Revere the Tools
How to treat tools with respect.
We should treat tools with respect.
Now, this isn’t merely a matter of practicality, where a well-maintained tool will make our lives easier. This is of moral importance. Use - don’t abuse - tools.
This is something saints endorse:
Look upon all the tools and all the property of the monastery as if they were sacred altar vessels.
- St Benedict of Nursia
Reverence towards tools is definitely something I’ve struggled with in the past. My shop teachers are shaking their heads profusely at me. How do you revere a tool?
Holy places are places of cleanliness.
A shop manager of mine had a great mantra: “if you don’t have time to clean up, you didn’t have time to start the job”. I think about this a lot as I go through the shop, and I still slip up at times, but I factor in the cleanup time whenever I’m estimating my work either for personal purposes or for pay. Yes, you should be billing your cleanup time!
Clean up well.
II. Set Apart
Holy places are distinct.
Tools should have clear and set-apart places. Customization, labelling, and other organizational aids help us to ritualize our tool use. Ritual begets reverence.
Dignify tools with a good home.
If appropriate, appropriate.
In my experience one of the best ways to get people to revere and appreciate tools is to customize them. A hallmark that I’ve been in a shop is that the hammer drawer of a toolbox is labelled “persuasive devices”. Perhaps one of my favorite examples was a pair of boxes labelled “top secret” and a “bottom secret”. Tools get funny names, or engraved, or made specfic to a task.
Entice people to a personal relationship with their tools.
- Reverence your tools! Create culture around them.
- Set aside enough time to clean.
- Set apart tools with good organizational methods.
- Encourage customization and personal relationship with your tools.