Stuff I learned at work:
There used to be a hierarchy in the personal equipment of engineers, draftsmen, and tool and die makers. All of these people had to furnish their own tools. The status of a engineer, or at least imagined status, could be measured by how fine and elaborate the materials and inlays of his slide rule were. I had a basic Keuffel & Esser. The draftsman, by the quality and brand of his drafting set (I was a Koh-i-noor man). The machinists had the most expensive tools. I worked on the edges of the tool and die world, daily interacting with them. I don't know the brand of tools they had, but they were proud of them. I do know their tool chests. If they had the bucks it was H. Gerstner and Sons all the way. Since 1906, four generations crafting beautiful boxes made of quarter-sawn oak. Perfectly functional, a place for everything. And beautiful.
For instance the large center drawer is a glove fit for the Machinery's Handbook. Not the Machinest Handbook, it is Machinery's Handbook. It is a 3" thick, small-print bible of facts, figures, specs and charts for everything you really need to know in life. Mine was a leather bound 20th Edition I inherited from Karl Wettlaufer when he retired. He inherited it from someone else. It had both their notes and my notes. (One was a formula for how low in the water a duckboat of a given weight and volume would set.) I suppose you can get it on a CD now, but how do you make margin notes and write obscure formulas in the back cover of a CD? I miss it. Maybe I should go back and claim it.
|Star 7-drawer cabinet|
But back to the Gerstner. There is a Gerstner Owner's Club. A new Gerstner 52 is $900+. Really nice old ones sometimes more. They have introduced a second tier line that's made in China, but guys, it ain't the same. The Chinese have also knocked it off a bunch of ways under different brands. I caught an old one for my bicycle tools on Ebay. It was being presented as a Gerstner, but everyone in the market knew that that was bogus. It a Star, always a notch below the Gerstner. It'll function as well, but the drawer construction is not quite as good, the oak is only quarter-sawn where it needs to be, the mirror is round. The felt is shot, but it's was in the $100 range, not $500+. No one collects Stars. I'll survive. But if I knew Pete Nielson was going to be stopping by, I'd hide it.
Jack Gabus just sent me this picture, just to let us know, he's still an old school soul. I think I have my slide rule down in the shop somewhere ... for prying off paint can lids.
|The Gerstner 92XL in cherry with brass trim for ONLY $1480.|