SoCS – Tools of the Trade

We are back to a more traditional SoCS this week. Check out Linda’s blog if you want to join in – just check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “starts with cal.” Use a word starting with the letters “cal” as your prompt word. Have fun!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may recall I am a bit of a tool geek. I was always exposed to tools hanging around my grandfathers very early on in my life.

My paternal grandfather had a career as a machinist with the railroad. He had tools everywhere. My maternal grandfather was a carpenter and had a wood shop filled with the tools of his trade. My dad worked on all of our family cars and I spent hours upon hours as his helper handing him the tools he needed as he called them out from underneath the car. It’s no wonder I love tools.

When I started making jewelry, tools were important. A caliper became my best friend. I graduated from a manual caliper to a digital caliper and truth be told I may buy another one.

I love tools that are precisely calibrated. So I was ecstatic when I found this amazing new tool to draw circles from Makers Cabinet. What is amazing is the fact that it is designed to work like the iris in a camera. It is engineered out of highly polished brass with stainless spring steel leaves. It is beautifully crafted and well calibrated.

Image from

The tool is made in the U.K., and of course after their successful kickstarter, it has been cheaply replicated and offered on Amazon.

I have my eye on the real deal. I am a snob when it comes to quality tools. This one is gorgeous! Machinists, artists, architects, and jewelers will love this tool!


My Fondness for Tools

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 352

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.