Home > Woodshop Stories > A Dad’s Woodworking Tools Inspire a Writer

A Dad’s Woodworking Tools Inspire a Writer

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I like to comb the internet for interesting woodworking stories and this week I stumbled across a great one.  This article isn’t just great because of its subject matter, but because the thoughtfulness of it can really ring home for people at this time of the year – reflecting back on a lost loved one during the holidays.

He taught you how to fish, did he teach you woodworking too?

John Merritt of The Milford Daily News posted this article online in June, but it really means more now with Christmas right around the corner.  It is titled “My Father’s Tools”.  In it a son walks into his father’s workshop after he has died and takes note of what he sees.  He does a great job describing all of the tools in the shop, so fine a job that I can actually picture every inch of the shop in my mind.  I can visualize the drill on the workbench, the band saw, table saw, drill press, planer, jointer and router surrounded by wood shavings on the floor.

At the end of the story Mr. Merritt talks about how he regrets not spending more time with his Dad in his shop but vows to give it a shot on his own now, so his Dad would be proud of him trying.  So do you need a tissue yet?  Seriously, woodworking can be a very emotional craft or hobby.  It is often romanticized in the media now in the age of automation and big production plants in foreign countries.  Making something by hand just strikes a tone.  My questions to you today are:

  1. Did someone share the craft with you?  Was it passed down to you from a previous generation?
  2. Did someone pass their woodworking tools down to you?  If so, what is your most cherished one?
  3. Have you shared your craft with someone else of a younger generation?  If not, are you going to make an effort to do so?

Woodworking is viewed by many as a dying craft.  As you know, schools are in financial trouble and they need to save money.  Unfortunately one of the first programs that they turn to is “shop”, it often gets the axe and consequently less future woodworkers are being created.  It could be up to you to make this craft thrive going forward.  We at Eagle America are proud to supply woodworking tools to schools and woodworking clubs across the country.  We know their efforts are vital to the health of woodworking in the future.  Please, make a resolution to “pay it forward” and share the art of woodworking with someone younger than you in 2011.

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  1. December 17, 2010 at 11:17 am

    “Pioneering the Future of Tools”
    I am well-seasoned retired union carpenter. I have four children and, fourteen grandchildren. As a young boy I loved nature and woodworking. If I wasn’t out catching snakes, birds, rabbits, and squirrels I was working in my grandfather’s wood shop. He was a lineman for PGE and taught me electrical skills. He always included me in what he was doing. He built boats, grandfather clocks, furniture-you name it. He always had a job for me helping and then would brag about how he couldn’t have done it without me. He was very proud of his grandfather “the town blacksmith”. He told me stories of the many skills his grandfather shared with the town he lived in. One story was of a nearby mill that had a six-inch diameter by thirty-foot long steel shaft that snapped in half during a bitter cold winter in Nebraska in the early 1900s. Several men with horses brought it to his shop and set it up over his forge so they could help turn it while he repaired it. When it got red hot he split the shaft’s broken ends and added a new wedge shaped piece and kept beating it as it turned over the forge melting the three pieces together until it was round. After it was re-installed the Mill owner swore it ran smoother then when it was new. He was very kind and giving, as times were hard back then. He’d ask people for a chicken, eggs, or whatever he new they could give so they wouldn’t get their pride hurt by not having money to pay him. When my great-great grandfather died my grandfather said he’d never seen so many people in the town that came to his funeral, even more than during the state fair. My grandfather said his grandfather always made time to help him with a project. As a young boy he helped him build a model airplane. They painted it bright red and it hung in my great-great grandfathers shop for him to brag about his grandson’s talents until the day he died. My Grandpa had tears in his eyes when he told me the story, as I do now writing about it. I am forever grateful to have been loved by such a kind and giving man. Dan Deulen

  2. donald singer
    January 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I hope to read more stories of this nature. The greatest tool dad tought me to use was my left arm and hand. yes each of us have to learn the extent of our bodie. Dad tought me many things that i keep loveingly. to tell others how to become two handed ,teach others what i learned from his careing and patientce. though dad has been gone since the mid 1950 and i just turned 78 i have and will enjot what he tought me.

  3. Gary Prott
    January 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your Grandfather story. Makes me remember. G

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