Project for Design and Manufacturing Class - Stanford University

Involved Processes: Woodworking, Sandcasting, Patternmaking, Sheetbending, Milling

I get emotionally attached to tools. Having the right tools make me feel more confident, and push me to try to make things with my hands, one of the things that give me most satisfaction. But there is this resistance to using them, the fear of not knowing, the fear of breaking.

Since I was little I used to build car models. I thought that it was something about liking cars, but with time I learnt that what was driving me was the joy of actually making something. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would reply I wanted to be an “inventor”. People then would tell me there was no such a profession, but looking where I am right now, I believe somehow they were not completely right.

In Argentina I have a great set of hand tools that I carry around. At my office I have an open box I made as a dove-tail making exercise at a woodworking course, very roughly made in cheap pine wood, but that I found very useful for everyday tools.

I couldn’t bring any of those to the US, so I’m thinking of starting a new set. It is a humbling experience to start looking for the basic stuff, all from scratch. But I want to use this as an opportunity to consciously think which tools to get, one by one by their function and their constructive quality; really getting a clear answer when asking myself “why do I have this?” and “what is it useful for?”

But I believe that in the tool space there is a gap to be filled, an opportunity. As I said before there is this resistance when I think about grabbing my tools, or going to the local store in my search of my next one. I feel somehow judged and that I should look as I knew more, or otherwise people will take advantage of me. It feels you either are part of the tribe or you are not, and tools and general supplies are designed for its exclusive members. But why can’t tools be friendlier and still perform well? Why can’t tools be more welcoming for everyone interested in joining this making party?

That is why I propose Toox, the friendly toolbox. Toox is a friendly but solid and well-constructed, open tool box. It is friendly and welcoming, so it calls my inner child to play the maker’s game. Toox doesn’t have a lid, so it tempts me up from my chair and get myself making stuff. After all, isn’t thinking with our hands closer to thinking with our hearts?