Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grandpa Charlie's Tools

When my Grandpa Charlie lost his home and came to stay at my moms house, he began dividing up his possessions. He let me use his vacuum, his blender and his mixer. He gave Christian his harmonica and a box full of boy stuff;  a compass, a lock and key and strong magnets.
He gave Mike his tool chest. 
Which is full of vintage and new tools. I didn't realize it at the time how much those tools would come to mean to me. As I didn't realize then, either, how much of him was in my mom and how much of him was passed down to me. Fortunately the ears got smaller, but the creative drive has not diminished through the generations.
I am grateful for his presence on my work desk. In the hole punches tucked in a battered leather pouch. The chasing hammer that has a century of texture carved into its steel head. The pliers without cushy foam grips. And the railroad spike that I first began hammering against.
I wish I could show him what I have made with his old tools. I think he would have been proud.


  1. What a beautiful legacy to know that each piece you create has a bit of Charlie in it too.
    Thanks for sharing that touching story.
    Enjoy the day!

  2. What a lovely story! My grandfather has left my mom & I his rock cutting equipment, but it will be sold when my grandma passes...since we have no where to put it (it is all housed in a 24x24 shed in NM). But the crafting and talent has been passed down and that will be cherished.

  3. My dad said he's leaving me all his tools in his will. That made me sad because he has yet to really pay attention to what I'm making, but maybe he's paying more attention than I know.

  4. Thank you for sharing a bit of Charlie with us, and his legacy to you- your awesome talent!

  5. Great story and how wonderful to have such meaningful items not only passed down to you, but still being used to create.

  6. How cool to have his tools. All my Dad's tool went to my brothers and I have four! But he was a woodworker so they're in better hands. But I, too, feel something of him in me when I work with my hands. I think of him and remember.

  7. I adore old tools and have a precious few from my favorite father-in-law who left this earth long before I was ready to lose him. I also have a couple from my mom and grandma that I treasure. I love to use these old tools in my studio. Happy creating...

  8. Yes, he would be VERY proud of what you have made with his tools! I am such a strong believer in the power of objects that are passed from one person to the next. I'm also a very sentimental girl...

  9. Hi Shannon, just found your article in BAJ, just beautiful pieces. What a touching story you told about your grandfather's tools. That is so touching, I love it. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to many more beautiful pieces. Take care, Riki

  10. I think its beautiful to know that your grandad is in each piece that you make.

  11. What an absolutely wonderful tribute to your Grandfather! My father passed away this past February 17th, and a couple weeks later, I received a card from his neighbor who visited him frequently with her husband and young sons. On the inside she wrote, "Whatever you do, continue with your art! Your dad was so proud of your creativity and ingenuity, and you must keep at it!" Now I know, because he told us all the time, how proud he was of us, but her sharing that with me made me smile through my tears, because anyone that knew my dad would know that all that I am is because of who he and my mom were.

  12. I never knew my grandpa- but I know his tools. They live in my Dad's shed, with his tools and I'm pretty sure his grandfather's tools too, as well as the accumulated tools of so many forgotten backyard builders.

    My brother restores furniture and has just discovered woodworking and I'm moving more heavily into metalwork with the corner of my eye on leatherwork and leadlighting, and I know that between he and I we'll give a good, working home to their tools. If there's a trade that needs tools, Dad has them! Sometimes I think I want to learn things just to have a use for the tools.

    (And a big yay for pliers without comfy grips!)


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