What’s My Favorite Tool?

My beautiful blowhorn stake!

Last week I asked my Tweeps what their favorite tool was.  Some of the answers were, sewing machine, vise grips,  and a computer.  I originally thought about my blowhorn stake.  (I would have chosen a hammer, but how can you choose among your children?*)

Close-up of said blowhorn stake

The blowhorn stake (named because it is shaped somewhat like a horn of old), works for a variety of forming purposes.  It has the long tapered tail that you can use for forming rings and other round, hollow things.  It has the sloped front where you can pretty much find any angle if you fidget around enough.  There is the small flat area that you can use for riveting or other anvil type operations.

My best vise (I have two) doing what it does best - holding a stake

But then I really thought about it and began to consider the lowly vise as my favorite tool.  I can’t use most of my stakes without the vise to hold them in.  I use my vise quite a lot when fold forming.  I use it to squeeze my folds and to hold my sheet metal while folding it.  These are two very important applications!

When it comes right down to it, I love all of my tools.  My favorite one at any given time is the one that is right for the job that I’m working on.  This could be something awesome like a super stake (I still long for the tongue stake they had at Tyler.  It even had a cool story behind it.) or something as overlooked as masking tape.  Many times, my most favorite tool is the one I don’t have yet (I’m talking about you drill press, bandsaw, and guillotine shears!).

So which tool that you own is your favorite?  Which one do you wish you had?

Shhhh! Don't let the other hammers know!

*I finally decided that if I could have only one hammer, it would be my forging hammer because it has one cross pein side and one flat pein side and can be used for the most applications.  But then there are my mallets, and my planishing hammer, and don’t forget all my raising hammers…

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2 thoughts on “What’s My Favorite Tool?

  1. Wow, I have to say, it’s so interesting reading your blog! I love seeing all the tools a metalsmith needs. I can only imagine how fun your studio is!

    I don’t know how to choose a fave, either. I’ve still got a few days to think about it, but I have no idea how to pick.


  2. I love metalsmithing tools! One of my favorite studios to visit in art school was the metals studio. I have deep admiration for those with your skills. The patience and finesse required escaped me when I tried it myself. Your work is skillful…I’m admiring your textured brass cuff!


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