Handmade: A Tale of Production – Part 1
HANDMADE: A TALE OF PRODUCTION
Part One: That Old Magical Cabinet
by Don Clark
We open on the weary toymaker, Henry. He makes loads of old timey wood toys inside the coolest little workshop that was formerly the cutest little barn. It’s not a barn barn. More like an outbuilding that sheep (or something) lived in.You wouldn’t know that now though. Henry re-outfitted the building decades ago. He heats it in the winter with a pot-bellied stove fueled by shop wood scraps. Handy. Henry had the shortest commute he knew of – about fifty feet. He and his wife lived in an old farmhouse. Their kids were grown
His shop it a cozy little place filled with sunlight, toys, and tools. Some of the tools he’s inherited, but most were picked up at yard sales and the like. He has a professional interest to be sure, but, good grief, he has more rusted hand planes than he’ll ever find the time to restore. Let alone, need. In addition to his power saws, he has four or five dozen handsaws. Maybe six? And let’s be honest here; you can make do when one or two. Henry has a half dozen hand-drills. Like he needs any more help adding to his arthritis.
On top of all this, he’s not even sure what some of the tools are.
That doesn’t matter though. Henry’s chief interest is the tool’s owners and their stories.
Take that saw over there. Some old fella used that saw for thirty years before he was just too old. Then he spent a decade first cupping his ear and saying “WHAT?,” before relenting to the inevitable and just nodding when someone spoke to him.
Then he passed, where his tools, rusted from an untended decade in the garage, were sold at an estate sale. His children and grandchildren holding back tears as they swapped old stories. But the tools don’t look like much, they mostly went unsold. Henry can’t bear to think of those tools being shuttled off for scrap.
He bought all the unsold tools. Henry had to keep those tools in use.
Because he can’t bear to think of his old tools suffering a scrap-yard fate.
This is our toymaker. Making toys for the young folks, some of which have grown up to buy his toys for their young folks. Read more