spent with your sons. They do indeed sound like great guys.

  6. Happy birthday Kathy. What could be better than a couple of vice clamps and sushi? Time with your sons. Priceless

  7. Sounds like a most perfect birthday!
    Happy Birthday to you!

  8. Happy Birthday! Your new tools are ever so much cooler than what I've ever gotten! Flowers are nice, but tools are awesome and lots more fun.

  9. Happy birthday! An inexpensive store is more my style than a frou frou one anyday! Those tools will come in useful all year and even after.