The tools

From underneath the coffee table, he drew a heavy wooden box, opened it, and showed me some of the tools inside.

“These chisels belonged to my grandfather”, he said.  “I cleaned them up, put these new handles on, and then I sharpened them”.

The thickness of history was upon the box.  He showed me the contents with the reverence of a man who had a deep love for things.

“This belonged to my dad”, he said, showing me one tool. I could not guess what it might be used for.

“What’s it do?” I asked.

“It’s for creating straight edges and angles”, he said, holding the tool in his scarred craftsman’s hands with a satisfaction that was almost palpable. Here, I was in the presence of greatness.  It was for him to speak, and for me, to listen.

“These here”, he continued, unrolling an old leather bundle of a dozen or more wooden-handled metal tools, “are wood-carving tools.  It was a set like this I gave to Andy.  These are much nicer, though.”

“What would they cost today?” I prompted, knowing that he would have something  to say about it.  He thought for a moment.

“Sixty, eighty quid each? But you can’t get tools like this any more.  These are real quality.  They are from before the first world war.”

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