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My Father-in-Law's hammer

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Forum topic by RonPage posted 05-05-2008 06:05 AM 1598 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


05-05-2008 06:05 AM

My Father-in-Law was a cabinet and furnitue maker who taught me everything I know about wood. Unfortunately, there was no way to learn everything HE knew and I miss him dearly.

Among all the incredible tools he gave me before he passed, my most treasured is his hammer. The wooden handle is worn smooth from years of use and has layers of stain and paint splatters from countless projects he built. I can’t imagine how many times his hand picked it up in his lifetime.

What I’d like to do is retire it to my office. His hand is now still and I think the hammer should be, too. I’ve had many thoughts as to how it might be done: A shadow box frame?, in a collector table top?

I’d appreciate any thoughts and ideas that anyone may have.

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.


17 replies so far

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GaryK

10262 posts in 4129 days


#1 posted 05-05-2008 06:59 AM

A nice shadow box for your mantle or shelf would be nice. Maybe with a picture of him included.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 3956 days


#2 posted 05-05-2008 06:59 AM

I have tools from my grandfather who has passed. I prefer to use them. It gives me a sense of pride and connection.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


#3 posted 05-05-2008 07:00 AM

Gary,

That’s a great idea. I hadn’t thought of the picture. That would be a nice touch.

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

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GaryK

10262 posts in 4129 days


#4 posted 05-05-2008 07:06 AM

Do you have a picture of him with the hammer? That would be nice.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


#5 posted 05-05-2008 07:47 AM

Scott,

I use everything else I got from him but the hammer seems special to me. I can’t think of a more personal tool that a woodworking man would have. I’ve used it occasionally for light work but if I were to crack that wooden handle while pounding away on something, I’d feel terrible.

You’re in Chico, CA? My family had a restaurant across the street from the Senator Theatre on Main St. in the late 70’s and early 80’s (Jack’s Family Restaurant) named for my Dad. We sold it after my Mom passed away and I haven’t been there since. I have no idea what’s there now. I understand Chico’s changed a lot over the years. I’ve spent many a sunny day on the upper creek (5 mile?) There was a spot in the lower park where my daughter, who was six or seven at the time, and I would hold hands and jump into the water about ten feet below (1 mile?) Wow!

Thanks for the input…and the reflection.

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


#6 posted 05-05-2008 08:04 AM

Gary,

That’s an even better idea. My first thought after reading your post was a picture of him in his recliner as that’s how most family members remember him. I remember him in his shop and that’s where we spent the most time together.

Fortunately, I have lots of pictures to sift through.

Thanks again!

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

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Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4546 days


#7 posted 05-05-2008 08:48 AM

Great Post Ron. I have the two hammers my dad gave me as a kid, the hammer my granddad used, the hammer my great granddad used. All precious to me. I like the idea of the shadow box, so that my kids can get them all, and then add to the box the one that I actually use so that I don’t hurt the others.

Sorry about my wreckless use of words last week in your other blog. I do apologize, and hope you’ll forgive me.

good post,
M

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View grumpycarp's profile

grumpycarp

257 posts in 3887 days


#8 posted 05-05-2008 10:35 AM

Show it with the words you have just written prominently displayed. The rest is just is just the canvas on which the art is exhibited.

“Among all the incredible tools he gave me before he passed, my most treasured is his hammer. The wooden handle is worn smooth from years of use and has layers of stain and paint splatters from countless projects he built. I can’t imagine how many times his hand picked it up in his lifetime.”

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3963 days


#9 posted 05-05-2008 11:48 AM

The shadow box is a good idea. I have all of my father’s tools and have found that using them takes a toll on the tools. Some, like the planes, really need to be used. But I was using his framing hammer last week and broke the handle. This comes simply from age and use. The handle can be replaced but it just won’t be the same hammer anymore.

Rather than putting the hammer to use in your shop I think that the picture and shadow box idea is a good one.

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

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ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 3956 days


#10 posted 05-05-2008 03:30 PM

Hi Ron,

You might be happy to know that the restaraunt is still there and it is still called “Jacks”. A Chico icon. Changing the name would something akin to changing “Cracker Jacks” to “Carmel Corn and Peanuts”. Plus, where would all the college students go after the bars close? They would all be lost LOL.

Chico has grown but it is still that happenning little college town in the part of California that most people never think about. Bidwell park is still here and it is still just as amazing as ever.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1789 posts in 4131 days


#11 posted 05-05-2008 04:10 PM

I have an old 1949 moon style hubcap from my father-in-laws Plymouth that he spent years restoring. It’s hanging up high on my shop wall. It’s just there for the memories!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

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Boardman

157 posts in 3902 days


#12 posted 05-05-2008 06:41 PM

Hi Ron – Don’t have any particular idea for the hammer, but just wanted to relate my own story. About 2 years ago I came across my father’s old craftsman handsaw. It was probably the first saw I ever used. It was rust and the handle dark and stained from years of use. So I cleaned it all up, revarnished the handle, and gave it to my sister on her trip to visit my parents. I asked her to have him sign it, which he did, with tears in his eyes as my sister related.

I mounted it on a piece of walnut and hung it over the front door of my shop.

My mother died on May 1st of last year, and my father followed her on May 9th. After 67 years of marriage he couldn’t bear to be without her.

In one corner of my shop, atop a speaker, I have some flowers from my mother’s casket which I sealed into a maple box. And above the door my father’s saw still hangs. He was the greatest man I ever knew.

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tenontim

2131 posts in 3885 days


#13 posted 05-05-2008 07:19 PM

Ron, it’s funny you should bring the hammer thing up. I have many tools that my father used, which I still employ. But I mentioned to my wife a few days ago, that a rawhide mallet he had, seemed to remind me of him the most. In his last days working around the shop, about all he could do was re-cane chairs, because he could do it sitting down, and the mallet was one of the tools he used for that. I still cane chairs, just like he taught me long ago, and I’m thankful that I have not just the things that he taught me, but the tools he used when he did.
I think the idea of the shadow box with the hammer and a picture of your father-in-law using it would be very appropriate.
Thanks for the post.

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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


#14 posted 05-05-2008 11:02 PM

This thread turned out to be a lot more than I had expected. Not only were a lot of great ideas shared, there are some great personal stories shared, as well.

With all the amazing things we’ve managed to collect and just had to have in our shops over the years (bigger, faster, easier, more power), sometimes the real importance of it all comes down to a hammer, a saw or a hubcap.

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity of holding a bit of family shop history in your hands, I envy you also. It only takes one generation to create a tradition. It’s your turn.

Thank you all.

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

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RonPage

58 posts in 3841 days


#15 posted 05-05-2008 11:07 PM

Mr. DeCou,

Reckless use of words? I must have missed it.

Hope you have a great day.

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

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