I’m named after my grandfather. He was a carpenter and he died of cancer in 1989. Before he passed away he divvied up his tools. The fancy stuff like the combo planes went to the union hall. He sold a few of the power tools but gave all the router stuff to my godmother because she was making stuff at the time. I got the big toolchest with the planes, saws, braces, bits, chisels etc. I also got the old tool-tote with more saws, levels, hammers etc. He also gave each of his three daughters – my mom, my godmother Gail, and another aunt – some small tools as mementos. The one aunt had a son and she’s probably passed those tools on to him. The other stuff has slowly made its way to me as my mom and Gail were able to part with them.
The tools mom and Gail gave me include everyhing from chalk-line with chalk, folding rulers and zig-zags, to sanding blocks from my mother, as well as a big box of leather-working tools (along with a half-finished bowling bag) and some router stuff from my godmother. Every time I got a piece back I put it in the box or the tote where it belonged. About 8 years ago when my godmother was living with my parents she overheard me talking to my dad during a visit about Stanley #1 and #2 being so hard to find. She asked just what those were and when we explained she disappeared into the basement and brought up this #2:
This last visit I finally picked up the last two pieces. This box used to be full of nails, mostly finish nails. It also had a couple of small drill bits in holes on the handle. I remember there being a couple more of the removable boxes, not just the two that remain. I suspect it got wet sometime while Gail had it but it’s still intact. It’s the kind of thing that is worthless when you find it at a garage sale but priceless when you know where it came from.
This is probably the original workmate. Grampa used to pack the big toolbox and tote that I have, his long levels (The 6’ one has a case he built to protect it) and this sawbench into his van to go to jobsites. The two top pieces open by cranking the handle on the side, which is actually a big metalworking C-Clamp in a few runners. I don’t know how he got the threading to work but it is very smooth. The handle of the crank looks like a cutoff chisel end with a hole drilled in it and the ends turned smooth. I have two small miter-boxes and a Disston saw in my workshop that go witth this bench. He would open it up just wide enough and set the box in so the bottom was flush with the top boards, and then tighten it up and have a precision miter-station on site. You can still see some of the 45 degree saw marks on the top boards.
I remember him having this when I was very young and we visited him in California. The trim has probably been replaced, and the chisel-handle crank he made looks like it’s from the seventies so that is probably also an upgrade me made. It’s quite worn but still very solid and the moving parts move smoothly. One peculiarity is that I never saw a lathe at his house, and he wouldn’t have used one on the job. But that piece of plastic looks like the ends were turned smooth and in his toolbox when I got it one of the drawers held a small MT1 dead center.
This same visit where I got the last of his tools I rehung a hall mirror with wooden back/frame that he made when my mom and aunts were young, so the things he made are still around too.