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The Art of Fine Tools
ISBN 1561582638 / 9781561582631 / 1-56158-263-8
Publisher Taunton Press
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Nagyszalanczy begins his book with this simple, declarative statement: "A well made tool is a thing of beauty that's as much a pleasure to look at as it is to use." Then, in nine chapters, 231 pages, and 300 color photographs, he backs it up beyond any possible argument. Never before has such a lavish and comprehensive exploration of stunningly elegant, exotic, plain but ingenious, and just flat-out gorgeous hand tools been assembled in one book. Making use of scores of private tool collections generously made available by private collectors and museums around the United States, the author doesn't merely write evocatively about a breathtaking variety of inventive and finely crafted tools, he also photographed them individually and in groupings that evoke nothing less than classic still lifes, as objects of art and craft. And that they are, without a doubt: silver measuring tools, ivory and gilt rulers, forged-iron double-calipers, cast-iron and brass levels, and jewelry-like plumb bobs made of exquisite materials like scrimshaw, brass, and fine steel. Hand planes of dizzying variety and configurations, designed for dozens of particular and exacting tasks, and made of rosewood, brass, steel, and ivory; cast-iron hammers with heads shaped like fish; drills and augers, axes and saws, and chisels; a bone-handled gouge; quirky and unusual combination tools; human-powered scroll saws and many more are described and pictured in delightful detail. This is truly a tool-lover's dream book. --Mark A. Hetts [via]