Thursday, February 26, 2015

An Inheritance

Most folks can appreciate when wonderful tools are passed down from previous generations. I hadn't really counted on an inheritance myself. I never met my paternal grandfather, nor did I care to. My father passed while my mother was pregnant with me. Shamefully, when my mother went to collect my father's tools from the foundry where he worked, his co-workers had already looted his toolbox. Nice. So, I took silly pride proclaiming that everything in my shop I had worked for, and paid for myself. You'd think I would would have learned by now,  every time I puff out my chest I'm setting myself up to be humbled.

My wife and I moved to the midwest about a decade ago. I soon learned I had a great aunt and uncle whom I'd never met. This would be my paternal grandfather's youngest brother. To our delight, Wayne and Ethel are wonderful, salt of the earth folks. And wouldn't you know it, Wayne is a woodworker too. He mostly makes wooden toys that he donates to churches, fundraisers and the like. Not just any wood toys either. Wayne made complete functioning train sets, airplanes, and so on.

Unfortunately, I got to know Wayne just as his woodworking days were winding down. He was in his 80's, his eyesight was getting worse, and he no longer trusted himself with power tools. Poor fella had to start living his woodworking dreams vicariously through me. He didn't seem to mind. He's very proud of my shop and the the furniture that has come out of it. And I have to say, I have a renewed pride in my heritage after spending time with him.

Fast forward to this year. Wayne and Ethel are selling their homestead and moving into an assisted living apartment. I was honored when their daughter offered some woodworking tools that had been in the family for generations. I know some of my woodworking friends enjoy this sort of thing too, so I thought I'd share.

Here's the benchful. I'll share some of the highlights.

Here's an Ohio tools coffin smother which has a nicely repaired mouth. Should work fine when cleaned up. And the Bailey no 5 has a V-logo iron the characteristics of a type 11(1910-1918) other than the tall knob.

The brace is a nice Stanley Sweetheart.

A sweet Disston logging saw. Just needs cleaned up a bit. Darn thing is still sharp!

The highlight, a Warranted Superior panel saw that Wayne is sure belonged to my great, great grandfather.

Wayne even gave me a picture of that handsome fella.

Like I was saying, most woodworkers appreciate history and old tools, and I'm no exception. I've got my favorite types, bought and sold quite a few. However, I've never had tools on my bench with such profound sentimental value. They give me goosebumps. No doubt these tools will be cleaned up, revered, and passed on to my children.

Thanks Uncle Wayne and Aunt Ethel. The tools are magnificent, but the inheritance runs much deeper.