Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A look at tools, 'cause without them, vehicles never could be fixed

I left these photos extra big so you can download to see the details better.

The above tool box is just great! Jim let me take photos while we shot the breeze for a few moments, and I learned that he was a WW2 Marine, and amongst other adventures courtesy of uncle Sam, he had a long sea voyage on a submarine to Easter Island to kill the enemy... but after a long arduous trip on a WW2 diesel sub they arrived to find the enemy had surrendered. He got a trip back on the sub too, and never even got his boots on the sand. Terrific guy. His tool box is the culmination of 67 years of wood work, construction, and home repairs, and is so cool. It reminded me of the Studley tool chest (story below).
These two photos I took at the Vista Steam Engine and Tractor Museum

If the workmanship in a tool chest is any indication of the maker's talent, then the craftsmanship of Master carpenter and stonemason H. O. Studley must have been awe-inspiring. Henry O. Studley (1838-1925) built this magnificent wall-hung chest while employed by the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts.

In an oak clamshell box adorned with rosewood, ebony, pearl and ivory, Studley kept both tools he made and a collection of the finest hand tools made prior to 1900, including a complete set of woodworking tools as well as machinist and stonemasonry tools. To pack the 300-plus tools into a case only 19 1/2 inches wide, 39 inches long and 9 1/2 inches deep, Studley devised a jigsaw puzzle arrangement of flip-up trays, fold-out layers and hidden compartments. Maine native Pete Hardwick originally owned the chest, which had been in his family since it was bequeathed to his grandfather by Studley.

Hardwick acquired the chest from his brother by trading a 1934 Ford sedan for it. A good trade? It would seem so: Just one tool - the Stanley No. 1 plane housed in the ebony archway in the upper-left part of the chest - was appraised at $700.00 in 1993. This tool chest was carefully restored to its original splendor and glory, loaned to the Smithsonian Institution, then displayed in the National Museum of American History as the centerpiece of woodworking and other tradesman tool chests. Studley's chest then changed hands again (for an undisclosed $$$ amount) to another private collector.

The Taunton Press, the publisher of Fine Woodworking Magazine, first ran a photo of the chest in 1988 and printed 20,000 limited edition posters. These posters now reside in many homes and fine cabinet/woodworking shops all over the country. They have recently reissued this beautiful poster for sale at their website