Musings – Passing of a Long-time Workmate, 1978-2013

My electric drill died. After 35 years of faithful service, it finally gave up the ghost, while grinding the surface oxidation from a seat plank for Dockwood Bench 3. There was a “clang,” and it froze. Through the air vent I could see the cooling fan blades – not good. I took it apart and found that the fan had broken in half. I got the two pieces out, spun the armature, put it back together, but it was still frozen, lifeless.


One expects tools to last a lifetime, if they’re of decent quality. I’m still using the same claw hammer, scrapers, chisels, and files I started with all those years ago when we came to New York. (My original tools, inherited from my father, remain in California, being used to this day by my brother, I believe. Many of those tools were inherited from his father.)

Tools, after long use, seem to fit to one’s hand, and become a comfortable extension of one’s arm, in an intimate connection between one and the material being worked with. There’s satisfaction in learning, after years of their use, all their idiosyncrasies, and the nuances of the skill of using them to their best capability.

So I regret the passing of my old, faithful, drill. I’ll purchase a new one, but really wonder if it’ll last the way my old one did!


– Dave Wilder


One thought on “Musings – Passing of a Long-time Workmate, 1978-2013

  1. I feel the same way about all my kitchen equipment. I inherited a lot of my grandmother’s tools and the new items I’ve added just don’t feel as sturdy or reliable.

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