Sunday, January 13, 2008


Bob is doing his part to clean out, give away, and downsize our stuff. He put old or no longer needed tools on the garage table and then invited his sons to come and take any they would like to have. Kevin brought his three sons—ages 13, 12, and 10 to get some tools. The boys came carrying their own toolboxes. They received more than a few tools. They also received a history lesson.

Bob’s grandfather died when Bob’s father was four months old of a burst appendix. At that time, his grandmother, Elizabeth lived in Ottowa, Canada. She married Alfonse Riegert, a carpenter, when Bob’s father was four years old. Grandpa and Grandma Riegert never had any other children. By the time Bob was born, Grandpa and Grandma Riegert had moved to Chicago. Bob went a couple of times a month to Chicago to visit his grandparents and often stayed overnight in their tiny apartment. He can tell you all of the stops on the train, and what transfers he had to make. It took two hours to get to Chicago. With Grandpa Riegert’s help and tools, Bob constructed many toy boats and learned how to saw straight. Some of the tools that Bob gave to his grandsons belonged to his Grandpa Riegert.

“Grandpa, what is this?” was repeated over and over and Grandpa McDonell was happy to demonstrate the tools for his grandsons. Here are a few examples that were new to me that Bob told the kids about.
An easy out is used to get out a broken bolt. A nail set is used to finish carpentry so as not to leave a muletrack. The grandsons learned about a ball-peen hammer, star drills, friction tape, plumbers tape, cotter keys, flux soddering, a triangular chalkline, hand crank drills, wood chisel sets and a double spine roller tool that is still used today. They had never seen a Lufkin folding ruler. Grandpa demonstrated how to make a cut line. He also told them that after time the joints loosened ever so slightly so in order to get an accurate measurement, you have to really push against something with the ruler when measuring so there is not any extra space in the joints. He informed them of the use of the axe head and the hammerhead on a drywall hammer. There was a little metal box with steel posts with the numbers 0-9. You use them for engraving numbers on wood or metal or other materials by holding the post where you want the number and giving a quick hard pound with a hammer. While Bob was busy with other things one of the grandsons needed to try that neat trick. I forgot to take a photo of the boys and Grandpa. However some random numbers forever etched on our work table is an image to remind us of those special moments in the garage.

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