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.
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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