Oct 1, 2013

Antique and Collectible Hand Tools

The big white canopy tent was erected overnight. It sat on the parking lot of a shopping mall, close to the highway. Attached was a vinyl banner that read “TOOL SALE.” Judging by the crowded parking lot, the sale was well underway. Inside the tent, there was row after row of tables, bins and floor displays. The aisles between the tables were almost too crowded to negotiate; the customers—all male—lingered at each table, handling the tools and eyeing them carefully.

Guys love tools. My father, a typewriter repairman by trade, seemed to always have his tools and a few typewriter carcasses spread across our dining room table, which served as his ad-hoc workbench. I loved to watch him work his magic. My older son, when he was just 2, preferred playing in my toolbox to playing with his toys. When my piano/antiques restoration business was in its prime, I owned every woodworking and specialty piano tool known to the trade.

Men come by their love of tools honestly. Harvard socio-biologist Edward O. Wilson states that men’s brains are “wired” for grasping spatial relationships and mathematics, which makes them natural mechanics and carpenters. I take great pleasure in watching the natural, ballet-like movements of a good bricklayer or house painter. Read More

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