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Fork, you say?

So, Uncle B has a birthday coming up, and the only thing he could think he wanted was…a really good fork?

Yes, I am QUITE sure I didn’t mis-hear him.

We made the rounds of the local garden centers (or gardne centres, if you prefer), but nothing impressed. Finally, we were standing, staring at the forks in a local hardware shop (dear twelve-year-old me: you are not going to beLIEVE…) when a little man sidled up and whispered these aren’t the forks you’re looking for.

All the modern ones, he told us, are rubbish. The stainless steel ones are made in China and brittle. The British ones aren’t finished right. What we really needed to do, he said, was check out the refurbished tools at this one particular local antique store, for whom he happens to refurbish tools.

So we did that.

Hoo! I cannot tell you how lovely these old things were. Are. We bought a fork and a spade. Heavy. Wickedly sharp. Great slabs of oak handles polished by who knows how many man hours of human hands, doing work. For about what we would have paid for modern rubbish.

Oh. Yeah. I was going to post about the Obama team’s inability to find Colorado on the map, but my max graphic size isn’t enough to do funny state names justice. Also, I couldn’t think of any.


Comment from Mike James
Time: September 27, 2011, 8:57 pm


Also, happy birthday to your lucky, lucky Uncle B. Looks like you generously gave him a couple of forks–one after having rolled over.


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 27, 2011, 9:10 pm

Those are lovely, and will last as long as Uncle B does!

Happy birthday, Unk…I wish you many more happy ones!

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 27, 2011, 9:41 pm

Obamy shouldn’t feel too bad about the fuckup. I payed a whole $20.00 dollars to the coven in Manitou Springs to cast a veil over our state in hopes that he would forget that we even exist……


(gotta say, the witch who runs the Herbal shop in Manitou has a ROCKING bod….)

Comment from JC
Time: September 27, 2011, 9:44 pm

More Tool Pron!

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: September 27, 2011, 9:56 pm

Those are beautiful!! What a lovely birthday present.
Mr C’s birthday is this weekend. I’m making him a blanket! He loves my super soft, super expensive Little Giraffe blanket (it was a present from my best friend). They don’t make one big enough for Mr C. So I’m heading down to the fabric shop to find him some wonderfully soft fleece to make one just like it! At a third of the price! Plus I’m making it with my own little arthritic fingers, he better effing love it!

Happiest of Birthdays Uncle Badger!

Comment from Dan Patterson
Time: September 27, 2011, 10:33 pm

The post has encapsulated the ills of our modern lives. Guilded Crap and good-enough-to-get-by has both replaced quality and removed employment.
Bah. And Humbug!
And Happy Birthday. Save me a piece of cake, please.

Comment from Spad13
Time: September 27, 2011, 10:48 pm

Luckily I stopped on the way home and picked up a nice Pinot Noir. I drink your health Uncle B. and wish you many more years of same.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 27, 2011, 10:55 pm

Your wish is my command, JC. A little digging on the internet, and Uncle B turned up the guy who made the spade and the guy who made the fork.

Or was it the other way around?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 27, 2011, 11:17 pm

Thanks very much, fellow minions!

And what do you give a badger for his birthday? Things for digging! Hurrah!

Comment from Laconic
Time: September 27, 2011, 11:23 pm

If that’s what you wish for on your birthday….you arrhh done.
(is it still talk like a pirate week? )

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: September 27, 2011, 11:28 pm

Maybe the Obama team was using the new Times Atlas of the World.

Is global warming expected to shift Colorado northward?

Comment from Laconic
Time: September 27, 2011, 11:31 pm

No, but this might move it a little to the right

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: September 27, 2011, 11:39 pm

It’s a Badger’s Birthday! HOORAY! HOORAY!

It’s a Badger’s Birthday! HOORAY!, HOORAY!

Time for us to celebrate! YAY!, YAY!, YAY!


Things for digging, or things with 30 round detachable box magazines. With either the sacred letters H & K stamped on the side, or a wee small dancing horsey.

Happy Birthday Cousin Badger! Make youself a bacon double cheeseburger, and have a hot fudge sundae for dessert, it’s your day!

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 28, 2011, 12:00 am

happy birthday dear Badger, happy birthday to you. What a lovely turn of events. Beautiful tools.

This might amuse you too: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/dirt-cake-i/detail.aspx

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 28, 2011, 12:17 am


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 28, 2011, 1:56 am

Best birthday wishes in advance, Uncle Badger. What elegant tools those are!

Comment from EZnSF
Time: September 28, 2011, 1:58 am

Happy Badger Day!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 28, 2011, 2:56 am

I may be really late to the party on this one–no doubt Stoaty and all the minions are familiar with this software, but just in case–here is a fascinating open source planetarium program: http://www.stellarium.org

Comment from catnip
Time: September 28, 2011, 3:10 am

Felicitations on your birthday, Uncle B!

You’re either the nicest, most intelligent and accomplished man in the world, or the rest of us are just making you look good.

Comment from Frit
Time: September 28, 2011, 5:15 am

Happy Birthday, Uncle Badger!

And yes, those tools look lovely! Congratulations on finding them! 🙂

Comment from David Gillies
Time: September 28, 2011, 5:32 am

I had pick of my Dad’s shed last time I was back in the UK. Meant to take a little bench vise he bought back in 1960 or so but forgot to pack it. It will still be there next time (I hope). Some of my grandfather’s (b. 1889) pipe wrenches are still knocking around there somewhere – he was a welder on Clydeside during WW1 and then a central heating engineer in London. The wrenches are post-WW2 but still venerable. They need to go to a good home (i.e. nephews who appreciate these things, and I have just the one in mind.) It’s amazing how these things last, although in some instances you have to wonder if there isn’t an element of Theseus’ Ship about them.

Comment from The Jannie
Time: September 28, 2011, 7:22 am

As someone once didn’t say, there’s no tool like an old tool.

Comment from MIke C.
Time: September 28, 2011, 8:25 am

Just had an analagous discussion over at GCP RE revolvers. Okay, I know that’s kind of out of bounds to the UK residents, but it’s still valid. Prettiest DA revolver ever? The now sadly out-of-production Colt Python. Blueing you could dive into and swim around in. Prettiest DA revolver still in production? The S&W Model 29 Classic, 6.5″ barrel in blued steel. Yours for only a small fortune. Kicks like a mule on crystal meth, but you get the bonus “Dirty Harry” quotes for free.

All threads eventually turn into gun threads…

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: September 28, 2011, 8:49 am

Salutations and felicitations on your annual event, Uncle B. – very nice spade and fork; indeed, the older ones are generally the best by far. I still have and well-treasure the full set of plumbers’ working tools, crafted early last century, inherited from my maternal grandfather, who was mostly a motion-picture projectionist by trade but a near-expert plumber and pipefitter when he could find the time (good way to make a wage during theater-workers’ union “work stoppages”, no doubt).

Mike C., if you think the S&W Model 29 in 6.5″ barrel is a phenom, try it in the 8-3/8″ length of same – more velocity, more “kick” and molto respect at the range. Fun!!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 28, 2011, 9:48 am

We used to see a lot more vintage tools at the local fêtes and fairs, in the bric-a-brac stalls. Not sure why we don’t any more. Even the awls and screwdrivers were beautifully tuned and seductive. Sometimes you’d run across a whole craftsman’s set, still in the wooden toolbox.

Before I was forcibly disarmed, I had a thing for revolvers. Leave ’em under your bed for thirty years, and the night the bad guy shows up, they’ll deliver six rounds right where you want ’em.

I kept one; left it with my dad. It was first handgun I ever bought: an absolutely pristine S&W .38 five-screw, with the lanyard ring and all. Somebody’s dress uniform weapon, I guess. Looks like it had never been fired (though I fired it, of course).

Comment from Laconic
Time: September 28, 2011, 6:14 pm

Vintage tool…..You just gave me a mental image of Jimmy Carter

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 28, 2011, 7:46 pm

My grandfather was an Army blacksmith (ca 1915), a gunsmith, and a woodwright. If he couldn’t find the tool he wanted, he just made it. I have a sturdy little set of hand-size gardening tools that he made in the 30s. He built a small cabin cruiser in his garage, too—took him about five years. Drew his own plans then built it. I bet it’s still afloat somewhere.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: September 28, 2011, 8:19 pm

I don’t trust revolvers as combat weapons. I once was firing a S&W Model 28 Highway Patrolman, and the primer backed out of the casing, and locked the cylinder so tight, that a gunsmith had to use a leather mallet to pound it loose. I realise how rare that is, but it scared me. Suppose it had happened during a traffic stop gone bad?

At dawn today, in honor of Uncle Badger, and his beloved Weasel, I went outside, faced the dawn, and played Bach’s Minuet in G minor on my Sousaphone.

My duty weapon is a Heckler & Koch USP45F, and it’s gonna stay that way.

I do own a S&W 19 that I quite like, and a Colt Trooper MKIII in .22lr, that sure shoots sweet. I inherited a harrington and Richardson .22lr from my Uncle Howard. Not in the same leauge as the Colt, that’s for sure. Does anyone else find cylinder blast disconcerting? I don’t care for it, I guess Badgers are semi auto users.

I thought that the Python was still available through Colt’s Custom Gun Shop. At about thame price as a Ford Ranger.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: September 28, 2011, 9:15 pm

Scubafreak @ September 27, 2011, 9:41 pm

Get your money back from the coven, the silly bugger found us. I had to take my daughter to the misbegotten temporary Denver Amtrak station yesterday afternoon [not rush hour], and the traffic inbound and outbound on I-25 was locked up from Centennial all the way to Coors Field. For those who do not know Denver, Centennial is well south of Denver proper, bordered by open prairie.

It did not help my mood for when I finally fought my way to LoDo and found that Amtrak’s map to the temporary station had no relationship to reality.

Happy Birthday to Uncle B. and many happy returns.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from MarkT
Time: September 28, 2011, 9:53 pm

Very cool. Uncle B–you gotta love her! You must have the richest life this side of Mars. Does Mr Peasant-King do flat blade scraper hoes that do puppy pootstakes? Tell him to save me one! Seriously. We just had some of S’burys Lambrini Perry w/ Thai Curry–£1.68/litre. Nom-nom. Great time of the year for a B’day! Cheers!

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: September 29, 2011, 1:08 am

Very Happy Birthday and MANY MORE!!!! Love the forks, although I’m glad it will be you and not me using them….
There were 1000 FREE tickets to see the POTUS and they had trouble giving them away. Go figure.
And by the way,,, GLOCK rules!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 29, 2011, 9:07 pm

Again, thanks everyone for the good wishes.

I wish I could join in the learned discussion of firearms but, um, I’m sure you’re all well aware of the problems! Grrr!

In the end the celebrations were somewhat muted. Pressure of work and one or two other ‘issues’ meant we confined ourselves to a movie (Tinker, Tailor… the new version, and being somewhat hyped IMNSHO).

More this weekend, when things clear a bit! Hurrah!

Comment from Drew458
Time: September 30, 2011, 5:54 pm

I went through something like this a few years ago. Had to find a good spade for my aging mother. All the “ladies tools” were flyweight junk that would break at the first rock. I looked around online and learned that there exists a British Standard for garden tool strength (which is not strong enough, but better than nothing)… and that the tools made by Clarington Forge greatly surpass those standards. Sold in the UK under the Bulldog brand. I got her a rabbiting spade, which is like a border spade but pointy. It was just the right size for her, and she went straight out and started using it to lever boulders bigger than Christmas turkeys right out of the ground. Toughest little digger I’ve ever seen. Lee Valley Tools sells them online in the USA.

And bestest birthday wishes for Uncle B, albeit slightly belated!

Comment from Drew458
Time: September 30, 2011, 6:05 pm

ScottTheBadger – if you’re going to use a revolver in combat, then it is only fair to use combat ammunition. Seal your primers with primer sealer (aka clear nail polish) and they won’t back out. A good strong crimp on the bullets too, if you roll your own … in which case you should be able to feel which primer pockets are a bit big, and sort them out ahead of time.

Cylinder blast? Ahh, you’re talking about side ejecta? A properly timed cylinder will line up in the center of the barrel’s forcing cone and minimize that. So will smaller than average cylinder to frame gap. You can often shim the cylinder a hair forward with a little ring on the axle. If you reload, don’t trim your cases so much, as a slightly longer case seems to help too, as long as it chambers Ok. In the meantime, duh, keep your paws behind the front of the cylinder! 🙂

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