Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Grandpa's tools and such (pt. 1 of 2)

Last August -- nearly a year ago -- I was in Seattle, helping to go through my paternal grandfather’s house: he had decided to move into an assisted-living place.

He did a lot of woodworking -- it was a core part of his self-identity -- so he had a lifetime’s accumulation of woodworking equipment (and a lifetime’s accumulation of wood -- largely offcuts). Although he was more of a power tool guy, he was of the generation that pre-dated economical power tools, so he had a decent stash of hand tools as well.

The clamps, handplanes, and handsaws were pretty much picked over by Grandpa’s kids -- which is fair enough, as he’s their dad. But, I was allowed to get a lot of other stuff, since everyone else's workshops were already pretty well stocked -- and my brother and I were the only ones who had a strong focus on hand tools.

My uncle took all the chisels and lathe tools. He keeps meaning to look through the chisels and let me have some, but when I mentioned it during my recent visit, he said he hasn’t thought to go through them, and at this point the box is behind other stuff in his garage. As far as the lathe tools, he says I can have one of the sets when I actually get a wood lathe.

Today's post is just of the stuff I had shipped here to Aussie-land that Grandpa had made himself. I'll post pics of the tools in a few days, as another entry.

Grandpa had three beds in the house that he had made. I took this one. Of the other two, one went to one of my cousins, and the other went with Grandpa to his assisted-living place (where he sleeps in it). I'm pretty sure it's myrtlewood -- Grandpa's favorite wood, due to its figure. Also, it doesn't show up clearly in this photo, but the headboard has a lamp built in to the center -- pretty clever!

Grandpa made this lamp, as well as the round picture frames.

Here's a close-up of the same lamp, so you can better see the figure. Again, most likely myrtlewood.

Some knobs -- light-pulls, really -- that he made. (Sorry -- a bit out of focus.) Near the final stages of the clearing out of his house, I realized that the new owners would probably be replacing most of the lights (remodelling, etc.) -- and certainly wouldn't feel the attachment to the light-pulls that Grandpa made that the rest of us feel. So, with his kids' permission, I went through with a pair of scissors and snipped them all off -- replacing them with washers or nuts. Then I divided them up among the interested parties.

Two footstools that he made. The one on the right represents his earlier style of footstools: big 'n' sturdy. Then he made a bunch of stripey cutting boards. And later, he started using the stripey cutting boards as footstools -- as demonstrated by the one on the left. I think I already had two of his footstools already -- but it was good to get these ones as well.

Below are his ''stripey-style'' of cutting boards, trivets, key hooks, and a tea tray. Variations on a theme...

Got mallets? I also have a bunch of chisel handles and file handles that he made. Most of the file handles are actually **on** the files -- I'll post those pics in a later blog entry.

Under the stairs leading down to his workshop in the basement, he had maybe ten wooden totes. I grabbed the four that I liked the best: I presume other family members ''batted clean-up'' and took the remaining ones. The top-center tote has 8-track tapes -- for a sense of scale.

My grandpa built this bench -- and probably, the stepstool. My dad says that Grandpa had a can of the green speckle-y paint (which was in vogue at the time), painted one thing, and had a bunch left over. So, many different things had the same paint job. One of his kids (my uncles or aunt) got the green high chair that they'd all used as babies. Currently, the green bench is on our front porch.

A lot of bookend/book racks. Also a towel rack (from the back of the bathroom door, IIRC), a letter rack (bottom R of the photo), and a simple wooden box.

In a few days, I'll post the pics of the tools I was honoured to take home with me. Or rather, shipped home in a footlocker-sized crate.



At July 10, 2007 1:41 PM, Blogger Charlotte said...

Wow. Your granddad is really talented. I've messed around with a lathe and that is hard stuff. That bed is really beautiful. And I love the light pulls, too!

My dad is a carpenter, too. I am hoping that I can get him to build a custom bed/bookshelf for my sunroom one day.


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