The Mercer Museum of Doylestown

This museum in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is housed in a concrete castle designed by Henry Mercer, an early archaeologist, collector, and ceramicist. Mercer collected historic tools and other artifacts that demonstrated American industry and crafts, including blacksmithing, butchery, hat-making, and many more.

Cradles and chairs on the ceiling.
Butchery and sausage-making tools.
Firebacks and more firebacks.
Ceramic tiles!

A Digger’s Guide to the Best Shovel

"God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well."
“God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.”

If a shovel is your pick, here’s your pick. The Sweethome [edit: now it’s part of the Wirecutter] takes reviews seriously, and they lay out their background research, testing methods, and justification for their rankings clearly. Just published is their review of round point shovels by Tim Heffernan.

Definitely read the original article for details, but the clear winner is from Bully Tools, a red-handled shovel with a 14-gauge blade weighing in at a svelte 4 pounds, 6 ounces.

You may have relied on a Razor-Back shovel, but they (model 2593600) get dinged for an unfriendly seam on the socket of the blade.  Several other brands are also evaluated, all of them at least a step up (in quality and price) from the least expensive shovels so common in hardware stores and Home Depots.

For special occasions (i.e., rock, slag, tree roots) The Corona AS90300 gets the nod. It’s all-steel construction means it weighs almost twice as much as the Bully and costs three times as much.  A more budget-friendly option is the heavy duty Razor-Back 45020, which has a solid steel shank that should be effective at levering your way through rocky soil or chunking out hardpan at one-third the price of the Corona.

The Best Shovel

This is a Bully shovel. Source: The Sweethome/The Wirecutter.

Leatherman Bracelet “as stylish as it is functional”

Inspired by a bad experience at Disneyland (no, nothing to do with measles), Leatherman will introduce the Tread, a combination bracelet and set of tools. The bracelet is customizable and you can mix and match the usual assortment of screwdrivers, wrenches, and so on. An actual watch face will be available later. Coming this summer for around $150.

Leatherman Tread. Source: