We don’t really have a category for this stuff, so I’m putting it under Guns, Drugs & Booze. Powertools really should be in there, because hey, what good is a chainsaw without booze and drugs – and vice versa.
My drill press has a notice on in: “Do not use if wearing gloves, loose clothes, or a neck tie.”
How the hell old school do you have to be, to be doing woodworking (or metal working) in a necktie?
[Warning: Old-school cussing to follow]
It was made in China and I got it as a gift, and it’s about 75 pounds of cast iron and electric motor, and pulleys and belts and stuff – and I know China is a little backward in some respects… but what kinda guy wears a necktie while chamfering an engine head, or knocking out a couple Shaker style chairs?
Why, you’d have to be the kind of guy who would own something like this – a “Powermatic” something or other. This tool is so macho, that you don’t have to have the faintest idea of what it does – you just stand near it and nod, and people will steer clear of you. And what a name – the “Powermatic.” Sheesh. Near as I can tell, it was made out of a couple hundred pound block of pure pig iron, and built in an era where tools were made by companies with names like “Atlas” and “Hercules” and “Acme” and “Thor.” None of this “Mikita” bullshit. And screw that line of pink girly tools that Home Depot sells. The only Mikita that a Hercules Punch Press operator would bother with was Stan “Stosh” Mikita, a tough two way forward for the Chicago Blackhawks, and the only tool a woman needs to know how to use is… well, men in that era didn’t talk about it that way.
But drill press operation in a tie… If you do ironworking in a tie, you probably spot weld in a freakin’ Jos. A. Bank cashmere suit, whilst puffing on a Pall-Mall. You probably only smoke the Pall Malls when you run out of Lucky Strikes, because the Pall Malls are the only thing that will kill you as fast. Yep.
Oh yeah, there’s lots of great vintage power tools out there. Gotta problem with snow, or carbuncles, or a pesky Japanese WWII vet who refuses to surrender? Throw ’em all into conniptions (‘specially that WWII vet) with the Propane Flame Gun. Can you imagine that? Jeeesus. They sold that thing to consumers in the old days, presumably next to the lawn darts (aka the sky rockets/frisbee substitutes). If I saw my neighbor cleaning off the driveway with a fucking flamethrower, I’d go for my rifle and move the baby to a safe distance, and take up a fighting position with good cover and concealment, and maybe call a couple pipe-hittin’ buddies for backup. But not in the old days, nope… “Ah, hell, Norm’s got the new Japroaster 5000 flamethrower – hah, that’s mil surplus if I ever saw it, used one just like it on Iwo. Flamed a coupla Nips, too, I tell ya. Didn’t like the fuel leaks though – you didn’t want to light up a Lucky after that. Hoo boy. I’d better get the Napalmomatic Frymaster attachment out for the Lawnboy, burn the lawn off the front yard so it grows back better in the spring… gotta keep up with the Joneses, you know.
Shit. I bet my old man woulda lit his Newports off that flamethrowin’ puppy. Sweeet Jeebus.
Shit yeah! I love this stuff, and I think that our narcissitic version of toughness – chest-depilated weightlifting metrosexuals who preen in bars too loud for talking – are pretty lame in comparison.
Real men in the old days shared the fun, too. What good was dangerous power tool-joy, if you couldn’t share it with the boys on special occasions? For example, when the little woman was off at the hospital having your son, what better way to spend the day than risking decapitation with a thoroughly unsafe, 90 pound, two-man chainsaw? “Aw, dammit Bob, why do I have to be at the end of the blade with the little tiny handle again? You know how I hate losing fingers. Ahhh, fuck it, just give me another beer, and let’s start cuttin’.”
But really, if you are the kind of guy who does metal working in a necktie, that stuff is for pansies. You do what a really real man does. You probably carry your lunch in a pail, and you bend things like bridge abutments and 980 ton earthmoving machines using this 90,000 pound power hammer. [click on the yellow and black thumbnail, bottom left]
Ever heard of a power hammer? Prolly not, I’m guessing. It’s a huge vertical ram, the larger versions of which basically drive a schoolbus-sized hunk of metal hammer up and down onto a yacht-sized hunk of metal anvil, and you slip a big hunka steel in there to bend it (careful – don’t get your tie caught; and your fingers will look like huge pancakes if you slip up) and make something nice for the missus like some new bodywork for the car, because she was a little upset about you and the boys drinking too much Schlitz at the VFW last night and getting a ding on the flare fender of the DeSoto. You use a tool like a 90,000 pound goddam power hammer because you are so old school that even Charles freaking Darwin wouldn’t know where you fit in, you goddam freak.
By the way – that power hammer I linked to is on a website called AnvilFire.com/power – frankly, I feel like too much of a pussy to even open that site again, at least until I’ve pounded this glass of Wild Turkey and done 50 pushups, and maybe punched myself out for an attempt to get fresh with myself in the shower this morning. Shit – even the website for the power hammers is tough.
As another aside, when you check out the that artwork advertising that power hammer, can’t you just about hear those sweaty Krauts thinkin’, “man, I’m tired of working my union-mandated 35 hour workweeks in this stinkin’ factory here in Dortmund… but I guess it beats getting shot at by fucking Ivan in 60 below cold at Stalingrad, tell ya what. Shit my wrist hurts on days like this – I prolly never shoulda beat that Russki to death with my entrenching tool, left handed. Oh well, if I didn’t have to choke that other Ivan with my right hand at the same time, I guess I wouldn’t have had to. Hmmm… I think I’ll have some raw meat on bread for lunch along with my three beers. Better be careful not to spill anything on my new necktie.”
Aw hell, those old boys were hard, harder than a burlap bag full of 25 ounce hammers.
I mean, I’m so goddam old school that if you asked Colin Farrell and the Cherry Hill Gang about me, all you’d get is stunned silence. But I still don’t wear a necktie when I do my woodworking.
Yep. That’s old school. “Don’t run the drill press while wearing a necktie.”
Fuck. I don’t feel worthy of owning that thing. Maybe I need to look into one of those pink cordless drills, with a fluffy buffing attachment…