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Chest of Memories - Grandfather's Tool Chest

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Blog entry by summerfi posted 12-18-2013 09:59 PM 1555 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve recently been cleaning up some of my old hand tools to stock a tool chest built by my grandfather sometime in the early part of the 20th century. I inherited a number of my grandfather’s hand tools in 1974 following his death. When my dad died in 1996, I inherited a portion of his tools (Mom sold his power tools to help support herself and the hand tools were either sold or divided among six children). I’ve used these tools, sometimes used them very hard, over the decades. For many years they were my primary using tools. Now that I’m retired, it’s time to retire some of these tools too.

I don’t wish to participate in the debate about old tools should remain in the shop and be used vs. old tools should be in the home to be appreciated. That’s a subjective and personal decision that each of us needs to make for ourselves. These pictures display only a portion of the old tools I own. The rest are in my shop, where they are used almost daily. Some of the pictured tools will also go back in my shop after I’ve completed this blog—the chest isn’t big enough to hold them all. But those tools that are worn out, fragile, broken, rare (of which I have very few), duplicates, or that I simply don’t have a regular use for, will go in the chest and rest close at hand in my home where I know they are safe and where they will be cared for. That makes me happy, and that’s all the reason I need.

I’ve previously posted pictures of additional saws on the ”Saws, using, collecting, cleaning and buying” thread. Likewise, I’ve posted pictures of other hammers and hatchets on the ”Hammers and mallets – are they just sticks with a weight” thread. I’ve also featured granddad’s screwdrivers in my blog entry titled ”If only these old tools could speak”. My dad was a violin maker, and I have probably 30 or 40 of his gouges and more than a dozen of his chisels. I have other planes and measuring tools, knives, scrapers, punches and stamps, wrenches, and a whole host of clamps. I have his bench vise, perhaps 30 wood rasps and a similar number of specialty files, and various other miscellaneous small tools too numerous to mention. All of these are in addition to the tools pictured below. My grandfather and father were both outstanding craftsmen, and they have passed down to me their sense of appreciation for tools and their love of using tools to make beautiful objects of wood. Now, here are the pictures of grandfather’s chest.

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-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- "Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife." - My Dad



13 comments so far

View CL810's profile

CL810

2097 posts in 1674 days


#1 posted 12-18-2013 11:43 PM

Great collection.

I don’t wish to participate in the debate about old tools should remain in the shop and be used vs. old tools should be in the home to be appreciated.

I agree. It’s your family’s story – no one else’s.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

4464 posts in 1137 days


#2 posted 12-19-2013 12:06 AM

I have acquired a fair size collection of old hand tools and built a traditional chest to hold them. I can only hope that my descendants treat them with the care and reverence you have shown towards your families heritage. Your having a tool chest and tools in the living room is a FAR cry from todays fashionable decorators travesties. Thanks for sharing your treasures with us.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View Tim's profile

Tim

1290 posts in 647 days


#3 posted 12-19-2013 12:54 AM

Nice chest and tools, thanks for sharing.
“That makes me happy, and that’s all the reason I need.” I agree. I bet they’d be happy you’re taking care of them and using them. Based on the majority of tools we find out there, that’s not the case for sure.

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3169 posts in 2509 days


#4 posted 12-19-2013 02:12 AM

It only shows that woodworking flowed for many a years in your family and your desire to lay them to rest as part of a family heirloom is quit a tribute to your grandfather and his son. Quite a tribute to have in your home, it’s a wonderful story Merry Christmas”...BC

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2670 posts in 2398 days


#5 posted 12-19-2013 03:32 AM

Bob,

It’s exciting to see how you’ve preserved those memories and added your own memories to them! Thanks for sharing with us.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Nindwood's profile

Nindwood

119 posts in 369 days


#6 posted 12-19-2013 07:15 AM

Well said Bob. I couldn’t agree more. That is an impressive tool chest. I just received a small tack hammer that was my grandfathers in England and was thrilled. Keep makin saw dust man.

-- Narinder, Calgary, Ab. http://www.trimandcraft.ca/

View Nash's profile

Nash

2 posts in 306 days


#7 posted 12-19-2013 07:35 AM

Impressive

View stefang's profile

stefang

13259 posts in 2020 days


#8 posted 12-19-2013 09:52 AM

A wonderful collection of family heirloom treasures Bob. I can well understand the feelings that must follow with them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jake's profile

Jake

324 posts in 317 days


#9 posted 12-19-2013 01:11 PM

I love the history that is contained in that relatively small chest. What a privilege indeed.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2029 posts in 938 days


#10 posted 12-19-2013 03:23 PM

Beautiful chest and tools and a beautiful story to go along with them. I appreciate that you have a working tool chest with well-cared for hand tools in your living room as a piece of living history. I have a few nondescript tools from my father (hammer, modern hand saw) and I like having them around.

I don’t think you have to worry about the tool chest walking away either.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Don W's profile

Don W

15221 posts in 1254 days


#11 posted 12-20-2013 12:00 AM

Nothing wrong with just enjoying tools in any fashion.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10036 posts in 1304 days


#12 posted 12-20-2013 07:43 PM

Beautiful. Nice job, great presentation. There’s obvious joy, and that’s all that matters for your tools and tool chest.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View john2005's profile

john2005

1036 posts in 864 days


#13 posted 12-28-2013 08:04 PM

Nothing like tools with meaning. Very cool

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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