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Blog entry by JamesVavra posted 11-30-2010 09:07 PM 1405 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my grandfather returned from World War II, he became very active in local Veteran’s groups. For more than sixty years, he participated in the honor guard at the funeral services of Veterans in his rural, Nebraska town. There was a twenty-one gun salute at his funeral this past spring, performed by the men whom he had the honor to command for many of those sixty years.

Local tradition dictates that the flag that draped his casket be given to the VFW, who displays the burial flags of the local Veterans on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day each year. After it was presented to my Grandmother at his funeral, she entrusted it to them. I requested that a flag be flown over the US Capitol Building in his memory on November 11th this year – although I visited my Grandmother for Thanksgiving this year, the flag arrived too late for me to build the memorial display for it and give it to her.

Since all of her grandchildren were present at Thanksgiving, my Grandmother asked us to go through his workshop to select any tools or mementos that we would like to keep. I was fortunate to get many of his older handtools – I’m the only woodworker amongst my cousins – the eggbeater drill about which I have previously written, some chisels and auger bits, a folding carpenter’s rule, a marking gauge, several handplanes, and an old yankee screwdriver set amongst others.

In the box with the yankee screwdriver, I found two small letter punches; the letters C and Y. I knew that some of these tools had probably belonged to my Great-Grandfather, Clark Yates. Finding these punches – along with several tools stamped with his initials – appears to confirm that belief.

I plan to restore and use many of the tools that are only a small part of the woodworking legacy that has been passed down to me. I never knew this Great-Grandfather, but I’m sure his son would feel honored that I’m continuing his avocation.

4 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4025 days

#1 posted 12-01-2010 12:31 AM

James, this is a nice story that is familiar to many of us as well. I have several hand tools- planes, hammers, etc.- that belonged to my father and grandfather, who were both carpenters. Whenever I use one of these tools it always gives me a sense of pleasure to know that I am holding a tool that one of them used practically on a daily basis when they were alive and pursuing their careers. I am sure both your grandfather and great grandfather would be proud that you are putting their tools to use.

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

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3177 days

#2 posted 12-01-2010 07:21 AM

That is good story and nice to see you make that connection to your past, James. It seems as we get older, we get nostalgic for things from another time.
One of my favorite possession is my dad’s folding wooden ruler….just keeps him closer now he is gone 8 yrs.
I am accumulating and making tools that will certainly be passed on to my son so he can remember our times together in the shop.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4363 days

#3 posted 12-01-2010 12:31 PM

how wonderful to find the stamps! OH what a treasure.
(and a beautiful story.. thank you for sharing it)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 12-01-2010 03:45 PM

This was a nice story and I can only imagine how much that you cherish those tools.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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