[The Solitary Vice]
So, if you have your brace of dairymaids already spread out on the top of your workbench, with the jar of Swarfega already close at hand, then there is little more I can do. That is, except to advise you to keep a firm grip on your tool and make sure all the surfaces are smooth before you even think about whether to engage in some swift hammering, or go for the – to my mind – far more satisfying long slow screw.
Of course, there are some who say that having the dairymaids there to assist you is to some extent a bit of a cheat. However, there are far more who will argue that if a man can’t have a couple of willing dairymaids to hand in the comfort and privacy of his own toolshed, then what – indeed – is the world coming to?
For is it not – if I may wax philosophical* for a moment – the very purpose of a toolshed, qua toolshed to be the place where a gentleman can feel at his freest when wielding his tool? Furthermore, it is always a delight when one has –at least – another pair of hands to help make full use of your hand tool.
Many pairs of freely-available hands in a gentleman’s toolshed is – of course – a great way to avoid what has been called the ‘solitary vice’ too, which can – if over-used – bring tears to the eyes and, sometimes even, damage to a gentleman’s tool.
*Not – I hope you realise – that I am intending to wax a philosopher. I would never even attempt such a thing at this time of year when the philosopher is out of season and needs to remain completely un-waxed if it is to engage in any of the cogitation necessary to keep the breed’s numbers up to a near sustainable level.