I think I can safely say that the hook for most woodworkers was tools. Most of us found a tool, or remembered our dad’s tools, or saw some tools at somebody’s shop and then they thought to themselves, I wonder what these things do? I wonder what I could do with these tools?
I found an old hand plane outside the college house I was living in, way back when. I didn’t know what it did, but I knew it did something, and I wanted to know more. Still have it. It’s a wooden bodied transitional plane that has never ever worked because it’s still a bit rusty and the body is cracked but it’s okay. It does not matter to me because it was never a tool that I needed to see work. It was a symbol then, and still is today, of what I might be able to do, what I might be able to learn, what I might be able to accomplish. I keep it right by my bench. It is a reminder of where I came from. From that deep pit of tool ignorance that I dwelt in for the first 25 years of my life.
But once I got bit by that curiosity, once I started to go to the Sears store, which was the only place in town where I could find woodworking tools, and stare at that wall of tools that they used to have there, I knew that I wanted to know more. I wanted to figure out what I could make those tools do for me. It is a gift these tools are. They have magic in their grip. It is our job to figure out how to make that magic work for us.