Witty inventions

10/29/2008 at 6:09 pm (thoughts)

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. – Proverbs 8:12

A friend quoted this verse to me last year, using it to justify his use of gas-powered machinery. I was helping him cut wood (he sawed while I split and piled it on the trailer). I hadn’t said a word about it to him, I get the feeling he was trying to convert me to his way of thinking.

Anyway I came across it again today while reading, and I’ve really been thinking hard about it.

And this is my conclusion.

The axe is a witty invention, for me.

I purchase one. I paid about $60. That’s a little more than an axe from the hardware store would cost you, but it is a high-quality axe. If I take care of it and barring theft or any other major accident, I will not buy another one in my lifetime. I also spent about $10 on a special round sharpening stone for it. I suppose after a couple decades I’ll probably have to replace the stone. And the handle may eventually break. And I can purchase a replacement for a few dollars or with a little practice I can learn to make my own.

But basically that’s it. For a small initial investment I have a tool that will enable me to heat my home with no further “inputs” … ever.

Now, the chain saw, on the other hand, is a witty invention, for the oil company and the chain saw manufacturer.

You will spend a good deal more for a quality chain saw than a quality axe. Think in the $250-500 range. Yes, you could get a $80 saw at Wal-Mart. But an $80 saw is probably equivalent to a $10 axe.

But it doesn’t end there. A chain saw needs gas, two-stroke oil, and bar oil. Each of which have to be purchased. No one that I know of is capable of making their own.

And of course a chain saw needs to be sharpened which requires a special apparatus and a good deal of time, not like the 5 minutes with a stone the axe needs. And since chain saw sharpening is such a big business I’d bet those apparatus’ don’t work all that well.

And of course after a while, no matter how well you take care of it, it will break and need to be repaired or even replaced entirely.

So the purchase of a chain saw isn’t a done deal. It is in fact a yoke, committing you to purchasing more and more and more for the life of the saw.

So the whole “witty invention” thing is all about your point of view.

If you’re the one making and selling the chainsaws and all the various things a person has to purchase in order to run one, I suppose that it is a very witty invention.

But if you’re the one just trying to cut some wood to heat your home, it doesn’t seem all that witty to me to have to go out and get a job to earn the money needed to constantly be purchasing all that junk.



  1. Scythe « Two peas in a pod said,

    […] will think I’m crazy. But it’s the same thing as with the axe. The scythe is a witty invention for me. The power mower is a witty invention for the folks to whom I pay my hard-earned money in […]

  2. Rob said,

    Ok, I must know,,did you get your axe from Gransfors? If so which one did you settle on? In addition, where did you purchase your scythe? I am looking at adding both of those to my toolset.

  3. Nick Wright said,

    No, I purchased a Snow and Nealley. I didn’t know about the Gransfors when I bought mine, but even if I had I still probably would’ve gone with the S&N because of cost.

    Though I have to say that if I ever have to buy another axe, it would most likely be a Gransfors. The reason being that I’ve tried multiple times to contact S&N to ask a few questions and they will not respond to any inquiries.

    The scythe I have now is from the Marugg Company http://www.themaruggcompany.com/

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