Hand Tools Archive
Bill Houghton, Sebastopol, CA
My son did a garage cleanout, and I got some tools as payment for helping him. This is one of the two handscrews that followed me home:
The man who made these was a geologist and engineer, possessor of multiple patents. I imagine when he set out to build these, he designed them as they made sense to him. They make quite clever use of stock (though not necessarily at every hardware store) hardware, and the design is modeled on the classic handscrews with wooden screws, with one significant difference: on both classic handscrews and modern handscrews that use right- and left-hand threaded metal screws, the handles are on opposite sides of the tool, and opening and closing can be done quickly by gripping one handle in each hand and "bicycling" them. These are a tad frustrating, because you have to adjust each spindle separately.
Still, at nearly 20" overall length, they are the largest (longest, deepest reach) handscrews I now own, so they're staying.
But I am reminded, if I ever set out to make my own tools, that I should pay close attention to why classic designs are as they are, and stray from the classic design only after thinking through the tradeoffs of my change from the original.