Last week you read that long-time Tools of the Trade editor and carpenter, David Frane, has chosen to make good on all those times he's told his wife "Sure, dear, I'll do that." He has a honey-do list years long. Officially, he's left to "spend time with family and [the part I'm especially jealous about] travel." We will dearly miss his contributions, to say the least.
Back in 1993, Tools of the Trade launched as an off-shoot of JLC. I was the editor. In the first official letter from the editor (titled with the archaic "Dear Reader") I wrote: "Can you imagine finishing a slab without a float? Bending flashing without a brake? Running trim without a chop saw? ... In fact, the answer is probably 'yes.' We could do most jobs with just a few basic hand tools. A few 2x4s might help. Hell, we could use rocks if we set our minds to it."
Despite how far we may have "progressed," I'm sticking with my original declaration: "We can do the work so much better and faster with good tools. Without them, most jobs wouldn't be worth doing."
I feel fortunate to be working now with Chris Ermides (cermides@hanleywood,com), Senior Editor of Tools of the Trade, who is leading the charge on the Tools front for the JLC Group. Chris got his start advising contractors of the right tools to buy when he began working in one of those amazing small-town hardware stores (the kind we all crave will survive the current economy) at age 14. He went on to become a remodeling contractor, general contractor, editor at Fine Homebuilding and most recently, site supervisor/project manager for the construction management division of a high-end architect based in Saratoga Springs, NY. That's the town where Chris currently lives in an 1850s brick farmhouse that he's restoring.
Twenty three years ago we started JLC's Tools of the Trade to give you - the professional tradesperson - the information you need to buy the right tools and use them well. This mission has not changed. What's really changed, of course, is the way we deliver this information to you and gather your feedback. In that respect, we are definitely not in the stone-age any more. You have as much to say about tool performance and best-practice tool-use as any of us. Please don't be shy to join the conversation by posting your comments and sharing your observations, photos and videos as we enter the next era of Tools of the Trade.
All the best, Clay