My First Tools


Ready or not, it’s almost that time of year. We have been getting ready for Christmas at our home and at my mother’s. Putting her tree up with the old steel 1959 tree stand and getting out the old blown glass ornaments and C7 incandescent lights from the attic puts me in mind of Christmases when I was little. How does this tie in with the old hardware store? It reminds me of my first tools.

The earliest tool related gift that I remember was called (I think) “My first workbench”. It was a wooden board on legs with a wooden hammer and “nails” that could be hammered into drilled holes in the bench top. The nails were slotted and tapered so you could pull them back out with the claws on the hammer and pound them in again and again. I probably drove my Mom nuts with all that endless banging.

My next tools were a set of plastic tools that came in a real metal tool box. There was a plastic headed hammer, screwdriver, pliers and saw. I remember trying to cut the legs off the coffee table in the living room and being very disappointed that the saw wouldn’t cut them. I also tried to use the pliers and when you tried to grip something with them, they would just bend. I had to get something better than that.

A couple years later my dad saw to it that I got a real set of tools. They came in a metal tool box just like the first set, but this one said “Handy Andy” on the top and the tools were real! There was a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, square and saw. The tools, though little, would really cut and after a few unfortunate endeavors around the house, Mom insisted that my Dad make me a place that I could use them without causing mischief. He made me my own little workbench that he put in the corner of the basement across from his own. He added a small vise and I was in business (this is how I started out my career as a “man of many vises”).

I had those tools for many years, and there are still a few of them floating around my Mom’s basement. I have gone on to collect many grown-up tools of my own in the decades since. Now I own the hardware store with all the tools, but I still enjoy the challenge of finding a good tool at a flea market or auction, just getting it off the shelf would be too easy! Well, that’s enough for now, I still have cards to write and decorations to put up. We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the old hardware store.