My Tools #1: A very Robert Sorby birthday

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 08-22-2009 12:18 AM 2892 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Tools series Part 2: My Christmas present from mom finally arrived! »

Everyone’s going to hate me for this, but I just fell – not literally – into a lot of new Robert Sorby turning tools. The 18th (3 days ago) was my 32 birthday (for you programmers, that’s 100000 in binary – I no longer fit in 5 bits!). Mom sent me a box of Rockler goodies from my wishlist. In typical (for my mom) fashion, she overdid the gift-giving. She’s always been very supportive of my endeavors. Thanks, mom! I’ll have to make her several nice things now to try to repay her a bit. I’ve got a lot of new stuff to try out! Hopefully I have a lot of new, or enhanced abilities now, as well.

The exciting moment:

box arrives from mom for my 32nd birthday

The even more exciting moment:

opened box of presents from Rockler from mom for my 32nd birthday

One of the things I was most excited about was the Sorby Sandmaster, a circular foam sponge on a bearing to which you attach velcro sanding discs of varying grits:

Sorby Sandmaster kit

This should make bowl sanding, and exterior vase and hollow-form sanding much more enjoyable, and less burny. She also got me 10-packs of 4 replaceable grit pad levels (60, 180, 240, 400):

Sorby Sandmaster replaceable sanding pad 10-packs

She also got me 3 of the Sorby Spindlemasters. Here’s where I made a mistake. I put the 1/2” on my list, but I have, and have been continuously using the 1/2” already. I kept thinking I had the 1/4”. If I’d thought a bit more about it, I’d have realized. I’ll be returning that one to the store, and picking up another tool. There are 3 left on my wishlist (she really cleaned that list out!)...

1/2” (which I have and will exchange):

1/2-inch Robert Sorby Spindlemaster

3/4” (excited to have a broader, stronger surface to use here):

3/4-inch Robert Sorby Spindlemaster

1” (very excited – this is essentially a nice, big, solid, scraper, with extra powers):

1-inch Robert Sorby Spindlemaster

I also got 2 Sorby micro, modular handle tool sets, including this micro Sandmaster:

Robert Sorby Micro Sandmaster

And this Sorby hollowing kit with 3 different replaceable heads, great for small cups, vases, and hollow-forms:

Robert Sorby Micro Hollowing Set

The [unexpectedly] largest of the tools was the Sorby Hollowmaster. This will finally let me try getting up under the lip of my turnings, which opens the doors to hollow-form turnings, something I’ve been a bit eager to try! This thing must be over 2’ long. It has a replaceable tip, and comes with a pointy one installed, and a circular smoothing disc:

Sorby Hollowmaster

And just for a little color, she got me a pack of the new Rockler Bench Cookies, which steadily hold projects up off the table such that they may be finished, or even chiseled and routed without clamping:

Rockler Bench Cookies

I’ve got my wor… play cut out for me! Mom just propelled me so much farther forward in my woodworking goals than I imagined for myself by this point. It’s strange to look at the remaining wishlist items and see the pile so diminished. I mean, it’s still ridiculous – large battery charger, cabinet belt/disc sander, new miter saw, bigger, gas-powered chainsaw, replacement ROS, alaskan mill, hollow-chisel mortiser, bigger lathe, better 18” band saw (hoping for cast iron one day, instead of thin steel), and on and on, but still, this was like she took a shotgun to one big chunk of the list, especially in the turning category.

Thanks, mom!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

17 comments so far

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5097 days

#1 posted 08-22-2009 12:23 AM


Do you think your Mom would adopt me? Our birthdays are the same day!!- No foolin!! Except I am 10000000 in binary!

Nice Presents!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4723 days

#2 posted 08-22-2009 12:25 AM

You’re 128, Lew!?

Mom would probably adopt you, but prepare yourself for a lot of log-splitting and dish washing duties. Probably worth it for this box of tools, though!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5097 days

#3 posted 08-22-2009 12:46 AM

One too many zeros. But after I returned from exercising it felt like 128!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4645 days

#4 posted 08-22-2009 01:19 AM

what a great mom you have… birthday gifts from my mom stopped around when i was 20… if your mom wants to help me feel loved again and make up the 32 years ive missed…..ill chop some wood…...ill even cook for her…...let me know when to send my mailing address….grizman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4860 days

#5 posted 08-22-2009 01:34 AM

NO FAIR!....sob

looking forward to seeing lots of hollow forms now

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4682 days

#6 posted 08-22-2009 01:35 AM

happy b’day gary ,
tell mom i’ve been house broken .
nice presents!

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1142 posts in 5333 days

#7 posted 08-22-2009 01:45 AM

Sweet :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 5054 days

#8 posted 08-22-2009 01:56 AM

nice haul, happy birthday have fun, keepem sharp.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Mely5862's profile


22 posts in 4623 days

#9 posted 08-22-2009 02:45 AM

Happy Birthday! Moms are wonderful

-- “Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.” John Candy, Blues Brothers

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4918 days

#10 posted 08-22-2009 02:57 AM

great gifts and a late happy B day Gary


View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5163 days

#11 posted 08-22-2009 03:05 AM

What a wonderful birthday, Gary. I am sure you know it already, but your Mom is a special person. And, yes, you will have to make her several nice things in return.


-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4990 days

#12 posted 08-22-2009 03:28 AM

Nice, Happy Birthday, my 33rd was last week

Thanks Mom!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4899 days

#13 posted 08-22-2009 04:09 AM

Wow. I want to be adopted too. Please Gary…....................LOL Nice haul. You better make something special for that lady.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 4787 days

#14 posted 08-22-2009 04:28 AM

Ditto on the adoption. WOW that is a birthday gift.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4772 days

#15 posted 08-22-2009 07:34 AM

What a fantastic mom! Congrats on the birthday and the presents. Can’t wait to see what you turn for her in return.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

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