Tool-finding Caprice

One of my favorite occasional threads in the Professional Refinishers Group exchanges is called “High Points of Low-Tech” wherein the members of this amazingly creative assembly show new and innovative uses for mundane materials in the shop.  I often do not have the time to peruse all the threads on “Groop” but I make a point to go through the HPLT postings.

Recently I have come across three new tools incorporated into tortoiseshell box conservation projects in The Barn. Two of them definitely fit the previous description.


The first was these fancy toothpicks I got. I think, at Wally World.  I was trying to find something on the shelf in the grocery section and saw these.


Since toothpicks are such a valuable tool for my work, as spacers, wedges, adhesives dispensers and spreaders, etc., I am always on the lookout for a better toothpick.  Well, I have found them.  They bear a premium price, and by that they are one penny a piece, but I still bought enough that I have a container of them at every work station in the shop.


Also while working on some little tortoiseshell boxes I kept needing a small elevated platform for some of the processes.  A hard surface would not work, as it would mar the polished surface.  A soft/squishy surface would notwork as I could not bring any pressure to the task at hand.  And ideally the work platform could be variable in size.

While looking in a drawer for something else, the lightning bolt struck.  I have several rolled bundles of leather strapping and one of these turned out to be the perfect solution.  It was firm but not marring, and could be configured to whatever size I needed.  So, if you have an old belt you already possess a perfect elevated work platform for delicate tasks.


Finally, one of the things I often must do for TTS boxes is to fabricate and inlay pewter stringing.   I used to pound and polish it flat, but while at the hardware store I saw this veneering roller.  The heavy steel cylinder works perfectly for flattening the fine gauge solder (solder is simply pewter in a coiled roll) into a thin stringing for inlay.  Viola!