Seven useful tools by Lloyd Kahn

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The cats paw is a must have, I have a hatchet too, but use it mainly for defense.


I think Lloyd Kahn still lives up the road from our old house in Bolinas Ca. Ran into him a few times but did not know his Whole Earth connections.
Now I really want that hand axe!
Any clue where it is from?
Thanks and


7 useful tools from Lloyd Kaufman?
Now that I would find useful.

I’d like to know why the Fordham (sp?) tool is better than a dremel. Right now my go-to rotary tool is a Milwaukee 12v cordless tool. Takes all the same bits as a dremel but no cord which has been real handy.

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Was thinking the same thing. Have had Dremel’s for years, (current one is an olive green knock-off job that smelled like the epoxy they made it from hadn’t fully cured when I picked it up for cheap at the local flea-market).

Going to guess that the advantage of this tool would be due to the lack of a large mass (motor), right behind the point where you hold it, (which forms a fulcrum of sorts, always trying to lift the bit up). The weight of Dremel’s kind of limits the accuracy and agility of the work you can do with them. (maybe why they’re not popular with dentists, (though DiY dentistry has come up in conversation a few times around these parts)).

[edit] … (yeah, was trying to parse that also), just found it - it’s “Foredom”


Looks like it has a ton more torque than a dremmel-style.


Knife sharpening is my favorite. I watch chef knives being sharpened for hours. It’s like a tea ceremony. Clears the mind.

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Well for one thing, the Foredom lets you control the tool with a foot pedal, so you can be a lot more precise than with a typical Dremel.


“Hatchet” comes from the French hache, axe, so in French it means “little axe”. But of you are reading pre-20th century materials, and the English word hatchet is used, it’s referring to a particular tool that is used in a very specific way - it is not swung, it is held up near the head and sort of pushed briskly. Since the majority of English speaking people have little hand tool skill or knowledge, and English tends to evolve, the word has come full circle and today it pretty much means little axe.

In the unlikely even anyone found the above paragraph interesting, I recommend the Hagley Museum in Delaware and also Eric Sloane’s beautifully illustrated books.

I second Mr. Kahn’s recommendation of the modern, lightweight and powerful impact drivers. But sometimes I don’t want impact, and I like to have the option of using sockets, hex bits and drills, and I prefer 12 volts since that’s a very easy voltage to homebrew in a pinch - so this is my go-to set:

12 volt cordless 3/8 square drive impact driver with charger and two batteries
hardened steel hex bit adapter for above
12 volt cordless drill with identical charger and two batteries

Having four batteries and two chargers means one charger travels in the bag and one stays mounted on the shop wall. It’s not cheap to buy two kits like this, but it’s a lot cheaper than buying all the pieces individually.

@Lanthade, Dremels are flimsy and shoddy, although their attachments and bits are quite good. I have given up on them after burning up several different models and now use B&D knockoffs that accept the same attachments. The rotary tool with the best reputation is apparently Proxxon, but they are very expensive so I have never tried one. Foredom has a better reputation than dremel, but not as good as Proxxon - but I’ve never had a Foredom either, so it’s all hearsay.


I’ll second the recommendation of Eric Sloane’s books, they are composed of interesting and useful knowledge illustrated with beautiful drawings.

Also, having known a few working jewelers, Foredom flex shafts were what they used to get work done, and Dremels were for amateurs and tinkerers. They needed tools that gave good results without wasting their time fiddling around. Though I knew one guy who traded his dentist some custom jewelry work for a brand new, expensive handpiece powered by compressed air that dentists were switching over to back then because he considered it a step up from his Foredom.

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A Foredom is literally a tool for life. As long as you don’t kink the flex shaft, it should work wonderfully with periodic lube and cleaning. And even if you do manage to somehow mess up the shaft, there are replacement kits available that aren’t too much money. I’m keeping my eyes out for one that needs a little TLC at flea markets and yard sales.


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