Book of the Week: Every Tool's a Hammer
This week’s selection is “Every Tool's a Hammer:” by Adam Savage.
Savage is, of course, the ubiquitous maker we’ve watched for years on the now-discontinued Mythbusters TV show. On the show Savage and team explored a number of popular myths by using their incredible power to make literally anything. He now works, among other projects, with Tested, where he has highlighted work like Melissa Ng’s deftly designed gauntlets.
Anyone who’s spent time in a workshop knows that there is always something more to learn, a better way, or a safer approach. You don’t go to class to learn these things; you encounter them as the years pass and gradually build up a personal repertoire of methods that transform you into a better maker.
I believe that many Fabbaloo readers are makers, or would like to be. The advent of inexpensive 3D printing has drawn many into the orbit of the making community, either from personal interest or business involvement. But can you be a better maker? Indeed you can, and Savage’s book “Every Tool’s a Hammer” can help.
Savage’s years as a maker have enabled him to collect a vast amount of making knowledge, and that knowledge is what comprises this book. He explains:
“Every Tool’s a Hammer is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.”
The book is essentially a dump of Savage’s workshop methods. One chapter, “Sweep Up Every Day”, for example, covers the notion of tidiness in the workshop, something very critical yet often forgotten.
Another chapter discusses the use of cooling fluid, another aspect often ignored when processing materials in a workshop. Not using sufficient fluids can eventually result in premature wear of blades and bits, adding to the maker’s costs.
There’s even a chapter at the beginning of the book that discusses the problem of having ideas or motivation to make something. This is indeed an issue with many of today’s casual makers: while there are powerful making machines and software readily available, what, indeed, do you choose to make with them? That’s a lengthy discussion, and Savage gets right to it.
Throughout the book, Savage employs real-life examples of situations where he learned or used the skill’s he’s teaching you. This grounds the concepts much more readily and provides a way for you to understand his process quickly. You also get some behind-the-scenes views of the Mythbusters operation, as well.
If you’re a maker of any kind, consider reading this book. You will learn something important.