I’ve just returned from a trip to the U.S. East coast where I visited
family and old friends from Vermont to Virginia. I also took the
opportunity to finally bite the bullet and shop for some tools that I
have been craving for a long time - a rolling mill, new flex- shaft
machine ( My 50 year-old Foredom finally quit this year) and a bunch
of small stuff here and there. This is something I could have done
long since by mail-order, but I have never been comfy buying a
pig-in-a-poke and I like to see what I’m getting before committing.
Thanks to those Orchidians who had responded to my queries about
best suppliers to visit in NY and elsewhere.
What I learned by visiting suppliers was interesting to me. I’m not
going to name names because I don’t want to get into wrangling about
defamation. I believe the people will recognize themselves and,
learning why they lost one customer, might wonder how many others
they have lost.
For example, I have always understood that maintaining a smooth,
undamaged surface on the rollers of a rolling mill is of paramount
importance. Yet at one shop I saw numbers of both smooth and
patterned rollers on display - more or less jumbled into boxes where
any number of people before me had rummaged through the assortment.
It was inevitable that nicks, chipped edges, and scratches abounded.
Likewise with dapping and forming blocks, stakes and other tools
requiring clean surfaces. All that careless handling had also left
fingerprints on everything and patches of rust were beginning to
bloom on many of the unprotected surfaces. I immediately lost
interest in doing business there.
It was also instructive to see hand tools at close range instead of
as pictures in catalogs. I tend to buy mid-range stuff. I do try to
avoid outright junk, of course, and top-of-the-line stuff seems
extravagant at my age and non-pro level of involvement. Good enough
is good enough for me. But looking at an assortment of ostensibly
identical pliers, for example, it was easy to discern a wide range
of fit and finish even with my tired old eyes. I was happy to be able
to compare one with another and to pick what seemed the best one in
each group rather than have had some shipping clerk pull one at
random off the top of the pile.
I also stopped in at the metalwerx show outside of Boston where I
had a hard time looking at the displays of merchandise - I was
distracted by the jewelry being worn by many of the other visitors. I
wondered how many of those people I saw were people whose names i
would have recognized from having seen them on this orchid forum.
There are a few whose wit and wisdom I have enjoyed and I would have
loved to say hello… Next time nametags anyonei Secret hand signalsi
And that’s really all I have to say tonight. Thanks for all your