Thursday, February 14, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday – Saw Cuts

Sometime around my early to mid-teens, my grandfather moved out of his house and into a local retirement community.  Since his new apartment was smaller than the house he was living in, it became necessary to start clearing out items he wouldn’t need.  Furniture, books, photos, and more were dispersed to his children and grandchildren.  One of his toolboxes ended up at our house, to be given to me at some later point in life.

That later point in life came many years later, after I had moved away from home.  My father had decided to move south and sell the house we grew up in.  Similar to Grandpa, he had to clear out items that he couldn’t take with him.  The toolbox, now somewhat rusty with age, ended up in my basement.

Fast forward a few more years to a couple of summers ago.  I had decided to build myself a kayak, using a traditional skin-on-frame method of construction.  Something in me decided not to use power tools on the project, so I began searching my basement for some basic hand tools.  At one point my eyes landed on my grandfather’s old toolbox.  “I wonder what’s in there?” I said aloud.

Opening the rusty box really was like opening a treasure chest.  There were saws, chisels, marking pencils, squares, and gizmos unidentifiable.  It seemed that the deeper I dug into the tool box, the older the tools became.  Many were rusty, but most were still of useable quality.

Getting back to the kayak project, I selected a hand-saw and checked it out.  The blade had some surface rust, but the teeth were still sharp.  I took it outside and used it to cut all the wood for my new boat.

The really interesting part of this saw is what I noticed later.  The handle, engraved with flowing vines, had the name “E.S. Davis” stamped into the wood.  When I noticed it, I stopped still.  Why would a saw from Grandpa’s toolbox have my initials stamped on it?  The answer is that it had belonged to my great-grandfather, Ernest Solomon Davis, who I share initials with.  The saw must have passed from him to his son, then down to me.

Since its discovery in Grandpa’s toolbox, Great-grandpa’s saw has been put to good use on a number of projects, including my daughter’s kayak that we built together last summer.  Like me, she used the blade to create some saw cuts, the fifth-generation to do so with that tool.


  1. This may sound silly but I was so excited to read that "wow" moment. What a treasure to discover! I recently discovered an award of appreciation given to my great great grandfather (a Vermonter)for his service in the Civil War. I found it cleaning and organizing my Dad's paperwork in the attic in a very unassuming brown envelope. I almost fainted with pure joy. I enjoy reading your blog very much. Keep up the good work!!

  2. How wonderful! Newer is not always better. Using these tools will make your kayak that much more special. Look forward to seeing photos of the finished product!