Over the years, there are few tools I’ve reviewed more often, or with more enthusiasm, than the Leatherman. I’ve had one on my belt for decades, and I bet many of you wear one too, or at least have one close at hand. As I’ve pointed out countless times before, if you want to understand how seriously some people take this tool, look on the belt of any cop, firefighter, EMT, or other law enforcement or emergency response worker, and you’re likely to find a Leatherman poised there.
So being enthusiasts of these tools, we were thrilled when Leatherman wanted to team up with us this Father’s Day to give away a new Super Tool 300, their most impressive, beefiest multi-tool. It has an $84 retail value.
Here’s how it works. In honor of dad, we’d love to hear some of your memories of your father and his favorite tools when you were growing up. The contest will run through Father’s Day, this Sunday (6/19). At 12-noon Pacific time on Sunday, we will announce a winner, and on Monday, we’ll do a follow-up post featuring some of our favorite stories you shared.
So, post your fond reminiscences in the comments below. And good luck!
After the jump, you can see more details about the Super Tool 300. And, it’s also currently available in the Maker Shed.
* 420HC Clip Point Knife with Straight Edge
* 420HC Sheepsfoot Serrated Knife
* Needlenose Pliers
* Regular Pliers
* 154CM Removable Wire Cutters
* 154CM Removable Hard-wire Cutters
* Stranded-wire Cutters
* Wire Stripper
* Electrical Crimper
* 5/16″ Screwdriver
* 7/32″ Screwdriver
* 1/8″ Screwdriver
* Phillips Screwdriver
* Wood/Metal File
* Bottle Opener
* Can Opener
* 9 in | 22 cm Ruler
* Awl with Thread Loop
* Stainless Steel Handles
* Stainless Steel Body
* Black Oxide Version Available
* All Locking Blades and Tools
* Comfort-sculpted Handles w/ Cutouts for Access with Gloves On
* Leather or Nylon Sheath
* 25-year Warranty
* 4.5 in | 11.5 cm (closed)
* 9.6 oz | 272.15 g
* 3.2 in | 8.13 cm (blade length)
194 thoughts on “Father’s Day tool giveaway, sponsored by Leatherman”
Although I know my father used all kinds of tools when I was growing up I always picture him holding a spade while standing next to his wheelbarrow. Whether he was working in his garden or building stone walls from the huge stones he found in the yard and surrounding area (it wasn’t named Rockland County for nothing) the shovel and wheelbarrow were always close by and ready for action. Although he isn’t building walls anymore he still gardens and keeps his spade handy, along with many other tools he has acquired and used over the years.
My father and I really love tools.
He taught me to use them since childhood (I grew up in a “DIY home” and always built my own toys).
When I grew up and moved to my own house with my girlfriend my father gave me his adjustable wrench. A tool that had since before I was born.
For me it was a vote of confidence. The best gift when you want to build your own home and your own family.
Greetings from Argentina
When I left for college, I knew I would be needing a bookshelf for all my books but I couldn’t find one that was the right size or in a style that I liked. My father, always one to make sure I could handle tools and knew basic home repairs thought it would be a great opportunity to teach me how to make a book shelf. (No girl of his would leave the house without the basic skills) We designed it, picked out what type of lumber and built a nice modest bookshelf and stained it my favorite color, blue. We even added some wood burnt decorations to the side to give it even more character. It lasted my four years throughout college and even several years afterward. But it was the time with my dad that made it the most special.
There was the time when I had to do a geology project for school and promptly grabbed a hammer and my father’s wood chisels from his workshop then went down to the river and started cracking at river rocks. I don’t quite recall my Dad’s reaction other than he was pissed.
I am ashamed to this day.
I guess the lesson learned is to get the right tool for the job.
When I was a contractor I used, lost, and replaced this fantastic tool constantly. I was never without one or two on my belt, in my toolbox, and/or in my car. Worth its weight in gold!
I grew up with the smell of sawdust in the air and little peels of wood always in my hair. My Dad was a woodworker, and I remember a reverence he had for all of his “Bridge City Tool Works” tools.
These were / are works of art. Hand made, from dark fine wooks (cocobolo / teak / bird’s eye maple / purpleheart) and brass. Highly polished and accurate. You could build entire cabinets by hand.
There’s a special appreciation you give to a project when the tools you use to make them are nice. I seems to say: “This project / output better be as damn nice as the tools I used to make it..”.
Ah.. tools of admiration…
My dad has always been into wood working. As a kid, I remember him making the worst tables I’ve ever seen. 2x4s and tile from Home Depot. Probably to save money, or occupy his time as a divorced dad.
These days, he makes some really awesome things. Honestly, no idea what tools he’s using, but whatever they are, they sure make his pieces look a lot better than when I was a kid.
There was the time when I had to do the geology project for school and I promptly grabbed a hammer and my father’s wood chisels from his workshop then went down to the river and started cracking at river rocks. I don’t quite recall my father’s reaction other than he was angry (obviously).
I am ashamed to this day.
I guess the lesson learned is to use the right tool for the job.
My dad grew up on a farm and never had any money. His dad taught him early on that when you buy cheap tools, you always pay twice – one for the cheap one, then a second time when you have to buy the good tool after the cheap one breaks.
He didn’t have a ton of tools, but he always made sure he bought good quality ones that lasted for 30-40 yrs. He still has the Craftsman socket set in a steel green case that I used to borrow to fix my bikes when I was a kid living at home. We used that very set of sockets to work on his truck last time I was home.
Sitting here at my desk now I’ve got 4 Leathermans within arms reach: my Micra in my pocket, my Wave in my laptop case, my first original in my desk drawer, and another original in my lunch box. I’ve got another Wave in my truck in the parking lot =-)
My dad’s background was as a mechanic. As a kid he tried to take the time to teach us, but he was too busy supporting our family with his trade. As he moved up in the world, we got older, I think he found it easier to “do” with me or my little brothers at hand, and that’s how we learned from him. He was always fond of asking us “what’s the right tool for that job” and then we’d run to the (at least in my 10 year old memory) BEHEAMOTH snap on box that my dad’s tools called home, and rummage around until we found the suitable tool and brought it back. Invariably, there was a better wrench or crow foot, etc, to loosen this bolt, or tighten that nut, but he would explain why, before handing back the ineffectual tool to be returned to the box for it’s counterpart. Even now, that I am 30 and have a family of my own, I still bring my cars up to my dad’s place to work on them. He usually assumes his supervisory role in the lawn chair next to the tool box, with a cold diet pepsi in one hand and says “well, where are you going to start” and lets me take the car far enough apart until he decides to step in. I could probably do most maintenance these days myself, but I still like to bring it up to his house, To shoot the breeze; me under the car, and he in his lawn chair. It wouldn’t be the same.
Most of the memories I have of my dad while growing up is of him fixing something. He would always be under the truck, under the hood, showing me how to pack bearings, telling me not go get my hand caught in the fan belt like his father did, asking him to turn over the engine then hearing him scream “Stop! Stop!” and coming out with a blackened charred face after the engine back fired and shot black smoke and flames in the air.
The problem was, as a kid, I was always losing his tools. The specific tool I remember losing was a pair of needle nose pliers with yellow rubber handles before we left from Calexico California to Colorado Springs. He looked at me playing with them and said, “Make sure you put them back into the tool box when you’re done with them. I need them for the trip.”
To this day I swear putting them back into the tool box but I do have some memories of seeing them sitting on the ground on the gravel picking up dirt as we drove away.
When it came to use them to switch between gas tanks as that used to be a manual operation, he said, “Where are those needle nose pliers?”
I looked around the gold colored interior of our Chevy truck and stared at the tassels hanging from the ceiling and said what I typically said, “I don’t know.”
Luckily my dad had some expander jaw type pliers that did the trick but he never brought it up again but from that point on out, I was under tool box restriction and had to inventory all the tools after I was done using them.
Anyhow, I think this would make a great replacement for him after all these years. I think I was 5 when it happened which makes it around 1979.
After 25 years in the Navy (a mustang) and a career in Real Estate, my Dad became a full time silversmith. Though I think he started it out of his love of tools and he swore he wasn’t an artist, silversmithing allowed my Dad to express himself in a way that surprised him and the world.
Every image I have of him (he’s been gone some 5 years now,) has him with an opti-visor mounted on his brow. He taught me that everything in the world is parts for making or fixing something else. Watching his strong hands move through gentle lines as he taught me to sharpen knives using his trusty Dremel will always stay with me as the image of a tool as an extension of self.
My Dad dug my Grandfather’s 120 lb. oil field anvil out of my uncle’s garden, proclaiming it ‘not right’ that such a tool become ornamental. That anvil is in my shop now and I hear my Dad’s voice (‘Take it easy’) every time it rings with the strike of my Dad’s 16 lb. sledge hammer.
A lot of the tools in my shop came from my Dad. Every time I walk out there and smell 3-in-One oil I feel his quiet presence standing at the bench fixing some appliance or carving wax for casting. Even though I inherited so many wonderful tools from him, the most important thing he left me was the understanding of the potential embodied by them, the knowledge that I can take things apart and put them together, that I can repair and improve. That I can create.
Thanks, Dad. I miss you.
My dad got his degrees in Electrical Engineering, but he has always been able to fix just about anything. He keeps our massive saltwater fishtank running and happy, he fixes pretty much anything that breaks, and always has the right tool for the job. I’m serious when I say that, I’ve never seen him at a loss for the right tool. Mysterious organic goop in the fishtank? He has an ozonizer downstairs. Need to monitor the ozone in the tank now? He has a test kit. Need to remove the ozone? He has the filters and the 15 feet of 6-inch PVC piping. No matter what, he always has the right tool. Up until the TSA restricted pocketknives on airplanes, he brought his trusty pocketknife everywhere (and still does, just not to airports). He gave me his Leatherman Techni-Tool a while back, and I keep it clean, oiled, and ready for use. I’d like to give him something back.
My dad always had tons of tools around. He owns a construction company so tools where a way of life. He always told me, “jobs go better when you have the right tools.”
Some of my earliest memories are playing with pipe bender springs and hack saws, that didn’t go well.
When I worked for him in my youth I learned the importance of a steady hand when cutting brick with a gas powered cut-off season.
I have worked through many different mutli-tools and still keep a small leatherman in my pocket to this day. My own son loves my tool collection (that’s really what it is since I work in an office). I’ll let him play with the hack saw under close supervision. I just make sure my pipe bender springs are put away.
I’m obviously not eligible for the contest, but wanted to say something about my dad anyway. One of the things I remember so vividly was the feeling of comfort I got as a kid seeing him safely and confidently use potentially dangerous tools. As a kid, you’re looking for that sense of security from and admiration for your parents. I was just so in awe, seeing how deftly my dad could wield a hammer (he was a general contractor, so he was amazingly good with a hammer) and use power drills and saws. It seemed almost magical to me, badass.
And speaking of badass, the one tool I remember being REALLY impressed with was the cartridge-fired nail gun that he used to anchor 2x4s into concert. It basically used a .22 charge to fire the concrete nail. He let me fire it a few times. I still remember how exciting that was.
My dad taught me to make good use of whatever tools I had available. For example, he showed me how to strip wires with an X-acto knife at a very young age. Sure, it meant a few cuts, but it taught me how to handle one.
Overall, I think the approach he demonstrated to me over the years inspired me to use the right tool when possible, but when necessary, to improvise using whatever is available.
My dad not only had (still has) lots of tools, but he’s a man who enjoys seeing how a well-made tool is constructed– multipurpose devices like Swiss Army Knives and yes, Leathermen have always fascinated both him and me. (That one of his biggest hobbies is bicycling adds to this as space is always a premium on a touring bike).
I’m really the third generation of tool fans, as my grandfather in turn had taught Dad to love tools, including handing him down a drafting set (which is being sent to me by Dad) and a home-built bandsaw (which I may also have someday– though where in the garage it’ll go I have no idea…).
Growing up in the era before the multi-tool, there was always a big bag o’ tools to lug around, and I was often the one doing it. I recall that, before my dad would head out to start some work, we’d stand in front of the giant rolling toolbox and select the tools he’d need. Hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, sockets… all in the bag or bucket.
Of course, sometimes you get part-way into a job and realize you don’t have the tool you need. At those times, I’d be dispatched back to the house to get the designated tool. The heavier the tool, the greater the complaints about having to go fetch it.
So one day my dad, brother, and I are trying to straighten a dinged-up bumper removed from our old ’76 Ford van (it met a tree in a backing-up accident). No matter what we tried, we couldn’t get the main kink out of the thick steel bumper. Eventually, I was sent into the house for the tool of last resort: the eight pound sledgehammer. We had great fun watching my dad beat the tar out of the bumper for about ten minutes. Boy was it loud! We ended up with a bumper that looked like new, though (well, after a little Bondo and a few coats of paint).
To this day, my brother, father, and I refer to all sledgehammers as “bumper alignment tools.” Bringing one out for a job never fails to bring a smile to my face.
Growing up without my Dad in the picture, I’ve taken the liberty of using my (step)-grandfather for this example.
This man who was not even related to me was one of the most influential role models in my life. He was a pressman and had quite an extensive collection of hand tools which went with that job. All of them were painted red to distinguish them from those of his colleagues.
When I was a young man (he died when I was 15), I worked alongside him as we built a workbench in his garage, as we built a sandbox for my little sisters, as he changed the oil on his truck, as he repaired rusted body panels on his 70s-era Chevrolet. He taught me how to plan a project and see it through.
He taught me how to use a hammer, a saw, a rivet gun, a wrench, and pretty much every other tool you can think of. He taught me the joy of going to the hardware store to wander around and just look at the wares on the shelves. To this day I still have several of his tools (still painted red) in my toolbox. I think of him every time I use them, and 26 years later, I still miss him.
One of the fondest memories of my dad and I working together in the garage was when the annual Cub Scout Pinewood derby was coming up. He volunteered to do a shop night in our garage for my den and proceeded to show all the boys how to use our modest collection of tools properly and safely. We had a blast coming up with ideas for our little wooden racers and even more fun putting metal to wood to shape our creations from a plain block of pine. Much more satisfying than buying some pre-made kit at the hobby store! To this day I love being “the guy with the tools” in the neighborhood and I can’t wait to have shop nights like this with my kids eventually.
One of the things I inherited from my dad was a steel, brown vinyl-handled hammer with the engraved monogram “The Rocket”. I have used that hammer to rebuild a garage, to dislodge stuck brake drums, to open stubborn clams, to prop up furniture, to pound dents out of aluminum on an Airstream trailer, and in the last four years to build a house from the ground up, despite every carpenter I hired letting me know that a steel hammer is just not the right tool for framing. I used it in every part of construction, including plumbing. 26 years later, it literally has not changed in appearance at all. I wish I could say the same!
Although 61 years old now, my father, thank goodness is still alive at 85. Always the “tinkerer”, he built me a go cart from scratch when I was 10. It was not any old go cart, but a two seater. Kids came from all over town to ride in it. He used a welding torch, a front end from an old Renault, and a motorcycle engine. Old timey ingenuity, a handful of tools in a toolbox, and a welder. Wish we lived closer so I could still go in the garage with him and tinker like he does every weekend.
My dads way of turning a screw was with a butter knife. Yeah I know, it’s a little disgusting. Please help with this Leatherman he could really use it!
My father was the recipient of many fine tools from both his father and father-in law and was never one to back down from a wide range of projects. Still, my strongest memories are of my father’s maintenance of his wood pile. His afternoons spent with the sledgehammer and wedge, chainsaw and chipper-shredder keeping the wood-shed fully stocked. Of course the wood-shed as well was hand-made of his own design.
My father’s best tool was his expert use of profanities…
I used to love watching my father work on the car. When things became frustrating…he always told me to cover my ears, and I would. I could see his mouth moving a mile a minute as he cranked down those tire bolts or fiddled with the last spark-plug. And when he was done, he would give me the thumbs up, and I knew it was safe to release the “ear muffs”.
i have my father’s hammers (and lots of his other tools). but i do remember his tack hammer in his hands; he used to take a mouth full of upholstery tacks and that tack hammer with the magnetic end. he’d pull the fabric back with one hand, put the hammer up to his mouth and mount a tack on it and then with one swing, plant that tack in the chair or couch. and repeat that process over and over.
i also have tools belonging to his grandfather, though i can’t say that i have great memories of them. in the old days, before you could buy elmers glue at every drug store, a cabinet maker bought chunks of glue and had to heat it to use it. we still have my great-grandfather’s glue pot.
My favorite tool is a socket wrench set that i bought when i was in college, trying to keep my old MGB-GT running. It cost me $5 at Pep Boys in Phila in 1970 or 71. I still use those wrenches all the time to repair all kinds of stuff. It works as well on my 59 truck as on my 2007 pontiac and everything in between. it also takes apart and assembles all manner of appliances and structures. I still have it in it’s original case.
My Dad was a big guy, who happened to have a lot of tools. There duplicates, triplicates… he had a tool for everything. Growing up, he needed me to help him. Being a big guy, he often couldn’t get his hands in small places. He’d call for me and I’d help, learning along the way. No matter what the job, Daddy would call me over to “lend a hand”. He even had me hang over the edge of the house to paint the awning! Because of his size and ailing health, Daddy used me whenever he could. I knew enough and he had the tools so I became his extra hand.
Its been 6 years since he passed away. I have a tool box he made up for me one summer before he died. In it are some of the same screwdrivers he used to fix my bike. I used the same on my daughter’s bike and she sat there with me, helping and learning along the way.
My father was an autobody repairman (a Bodyman) and his favorite tool was a folding knife worn in a belt sheath. Dozens of times a day he would use that knife to trim excess bondo, scrape things, pry things, and (occasionally) cut things. Each night, after putting the other tools away, he would clean and examine the blade, grind out any new nicks, then sharpen the edge again so it would be ready for the next day.
He died a couple years before Leatherman tools came on the market, but I think that if he were alive today, he would be using the same Leatherman Wave tool that I use every day.
My dad’s most used and surprisingly accurate tool was his right boot. Heavy with steel, worn leather, very heavy duty, it was his primary go-to tool for adjusting the car’s engine, bicycle tires, the old mini and mainframe computers in the lab, the faltering washer and dryer, plumbing, garden tools, and every once-in-a-while for an unexecuted threat of attitude adjustment towards his two lazy sons. His level of accuracy in dosage of force and placement thereof was amazing, he never broke a device, just simply placed a jolt of mechanical force in a strategic location to adjust a failing part, and buy a few more cycles. I can only aspire to be such a master of the swift kick.
With it, he could unclog a toilet without using a plunger, he could break a rusty lock free without breaking the locking mechanism. He rarely used a hammer to re-attach fence boards, he did not need a demo hammer for most jobs. When he first started working with computers, he routinely and expertly used said boot in adjusting the boards and connects in an older DEC (PDP8 I think) in the graduate lab, especially on the I/O cabinets, for which local tech support was hard to get at that time. Much later, when Apple IIs were used for simple data acquisition in physics experiments, the vibrations of a heavy stomp on the floor next to the bench post could unstuck an older 5.25″ floppy without resulting in read errors on the system sitting next to it.
He was a scientist and university physics teacher, known for his wearing of boots and boot-like shoes with dress pants just as much as for his disdain of university policies and administrators. He was also what we would now call a maker, believing that nobody should be allowed to leave school without having basic skills to be self-reliant, from planting and cooking foods to rolling your own cigarettes, from dying fabric for clothing to programming useful applications (no, not “apps”). He made sure I played games I had programmed myself on a computer I built myself.
But most importantly, he believed in the power of the boot, and the force that was with it.
My grandpa always had an awesome woodworking shop. Unfortunately, I only got a few glimpses of it growing up, as all the kids weren’t allowed inside. He passed away a few years ago and much of his tools and equipment have been going unused since then. Now that I’m getting my first house, I’m setting up my own workshop and using as many of his tools as I can. Some are a little old, but if they worked for him, I’ll make them work for me.
I have many of my grandfathers tools. He worked for Chrysler’s finishing auto bodies. I have his regular auto body tools: various hammers, a hand made suitcase full of files, small anvils and the like. I also have his hand crafted tools, tools that were hand made to fill a particular niche. These are the ones I treasure most though I’ll never have an actual use for them. My father handed them down to me and I’ll also be picking up my father’s tools when I go home for the July 4th holiday. My father wasn’t a tradesman, he was an artist, and I have a great deal of the tools that go along with that, but he also enjoyed working on projects. I remember building decks, barbecue carts and other projects with my dad. I remember dad fixing things around the house. I also remember a few occasions where he’d go the opposite direction. Cordless drills were becoming popular so he put bits in a regular drill. This drill was probably 30 years old, only one speed, fast and lots of torque. He was hanging up blinds at our new house and went around and pretty much stripped every screw. This led to my own innovations, I had some worn carbide or diamond burrs from a friends machine shop. With a lot of force and a wooden handle I could loosen the screws just enough to grip their heads with a pair of pliers.
My dad had a small shop in the basement of our home. Along one wall was his bench and a right angles to that was his Atlas 10″ lathe. As a young boy I’d stand in the narrow space between the bench and the lathe and watch as he turned out what ever he was making. By doing this I learned how to operate a lathe. Over the years my father purchased other machines which I also learned how to use by watching.
He’s been gone for many years now and I have most of the machinery he owned. I still feel him watching as I make tools for myself. (and I can hear him when ever I do something stupid)
Dad taught me lots about tools, and gave me a set of Craftsman tools for high school graduation. During my “hard headed” early teens, we argued over how to hold a wrench (among other things), but I value all the skills he taught me. I am especially proud that he got to meet my now-wife before he died- she has more tools than I do, and knows how to use them!
For me it was my fathers table saw. It was a 50’s vintage. So it had really nice controls, and no safety features what so ever. He, through that, taught me more about safety than anyone else. Every cut was not only measured twice but also rehearsed. It’s those times that I look back on and I see that if I do things the way he did them, I can make anything!
Also, I am going to keep that table saw as it has a 4′ square top that is flat to the thousandth.
When I was a small lad my father built me a sort of electrical ‘busy box’ thing. I was about six years old I think. I remember sitting on his lap as he soldered wires on a D cell battery holder that he installed in an aluminum project box. The box was simple enough, it had a power switch and a switch to change the polarity to some spring loaded clips that had been harvested from a Radio Shack kit (these were the 1970’s so kits were still common). There was also a potentiometer to vary the voltage to the posts. I can’t tell you how many hours of fun I had with this. I clipped motors to it, tiny light bulbs, early LEDs, anything electrical that I could get my hands on was going to be tried on amazing box. So I remember dad’s soldering iron as being the tool that opened the world of electrical magic to me.
My dad has all ways been my hero. he is the one who taught me how to use tools since i could hold a screw driver. my dad was a mechanist and every day when he would come home from work with a tool box in one hand and blue prints or schematics in the other. no matter how tired he was or how bad work was that day, he made the time to sit down with me and show me a tool i had never seen before or show me the schematics he brought home. some times he would bring stuff home just to show me because he knew i would love it, and he would brag to every one at work that he had the only 4 year old who could read blue prints. when ever something needed to be fixed you could find my dad at his workbench with me right by his side handing him tools.
One of my fondest memories of my father was making home-made sinkers (for fishing). My dad had a sinker mold that could make 8 different size sinkers at once. My task was to cut the wire and form it into loops. Once cut, I would carefully position them in the mold so the sinkers would form around the ends of the wire.
To fill the molds, we would get a heavy duty ladle and melt metal in it with a blow torch. This was the one time that my dad would let me play with fire. Seven years old and playing with a blow torch . . . never forget those days. Of course, being that we were playing with molten metal, my dad always had the job of filling the molds.
The best thing about the sinker making though, was the fact that this meant we were going fishing soon. My dad worked 2nd shift, so I didn’t see him much during the week but, on those special weekends when we were together, it was off to the fishing hole with our new sinkers . . .
Dad is a man who can fix anything. Since he came into me and my moms life about the time I was 8, I always saw him with some tool in his hand.
He can fix the plumbing, the electrical, the roof, the vehicles; but what was always most impressive to me was his ingenuity. Not only did he fix things, but he also made things to fix them. If something was crooked, askew, caddy-whompers, out-of-line, he MADE it fit.
And it didn’t matter where we lived, he did something to it to increase the value! An expanded bathroom, a wall knocked down, an added sunroom, a gazebo, a barn, a wooden staircase/landing for a $500 Wal-Mart pool. He always made every place more enjoyable and comfortable to live in.
Heck, just recently, even though my folks live in a townhouse now, he installed new outdoor wall outlets in the courtyard for a homemade fountain. And I can guarantee you that he used his old trusty leatherman. I have never seen him without that old worn leather case on his belt my whole life.
And he recently discovered Make magazine online and he can be found in his garage soldering LED’s to a homemade board and using his leatherman to cut the wires. He’s on a solar LED kick lately.
And I wouldn’t mind gracing his belt with a brand spanking new multi-tool as he embraces his final years of making. Thank you guys for keeping him busy.
Like many of the Dads already mentioned, mine was a mechanic. After serving 20 years in the USAF, he was an agriculture equipment repairman. Although he was very knowledgeable and skilled using many different types of tools, I remember his favorite to be a standard claw hammer.
Because inevitably he’d come across a stubborn bolt or frozen whatsit that would bring his repair to a halt. Although I’m sure he’d get frustrated with the thing, he never showed this when us kids where around. He’d simply laugh and ask, “Where’s my hammer?”
After a couple purposeful looking taps with his favorite tool, the thing that was preventing him from continuing would luckily (or deliberately … I could never tell if the intent caused the result) free itself from it’s bind.
He used this phrase (and tool) so frequently that whenever we started a project in his garage, the first tool brought out of the tool box was the hammer.
Happy Father’s Day Pop! I miss you much.
Growing up I can’t pinpoint one tool that stands out, but Dad made sure that I knew how to figure things out and had the tools to fix them. “If your life or job depends on it, you better know how it works.” He taught me the basics of mechanical knowledge (his forte) and got me started on my “figure it out and fix it” lifestyle. Nowadays I work in a datacenter, but I still maintain my mechanical skills by keeping my MGB running.
I have multitudes of multitools and I carry a Skeletool CX (most beautiful Leatherman evar IMO) on me at all times. While this would be another for the collection, it will get used. I have 3 daughters that I fully intend to have under the hoods of their cars, in their computer cases, and wiring up breadboards as they grow up. A multitool will be their first tool, I guarantee it.
It’s hard to pick out one tool that is my dads favorite. However the one that stands out the most is a 2″ long Phillips #2. My dad has a 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser that he bought in 1973. All 4wd have some sort of soul in my opinion and this Cruiser is no exception. Occasional there was something with the carburetor that got outta whack. It might have been the idle I don’t recall at this point. But what my dad would do after about the 5th time of stopping to make this adjustment, he would just set the #2 stubby Phillips on the dash of the Cruiser. That seemed to be the message to the Cruiser that dad was finished mentally with stopping to adjust this problem. So the Cruiser would all of a sudden run fine during that trip as long as the #2 was on the dash.
When I was around 8 years old, I had a wood burner that I wanted to use so my dad offered to show me how to use it (without burning down the house). We went out on the back porch and plugged it in with our piece of wood at the ready. Several minutes go by. Several more minutes go by. I’m bored by now, the wood burner is taking too long, so I go off to play with our dog in the back yard. I forgot all about the wood burner until I come back about an hour later. My dad, who was a cartoonist, had drawn me a cool picture along with my name in 3-d with the wood burner and left it for me to find :-) I’ll never forget that.
Once upon a time, I was a young and impressionable kid. My father left me with plenty of great advice, stories, and (most importantly) ideas.
About 12 or 13 years ago, I was a boy around the age of 10 and my dad always had something to keep us busy on a day off (from school or work for him).
One hot summer Saturday morning my dad woke me up and said we needed to fix our home heating oil tank. Since we didn’t need it much in the summer this was the perfect time to work on it.
He told me first we needed the right tools, so we went out to the garage to “look.” At 10, I assumed we would use a sledge to break the concrete and dig up the tank. My dad, the perfectionist he was, told me we first had to cut the outline before we started “smashing.”
He pulled out a huge motor, it was old and rusty and I am still not sure what it was originally used for. But he assured me this was exactly what we were looking for. This light my eyes up like it was Christmas in July. We then needed a base (scrap plywood with some casters attached) and a blade. a concrete saw blade he had “borrowed from a friend”. It took him about 15 minutes to put together this menacing piece of equiptment, and about a half hour to cut the outline.
A couple hours of work, but I will never forget what that instilled in me. The spirit to make, create, and never be afraid to try an idea out.
Well, growing up I was trusted with my own Wave alongside my father’s own larger Leatherman tool [forgot which one…]
We’ve done everything together and rely on them – if he forgets his I lend mine, if I forget mine he lends his. We’ve done everything from assemble a new desk to a bed – and even helped in the creation of a beautiful dining room bar we’ve recently constructed together.
I can’t think of the countless times as well I’d sit out in the garage helping out – working the scroll saw as he creates some of his marvelous tables and bins that our neighbors and friends just adore.
I learned how to wrench on cars, bikes and the house from watching my Dad. Most kids do. Weekend projects abound around our home, some got completed and others got moved to the back burner. The common thread were his tools. The same screwdriver might be used to assemble a new toy for us kids and then turn around and be the mainstay of a tuneup on one of the family’s many vehicles (not all of which ran at the same time).
But there was something about his tools that had character to them that went beyond the normal scratches and rust. Each tool had its own sound when dropped. Each of his wrenches sounded as unique as a different person’s voice. Dad’s tools never matched. He had Craftsman, SK, AmPro, Snap-On, Matco, off-brand generic and other tools whose age and brand couldn’t be discerned. It was a hodge-podge of usefulness.
The collection weighed a ton to a ten year old asked to fetch them. But when I was old and strong enough to heft the box up the stairs out to the car on the ramps out back, I asked him about his random collection. He told me about his time as a border patrol agent in Blaine, WA. He would work checking cars for contraband coming into the States and often people would come in with illegal stuff and their cars would be seized and sometimes in the most extreme cases abandoned. The contents would be spread about and claimed at auction by various people. In those days it might be common to pick over the good stuff before putting the car up. He scored more than a few nice tools that way. Years later he came to work in DC. Afternoon lunch break jogs would find him picking up hub caps an other detritus along Constitution and over the years he amassed the useful randomness I came to know in my formative years.
Though I have invested in my own collection of newer tools and other things to help with work on the car and the bicycle, his tools are still there entombed in my Mother’s basement awaiting me when I have a chance to dust them off and teach my nephews and my own kids to use them. I remember the tools and how they smelled.
Grease, oil, old steel and my Dad.
My father was a carpenter and builder, and the tool I remember most fondly wasn’t exactly a tool at all. I guess I’d call it a toolbench. It was handmade, about 2.5 feet long, a foot wide, and 18 inches tall. It looked like a stool or bench, with a tray to hold tools about halfway between the top and the ground. The seat had a hand-hold routed out of the center, so that you could carry it. It was a toolbox, seat, and sawhorse all in one. He’d had it for many years, so it was wonderfully beaten up, all of the corners and edges worn round, and covered with saw and drill marks, but still as sturdy as the day he made it. I wish I’d gotten it when he died, and have long meant to make one for myself.
My father was a tool and die man for over 40 years. He has hundreds of tools at home and can fix ANYTHING. When I was a kid, he would bring home his tools to clean on occasion–odd tools you wouldn’t see at the local hardware; I learned about run-out gauges, micrometers, how to level the soles of presser markers. My dad was always very patient and happy to describe and demonstrate how to operate his precision tools. He was proud of his trade–something he was able to pursue after serving in “The War”.
I remember his brother, my Uncle John, would always ask my father to come fix things at his house. He had only ONE tool in the entire house–one of those early 6-in-one things with a little hammer, flat-head screwdriver, pliers, etc. I remember driving up to his house with my dad, and he’d be standing on his porch as we drove up, and my dad would chuckle and say “There’s â€˜ol Johnny with his gadget!” Well â€˜ol Uncle John died and I inherited his 6-in one gadget-a mostly worthless thing that you can use to pound in a nail, but it reminds me of my dad and his generosity and eager willingness to help other people, and just for the sheer joy of feeling he can “lend a hand.” Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
I don’t recall any one tool being my Dad’s favorite. What is most memorable are the projects and how he kept my brother and I involved. Whether it was finishing the basement, working on a motorcycle, or building an RC car, he did a great job of not only getting the task done but also ensuring we were learning skills and having great father-son time together.
My dad came from a long line of ranchers in the central plains. I have fond memories of going to auctions with him as a kid and learning about all the tools that would come up for sale. He would quiz me about ones I didn’t know and make me guess their use. It made me think of how mechanisms work and how to use creative thinking to make deductions based on what I had learned.
One of my favorite tools and one of the first I ever got was the primitive precursor to a multitool like the Leatherman. It was a pair of fence pliers. They were the handiest thing around and I still carry a pair in my car. Wire bending, cutting, forming, hammering, punching a hole in something, prying it did the job.
When I was very young, my father was definitely not the handyman type. He would be the first to admit that his DIY skills were weak.
But his high-stress government job didn’t pay enough to meet the mortgage and the needs of six kids, and this led him to join a friend in a side business creating replacement wood windows for older homes.
Our garage was transformed from a place for storage and parking the car into a wonderland of power tools- band saw, table saw, radial arm saw, routers, sanders, planers along with the specialty tools of the trade.
Working with his hands brought changes in my dad as well. Before he began making windows, he would often arrive home from work bearing the stress of the day, which would last into the evening. But with the woodshop in the garage, he would arrive home and disappear for an hour, focusing on assembling a window or two and appear at dinner relaxed and smiling.
Of course, my brothers and I were pressed into service to keep the shop tidy, sweeping up the sawdust and helping to assemble the odd job. I can still distinctly remember the scratching and tapping of the glass cutter as a pane was cut to size and the smell of window putty. Many hours were spent working by my dad’s side, watching him, learning how to repair old windows or build replacements from scratch.
He taught us all how to use the power tools safely and gave us free reign to use them in our own projects. I don’t recall that any of us built anything that endured our childhoods, but having access to a full woodshop and piles of scrap wood resulted in some creative diversions.
The side business is long since gone and my dad has now retired from that high-stress job, but he still has a nice shop where he restores old furniture that he comes across, builds useful gadgets for his horseshoe league and creates clever toys for his grandchildren. When I visited him two weeks ago, he was in the middle of building a new deck off the back of his house.
My dad may have begun this path through financial necessity, but it transcended the baser motivation to become a source of enjoyment. Even more importantly, perhaps, it became a source of pride for a man for whom tools had been a mystery as he learned a craft and passed his love of working with his hands onto his sons.
This isn’t a favorite tool story, but one of my earliest memories of my dad with a tool.
I can remember the first time I saw him move the laundry. As soon as he opened the washing machine lid, he walked over to the toolbox and grabbed a long flat-head screwdriver. I knew the clothes got pressed pretty hard to the sides of the machine, but I never saw mom scrape them out with a tool; she just pulled them right out. What are you doing, dad!?
Then he tightened the lid’s hinges, which made way more sense than what I thought he was going to do. Maybe he’s not the dumb one!
my dad had a garage full of tools. he mostly did work on his cars. but the one tool i remember most is the homemade air compressor. he bought a tank from the junkyard and put some gauges on it. i believe he used an alternator to run the compressor. as a kid it was cool seeing the rubber belts spinning and wondering what it was doing. i’m pretty sure this wasn’t very safe but to me, it was awesome.
My dad started out as a mechanic in the Navy, then moved to the semi repair, then to fork lift repair and finally on to service manager. He had also dabbled in electronics repair. All this to say, he could build or fix anything. And usually all it took was a soldering iron, JB Weld and duct tape. He was a Maker before anyone knew what a Maker was.
I loved watching him repair things around the house and out in the shed. It amazed me the knowledge he had of all things mechanical, electrical and structural. As I grew I began to â€œhelpâ€ him with his projects. I enjoyed this even more and he always thanked me for my help (although he did not always enjoy it.) I remember building shedâ€™s, closing in the carport, repairing the vacuum, and lawn mower. I remember him welding on tools for the yard and creating new ones from wood and steel.
I often long for the days in the garage when we would fix or create together. As my son begins to grow, I hope I can share some of the same great time with him.
My dad passed away when I was less than a year old. One of the things he left behind was his old green metal tool box with its rusty bottom. The toolbox was a magic box for me, inside it contained all manner of tools most of which I didn’t recognize and those I did I did not know how to use. As “the man” of the house I would undertake all sorts of fixer up projects with the help of this magic box even though I had no skills and only my imagination to guide me. I ended up fixing things two, three, four and even five times before I got it right. I never stopped trying because I had that magic box and there was a fear that if I did I would let my dad down who I believed was always watching me. As I grew up I learned how to hold and use each of the tools until I mastered it, these were the years when I believed that I had to earn the tools and to be worthy of them, to me these were gifts from the great beyond.
One of the saddest days of my life was when I was nine years old. I was hammering a nail and lost the head of my dads hammer. My mom came running into the yard to see if I had hurt myself, I explained I had not and what had happened. We brought the hammer to a hardware store to see if it could be fixed, they shook their heads and looked at us like we were crazy I remember the man saying, “Lady, a brand new hammer is only $2.49, you should take it, it’s a good hammer, you really can’t fix this one”. I got a new hammer but I kept the broken one. Many years later I made a handle out of ash for the head.
The magic toolbox contained all sorts of screwdrivers, hand drills, planes, backsaws, wrenches and an assortment of miscellanious tools and hardware. Each became a chapter in the story of youth. Fixing my bike with the wrench, cutting my moms coffee table with the backsaw (I had my reasons), changing electrical outlets with my screwdriver and learning the hard way about electricity. Each time I picked up a tool I thought to myself, “if dad was here he’d be doing this job and I would be helping him, but since he’s not here I have to do it and I am going to do it as good as he would have”. Even though he wasn’t there I thought I could make him proud.
I learned a lot thanks to the magic toolbox. Something to be said for figuring things out all by yourself and never quitting. You end up with more than just the scars from when you didn’t succeed, you end up with a foundation of believing in yourself, knowing that you can do anything you set your mind too. Even though I didn’t know my dad, he gave me so much with that toolbox, he gave me everything I needed to make it through life.
My father started teaching me to use tools when I was 4 or 5. To start with, he’d have me run back and forth to the tool chests in the garage to pick up and drop off tools when he was working on the truck in the driveway, so I learned what everything was called and what it was for. Of course, occasionally he’d send me for a skyhook, or something equally nonexistent, just to see if I was paying attention. When I got a little older and started acting a bit more responsible, he started teaching me carpentry.
I had a bad habit of choking up on the hammer, so he would tape off a mark a hand’s breadth from the end of the handle, and remind me to grab below the tape line. Then he taught me to use as few strikes as possible to hammer in a nail–because the fewer strikes, the fewer chances you have of hitting a thumb.
I worked for my Dad for seventeen years. Starting at the tender age of fifteen we built houses together. Tools came and went and technology increased but one thing that was always the same was his old Thorsen socket set. In it’s little steel snap case with the red paint aged and chipped like a well used tool ought to be it was always right at hand. Way cooler and handier than the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink socket sets in blow molded ABS plastic suitcases you get nowdays.
It was a gift from HIS father and it was the only tool I ever saw him get even a little sentimental about. There were quite a few times that our crew would go to great lengths to rescue a dropped part. Once the ratchet had to be left overnight at the bottom of a block wall. The following day one guy brought in a magnet and another brought a fishing pole and they gingerly fished it out through the cores before we set the plate on top.
His old tools often found a way into my shop in later years as he’s slowing down and I’m in maintenance now. I find that I have a similar sentimentality about some of the things he gave me. An old compressor or beat up circular saw I could take or leave, but I let there be no doubt that when I loan out my eight inch pry bar I need it back without fail… it was a gift from my Dad.
My Stepdad has been, in my eyes, my real father since I was 9 years old. He is now and always has been all thumbs when it comes to using tools, but whenever there was something to fix or some kind of project around the house, he had to get his hands into it and at least try to do something. (More often than not it would end up being my mom who had the skills, but he tried!)
Dad hardly had any tools, we couldn’t afford good quality stuff, and he really couldn’t make use of the few cheap ones we had anyway. He’s that guy you look at after he’s done painting the house and wonder, “Did that guy get any paint on the house?” “I wonder if he had to buy an extra gallon just to paint his jeans and sweatshirt?”
He would get lubed up to his elbow just pulling the dipstick out to check the oil in one of the rust-heap station wagons that we always seemed to have.
Somehow, in spite of Dad’s ineptitude, my brother and I turned into semi-skilled woodworkers, and car mechanics.
I can say, though, that most of the home-improvement and woodworking knowledge I have, I learned while sitting by his side, though. He watched alot of “This Old House” and “The New Yankee Workshop.” Norm Abrams, my surrogate Dad, he even has the same accent…
My dad passed on when I was 12, so I didn’t get to build too many things with him during my formative years, but I do have a few old memories.
As a farmer, dad always used his oldest and cheapest tools that he got for free from someone to fix everything. His favorite seemed to be an old pipe wrench. It was a pipe wrench, a hammer, an axe, and a wrecking bar, virtually a 4 in 1 miracle of modern (for the time) technology. It was one of two multi-tools I think he ever owned (the other being a fencing pliers.)
His good tools almost never left the safety of the tool box in the trunk of the car. Woe was me whenever I borrowed one and did not return it as soon as I was done with it. If only I could share the tools I have now with him…
My dad was a great handyman. He fixed everything that broke. He had many tools that never learned the purpose they had because he only used them once. If he ever came across a problem that he couldn’t fix due to a lack of tool, he made his tools from what he had. Many times he would never have to fix that thing again, but he kept the tools around just in case. My favorite homemade tool was one he made to reattach springs on brake shoes when repairing drum brakes. Made the job real simple.
My parents got a divorce when I was young but I do remember one event. My dad bought a used riding lawn mower and proceeded to cut the lawn. After a few minutes, a drive belt broke. So, stop cutting grass, trip to store, return with a new belt. Take apart mower, install belt, put mower back together. After a few minutes, belt breaks again. OK, take apart, make adjustments, return to store, come back install belt, continue lawn cutting. After a few minutes, the belt comes off. So, the following pattern repeats: belt comes off, lawn mower turned off, belt back on, mow a few minutes.
I remember seeing those riding lawn mower headlights into the wee night hours. Finally, the lawn is cut and chaos breaks out. I wasn’t sure what was going on but everyone was in a panic. In a rage, dad gets the sledge hammer and proceeded to teach that mower a lesson. So the score was mower 0, dad 1 (at least that is the way good ole dad saw it). The rubble pile was put next to the push mower just in case the push mower got any funny ideas for next week. I guess the message was received cause the push mower worked great. Yep, my dad was awesome with tools.
I remember when my Dad drove our whole family from Louisiana up to his parents’ house in Oklahoma to get his
father’s table saw. We bought a trailer for the back of our car up their and then drove it home.
Every year we would use the saw to make pinewood derby cars together for the boy scouts. Dad always ran the saw, but my brother and I helped, just the same. We would work in the garage with the wood and the saw for days, making sure we had the small cars crafted just right.
Our Dad was just as interested as we were to make sure that we had the best, hand-crafted pinewood derby cars of anybody. And as much fun as it was to race them in the end, I think the best part was the time we spent together, making them.
growing up, my friends and i were fond of building what we called “forts” in my backyard, a club house of sorts. My dad had plenty of carpentry hand tools that we had full access to, along with my dads help! the best structure we built was based off an existing raised swing set that we had. raised four feet off of the ground we were able to design a door into the floor of the structure. my friends and i used to spend nights sleeping out in this “fort” in our sleeping bags. some good memories.
another fond memory stems from the machine shop that my dad had built in our garage, and the one day when i entered without knocking… i was greeted by a large bent-over butt-crack, and i nearly died of laughter…
My name is Ferdinand from the Philippines. I witnessed how my father gradually acquired basic tools like hammer, chisels, screw drivers, hand drill and saw (though he cannot tell me if it is a cross-cut or a rip saw). He performed a lot of DIY projects ever since I was a kid. Every time he does something during weekends, he asked me to participate as his apprentice to hand him the tools and materials he needed just like how a doctor needs a nurse during a surgery. His favorite tool was the hammer, the first tool that I learned to use under our â€œapprenticeship programâ€. Using a hammer, he drove nails, â€œcutâ€ a piece of wood, and other tasks that a prehistoric man did using a club.
My dad was not a good “doctor”. In fact he was one of the worst that I’ve ever seen. Most of the projects we made were criticized by my mom. In most cases, he suffered cuts and bruises due to his unskillfulness. The most unforgettable project we made together was a doghouse for our then pregnant dog and incoming puppies. The finished product, aside from looking like a sci-fi movie shanty, has a door only big enough for the dog but too small even for me to enter. After a week, using his favorite hammer, he ripped off its roof to access the inside for cleaning.
My dad died several months ago. I have now in my possession his prized hammer which I will surely pass on to my son in the future.
My dad is a story-teller. Given half a chance, he will bend your ear until it bleeds. Growing up as a captive audience, I have heard many a story of his childhood; so, rather than relate a personal memory of my dad and his tools, I will relate his own memory of working with tools as a child.
My dad grew up on a farm in rural Kansas in the ’40s and ’50s. In spite of the many chores and farm work he and his brothers had, they always seemed to find some idle time. During one such period of idleness, my dad and his brother Roy decided to make bows and arrows.
Yeah, you probably know where this is going.
Normally, young boys would grab some sticks and string, have a go at making them, then decide the homemade version was rubbish and abandon the project. This is how my dad and Roy started their project. However, being on a farm had advantages — like access to scrap metal and power tools.
When their sticks and strings attempt failed, they pondered their options and decided to upgrade their materials. Hours of discussion and poking around the farm ensued. Eventually, they came upon a plan and started to work. They shaped two long strips of spring steel for the bows, with rubber from an old tire inner-tube for the string. For the arrows, they sharpened the tips of a few welding rods.
A few successful tests on the hay bales led to a surprisingly blood-free game of cowboys and indians, which soon led to the stalking and mass slaughter of the chickens.
Certainly not his finest hour (as my grandpa’s dead chickens would attest), but he made an effective set of bow and arrows out of some scrap metal, rubber, and a simple grinder.
Yep, that’s my dad.
Although I could relate many fond memories of working with my father on projects and repairs as I was growing up, my most recent memory of my father, the maker, is from the time of his death, when he wasn’t even conscious.
Our family was gathered in his small room at a nursing facility. My father was breathing with the aid of oxygen through a nasal canula, and the O2 line kept getting tangled by the wheeled equipment. My sister went looking through his dresser drawers for some tape and discovered a cardboard box containing the essentials- A hammer, nested screwdrivers, vicegrips and ductape.
Were they his favorites? Who knows? But I found surprising comfort in simply knowing that the end of his life, with his possessions pared down to what he could fit into a nursing home room, he considered tools to be among those essential items that he couldn’t be without, and the people who helped us care for him at the end respected his judgment.
We were in “hospice care”, so I spent the night there with my siblings in a long vigil. After the others had drifted off to sleep, I checked out his small bookshelf and found that a tattered collection of “Gus Wilson” stories from Popular Science were among the books he still kept. I sat beside him that night reading the “adventures” of a mechanic and reflecting on the legacy of curiosity and self-sufficiency that he instilled in his children.
Well I was born and raised around cars, trucks, tools, and drag racing. If my dad was in the garage working on something, I was right there too getting dirty and turning wrenches. I remember this one time when I was five years old. My dad was in the garage working on my grandfather’s 1966 two tone green and white Chevy C10 truck. It was a basic truck with a 283 cubic inch V-8 and a 3 speed on the column. The hood was up and my dad was at his work bench with this “device”. Being five tears old I did not know what it was. I said “daddy, what are you doing?” My dad replied “I am rebuilding the carborator for Big Daddy’s truck”. I remember thinking to myself “no you’re not”. I said to my dad after looking at the truck “daddy, that’s not a carborator, that’s a truckorator.” I remember after that my dad laughing, smileing and getting me a crate to stand on so I ould help him rebulid that truckorator for Big Daddy’s truck.
After WW II, my father returned to his home in a small Pennsylvania town and became a house plumber. His father had been a patternmaker of great skill. I never knew my Dad’s Dad, but his huge chest of mysterious pattern making tools resided in the attic.
My father taught me a lot about tool use and care when I was growing up. He became a union plumber and worked away from home a lot. I grew up and entered the fire service and have since retired.
After Dad, retired he switched from working with pipe to working with wood. He made lots of wooden toys; my own children and my grandson have several…including an heirloom quality hobbyhorse.
Dad is now 85; he is in a nursing home and can not walk. The Alzheimer’s and the strokes have taken their toll…some times he knows me and some times he does not. I try to visit at least once a week.
Dad is a packrat…every tool, part, and piece of scrap has been saved. I have been helping my mother sort through things to get a handle on the clutter. She has given me and my brother and sister many of my Dad’s tools. My brother has saved Dad’s treasured and much used Eastwing hammer, I am glad that he has it.
Dad’s wood splitter is in my shed and a few of his hand tools have gone into my boxes. My Mother is selling most of the items. That is fine with me, she can use the money, and if I kept every one of his tools my house would not be livable. Dad always said though, that he wanted me to have his father’s pattern making tools.
At my mother’s request I looked at the pattern maker’s tools. In the huge tool chest of my grandfather’s was a note written by my Dad. It read: “These where my father’s tools. I want Bill (me) to have them when I am dead. He takes care of tools.”
The note also listed a number of planes, spoke shaves, chisels, squares, a Yankee screwdriver, and such that he had removed and used in his shop in his later years. I was able to locate most of the listed tools and return them to the chest.
Sadly, I moved the tools to my home and sat the chest in my garage. A few weeks later I put the tools in my basement shop. I carefully cleaned out each drawer and wiped the tools down with a light coat of much needed oil. Dad is sentimental to a fault, even saving the saw dust and pencil nubs (seriously) that were created by his father.
One of my Dad’s favorite tools was the Leatherman Wave that I gave him for Christmas, back when they first came out. He carried it every day for years but now it seems he doesn’t even know he ever had one.
I have in my home lots of tools Dad gave me over the years: wood chisels, bench grinder, staple gun and others. I will pass it all on to my kids when I can no longer use the stuff.
Life really is short, too short to buy cheap tools. Buy quality tools, like Leatherman items, and pass them down. If you do, your children will think about you every time they use them.
I have been blessed to come from a line of tinkerers and craftsmen. My father was an engineer and a tinkerer. My grandfather was a woodworker and my great grandfather built houses. Tools and gadgets have been passed down to me that I marvel at and hope one day to pass on (with reverence) to future generations.
Favorite childhood memories are going to my grandfathers house for the day and spending time in his shop (which was in an old powder mill to make it even more fantastic) seeing all his tools and projects in the works. He always had some wooden puzzle or gizmo (yip sticks and smoke grinders) that he would show me. The mortising bit on the drill press fascinated me.
When my father passed a few years ago I moved most of his shop that he had accumulated into my overcrowded basement. In the process of moving I found sketches of projects that he had done around the house. Specialty tools that he fashioned out of scraps of wood, pieces of an old stroller and pipe. Some of which I knew what he made them for, others I hated to get rid of but for the life of me couldn’t figure out what it was meant to do.
The old workbench is the heart of the shop. As I pull the big draw on it open to find the file or tape measure (still in the place where Dad would have kept it) and hear that creak of it opening, a smile comes to my face to know that I was blessed with this “maker” tradition and hope that I can help foster it on down the line.
I’ve learned over the years that it’s easy to have too much in your pockets — cramming a cell phone, a wallet stuffed with receipts, a half pound of change, and a set of keys into your pocket, and you’re suddenly fashioning yourself after a plumber, with the accompanying reveal. I’ve lightened the load over the years, but there are two items I am never without: a cheap ballpoint pen, and my Case folding knife.
It was a teenager before I found out that I had never seen my Father’s Case knife in its original condition. The original wood sides had fallen off when he was a teenager, and he had replaced them a half dozen times over the years, whittling new sides with the knife they would soon adorn. He would pull out his knife, always in his pocket, to shave down a dowel, to trim baler’s twine in the field, to cut fat off a pork chop at the grill or potatoes at the campfire. He would trim his fingernails while waiting for my Mother, or cut a thread off her blouse when she needed it. How many of my toys emerged from packaging with the help of his knife? How many splinters emerged with the gentle touch of a razor sharp knife? How many times have I seen him with his round oil stone and a rag on his knee? How many pictures of rocks (he’s a geologist) have I seen with his pocket knife leaning against the strata for scale? How many times has he answered the query, “Do you have your knife on you?” with “Of course, of course.”
I think few would argue that a knife has always been one of man’s simplest tools, and its place at my Father’s side has always proven that for me. While I’ve had many knives, some I’ve cared for more, others that were cast offs and giveaways, I remember clearly, and with not a little pride, the moment I realized that the knife I wanted was the one that was just like my Father’s. It’s not a perfect knife, and not suited to all the tasks I ask of it, and maybe never as sharp as my Father’s, but there’s something I can say about it with absolute certainty: It’s always there, waiting for me, ready to emerge, snap straight, and cut true.
My fondest memory of my dad was that he used to like working with cement, and so he would always find a way to include that in a project. Need a stand for the washing machine? Build a form and pour cement. Want a flower pot on top of a wall? Cement. He used cement as a sculptor might use modeling clay. His creations not only did the job, they outlived my childhood. While it may seem to a third party that he force-fit the tool to the job, he went with his strength and found creative solutions to problems.
When I look down at my hands, I see my father’s hands. Slender, but calloused. My dad can make anything! I’m so happy that he taught me how to use his tools… many of the lessons left me battered, bruised, or cut; but the lessons were wonderful nonetheless. He helped me be fearless… to dive into the project knowing that I could do it even if I didn’t quite know how.
I remember my Dad made everything he could. He built our house, he built our swimming pool, he built a sail boat. When he was stationed in Ireland during WWII, he found the parts to build himself a bicycle to go riding with his friends. When the state government came to him and told him he had to utilize the alternative power source on his ranch (he owned the water rights), he built a hydroelectric plant. I miss the smell of his workshop the most. When he passed, I inherited his toolbox (much to my brother’s dismay). We call it The Magic Toolbox, because whenever we need a specialized tool, we just look in there, and voila! there it is. The first Christmas my husband and I spent with my parents, my Dad gave my husband a Leatherman. That’s when I knew my husband had been accepted as a member of the family. It was a sad day when someone stole that Leatherman, but we still have The Magic Toolbox.
My Dad was an alcoholic who would get drunk and terrorize our family. I recall him chasing me around the outside of our house with a sledgehammer. When he died we had him cremated. Apparently he had so much alcohol in him it took them 3 weeks to put out the fire. If I had the Leatherman back then, I would have buried it in his forehead. I’d like one of these for my husband, he is a wonderful father.
My dad was always so meticulous about taking very good care of your tools and very carefully putting them away clean and dry. Tools lasted him a long time. My granpa, who I never knew, was a carpenter on the railroad.
I remember helping my Dad put in a (shallow, the water table was high where I grew up) well and a sprinkler system. Getting the pipe under the sidewalk for some of the zones was… interesting. Tools used included a hacksaw for cutting the PVC, wrench for fittings on the well pump, and other sundry odds and ends.
I remember my dad’s shop in the basement. We would spend all kinds of time building anything from models to furniture. He always was working to reorganize his shop using anything from silhouettes of tools on hooks to tool boxes.
My father has tons of tools. In fact I think he is a compulsive tool hoarder. I half-jokingly recommend starting a tool rental business every time I ask to borrow one and he responds with “which one would you like.” Maybe being a farmer and vocational school carpentry instructor necessitates needing three air compressors or half-a-dozen circular saws. Better yet, my childhood habit of not putting things back where I found them forced him to invest in replicates. Screwdrivers were no exception. I was the “tool retriever” when the need arose. With explicit instructions to fetch a phillips head screwdriver, vise-grips or you name it. Thinking back, I’m convinced this was a three-part lesson 1) fetch so I can keep working, 2) learn the tools and 3) and make myself useful. During the return trip with screwdrivers in hand I learned I could throw these end-over-end and stick their business end into sod, trees and other things I dare not divulge. I tested the patience of my Dad for dawdling when I should have been hustling. Yeah, I threw screwdrivers as a kid. I got pretty good too although it’s not a talent worth boasting. Sadly, many screwdrivers never made it back to where I found them. Nowadays, my Dad will hand me rusty screwdrivers excavated from the garden or pulled from the center of a cinder block when I come to visit. Can you guess what he tells me to do with them? Yep, put them back where I found them, 25 years ago.
When my dad was growing up, he and his brother would often spend summers at the family farm. His grandfather had a shop next to the house that had all kinds of old tools in it. When my brother and I got old enough and used to spend OUR summers on the farm, we would always go poking around in there. Every tool had it’s own story that my dad would tell us. There were tools that I’d never even heard of before that had were designed for specific farm jobs. I have been taught by my father to take good care of your tools, and he was taught by his father, and he by his father before him. It shows, because all of those tools were in perfect condition. When the time came to sell the farm, we took a bunch of the stuff from that shop and now they sit in our garage and get used all the time. When I’m hammering away with a tool that’s older than I am, I can’t help but imagine when my great grandfather held the very same tool in his rough hands and what he would have thought had he known that it would continue being used for this long.
My dad was/is an inventor and tools were an everyday part of our lives. When we kids wanted a go cart, he got us busy in the garage with drills and hacksaws to build (a non-motorized) one.
I got my first tool at about 8. He took me out on the front porch and solemnly handed me a box. I opened it and inside was a multi-tool. His words to me were, “well, I guess you’re old enough to cut yourself.”
And he was always nearby with the bandaids when I did.
My fondest memories of my father and his tools come from my childhood. As a young boy my father had brought upon himself a project to build me a minibike. He bought piece by piece from garage-sells and flea markets, building it as he went. I spent many nights watching my father tinker with the minibike, handing him tools, and holding the flashlight. We spent hours together building that little minibike. And when I eventually crashed it, we built it again back from the ground up.
One of the things I love about my dad is that he taught me all about tools and how to use them at an early age. It simply made no difference that I was a girl, he wanted to teach me whatever he knew so that I could learn. I remember banging old nails into boards, learning to use saws and screwdrivers. I have always been grateful to him that I’ve not had any fear of power tools or doing things around the house like other women I know.
The memory I’d like to share was one when I was about seven or eight. I had gone out to check what he was doing in the woodshop and as usual, he was willing to let me watch and then teach me what he was doing. He was making bookshelves by using a router to notch the side walls and then he was going to glue boards in.
I thought the router was fascinating and upon seeing me so interested, my dad took up a scrap piece of wood, clamped it down, put googles on me and showed me how to use the tool. He put his big hands over my small ones and helped me to carve each letter of name into the piece of scrap wood. I still have that piece of wood and can see the places in my name where I got wobbly and he helped me.
Happy Father’s Day dad!
I grew up with both a father and a step father as part of my life.
Lee Jorgensen, my biological father was a salesman at heart. Lee spent most of my life organizing the funding needed to take small companies public. The tools of his trade were wit, charisma, humor, and most importantly his reputation. He had a regular toolbox in his front closet, but I think I used them (and abused them) more than he ever did. Helmar Lee Jorgensen passed in June of 2006 and he is missed every day.
Bryce Applegate, my other dad, grew up in southern Utah working on a farm and herding sheep. Bryce can fix anything with spit and bailing-wire. Even though I seemed to have a knack for losing tools or leaving them out in the rain, he taught me to use them anyway. I watched and learned as Bryce did everything from shoeing horses to replacing the U-joint on his pickup. Bryce spent more than 20 years working for the railroad and he used his skill and tools to keep old cars running for hundreds of thousands of miles as he drove them to rail yards and remote sections of track all over the western United States. Thanks to Bryce, I am comfortable installing a water heater in the house or changing my car’s oil in the driveway. Just as importantly, I know what words to choose when an end-wrench slips and I end up punching a motor-mount. :) Bryce still has an address in the mountains of Utah, just south of Grantsville; but he seems to spend most of his time in Idaho racing horses with one of his brothers, Eb. I hope he is in range of a cell tower tomorrow.
My dad was never very handy. From an early age I learned how to use the tools that he often did not know how to use. But what I did learn from my dad was how to improvise with what you had.
Vice grips and duct tape were always the go to tools for my dad and I learn a lot from him. But I learned the right way after the quick way.
Lots of memories about Dad and tools. We always found interesting things by the side of the road. On a trip one of us noticed something, he stopped the car and we all got out. Turned out to be what we called a “come-along” (hand-cranked winch)! It was like we had won the lottery!
My Dad was somewhat skilled, and very crafty. I remembered him trying to teach me how to tie knots, but I don’t actually remember how to tie them (a great regret).
One time, we were getting repeatedly shocked by an antique brass lamp. Whenever anyone tried to turn it on or off, ZAP! Instead of finding someone who KNEW about electricity, or throwing the lamp away (it had no value, real or sentimental), he proceeded to WRAP THE ENTIRE LAMP IN ELECTRICAL TAPE! No more “shocky shocky”!
He has since passed, (not to do with his “rigging”) and I miss him every day.
I think I most strongly remember the basement workbench. He had a fairly small bench, with a bench vise. Nothing fancy in the way of tools–no advanced carpentry or power tools. Just the standard stuff everyone needs. But I went down there all the time and played with that stuff, and he always encouraged my understanding/knowledge of how to use the tools properly.
My strongest memory is when we made a simple electric switch box. It had 3 states–off, ‘red’, and ‘blue’. The red and blue were simple lights on top of a solid matte black box with the switch–I think it was for some school project. But I’d have to say that moment was when I first became a ‘Maker’, and lovingly pass that tradition on to my children to this day.
My dad’s always been a maker. There are so many instances that I can remember using tools with him… working on his race car, restoring a 1973 Volkswagen ‘Thing’ with him. So many MacGyver-like car repairs along the side of the road. Building pine wood derby cars and sheds to house all the ‘junk’ he came across but knew he’d someday have a use for. I think even with all these experiences, my most memorable was when he’d just leave me loose in the basement with a bunch of scrap wood and other odds and ends and tell me to ‘just make whatever comes to mind’ using any of his wide array of tools. I still have shelves and other oddities that were the product of those sessions and I can’t wait to give my own kids the same experience some day.
A few months ago, I received a text message from my father asking the location of his framing nail gun – a particular combination of .22 cal rifle, hammer and nail. I had used it on my first big “alone” job, finishing my parents basement at 18 and had since appropriated it into my own tool collection.
I never replied back. I wasn’t ‘fessing up to the crime. I might have even implied he should ask my brother.
Fast forward to this past Memorial Day weekend. My father visits and helps move my workshop to my new townhouse. We get the tools unloaded and my father and I chat about being men, my current project list, etc. As he leaves to return home he stops me in my tracks with —
“Son, please remember I’m not dead yet. I’m taking my tools back.”
I can recall images of my dad rummaging through the old plywood drawers of the workbench in our attached one-car garage. He always seemed like a man with bigger dreams than the space he found to work in. His dreams were often bigger than his tools too. Quite a few memories of him include band-aids from an adjustable wrench that tried to adjust his knuckles as it whipped off the bolt he wanted to tighten. Some of the makeshift tools that he concocted were legendary in both their genius and success, and their abysmal failures. It didn’t matter if he was trying to work a rusted on rotor from his dad’s 65 chevy pickup, or trying in vein to salvage an old CRT console TV (which i had inadvertently smashed to oblivion), the lack of the “proper” tool didn’t seem to scare him away from the project. He could whip it together, lash it down with duct tape, or pinch it on with some vise-grips and get the job done. Here’s to Dad, my project inspiration, do-it-yourselfer extraordinaire!
My father learned so much from my moms dad and he still passes it on down to me, his son, in many ways. Just recently my father shows me how to re-tap a thread for an upcoming project. I have helped my dad rebuild a 1976 Yamaha Scooter and help pull the motor out of the 1976 Yellow MGB he had too and shows us how to change our own oil and filter. My dad does not get into the shop much anymore to work on the boat, refinish things for my mother, or make his own custom water ski’s due to the fact he lost much of his eyesight due to detached retinas in both eyes. Nevertheless, he still is able to take an idea and make it happen, quickly, creatively, and best of all, like dad
I can’t think of my father without imagining a toolbelt around his waist. An immigrant from Colombia, my father would have been an electrical engineer had schools in New York accepted his university credits from BogotÃ¡. As a result of hard work, he eventually worked in the maintenance department of his current company, of which he is now the manager. My childhood is full of strong memories of him coming home past my bedtime after working two jobs, his hands covered in dirt or grease and his toolbelt in hand. When he did have the rare day off, he would spend it working on our small but well-loved house, finishing the basement and upstairs bathroom, building the deck, and creating the den from the screened-in porch. He even built a secret passage between my sister’s room and my crawlspace, so that we could visit one another whenever we wanted.
When I was sixteen, my father’s van was robbed of virtually all of his tools, including the ladder strapped to the rack on top. I hadn’t realized, until that moment of discovery, how linked my father’s identity was to his tools. my siblings and I realized this and pooled our money together that Christmas to get him a very simple tool kit. At the time we had no idea about tools, and the kit was mostly a useless set of screwdrivers and wrenches of various sizes, but he appreciated our effort all the same. Trying to rebuild his library was a slow process, but he ultimately was able to return it to its old size. It’s been seven years since the van was robbed, but I’m sure if I brought him a Leatherman, he would appreciate it as much as he appreciated that dinky tool kit.
My father was taken too early in life just after my twelfth birthday. In those short years together, I clearly remember his practical side. He was a man who cared deeply about not wasting what we one day could use. And so this Father’s day, I write to honor a man who taught me to use and respect tools. As a boy of six, I recall going with him to a hardware store which was always an exciting place, aisle after aisle of tools, nails and best of all BB guns. We arrived to pickup supplies for building an addition. One item purchased was a wheelbarrow. A shiny red one that would become an indispensable tool for nearly a decade after he was gone. We used it to haul bags of concrete, wood for our stove, dirt for the garden and just about anything else including an occasional ride. Life seemed simpler in those days, but I know it was filled with hard work and effort by my father. As a grown man I still hear his voice teaching me lessons I still need to learn. But one that I know by heart, is the importance of having good tools to do a job right….Thanks Dad.
This isn’t technically a “father” story, but rather a grandfather, or Papa, story. Being raised by a single mother, the only male father figure I can count on his Papa, and he helped me become the tinkerer I am today. He has always had an affinity for Craftsman (a native of Chicago, and a former Sears employee – go figure), and for organization. He knew, and still knows, where all of his tools are at all times. I, however, did not pick that up from him. To this day I drive him nuts with my “un-organization,” although I usually know where my tools are – usually. Despite the difference in tact, he always helped me in my projects when I needed him. I remember him helping me build pinewood derby cars, and still call him for tool advice. Hell, after his third retirement he now works at Ace, and as even appeared a couple of times on local news for his knowledge and helpfulness.
when i was 4, my father and i built a beautiful table from scratch. everything was done by hand, without power tools, and we still use the table to this day :D
For most of my adolescence, my father and I did not get along. He was a cop and I thought I was Washington’s Snoop Dogg. When I was 16, however, my grandma gave me a ’61 Chevy pickup that wasn’t in the best shape. My dad who was a motorhead (and was probably disappointed the I was not)told me he would help me fix it up. Setting up the spray booth in his shop and painting our first car together was a big change in our relationship. The time in there changed things for the better, but I owe a lot to cars and the tools we used to fix them.
My dad was a handyman at home. About 30 years ago we needed to replumb the house for forced hot water heat. My dad taught me how to use a blow torch and to properly prep and solder copper pipes/fittings. Burned many a floor joist before I got the hang of it. I am the DIYer because of him.
Hello there Leatherman, and to Fathers and Fathers to be and Fathers who Have passed away,
My late Father was employed as a Electrical and Mechanical Engineer and often brought home Electrical Based Demo items and Old Stock and stuff that was going to get tossed out from he company He worked for. he did have quite a few tools both electric and mechanical (hand crank drill with bits,still have that one and almost all of his tools and meters ) and usual variety of hand tools A-Z ,He also kept a lot of wood around, and in the days when I was young growing up in a city with side walks *Garbage picking allowed me to bring many objects home (some magazines *Confiscated by my Mom,
But one warm summer day after making a rudimentary wood chair and finding a large lantern battery in the garage and wire , Two friends and I decided to customize the chair, we stripped the wire and wrapped it around the chair (You know where this is heading) and then connected each end of the bare wire to each connection + and – of the Battery and a few seconds later the wire began burning and our Electric Chair Worked, I soon disconnected the wires as it was burning up quite good, But then Dad came home from work and I said Dad look what I made and He was not Happy, He saw the burned chair (surface burns to wood) the bare wire and the battery and he said that we were lucky the battery did not explode (He did ask if We plugged it in to the electric socket in the Garage (*did not think of that!) and I said no, I did get quite a lecture on safety and electricty though at dinner and though the night and was grounded for at least a week , ? early DIY development ?
I sure miss You Dad!
The biggest thing I can remember with my dad and tools is that he was always looking for something. Not because he didn’t have it — but because he coudln’t find it. If he organized his tools better it would have been much less work on everyone’s part to find the tool for the job.
–Cool part is that we would always find what was needed eventually.
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