Maybe it was my relationship with my grandfathers that gave me my love of tools. I remember roaming around our barn where my paternal grandfather had all sorts of tools in a relatively basic workshop. Everything was organized. I knew early on what hammers and wrenches were fits for a particular task. His nuts, screws, bolts and nails were sorted and stored in pint jars whose lids had been nailed so the jars would hang neatly from the bottom of a shelf once screwed onto the lid.
I played with his bench vise, chalk line, plumb bob, and yellow folding ruler as often as I did with any toy I may have had.
It was with great satisfaction I watched him fix the old push button lock on our front door by applying graphite from a squeeze bottle. I thought it was magic. At one time he had been a cobbler and we used his small anvils mounted on short pieces of 2x4s to crack black walnuts.
My maternal grandfather was a talented carpenter. I have a table he made from ebony he brought back from the Philippines. Almost all of the furniture in my grandfather’s house he made. His wood shop floor was covered in saw dust and he had more power tools than hand tools. When I wanted to learn to make a quilt, he cut the small quilt pieces in his shop using a sharpened chisel.
My father spent some time as a draftsman and my brother and I used his t-squares as guitars long before we knew their real purpose. Later, when I was a teenager, he often tinkered with our cars and it was not unusual for me to be sitting in the garage handing him the right sized crescent or socket wrench when he called out from under the hood of the car.
Today, I have my own collection of tools used in my jewelry-making. I remember these men in my life and am thankful I was exposed to the tools they used throughout their lives. More often than not, I am the person wanting to stop by Harbor Freight while out running errands.