This post (I hope) is not encouraging materialism, although it may seem mighty close. I just got my free copy of the newest (to me) Dictum tools catalog. Dictum (formerly Dick Fine Tools) is based in Germany, where they offer the topmost of the top of the line woodworking (and gardening, leather working) tools in the world. That sounds like a bold claim, but I think it’s true. It’s full of the best Japanese, German, & American wares. Their catalog is very finely made to boot, with beautiful photos, and a wealth of information about each category of tools.
Why am I writing about this… well, the catalog is free, and I encourage anyone curious to go ahead and get a copy (by mail, or by PDF). Sometimes, it’s helpful to know what quality means and looks like. I have no doubt the stuff in here is top notch, most of it exceedingly so that it easily surpasses my budget. Maybe this is a stretch, but I think it’s educational, too. The range of items they offer is big, and some things I have frankly never seen anywhere else. There are profiles interspersed of individual toolmakers, so you get a sense of who is making the knives, saws, where they live, etc. I especially like that.
I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t waste your time with inferior tools (because time and energy are ultimately our greatest asset), and the refined craft of tool making is unfortunately going by the wayside. This is a way to keep those ideas alive.