The Sensuous Gadgeteer: How to Use Tools and How Tools Work

The Sensuous Gadgeteer, published in 1973, was unique then and now because it taught not only how to use tools but also how tools work and why they work.

| September/October 1973

There you are, on your own place at last ... and your joy turns to a sinking in the stomach when you look hard at the sagging, leaky reality of the buildings you're supposed to "fix up." In the enthusiasm of homestead hunting, maybe you sort of forgot that—while you like the idea of being handy with tools—you've never gotten very far into carpentry (not to mention metalwork or any of the other skills you'll probably need sooner or later).  

Well—even if your saw squeals, your knife slips, and your screws somehow always end up going in crooked—don't despair. Relief is in sight, in the form of a book called The Sensuous Gadgeteer, by Bill Abler. This new work is one "how-to" manual that really starts at ground level with which tool is which, what it's for, and exactly how to use it. Better still, Bill also tells you just why the device functions as it does ... and that basic grasp of mechanics will do more than any list of "don'ts" to prevent you from ruining a good drill or chisel by misuse or careless maintenance.  

Useful as it is, learning how to use tools is just the beginning of the lore you'll discover in The Sensuous Gadgeteer. With Abler as your instructor you may find yourself deep in processes you never dreamed of attempting: sawing and drilling plexiglass, grinding steel rod, sandcasting, or any of the innumerable operations Bill explains in plain English.  

A "feel" for his material—an understanding of its capabilities and its behavior under all sorts of conditions—is the craftsman's most valuable piece of equipment. It's probably true that this sense can't be taught directly, but Bill Abler (who subtitles his book "Bringing Tools and Materials To Life") conveys it more successfully, for a wider variety of substances, than any other writer we've run across.  

In short, if you didn't grow up looking over a handyman's shoulder—and how many of us did?— The Sensuous Gadgeteer is about the best substitute around ... as we hope you'll agree when you've sampled the pages that follow.  

SPECIAL NOTE: The following section was picked up—page for page—from uncorrected layout sheets for  The Sensuous Gadgeteer. Don't be alarmed if you note a typo or two and an odd reference to "the ball in the cage that you drew earlier"... which you know nothing about. The typos are there just to keep you awake and we couldn't very well have preserved the flavor of the forthcoming book if we'd deleted the reference from the world's only copy of layout sheets for the guide ... now could we?—MOTHER EARTH NEWS  

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