For Christmas 2021, my dear father-in-law gave me a gift certificate to spend in Jeff Peachey’s shop, home of beautifully handcrafted bookbinding and repair tools. Instead of buying a tool, I chose to learn how to make tools. In addition to receiving an enjoyable and intensive introduction to working with Delrin and bamboo, I repurposed a laparoscopic loop-cutting scissors into a bookbinding tool.
The two sessions were delightful, enlightening, and empowering. I had never considered making a tool even though my Antropolopy 101 professor taught me that we were descendants of Homo habilis. [Wikipedia tells me that is now debatable.] It was such a pleasure to gather with Jeff and 11 other tool geeks. Jeff’s demonstrations, chalkboard sketches, readings, and videos taught me the basics while conversations among the other students enriched the sessions.
Speaking of our Homo genus, I renamed our species Homo luxus a month or so into the COVID-19 pandemic. Our ability to be nearly present with others via Zoom, Skype, &tc. is made possible through light. Fiber optic cables simply (but not easily) carry our voices and images around the world and back, literally at the speed of light. A dear friend in Kenya sent me a poem called “You Belong to Infinity” and at the bottom of my reply I sent a snapshot from a documentary about other primates and “P.S. I reckon we are evolving into Homo luxus.”
Back to Peachey & Co. A couple of days after the first of two sessions with Jeff Peachey and the cohort I found that a neighbor who sells medical equipment was throwing away samples. A rifled through the cartons on his tree lawn (aka verge) and was intrigued by a laparoscopic scissors (sterilized and marked for single use). Using a little hacksaw and needle-nosed pliers, I dissected the 18-inch long tool and imagined how I might use a single curved blade like a seam ripper to cut a book’s stitches.
Using Jeff Peachey’s instructions from the first of the two workshops, I created a small Delrin holder for the blade. These images document what I call “thinkering” or physical thinking.”