It’s a wonderful, cool, sunny, fall day in east Tennessee. All of the grand kids, and eventually my two girls and some other relatives all wandered in just to visit yesterday. The kids were all on Fall break from their schools and Papaw and Mamaw entertained. The boys took over the front yard for football and ran the creek and the woods in scenes straight from Mayberry.
This morning I had my coffee while Roy did his latest on my TV and the urge to go to the shop was irresistible. I had a few “honeydos” and had to restore some of the house to its pre-kid status. I finally opened the door to my basement shop and the sun, the wind in the trees, and the falling leaves reminded me why this is my slice of heaven. There were things that needed doing, some sweeping, replacing some abrasive paper on the piece of marble I use for tool flattening, knocking a little rust off of a project tenon saw, making a guard for the same saw, sharpening a beater chisel, cleaning up a bench from the latest tool rehab, and finally, some maintenance on some cheap diamond stones I sometimes use for drawknives, adzes, hatchets, and broadaxes.
After all of that I just spent some time visiting with some of the old tools, pulling them off the shelves to look for any rust and taking a shaving or two before wiping them down with a bit of oil and returning them to the usual places. Looking in each storage location for the favorite saws, chisels, drawknives, spokeshaves, etc. recalling for many of them the place and time of their acquisition, some inherited, but most hard won at flea markets, estate sales, or bought while on vacations over the last forty five years. They are not all old, but many have the tell-tale signs of many years of work long before reaching their current owner. Each time I pick one up I get the sense that I am shaking hands with all of the men or women that has treasured it before me. The scent of pine and red cedar mixes with the scent of the leaves from outside.
In one corner is an old carpenter’s box, newly stocked with a wide range of old, but good, traditional tools of the usual nature, chisels, planes, saws, sharpening stones, mallets, a hewing hatchet, brace and bits, etc. There is one special seven year old in the family that has developed a love for working with his hands. He would rather build, dig, paint, than play any computer on earth. He has asked for, and received, a shed, a workbench, saws, hammers, drills, a miter box, and lastly, a couple of drawknives and a froe for his last birthday ( yes he is being monitored by his parents and grandparents to make sure he is staying safe in the process). If he continues on with his interest the chest will probably end up as his. Besides that, there are enough good tools set aside that all of the grandkids, kids, in-laws, and distant cousins could probably equip their shops after I am gone. In the meantime, Papaw has more work to do. The sun is still shining and the leaves are still falling and I have to go pick up one of the grandkids from school before starting my next project.
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