My favorite tool.

It's no secret I love tools. My shop is full of them. And I'm not afraid to use them.

On a typical project we use a variety of tools. Generally our works starts with the design. First I use a ball point pen to to sketch in one of my books. This rough idea is scanned and then transferred to my computer (a Mac of course) where I rework it using a digtal drawing pad. I draw freehand but with a virtual pen.

Once the design is nailed down it is time to create digtial working files which are then sent to our high tech CNC router. Once the MultiCam is finished it is time for handwork. Usually we are at the half way point at this stage.

Most often the welding of the steel framework is the next step. Cutting saws and plasma cutters along with a MIG welder are the tools of choice.

Once the framework is done and the routed high density urethane is glued into place it is time to do a little carving. My favorite carving tool is my high speed, air powered die grinder. I can generate a lot of sawdust on a hurry!

Once that process is done it is time to sculpt the epoxy or concrete and a whole new set of hand tools are brought out from the tool box. These are often the most basic of all. Fingers of course are the most handy. To generate textures we use things like crumpled tinfoil.

For carving fine lines into the soft epoxy nothing works better than a sharpened stir stick.

While we could spray our paint, in our shop we rely on old fashioned brushes for the most part. I find it fun to build up the paint, purposely leaving brushmarks behind to add character and distinctiveness to each piece. When we are done they don't look like they were made in a factory, looking like they came from a production line.

Some of my tools are used with great regularity while others gather dust for much of the time. But when I need that special tool for some special task it is there and waiting.

So which tools are my favorites? The answer is it depends on what I need to do. The tool I choose is the one I need to get the job done in the most efficient manner.

Tools are wonderful things and I don't think it is possible to have too many. :)

-grampa dan