It always makes my day when I open my email and the first thing that I see is a kind message from a customer about how much they love the quality of our tools. I bust my ass to make these into what they are, sometimes turning a normal 8-10 hour day into an 18 hour one. The main thing I love about making our tools is that I am constantly learning, almost like being back in shop class in high school. I'm constantly evolving and changing things, because handling each tool allows me to obsess like that, it's great, and I see it carry over into other parts of my life too, and hopefully for the better!
Taking our designs from a concept scribbled on a piece of paper and turning them into a finished product reconnects me to every day things that I use without a second thought, and reminds me of the effort and ingenuity that goes into making them.
So many times I look at everyday items that I buy from stores that end up on my key-chain, in my pockets, or in my briefcase, and realize I get detached from the effort that used to go into making each of these things. I begin to look at them as just "things" that are there because they are supposed to be, because that is just how life works now. Things that were once metal are now plastic. Things that were plastic are now even cheaper plastic, flimsy and good for a use or two, and I more often than not don't even notice the poor quality after a while because the price is low enough to justify such an oversight. I disconnect, and by doing so I cast a vote with my wallet that tells them it is OK to make such a crappy item as long as it is cheap, when in reality it isn't. It makes everything so common, so now we don't even learn to maintain and care for even the higher-end items we buy because we can always buy more, or trade it in and get a new one, because there are a thousand more just like it.
That is how I realized why I love doing what I do. It helps me connect to a quality and uniqueness that is sometimes lost in the hundreds or thousands of pieces of a common object that sit on a shelf where tens of thousands of people pass by and look at it everyday, buy it, and put it in use until it becomes as common of a sight as the knob on your kitchen drawer. Since I started machining almost 10 years ago, a chamfer is no longer just a chamfer, and a tool mark isn't just a tool mark--it's a signature. You learn to tell quality from quantity real quick, which is perfect for cultivating a perfectionist mindset necessary for creating unique tools for the EDC enthusiast.
Does this make me rich? Hahahahahahaha, no. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have made tens if not dozens of dollars doing this, but more times than not, I end up hurt, I lose quite a bit of sleep, I miss time with my beautiful fiance who is expecting our first kiddo, and I watch any money that I receive in exchange from what we sell go right back into material or equipment that will make me repeat the cycle.
I can't help it. I like creating things.
Creating these tools gives me an outlet to make something I would want with the kind of quality that everyone deserves. It helps me to view the world differently, write differently, and take pride in everything that I am a part of because I am more connected to my actions than I have ever been. Every inconsistency I come across now becomes a challenge for me, challenging me to take a defect and make it a feature. When it's done successfully, I can have a modicum of pride in the little bit of contribution I have potentially made to someones every day carry that is reflected in my craftsmanship.
I make these tools with a simple goal: When someone who may be as disconnected as I have been in the past handles one of our tools, I want them to become aware of the kind of quality that should be expected when someone creates something by hand, and with a purpose. I want them to become more aware and appreciative of not just things that I create, but anything that is created by any one of my fellow creators, brought forth by the blood, sweat, and obsession found in the crafting of our items. I want it to be so apparent, that they send me an email to tell me how much they appreciate the quality that I put into anything I create.
I also want to see people reconnect like I did, and see that bit of amazement come back into how they view these kind of items, whether it is the first time they have seen it or the thousandth, that is the response I am aiming for, and why I make the tools I make.
It is why I will keep on making them, too.
If you made it this far, then I thank you for putting up with my ramblings on, and I hope that if you get an opportunity to hold one of my tools in your hand, you will see that these are more than just words, they are the the words that reflect the passion of someone who wants to create something worth creating, and will keep on doing just that.
Thanks for reading.