Old Shops

I was driving home from the hardware store today and saw a sign for an estate sale. Those things are often a bit sad. Because somebody's whole life is boxed up and sold. Often without any reverence for the folks who lived that life.
I walked down a long sloping driveway to a big garage. I walked into it and saw a wonderful shop. All the tools have been presold. This old guy worked in his shop until almost 90. The table saw had been removed and a couple other pieces. BIG windows on two walls of the shop. It was bright in there. Lots of shelves built in to the rafters and on the walls around the shop. Lots of drawers and work surfaces down two walls.
The most interesting thing about the shop were all the OLD tools. There was an old Dewalt radial arm saw. That is the only thing I recognized. Very old, obscure equipment was the rule in this shop. Everything was well maintained and operational. All with brand names I never heard of. Drill presses, a sharpening station, sanding machines, down draft tables, and at least 5 machines that I had no idea what they were. And a number of old machines, with big wheels (drive pulleys) made of cast iron. I think they were belt driven. Again, no idea what they were. I would have loved to talk to this guy and have him explain to me what all this old, operational equipment did. It is a little sad that I never got to find out about it or him. Life goes on, I guess.
It was nice visiting an old shop. Those things are rapidly disappearing. I enjoyed it though.
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Lee Michaels wrote:

Reminds me of my shop. The tools are not that old, but -I- am. I find nice little jigs with wing-nuts and holes and markings and wonder--"what the hell did I make that to do?". One day I found a piece of heavy wire formed into a twisted 'S" shape with a large end and a small end. I thought about it all day before I remembered. It was made to fit over a bolt on top of my 1" belt sander to hang my flexible shaft motor on. Pretty soon I'll be wondering what that machine with the round blade in the middle is for.
--
G.W. Ross

It is better to die on your feet than
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"Lee Michaels" <leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote:

Again, no idea what they were. I would have loved to talk to this guy and have him explain to me what all this old, operational equipment did. It is a little sad that I never got to find out about it or him. Life goes on, I guess.

Seen it dozens of times ... widow, selling husband's shop tools just a few short years after he finally realized the shop of his dreams.
Makes you want to do with what you got, and appreciate it while doing it.
--
www.ewoodshop.com

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On 9/16/2012 5:51 PM, Swingman wrote:

Go for it! Look at how old your dad is and how old your mother was. You are much too crusty to do go much earlier than they did. :~0
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When people tell me they want to take up woodworking when they retire I tell them to start building their shop and buying good tools now while they have a decent amount of discretionary income. It's also easier to learn when they are younger... eyesight, steadier hands, self confidence, etc. are better. All too often at my woodworkers club I see recent retirees frustrated and struggling with their personal and financial limitations while trying to learn basic woodworking skills...
This thread also makes me wonder... If people judge you by your tools will they think I was really ancient when I die even if it were tomorrow...? My oldest stationary tool is 107 years old, a Crescent 36" bandsaw made in 1905! My newest stationary tools are about 8 years old already and I don't anticipate dying for another 30 years based on family history... ;~)
John
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On Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:05:19 -0400, "John Grossbohlin"

That's exactly what I'm doing. I had a little setback last year (lost a job and moved - well almost) but I'm back on the road now. The ten years before retirement is also the time when people tend to have the highest discretionary income. I figure tools are a good place to put it. ;-)
<...>
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The walk through someone else's shop, when that someone is no longer able to be in his shop, is one of the most bittersweet experience we, as woodworkers, can have.
Deb
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snipped-for-privacy@mon-cre.net says...

Not just woodworkers. Someone I know is selling her father's '40s truck. It wasn't running, I went over to get it going. It was in her father's basement garage. All his tools and so on were still there. I'd never met him and now I wish I had. His tools and the condition of his truck say that he's somebody who was worth knowing.
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J. Clarke wrote:

Yup,, you can tell a lot about a man by the tools he keeps
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On 9/16/2012 2:47 PM, Lee Michaels wrote:

We don't live forever, and it's good that someone is willing to buy the old tools instead of scrapping them, but I get sad when I think that the best tools are going into collections, never to be used again, just gazed upon. Tools were made to be used, and unless they are worn out or irreplaceable, it seems to me that it's a crime to just put them on the shelf next to myriad other examples that are also languishing.
I hope that whoever bought those tools is putting them to their intended use.
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