Hits and misses of DIY projects, both big and small.

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Repair, Don’t Replace

10/15/2010 11:37:29 AM


We have so many opportunities these days to buy new tools to replace the ones that have lost their shine or been dinged up from years of use. I have numerous hammers — from a tiny, light-weight furniture upholstery one to a hefty sledge hammer, suitable for destroying my concrete patio. But my favorite is a 65-year-old, wooden handled lightweight hammer that belonged to my mother.

My parents built a two-story, Cape Cod style house, beginning before I was born in 1946. My favorite hammer is the one my mom used on that construction. The handle is smooth and dark, and the head has become somewhat less angular over the years. But it has just the right heft for the size and strength of my hand. If and when the handle gives out, I’ll get the best replacement on the market.

This hammer has obviously not been used for things it wasn’t designed to do. I had a wonderful log-splitting maul with a metal handle. Some teenagers used it as a lever to lift something quite heavy and bent the handle — ruined a useful tool! I was not a happy camper!

Do you have a favorite tool that has been your right-hand man through years of DIY projects? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below. 


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Richard A. Curtis
10/23/2010 4:16:25 AM
When I was in High School I bought a Columbia 4" Vise. That was around 1960. We've moved several times , but that vise is still going strong -- I wouldn't trade it for anything . The only thing missing is the little cutoff tool that fit in the back end of the base---and no the handle is not bent !!!!!

Lloyd McDaniel
10/21/2010 10:03:47 AM
My Dad was a Master Carpenter. I have several of his tools, but his and my favorite was his "pet" a medium sized Blacksmiths hammer that has done things it was never intended to do. I miss the old man.

10/21/2010 6:14:55 AM
My favourite is a mattock that I bought from trash and treasure, it can be used for almost anything that needs to be moved dug or hit :)

tom l
10/20/2010 7:16:46 PM
grampa was the son of the "village" blacksmith in Downsville, WI. all I have to remember him by is the ballpeen hammer he used to shoe many a horse. always reminds me of the picnic that I watched him fearlessly free a horse whose hoof had gotten stuck in the fence and was struggling to get loose without success. Think I was 6 at the time and the horse was huge! the handle broke a while back but found one to replace it. not the same oil blackened, dented, beat up, split at the neck where he (and I) missed, "really feels great in your hand - just fits" handle. I'm sure given time I bring the shiny new one up to speed and give it some character. "specs" (short for spectacles since he had to wear glasses)is still peenin'! always better to fix than replace! keep on fixin'!

Roger Summers
10/20/2010 2:06:14 PM
I find all of the hand tools and yard and garden tools I need at yard sales and estate sales that I can possibly use for a fraction of the original price. Most of them are in excellent shape. Some have been hardly used.

Dale Haverty_2
10/20/2010 8:07:56 AM
I love tools. I have informed my family that if they want to buy me a gift, I can always use another hammer, measuring tape, or vice grips. These are always where I am not. Work Safely

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