The Pointy Stick, commonly thought to have been developed by Whittlers (*1), is a very ancient tool with more types and uses than you can shake a stick at , pointy or otherwise. (the author is aware of the dangling preposition grammar violation but could not come up with a grammatically correct combination of words to convey the idea of this quantitative phrase) A Google search for pointy stick returned 20,700 hits so there is apparently a great deal of interest in pointy sticks.
Surprisingly, this search turned up a possible explanation for the attractiveness of Pointy Sticks.
The following was lifted from http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/people_are_impatient.cfm
While the site is dedicated to good web site design, the following example, used to explain the term Cognative Friction, may explain why many woodworkers are drawn to Pointy Sticks.
Interaction design guru Alan Cooper (www.cooper.com) defined this term to describe the mental stretch caused when tools behave in a way that seems unrelated to what you wanted. I find it extremely helpful in illustrating the ever-present anxiety of being a normal web user. [Editors note - the term web user can be replaced by woodworking tool user]
Note: Alan describes this much better in his excellent book "The Inmates are Running the Asylum". Please buy it.
In times gone by, using a tool to do something was a simple affair. e.g. Gather friends > take sticks > make stick pointy > poke mammoth with sticks > repeat until mammoth falls over. The pointy stick is very low in cognitive friction: its purpose and form are directly related. Even if you'd never used a pointy stick before, you could imagine how you could use it simply by looking at it or handling it. If you stick yourself in the leg with it, you understood why you'd been stuck in the leg, and you would learn how to avoid getting stuck in the leg again.
Todays' tools are generally high in cognitive friction: their form and purpose are more often unrelated.
Another effect you notice with cognitive friction is: if something doesn't work, you're made to think it's your fault.
That last part strike a chord with you? BTW, women have been exploiting this Cognitative Friction concept for millenea.
*1 Whitttling: a fundamentalist form of woodworking. Practioners are known as Widdlers in South Eastern North America, Whittlers in most of the rest of North America except parts of eastern Canada, Whytthlaeres in England, Witliers in Frahnz and the eastern parts of Canada, Dasdudeseinsliecendevoodmiteinkniphenteule in the former Austrian Empire and squiggly line, two dots, a slashing curved line with a hook on the end and three dots over it in Arabic
Whittlers predate The Era of Roy. Some Poiinty Stick historians believe the Whittlers were themselves predated by the Stone Rubbers and a theory is developing which involves gnawing and the use of prehistoric beaver teeth as tools for making pointy sticks. Beavers are thought to be the inspiration for the Pointy Stick Concept. None of these hypotheses have undergone peer review to date and are only mentioned to make the reader aware of whats on the horizon in the Pointy Stick historian field.
There is a rumor that Creationists are revising Genesis to now say And on the Seventh Day, HE rested - sitting on HIS porch whittling - Pointy Sticks Word is that GOD, a small elderly black lady, is pissed and is preparing an appropriate response. Look for Falwell - Roberts - Robertson kosher salt in the deli section of your local grocey store in the very near future. Sharpton-Jackson pepper will be out shortly thereafter.