Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #26: Grandpa's green monster

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 08-27-2012 12:39 PM 6797 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 25: Be a mentor! Teach some kid about woodworking... and how to spit. Part 26 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 27: Old School vs I-Phones- My "traditional woodworking" manifesto... »

Grandpa had a secret that he kept covered with an old blanket in the back corner of the basement where we were forbidden to go. It was a big evil monster that would leap upon and devour any unsuspecting soul that wandered too close. But I was fascinated with it, and I often risked death to peek beneath the cover. I admired its scaly green body, its long arm and gleaming teeth. I knew it was old, because most everything grandpa had was old. But it still looked like the day it was born because grandpa took good care of it. Once in a great while he’d chase us from the basement so he could let it out, allow it to run for a bit and keep its joints loose.

Grandpa bought his “pet” many years before I was born, from a friend who got it new and had little use for it. It was magnificent, and grandpa paid a pretty penny, as he liked to say. Grandma wasn’t as excited to have it move in with them, but she always let grandpa have his way. So it was given a place in the basement when my father was just a boy, and there it sat for thirty years. In 1990 they sold the house and grandpa moved the monster to the new place, where it sat in a new corner still covered, still waiting for the day when grandpa would have time to play with it.

Grandpa died last week. He’d been fighting a very aggressive cancer for almost two years. He was a hard worker his entire life, running three separate businesses including a hardware store, a well drilling business and a water treatment business. His “pet”, his pride and joy, was a circa 1950 radial arm saw, which to him was the pinnacle of woodworking machinery. He bought it with big plans, but he had a family to raise and little time for woodworking. So he stored it away, only occasionally getting it out to dream of the time when he’d retire and make furniture with his saw.

But grandpa never did retire. He worked right up until the cancer made him too weak to do anything at all. The radial arm saw sat, covered up in the corner, waiting over half a century for a time that never came. Now that green monster, in all its magnificent glory, is in my workshop. I already had a radial arm saw, but I just had to make room for this one. Grandpa might be gone, but every time I use his radial arm saw I’ll remember him, and in some small way I’ll fulfill his dream of making furniture with his beautiful green monster.

Stumpy Nubs is the host of the internet woodworking show “Blue Collar Woodworking”. New episodes begin this weekend, but you can check out the 20+ episodes online at

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25 comments so far

View Pat Cavanaugh's profile

Pat Cavanaugh

164 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 08-27-2012 12:48 PM

My deepest condolences on your loss. And what a fitting remembrance for you to have the green monster in your shop. I’ll lift a cold one in his honor.

-- Pat - Biloxi, MS

View Marcalo's profile


72 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 08-27-2012 01:00 PM

Based on what I’ve seen so far of your website and inventions you’ve created I would think your grandpa was already proud of you. Now with you using this saw I’m sure he’s tickled pink. Your story moved me to tears a little. My own father is struggling with cancer. I sometimes think about when he’s gone and all the tools I’m sure to own how I’ll feel using them. Makes me sad and happy at the same time. Anyhow I didn’t mean to take away from your story I just wanted to say I think I can imagine somewhat how it must feel. Thanks for sharing. I’m very sorry for your loss he sounds like he was a great man.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3725 days

#3 posted 08-27-2012 01:22 PM

Great tribute to your Grandfather. You told us something significant about his life and the man.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3969 days

#4 posted 08-27-2012 02:23 PM

Nice story Stumps, what a great gift from your grandpa. It will keep him there with you in the shop, always.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3695 days

#5 posted 08-27-2012 02:44 PM

Sorry for you and your family in this sad time. I too have a RAS from my dad. I’ll never get rid of it. It brings me memories when I look at it.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3391 days

#6 posted 08-27-2012 02:55 PM

I’m sure he knew that you would live

his dream for him

When offspring do something, it is way

better than doing it yourself. It swells you

up with pride.

Be well my friend.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3620 days

#7 posted 08-27-2012 03:00 PM

Great story, and a wonderful grandfather. I have a few of my father’s tools that I hope to pass onto one of
my sons that are special because they were his. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3000 days

#8 posted 08-27-2012 03:25 PM

Sorry to hear about grandpa. It sounds like he was a wonderful person who, ultimately, brought us you, Stumpy! My wifes grandpa dies 1 year ago this last Sunday, and we are approaching the 1 year anniversary of my mothers passing. Never gets easier, sorry to say.

What a wonderful piece of equipment he has left you. In some way, I get that giant monster of a saw inspired you to become a woodworker yourself. Wonderful news that he left it to you.

Having just traded in my SCMS for a RAS, I cannot wait to see what types of jigs you come up with!

I’ll be happy to make some sawdust in his memory,


-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3020 days

#9 posted 08-27-2012 04:09 PM

I’m the current owner of my granddad’s table saw. I know how it goes, Stumpy.

-- Brian Timmons -

View MitchMan's profile


75 posts in 2884 days

#10 posted 08-27-2012 04:24 PM

Good story. Make more videos, we love ‘em.

View DIYaholic's profile


19877 posts in 3210 days

#11 posted 08-27-2012 04:57 PM

Sincerest condolences go to you and your family. A very moving story about grandpa. Treasure your time using your new saw.

Judging from the “green”, I would guess that saw is a DeWalt PowerShop. Might I be correct? I have a DeWalt RAS, that I inherited upon my fathers passing. That saw will always have a home in my shop, as a I’m sure your saw will too. Looking forward to pictures, projects & jigs for your grandpa’s RAS.

I’ll have a “cold one” in tribute to grandpa…....

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DocSavage45's profile


8872 posts in 3377 days

#12 posted 08-27-2012 04:59 PM

Wondered why we hadn’t heard from you. His spirit and love( and desire) live on in you. Take care of yourself and his saw.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3073 days

#13 posted 08-27-2012 05:51 PM

Well said. My condolences and best of luck!

-- I never finish anyth

View luv2learn's profile


2977 posts in 2837 days

#14 posted 08-27-2012 06:38 PM

Sorry for your loss Stumpy. However, your Grandfather’s dream is alive and well in you. Every time you turn his RAS on it will make him smile.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Roger's profile


21013 posts in 3339 days

#15 posted 08-27-2012 06:59 PM

Really sorry to hear of your loss. I’m sure you probably spent some good quality time with him in his shop. It is nice that you will make room for his old saw. I would think you may like it better than a new one.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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