My New Old Tools

They just don’t make them like this anymore.

I finally get it. I understand why tools are a big seller at estate sales.

As I wrote earlier this month, my godfather, Jackie, passed away in late October. Although personal business in Washington made it impossible for me to see him before he died, I was able to join my mother and cousin a few days afterward, to help them go through the things he left behind in his house. I came home with the monkey lamp I’d always admired and a never-used Proctor-Silex toaster dating from about 1965 that I now use regularly.

I also came away with some tools. I didn’t expect to, but when I first laid eye on the marvelously shiny, new-looking nail clipper made in Italy, I just couldn’t let it go to Goodwill. You simply can’t buy something like that anymore — hell, everything in this country seems to be cheap crap made in China.

A while later, we stumbled into a drawer filled with more tools. Woodworking tools, garden tools, pipe wrenches, awls, and a manual drill. Every one of these tools were well used but still in great shape. Best of all, they were heavy duty, made in USA, proudly stamped with patent numbers or manufacture locations or both. The kinds of tools you simply can’t find anymore.

Although I was flying home on an airliner and didn’t know quite how I’d get the tools home, I chose a few I knew I’d be able to use — tools that would complement those I already had in my toolbox. (Even though I’m a girl, I have a remarkably complete toolbox that can help me get most jobs done.) I bundled them up in bubble wrap and eventually loaded them into my checked luggage (with the toaster and lamp base). I admit I was amazed when that bag weighed in at 48.5 pounds. (Another pound and a half and I would have paid a premium to get it on the plane.)

My New Old Tools
The tools I brought back from Jackie’s house.

I’ve already used some of the tools to get work done around my place. I like the way they feel in my hands — sturdy and stronger than me. I don’t think any of them will break — unlike numerous made-in-China tools I’ve destroyed in the past. In a way, I wish I’d dug deeper into his collection — perhaps in the garage — to find more old tools I could use. It would have been worth the extra baggage handling fee to get them home.

Now all I need is one of those big red toolboxes…

What do you think?