Friday, February 8, 2013

The Workshop: "If I had a hammer"

I work on projects in my shop almost everyday and rarely would I not use a hammer a few times in the process. And recently I grew aware that my 'go to' hammer needed repair - its handle had developed a small fracture just under the claw.

There is no way I want to wait until the hammer breaks in my hand. Though it has a nasty nick lower down the handle - maybe from a chain saw -  it is one special hammer.

["Wooden handled hammers are perfect for many jobs in the shop"]

I won it at a Harrison family reunion (I guessed correctly the weight of a large coffee tin full of nails) and discovered it belonged to my Uncle Dave Harrison. His initials, DH, in faded red marker, are still partially visible at the top of the wooden handle, near the fracture. At the reunion I also saw a black and white photo of the Harrison boys, circa 1940s, atop the roof of their mother's house, repairing the shingles. I envisioned Uncle Dave passing the hammer to his younger brother, my dad, and telling him to hurry up and "get more shingles off." So, the hammer is definitely a keeper.

Last Saturday, while cruising the aisles at the Western Fair Market (in search of steak and kidney pies) I spotted a vendor's display of old tools. Within seconds I was balancing a fine and sturdy hammer, with a reddish-coloured handle, in my hands and I quickly felt it was almost identical to the one back home on my work bench.

"How much for this hammer?" I asked a stooped old man wearing a well-worn ball cap down to his eyes.

Bud, age 89, replied, "Three dollars."

["The new hammer (top) has a slightly shorter handle but feels perfect"]

It was soon mine, along with a 1 and 3/8th inch drill bit, and 20 small wrenches, at 50 cents a piece, that can be used as perches or 'rustic decor' on my next batch of birdhouses.

I retired the Harrison hammer to the safety of a top shelf in my workshop a couple of days ago and have been happily using my new one. I'm sure it will see lots of use and am hoping it will also stay in the family for many many years.

Photos by GH


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