WKRMN AB2 KNIFE
This small friction folder knife is my daily blade for everything around the shop. It fits great in the hand as well as the pocket and has a buttery smooth action, all indicators of the level of craftsmanship that went into making it. Workman is a one man operation out of the Twin Cities that makes unique and artfully crafted pieces that are too numerous and varied to mention them all. The problem is that the demand for these pieces is so high that you’re lucky if you can get one! I guess I happened to be procrastinating at precisely the right time because I was able to scoop this little baby up moments after its release. This is definitely something I hope to keep for life and pass along to someone special when I’m old and grey.
GOLDEN EAGLE SNIPS
This tool changed my life. Snips are definitely something specific to those of us that sew everyday since most would just keep a pair of scissors around, but these are absolutely indispensable for what I do. They trim loose threads, open up old seams and hog their way through some surprisingly thick materials when they need to. I prefer this pair because they’re black (I have a thing for black tools and once bought a torpedo level on a whim just because it was the special “black edition”) and because they’re relatively inexpensive and light weight.
FOWLER EASY-TO-READ HIGH-CONTRAST 6″ RULER
This sturdy little ruler also changed my life. There’s no way I could do what I do without a small measuring gauge and this is the best version I’ve found yet. Stainless steel so it won’t bend and black (of course) with gradations etched in white so it’s really quick and easy to read. Besides measuring and checking proportions, we also use the width of the ruler as our spacer when sewing up pen slots in pockets. And I know that it is 1/32″ this so it provides useful units of measure in all dimensions!Buy Now$10.10
MARATAC SCREW KEY
I use these little babies nearly everyday. I especially use the flat head because we use a lot of older sewing machines and all of the screws tend to be this style. I use it mostly for changing out presser feet since the screw that secures them needs to be snug but not tight, which is perfect for a little driver like this. Plus they hang from my keys so I always have them at the ready. They come from an interesting company called Maratac which specializes in sturdy, functional metal bits that are always made in the USA. Heat-treated and blackened steel. Did I mention they are also black?
My favorite pencil, hands down. Also, black with a really good black eraser. The d’emploi logo is an isosceles triangle and, in general, triangles permeate the work both graphically and structurally. Basically, I think it’s the best damn shape that exists and this pencil exemplifies that form and function. Plus, the surface is coated with a matte black finish that provides a small bit of grip. We are currently offering this pencil with our “Instructions for Life” notebook and they make a beautiful pair! But act fast, I’ve heard this American-made, all-cedar pencil is going to run out since production methods have lost out to the more ubiquitous hexagonal design. The one thing is that it’s nearly impossible to sharpen using a conventional sharpener. Good thing I have my trusty AB2 knife!
d’emploi PILOT BAG
The everyday, go everywhere bag. Take it to the office or throw it in the overhead compartment. This was our original side bag design and by this point it has gone through 5 years of development. I guarantee everything that we make and personally use this bag (and many others) on a regular basis. Solid leather bottom and handles for structure and protection. Waxed canvas for water repellency and timeless patina that only comes with love and care. This bag is small enough for everyday use, but big enough to take you through the whole day, from the office to they gym and beyond!
FACT AND FANCY
This is one of the most sentimental objects that I own. It belonged to my great uncle, whom I’ve never met, but with whom I share a lot of artistic qualities (or so says my grandmother). This book was in a box in my grandmother’s basement, which was going to be thrown out. I dug around in there to find many mid-century treasures, but this book clearly stood out. Manually printed in its entirety with silk screen techniques and bound into a small edition of 200 copies.
The title, Fact and Fancy, speaks about the world and the book alternates between a known fact and a fantastic idea, presented with child-like glee. In my mind this is just what the world needed in the wake of WWII. The book is copywritten 1949 and I have never been able to find any useful information on Ghent Guild, the group of artists who created the designs and self-published this hardcover edition in Chicago. There is also an accidental double page which was fun to discover, but also happens to be the page in the back that each artist signed. So my book happens to have double signatures! Definitely a rare object, and I’ve never seen another one in the 10 years that I’ve owned it.
FLT TURQUOISE RING
Look, I’m not a jewelry guy but I love this ring. Not too big, not too small, and I needed a little luck when I got it so turquoise was the obvious choice. Then the ring arrived and the turquoise blew me away with its beauty! I happened to photograph it when I first got it and was recently very surprised to see that a year later the colors have changed and developed in amazing ways. The colors are hard to describe and there are beautiful little flecks of gold within the blues and greens of the stone. Innis Lawrence is the man behind Fine Light Trading and he produced this beautiful piece. Sadly, he has since taken new directions with his work and so it’s not so easy to get ahold of his rings these days so you’re going to have to do some hunting!
WAGNER WARE SQUARE CAST IRON SKILLET
I have a pretty heavy cast iron obsession and atop a solid stack of pans sits the king of my collection, the square skillet. This one sees the most action in the kitchen for a number of reasons; the first of which is the shape. Although it’s different than your normal circular shape, I find it to be really helpful for long items like asparagus or bacon. This way they sit evenly from end to end, instead of being grouped to the center of the circular skillet.
Second is its condition/age. Most vintage cast iron is romanticized like this because of how much better cast iron foundries used to be. The quality is supreme to today’s counterparts because the iron is typically a lighter weight alloy and the cooking surface is finished to be very smooth. Adding to the angular nature of this pan is the small triangular cutout within the handle, this piece thrives off of not being circular! This one was found by my friend’s mother out in Ohio but they can be gotten off of eBay for a fairly reasonable price and will last a lot longer than anything new.
BOROUGH FURNACE CAST BOTTLE OPENER
While Borough Furnace is known for their advancements within the cast iron revival, this little opener carries the same level of design ingenuity as their signature skillet. It fits perfectly in the hand and has a nice, even feel as you crack open a refreshing beverage.