On Lending Tools

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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:40 pm
Location: Long Island

On Lending Tools

Post by Jugster » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:05 am

The loan of a tool is a sacred, holy thing, especially when it involves that kind of rare, extremely hard-to-replace, vintage implement that does the job oh-so-much-better than anything manufactured in the last half-century (and you know the type I'm talking about; they're always rust-colored without actually being rusty). Man, that's an expression of trust and respect!

As an antique car newbie, I've been the recipient of considerable kindness from a few fellows who really know their stuff and I'm occasionally entrusted with the temporary care and feeding of one of their specialized, antique tools. Not only is that a blessing because it makes the job go so much smoother, but it gives me a feeling of acceptance. I become part of the fraternity.

And it's kind of an awesome responsibility. I have to confess that my own tools don't get a whole lot of respect; they sit, gritty and greasy in a plastic bucket in my garage. But the good stuff borrowed from a trusting friend gets cleaned and stored in a cabinet drawer reserved exclusively for the occasional visiting iron guest.

I was brought up by a second-generation, Italian-American Dad in a paper paint hat, shoulder-strap undershirt and leather tool-belt. Grandpa wore the same uniform. Both made their livings as disciplined craftsmen and both treated their tools like a priest treats golden altar utensils. When he gave me my first bicycle, Dad, in ceremonial solemnity, withdrew from his tool cabinet, a satchel-grip of ancient hand tools—and with laser beam eye-contact, gave me permission to use them as I needed, explicitly conditional on their diligent care and return. One made certain to be careful with the tools Grandpa had handed down to Dad. Respect.

Well, Dad has been gone for a number of years and his tools are mine, now (and they sure as hell don't go in the plastic bucket with my Harbor Freight junk). Some of them have the Ford imprint, for Giuseppe and Conrad were Ford men; and when I reach for one of those wrenches to use on my Model T—which is identical to the car in the sepia-tone photo of Dad and Uncle Lou, for they two went partners on a 1915 Touring just before the war—I get a feeling of heart-tugging nostalgia. I gaze at that tool in my hand and from the archives of my memory, a video is selected much the same way an old Wurlitzer juke box would extract a single record from a stack of 45’s. As it plays, there’s Dad looking not quite forty years old, and he smiles patiently as he tells Bobby, not yet Bob, "Now, before you screw on the nut, turn it backwards till you feel the click; then spin it on—And this is what you use to tighten it down."
Then again, when some guys look at a wrench, all they see is a wrench.
Ford Crescent Wrench.jpg

Robert Bente
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:51 pm

Re: On Lending Tools

Post by Robert Bente » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:09 pm

Sir, I get it. I’ve loaned tools and such, never to be seen again. My mentor, keeps a list, which he guards it like a passport savings account book. It’s a great idea.
I too, have my grandfathers tools, which are prized by me, but when I’m gone, there just old worn out tools.
I’m Bob now, the Bobby passed when my Dad, Bob, died 4 years ago.
I enjoyed your post.
r/s Bob

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