Useless Tools


Mallet and Chisel (Douglas Fir, Red Oak)


As a student at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, I was taught to make a number of basic tools – mallets, planes, bevel gauges and the like – tools essential to a shipwright’s toolbox. These exercises, a few excess pieces of douglas fir, and my old Rockwell wood lathe led me to create my first of tool parodies, a hugely over sized wooden mallet and its companion, an equally over sized wooden chisel.

From that starting point I’ve continued to create imaginative, exaggerated, and at times distorted versions of tools that might occupy the toolbox of a shipwright or carpenter. Drawing on my medical background, I’m also adding a group of medical tool parodies – tools no longer found in a doctor’s historic black bag. What all of these creations share is their fundamental uselessness, the insights they give us about classic real tools, and their ability to delight.
  Rabbit Plane                                    Sewing Kit                                Musical Caulking Mallet (B-flat)
        (Douglas Fir, Walnut)                   (Yellow Pine, Jute Twine)        (Mesquite, Purple Heart, Clarinet)

  Licking Plane                                    Licking Plane                               Bear Claw Hammer 
      (Douglas Fir, Purple Heart)           (showing tongue blade)                     (Mahogany and Oak)

    Bear Claw Hammer                      Cat's Claw Hammer          Cat's Claw Hammer
                                                       (Mahogany and Maple)

   Crab Claw Hammer           Crab Claw Hammer            Claw Hammer Collection
   (Mahogany and Oak)
    Panther's Claw Hammer                 Panther's Claw Hammer                Useless Gavel
    (Mahogany and Oak)                                                                              (Sapele)


    Political Spin Mallet                          Neurologist's Pinwheel             Wooden Stethoscopes
    (Douglas Fir, Purple Heart &          (Locust, Ebony, Purple Heart,       Authentic, pre-WWI on left
    Antique Carved Bottle Stoppers)    Maple, Mahogany, Angelique)     Oversized, Walnut on Right

   Wooden Stethoscopes      Great White Wrench                      Great White Wrench
   (Actually functional)     (Cut Jade, Mahogany, Acrylic Paint)

     Lobster Claw Hammer                    Eagle's Claw Hammer                Five Claw Hammers and a
                                                                                                           Wrench -- The Collection