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Thread: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

  1. #1
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Idle Hands and an Idle Mind



    I like interesting tools -- and since the best tool is the one you have with you, I like them pocketable.

    Iíve been carrying the P-38 can opener for over 40 years and about 14 years ago I tied it to an aluminum bottle opener I found in San Francisco (the black has since pretty much worn off it). I liked the symmetry: can opener and bottle opener on a cord.

    Then I bought the stainless-steel, plain-edged Spyderco Ladybug a year or so ago and put it on my key ring. And then I bought a two-inch mini pry bar (a tool of questionable but must-have value ) Ė so I slipped that on my key ring too.

    But I really wanted a better solution for the tools now that there were four of them, soI dug out the 2mm cord and went to work.

    The Toolcord weighs 69 grams, or 2.43 ounces. I can dump it in the bottom of dress trousers. Or clip the carabiner to a belt loop and let the tools hang inside a jeans pocket, away from keys and coins in the bottom of the pocket. Or clip it to a ring inside my camera bag.

    Photo: Nothing professional because it would never have gotten done if Iíd had to drag out the light tent and set up the lights. So I flipped the bed quilt over, laid everything out and took the photo with the Sigma DP2 with natural light coming in from two directions. Then a little post-processing.

    And then I took it outside for another photo:



    Cheers,
    Don

  2. #2
    Senior Member pollobarca's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Don,
    you are obviously not black and living in south london. Theres enough there to get you 6 months for just walking about with them.

    I used to carry a swiss army knife until I could no longer get on a plane with it.
    I gave up because I didnt want to forget I had it in my pocket and end up being questioned etc.

    Your pictures of the gear are, as always, excellent.

    paul
    "I ruined my health by drinking to everyone else's." Brendan Behan
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  3. #3
    Senior Member otumay's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Don, both shots are stunning. Thank you for sharing them.
    Best,
    Osman

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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Excellent shots the both of them, Don
    I have never seen a tiny pry bar like that, very cool.
    I love Spyderco knives, I carry a little all-steel hawksbill.
    Roy says it looks like a Raptor claw

  5. #5
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by pollobarca View Post
    Don,
    you are obviously not black and living in south london. Theres enough there to get you 6 months for just walking about with them.

    I used to carry a swiss army knife until I could no longer get on a plane with it. I gave up because I didnt want to forget I had it in my pocket and end up being questioned etc.

    Your pictures of the gear are, as always, excellent.
    paul
    Thanks for the nice comments, Paul.

    You’re right… I’m white. But in 2006 I did make the mistake of trying to board the London Eye with the first knife in this photo – a discontinued knife, by the way, which adds to its collector value.



    Anyway, who knew they had airport-strength security on those non-flying capsules?



    Certainly not me, so I was relieved of my knife and when I asked when I would get it back, I was told Never. That’s when I learned that locking-blade knives are illegal in Britain (even the tiny one on my Toolcord). The only reason I was able to take this recent photo is that I’m a Gemini with a tendency to buy two of everything I like – so I have a spare.

    I sympathize with your decision to quit carrying – I didn’t on my recent trip to England, although Spyderco now makes a non-locking UKPK (United Kingdom Pen Knife) that complies with British laws, but it wasn’t worth buying one for two weeks.

    Cheers,
    Don

  6. #6
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by otumay View Post
    Don, both shots are stunning. Thank you for sharing them.
    Best, Osman
    Hi OsmanÖ thank you. Just a note on that first shot: Because the knife is stainless steel, there was a little colour reflection from some other source, so I used Nik Silver Efex to ensure the photo was as black-and-white as the tools. Then I added just a small amount of rectangular black vignette to put the focus more towards the centre. That doesnít mean that it still wasnít a casual shot that could be improved.

    Besides the small Ladybug on the cord, these are my two favourites:



    Cheers,
    Don

  7. #7
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Excellent shots the both of them, Don
    I have never seen a tiny pry bar like that, very cool.
    I love Spyderco knives, I carry a little all-steel hawksbill.
    Roy says it looks like a Raptor claw
    Thank you, Lili.

    The mini pry bars are very cool Ė especially since they eliminate the temptation to pry with your knife. Whether itís opening a paint can, prying an industrial staple out of wood, or some other spur-of-the-moment pry job, itís a tiny, nice-to-have tool.

    They come in three sizes: 2, 3 and 4 inches Ė the Pico Widgy Pry Bar, Micro Widgy Tool, and Pocket Widgy Pry Bar (I wouldnít go into such detail but I thought a Raptor-carrying woman might like to know Ė Ron is right ). You can find them here and theyíre cheap (US$4 for the Pico, $5.50 for the other two) and sturdy: heat-treated D9 tool steel. The P-38 can opener is military-issue and has lasted over 40 years without sharpening, so Iím sure the pry bars, made for the U.S. government, will do as well.

    As long as Iím posting cool knives, I might as well include these to keep them in the same thread:



    My apologies if any of these have been posted in this forum. I thought I might have but I searched and found nothing.

    Cheers,
    Don

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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Don, as always your pictures are outstanding, and with the background information on the subjects are always entertaining and educational. Thanks, always much enjoy your posts.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by les View Post
    Don, as always your pictures are outstanding, and with the background information on the subjects are always entertaining and educational. Thanks, always much enjoy your posts.
    Thank you, Les.. that's very kind. In looking at my original photo, I realized that it's hard to get a sense of proportion without a familiar object in the frame, so here's the Ladybug on my key ring:





    The Ladybug is a surprisingly useful knife and has the advantage of being stainless steel -- so when you gunk it up cutting packing tape and other messy items, you can use lighter fluid or WD-40 to get it clean without worrying about the finish.

    Cheers,
    Don

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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    As long as Iím posting cool knives, I might as well include these to keep them in the same thread:



    Wonderful shots, Don, and so nice to see the Lum Chinese folders! I wanted a plain edged one in green for many years, couldn't afford it at the time and then put it out of mind. Thanks for the memories!

    Cheers,

    Irenaeus

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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Despite the difficulty, these are excellent photos.

    Seyhun
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  12. #12
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Brilliant photos Don, especially considering how hard it can be to light these sorts of objects!

    Incredibly jealous of your toolcord - I stumbled upon CountyComm's website some time ago but living in the UK can't buy anything from it... I could easily spend a couple of hundred dollars too! Ho hum...

  13. #13
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    As always, very nice photos. I've sort of known Don for years via photo forums (if someone can 'know' someone that way and a bit of emailing) and I've always been intrigued by his 'tools'. I've sometimes been seduced by them and had to have them too, but so far not the knives--though the Ladybug and the prybar are doing it again LOL.

    I just don't know where he finds these--such neat little things. I only have a Swiss army knife--my Swiss friend gave me a special one several years ago for a holiday present. I think I have to add a few things.

    Diane

  14. #14
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Irenaeus View Post
    Wonderful shots, Don, and so nice to see the Lum Chinese folders! I wanted a plain edged one in green for many years, couldn't afford it at the time and then put it out of mind. Thanks for the memories!
    Cheers,
    Irenaeus
    Let me make those memories even more enjoyable -- I never could find a Green Plain-Edge Lum, so I ended up buying the SpyderEdge version you see in the photo -- and it cost me US$285 for it, including shipping. It took me only a day to realize I'll probably never like a SpyderEdge and that, despite the beauty of the knife, it is too small for my hands.

    So then I bought the Black Lum with the PlainEdge ZDP-189 steel for about US$210 and it was an incredible knife in many ways -- it virtually wanted to LEAP open at the slightly touch, with a satisfying SNACK! sound when it did -- but there was still the fact that it didn't fit my hand well. So I sold them both -- but not before photographing them.

    So just believe they weren't the right size for you and you'll feel better -- and it's probably true.

    Cheers,
    Don

  15. #15
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson View Post
    Brilliant photos Don, especially considering how hard it can be to light these sorts of objects!

    Incredibly jealous of your toolcord - I stumbled upon CountyComm's website some time ago but living in the UK can't buy anything from it... I could easily spend a couple of hundred dollars too! Ho hum...
    Thank you, Dawson. I logged onto CountyComm, saw that they shipped internationally, dumped a few things in my cart... and then discovered they don't accept payment from overseas PayPal accounts. So I hit eBay and paid twice as much, but at least I got the pry bar -- and twice as much is still pretty cheap.

    Just a thought -- don't want you deprived of a new tool,
    Don

  16. #16
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    As always, very nice photos. I've sort of known Don for years via photo forums (if someone can 'know' someone that way and a bit of emailing) and I've always been intrigued by his 'tools'. I've sometimes been seduced by them and had to have them too, but so far not the knives--though the Ladybug and the prybar are doing it again LOL.
    Must-have items... definitely.

    And you can know people through forum messages and emails -- sometimes I think we say more relevant things online simply because we have the freedom and because we're talking to like-minded people -- Aunt Polly tends to fall asleep when I drone on about tools.

    I just don't know where he finds these--such neat little things. I only have a Swiss army knife--my Swiss friend gave me a special one several years ago for a holiday present. I think I have to add a few things.
    Diane
    A Swiss Army Knife (SAK for those in the know) from a Swiss Army Friend? How special is that! Add, add... I dare you. Oh, and I have two new tiny things coming in the mail next week, so I'll tempt you again.

    I may even email before then... it's definitely my turn.

    Take care,
    Don

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    Senior Member pollobarca's Avatar
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    Re: Idle Hands and an Idle Mind

    Did you know that blanks ( unfinished blades etc) for SAK are made in Erba Italy? They get finished in Switzerland. BTW in Erba (a smugglers hike from
    the frontier, "Van der sfroos" is the dialect referral) they have been making blades and cutlery etc for centuries if not mellenium.. Nowadays SAK have
    USB's and I've even seen a mini camera.
    "I ruined my health by drinking to everyone else's." Brendan Behan
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pollobarca/

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