Paying Homage To Those I Should Have Studied

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Project by 870pilot posted 01-08-2011 02:30 AM 2277 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey guys, I’ve been soaking up knowledge around here for a while. Thanks for the warm welcome when I signed up, and with no real “buddies” to call on, I thought I’d post my first humble project – a shadow box to give credit to some fine craftsmen. When I wore a younger man’s clothes, in high school, I had a job as a go-fer in a cabinet making shop, but I was more interested in girls and cars than learning from a bunch of guys that smelled like fresh cut pine. Regret # 1. What I could have learned. Second, my father-in-law, rest his soul, I could have learned much woodworking skills if we would have got along better in the beginning. Regret #2.

I’m a half century old now, looking at a craft to take me through my so-called golden years. Yes, woodworking. And thus, I started gathering old hand-tools that in one way or another, reminded me of the woodworking shop in Salem, NH and my father-in-laws shop in Saugus, MA. A “Bonney” wrench, a Wolworth Co. “Filson” wrench from the Boston, MA manufacturer, a Craftsman plane, a Millers Falls made-in-Mass hand-drill, all either rescued from blankets of shellac, or rust, or neglect or all of the above. Polish, hot blue, new parts, sandblasting, a new handle turned by myself on a drill press (an adventure) here, a coat of Hammertone there, all came together in many an hour of rust-oration, back to working order.

The shadow box is as humble as they get, pine with Minwax ebony stain to act as a basic black frame for the tools. While I have regrets not leaning more from the craftsmen in my life, I truly enjoyed using a Bosch ROS that used to belong to Irv, my father-in-law, which was a gift from my son, who rescued many of his tools when he passed.

Long-winded as this may seem, the hours of restoring these tools and building a display for same is the beginning of many a woodworking project to come. Next? A sandbox for the granddaughter, Olivia, is on the drawing boards. It’s good to be here.

-- Olivia's Papa, Newbie Woodworker, Old Tool Fan

11 comments so far

View BoxBuilder's profile


130 posts in 4410 days

#1 posted 01-08-2011 02:43 AM

Great post. I have been at it since my grade school days & have many fond memories of people who have helped along the way. Once I had a job (very low pay but great for learning) working on a kitchen cabinet production line. I was hired even though I had little experience. Thank heaven for a rough talking older man from West Virginia (or as he called it West, by God, Virginia). Don’t know why but he took me under his wing & got me to the point where I knew enough to keep the job for awhile. Welcome to a great site & a fine hobby. It keeps me off the streets, out of bars & helps retain what little sanity I have left.
Boxbuilder, Pennsylvania

-- Richard, Pennsylvania

View Denappy's profile


116 posts in 4962 days

#2 posted 01-08-2011 02:49 AM

A very nice box and some really great tools you have on display!

-- -=Den

View 870pilot's profile


56 posts in 4048 days

#3 posted 01-08-2011 02:51 AM

Boxbuilder, yup, the oldest guy in the shop chewed Red Man, scoffed at the younger generation like me, but despite my shennanigans and tomfoolery in the shop, did the same thing, blamed a perfectly good sanding belt for divots i made in a cabinet door, paying attention to the cute boss’ daughter instead of what i was payed to stare at. thanks.

-- Olivia's Papa, Newbie Woodworker, Old Tool Fan

View mafe's profile


13403 posts in 4369 days

#4 posted 01-08-2011 02:57 AM

Welcome here.
You have ended up in the right place!
Here are all skills, and plenty of passion for old tools.
Fine job you did!
And you did learn something when you were young in that shop – you became aware of this, and then you have something to set up for, thats a gift of life.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4621 days

#5 posted 01-08-2011 03:13 AM

however you got to this place is good

after walking in the dessert
all that time
finding a fresh cool creek is great

welcome to woodworking
and to LJ’s as well

you will find many good teachers
that can (and will) help
with any questions
you may have

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5054 days

#6 posted 01-08-2011 04:25 AM

Very nice display of fine old tools and tribute to craftsman of the past. I think we all have regrets for not taking advantage of knowledge aviable to us in our younger years. Thanks for sharing.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View DYNO360's profile


151 posts in 4145 days

#7 posted 01-08-2011 04:54 AM

I’m with you 100%. The older tools have a story to tell. One that shows that “made in America” used to mean something. Actually, if you are lucky enough to find a Millers Falls or Stanley tool that can be restored, you will find that it will outperform the junk that is made in India or China today. Of course, if money is no object you can still buy quality hand tools, but you need a fat wallet. I share your respect for the past and the love of woodworking. Great post.

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 4048 days

#8 posted 01-08-2011 07:37 AM

I love it. The shadow box is perfect. This is a great tribute to those guys who would have laughed at the notion that they were worthy of a tribute. My dad was one of those guys. May we always remember those little priceless moments from the past that we didn’t appreciate at that time.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View 870pilot's profile


56 posts in 4048 days

#9 posted 01-08-2011 04:54 PM

Dyno & Tink… thanks for the replies. In setting up my small shop, I’ve been discouraged in finding (or being able to afford) USA made tools ie. go with Bosch (Malaysia) or some others like Delta (China) I went with Bosch for the most part. Tinkerer, oh hell yes, Red Man would have cuffed me in the back of the head if I ever said, I pay homage to you, master cabinet maker!.” Off to find fasteners to bolt landscape timbers together, the sandbox begins!!!

-- Olivia's Papa, Newbie Woodworker, Old Tool Fan

View Grinder's profile


23 posts in 4338 days

#10 posted 01-09-2011 03:41 AM

Welcome. This site is AWESOME. I am a newby with only one project added so far but all of the positive replies warm the old heart. There are very talented woodworkers here that have given me lots to think about for future projects.

View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4469 days

#11 posted 01-09-2011 04:18 AM

Great post my dad has a shadow box of wood working tool from the early 1900’s its amazing. I really need toget a pic of it and share it with all of you.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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