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Craftsmen from yesteryear. Have any stories?

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Forum topic by lateralus819 posted 03-12-2014 03:16 AM 800 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1350 days


03-12-2014 03:16 AM

I just finished reading two articles, one by P. leach and another FWW, on the H.O. Studly chest and C.A.Jewett’s chest.

http://www.supertool.com/etcetera/pchest/pattern.htm

http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/studley_1993_tool_chest_article.htm

I couldn’t help but be taken back by both accounts. Just marvelous at not only the craftsmanship and chests, but the stories. That’s one of my favorite things when hunting for tools, the tools are great!, but the stories of where they came from and what they were used for is the icing on the cake!

To hold a vintage tool, and to close your eyes, and just try and imagine it in use. Its just awe inspiring. I’m glad at my age of 26 i can appreciate these things. To be able to look at an old rusty tool and not think of it as a piece of scrap, but someones livelihood, someones passion, someones history.

Since i started woodworking, my mother and my aunt have told me stories of how both my grandfather and great grandfather, were woodworkers by trade. So last year i didn’t hesitate to take the 5 hour trip down to Rochester to visit my grandfather for his birthday party. My aunt kept telling me he might just have some tools for me. I didn’t get too excited. Few days in, i came back to his house from a run to the store and my aunt grabs me and says “How much do you love me?” i said “A lot why?”..She proceeded to open the sliding door of her van and there i see them..

A Sargent VBM 414, and a union #3 as well as a Stanley spoke shave. I cant describe the feeling that overcame me right there, not because they were cool tools, but because these were tools owned by my GREAT grandfather someone I’ve never met (that i can remember) and my grandfather. I wanted to cry. It put me on a whole nother level of connection with him.

I proceeded to walk to my grandpa and thank him for the tools. He was more than willing to give them to me, he said his kids already had tools, he knew i would use and appreciate them. He began telling a story of how he became a carpenter working for his father out of necessity, not be cause he wanted to. He says he was more fond of greasy motors and automobiles. His father says “Wouldn’t you rather work with this nice clean lumber my boy?” His answer was “No.” I laughed.

Later in my stay my grandfather said he had more tools for me, I’m thinking “Wow! How lucky am i, to be getting all my grandfathers old tools!”. Now for the record, my grandfather is older in his mid 80’s, Korean war vet, not in great shape but gets around and is quite spunky at times. He musters of the strength to stand up, gets his walker and has me follow him to his shed outside.

I’m getting more anxious as i get closer. He opens the door, and there they are, TWO carpenters chests one his and one my great grandfathers. Multiple sliding trays, tons of cool tools, you can see they have been used but not abused. He starts rifling through it. Two lufkin folding rules, pairs of dividers, profile gauge, a brace, chisels, a bunch of handsaws and a few other items i’m probably forgetting.

I was really fond of the chests though, i really want at least one to hold on to that connection. This is a man whom i never got to spend much time with due to the distance between us, but somehow after this, its as if we weren’t a day apart.

It was kind of humerus, my uncle was with me looking and i love him dearly, but as we were looking he would grab something and say “Oh this is so cool” My grandfather would snatch it out of his hands, and place it in mine.

We were in that shed for at least two hours, with him explaining a lot of different tools, even pipe fitter tools.

All in all, it was a great experience, and i can wait too see him again. I’m going to make plans with the wife to make the trek again. Truly unforgettable to now know so much more about my family.

Sorry for the long read, i took some pain meds and I’m feelings loopy and I’m in a great mood and hope some of you guys have some cool stories to share!


6 replies so far

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1148 days


#1 posted 03-12-2014 03:29 AM

This post made me smile. It’s great to see another LJ who “gets it” when it comes to old tools and their history. I’m a lot older than you, but read some of my blog posts and you’ll see that we have a lot in common. Spend as much time as you can with your grandpa. Ask him as many questions as you can think of. When he’s gone, you’ll regret it if you don’t.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1350 days


#2 posted 03-12-2014 03:46 AM

Thank you Summer! Means alot. and i agree, i wish i lived closer to him.

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Slyy

2421 posts in 1116 days


#3 posted 03-13-2014 02:31 AM

Lat, I really like this post. It’s this kind of thing that brought me into this hobby in the first place. I’ve not really made anything yet with the tools I have (still getting to that point) but the first curl I made with one of my grandfathers planes or the first time I started to saw through a piece of pine with one of his saws, man it brought me straight to a place where I KNEW he was there with me. Same goes for an old craftsman table saw moulding fence my dad had. It sat I his garage for a few decades, never touched. One day my mom brought it to me. When I finally put it together I felt an undeniable connection to my father and again to his father. Waxing sappy philosophic here, but it’s just how this journey (hobby) makes me feel. Seems it’s touched you in a similar way as well.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1350 days


#4 posted 03-13-2014 02:41 AM

Thanks for joining in Sly, i enjoy reading these. Whats the plane on the left there?

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Slyy

2421 posts in 1116 days


#5 posted 03-13-2014 02:58 AM

It’s a stanley no 4 copy by Bob-Jac. Don’t really know much about it other than it was the paternal grandfather’s. It’s interesting in that the sides of the casting aren’t milled, only the sole. No stamped part or anything so it’s a fairly honest copy. Chip breaker needs flattened, some gaps let chips in, but other than fixing that I have no plans to “restore” this one. Gonna let it live it’s life as is to hold to the memories of the man who wielded it for a time. The other is one of his 60 1/2’s. The man had a serious shop with some serious equipment before he passed on. Unfortunately I was in my mid twenties when that happened, so at auction I had no knowledge or desire to try and keep more of his stuff for myself, only got some of the leftovers after my own father passed a year later. Hard Loosing both of ‘em so close together (only been 5 years).

So I’m glad you can connect with yours now with him alive. No regrets, but I certainly wish I coulda picked both of their brains more while they were around.

Also my dad’s craftsman TS in the pic. I think he had aims to follow somewhat in his own fathers footsteps but just never got around to it. I can’t remember ever seeing my dad use that thing and my mom thinks she bought it for him just before I was born, so in the ‘80-82 time frame.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1350 days


#6 posted 03-13-2014 03:03 AM

Sorry to hear about your father passing early, lost my dad at 18. He was also very skilled, but in a different way.He was a finish/remodeler. I learned a lot of neat tricks from him.

Still, cool to have some of his tool! :)

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