Yesterday my wife and I drove some distance to visit a specialty supply store. It’s the kind of place which I used to visit in Manhattan in the 1960s, but what with the way the world is now we visit them on the Internet or as in this case in the depressed atmosphere of an abandoned town across the street from an decaying falling water mill. As we became friendly with the woman helping her she related a story which as is my tendency I’ve over generalized.
If you run a store that serves the needs of some esoteric old craft you will attract down upon your shoulders a particular kind of frustrating event like the one she told us about. From time to time an innocent soul will wander into your store carrying a box and they will say “I bought this for 5 dollars at a yard sale.” or “I found this clearing out my mother’s attic.” and of course “I’d like to try my hand at …” They will then open the box and inside will be the tool. It was made in the 19th century. It’s better than any tool you can buy today. It has a hand made wooden box, with brass fittings. And you, working in the store have wanted one for years if not decades. And here is this damn amateur with no idea what they have got!
She paused possibly savoring the bittersweet slightly nostalgic self pity and then she brightened up and said. “Thank god for ebay.” So I guess she has one now.
I get your point, and I miss the old electronics surplus places sorely, but … don’t curse the darkness! Make a tool better than could be made in the 19th century!
Or at the very high end:
Lee Valley is good fun, yup. I was thinking about them last night as I was cleaning our stainless tub we use for compost scraps.