Every Tool's a Hammer

Posted on June 22, 2020

I started a book back May 20, 2020, it was Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage. The book is about a maker’s life, from when he was a small child playing in his dad’s studio to a full-grown adult with successes ranging all over the film and maker industries. One of the great things about the story he shares is that he includes epic failures, embarrassing events and an intimate look into his process to help makers of all levels. He also shares lessons that he’s learned along the way. Obviously, he shares his experience with MythBusters, but I had no idea how much Jamie Hyneman impacted his life as a professional and maker. I knew they were co-workers, but I had no idea how much Jamie gave him his break for MythBusters.

It isn’t a hard read, and a welcomed change from user manuals and syntax manuals that I tend to read more than leisure reading because it was very helpful. I learned many of the aspects that Adam uses, I also use. I learned that I use parts from many of the people he shares in his book. As a rule, I try not to base what works and doesn’t for me on others choice (different folks, different strokes type of thinking), but it was nice to hear about prolific builders using the same philosophies and beliefs.

For example, and I’m paraphrasing, Tom Sachs says cleaning a workspace after a day is meditative and necessary. I couldn’t agree more. During a multi-day build, I will leave a project on the bench at the end of the day, perhaps allowing glue to set, I’m getting the next step or piece ready, or maybe to allow paint or stain to cure. Honestly, its generally paint drying though, I am bad at calculating dry time. But when I clean up after each day, I know that everything that doesn’t have a purpose in or on my final “thing” has been removed, so I can come in the next day and start fresh. This habit was started for me when I was young because I shared a workspace with my grandpa and dad, both of which did not allow for someone to leave a mess behind. It is a sign of respect of the space, tools and person that allowed you to use their space. Cleaning is paramount to keeping a shop running, well cleanly. This and many other philosophies I can relate to in the book. I would be lying if I said by the end of learning these similarities that it didn’t give me a boost of confidence. It’s good to know that I have some building principles and beliefs in common with such epic makers.

You can pick up the book in many places, Amazon, Barns & Nobles, or on Tested.com.

Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

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