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Forum topic by DocBailey posted 05-21-2014 03:38 PM 974 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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584 posts in 1779 days

05-21-2014 03:38 PM

I’m in the habit of photographing old tools which have followed me home. I recently came across a few from last fall, and thought I’d share the story behind them.

I drove to a local garage sale. I’m really an estate sale guy; I hardly ever hit the garage sales, as they seem to have everything but tools, but the pickings were slim that day.

Summer was a distant memory and you could smell fall in the air. An elderly woman sat at a folding card table just outside the garage.
We exchanged inane banter for a few seconds, then I heard myself say: “I suppose all the good stuff’s gone, right?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” she answered, “I’m sure we sure we have something with your name on it.”

I strolled into the long, narrow garage and started to poke around. Nothing here for me, I thought. Then I spied the tip of a plane handle poking out from a basket under an old kitchen table. I dragged it out and fished out a Stanley #4, then a #5.
Nothing special really, but in good shape, save for a repair to the rear handle on the #4. We settled on $10.00 for both.

Back home, later that night, I picked them up to have a closer look. That’s when I saw that someone had stamped three letters on the top of each iron—“JAB”—the owner’s initials, most likely.

That’s when the old woman’s words came back to me—“I’m sure we sure we have something with your name on it.”
You see, those are my initials.

9 replies so far

View poopiekat's profile


4188 posts in 3154 days

#1 posted 05-21-2014 03:47 PM

OMG, OMG… those are my father’s initials too, Doc!!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2468 days

#2 posted 05-21-2014 04:14 PM

Nice story.

-- Bert

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1140 posts in 1053 days

#3 posted 05-21-2014 04:56 PM

That’s great.

doooo doooo dooo doooo…

I have not seen lettering dies like that. The font is great.
They are now yours… in name and property…

-- Jeff NJ

View Don W's profile

Don W

17875 posts in 1987 days

#4 posted 05-21-2014 09:40 PM


-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Tim's profile


3030 posts in 1381 days

#5 posted 05-22-2014 07:00 PM

Very cool Doc. Do you plan on trying to find out more about the original owner or would that ruin it?

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 1779 days

#6 posted 05-22-2014 07:45 PM

Good question, Tim

Honestly, it never occurred to me to pursue it—don’t know that it would ruin anything, but not sure what the information would do for me either.

View Tim's profile


3030 posts in 1381 days

#7 posted 05-22-2014 11:52 PM

I’ve got a few tool chests from 3 generations of carpenters in a nearby city. They built some of the now historic stuff there. Sometimes people talk about wondering about the craftsman that used the tools and I wonder if finding out they were a wife beater or worse would ruin the image of a golden age craftsman doing the work for the love of quality that I’ve seen it get built into sometimes.

I didn’t ask a lot of questions in that case either, because, like you, I wasn’t sure what difference it would make, but it does make me curious sometimes when I use the tools.

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Don Broussard

2986 posts in 1671 days

#8 posted 05-23-2014 12:25 AM

Great story well told, Doc! I bet you hair stood up on your neck with you realized this!

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

View Buckethead's profile


3140 posts in 1288 days

#9 posted 05-23-2014 12:48 AM

That’s a keeper.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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