Daddy's tool box

mellowd_txAugust 9, 2014

I love this site... I don't have many to bounce ideas off of and yall have ALWAYS come through with good ideas and making me look really good... I think this one will be a hard one.

Attached is a picture of my Daddy's tool box. I would love to make it more usable and more appealing to the eye. I also really need to clean it up but more importantly I don't want to hurt the integrity of it.

Any ideas??? Ready, set.... GO!

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I know this will sound weird, but I actually cried when I saw the pic of your daddy's toolbox. I lost my daddy 1 1/2 yrs ago, and he had a similar toolbox (his was red). His has vanished over the last years of his life, but how I miss it, and watching dad work. I am assuming your dad has passed on, if not this isn't gonna work.

Some things are better as they were left. That said, I would dust, maybe clean up any spills, get rid of any toxins. Wipe off the tools, put them where you need them so you can use them, maybe put a smiling picture of your daddy over it so all can see it, maybe with a plague with his name if you want it, and let the natural beauty of well-used tools, and the well-loved memory of your daddy show its own beauty.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:26PM
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WOW... we made each other cry...My wonderful Daddy passed away 3 1/2 years ago and the sting of life without him is ever present. I love your idea!!!!! Daddy worked for years building jets... When he retired he brought his tool box home... I have a ton of mementos... Seems I can't memorialize him enough! We will be able to see it on the way in and out... THANK YOU SO MUCH its the perfect solution!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:05PM
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I'm thrilled you liked my suggestion. We both seem to be having similar feelings of hurt over our dads. Please don't forget to personalize it to you and your family. If your dad was at all like mine, he wouldn't want you to forever live with his shadow around your life, he wouldn't want your home to become a shrine. He would want you to keep going, hold your head up and remember him with love. But don't let it rule your life. Best wishes on whatever you decide to do,

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:43AM
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What a tribute to your dad it will be when you are using his toolbox as a functional, powerful piece of your "handyman" life!!

The first thing, of course, is to sort stuff out, and toss things like paper and plastic bags, etc.

Then, get a few containers to use just for now,a nd sort stuff by function:
-stuff that hammers
-stuff that squeezes
-stuff that cuts
-stuff that screws
And so on.

And then sort out fasteners--don't be afraid to toss some of them, especially if they're a little rusty, etc.
I divided my screws and nails up in general categories (small screws, medium screws, large screws, screws with anchors, ring-shank nails, small nails, finishing nails, large nails--see what you've got and divide as makes sense), put each in its own container, and labeled it.
I used Altoids tins and some rectangular plastic containers and labeled them on their edge, then stood them on the other edge, so they're like file folders for nails & screws.
I liked the Altoid tins because there's a wide opening, so you can see lots of screws and once, and flick through them with your fingertip.
Some of the nails and screws I have are still in their original boxes (bought some 2" and 3"), so I put those in there too--again, it's most efficient if you can stand them on edge instead of stacking.

Then, simple water and soap, I'd think. And maybe WD40 to lubricate things that slide.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:09PM
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TalleySue, what a great idea - Altoids tins to sort nails and screws. So much better than my idea, using ice cube trays (which spill easily).

And for putting this post back to practical, real-world ideas, instead of a painful thread in such a thoughtful way, thank you.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:55PM
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Oh, and if your Altoids tins aren't big, enough the International Coffee boxes are roughly the same dimensions, but deeper. And you could stand them on their sides as well. So you could mix the sizes without huge difficulty.

One of the important things in organizing this way (standing on their edges, like filing folders for objects) is to have all the containers be the same size, or very close to.

(I got some white plastic packing tape and some colored electrical tape to wrap around them to cover the printing, for a serene effect. You could get white duct tape as well; it's not -quite- wide enough, hence the skinnier electrical tape.)

The coffee I'm talking about (if you just need a couple, I'll mail you some!):

I keep wanting Altoids to make a double-depth tin the same exact size. Just so I can buy a couple to use for storage.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 12:45PM
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It's gorgeous. I have to agree, not to touch it besides a little light clean up.

My DH has a couple of "roll-aways" that are in ways part of him. They are defining personal possessions. He was also an aircraft worker at one point and has a roll-away that was his box from that job. It is a newer box, but still one of those possessions that elevated in status because of what it represents. It's cool to hear that your dad was one of those guys too. You are lucky to have such a special, beautiful piece and the memories that go with it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:23PM
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I wanted to encourage you to not make it a museum piece. Don't keep tools, etc., just because Dad had them there. Make this a part of -your- life, and have it hold things that -you- would use frequently.

I think that's a bigger tribute, and it'll keep it meaningful. You'll likely end up resenting it a little if it isn't actually doing something functional for you.

Once you weed out the tools of his that you won't actually use, and put in the supplies, tools, etc., that you will (like, maybe that windshield solution should go on the tall bottom shelf), then you will be "doing things just like Dad did," and there is no greater tribute.

Living a life informed by your dad's example is a more valuable tribute than simply admiring the things he touched. It makes your -life- and your -habits- become "things he touched." And it might actually pass on down to your own kid.
Both the tool kit (more emotionally valuable because his mom and dad -used- it than it would be if only grandpa had), and the -habits-.

I know my dad is much more moved by the idea that he has influenced my actions then he is that I have a sentimental attachment to something he made me.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:55PM
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this has some interesting suggestions--paraffin, WD40, windshield solution...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:10PM
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When he moved out of his house a few years ago, I asked to save his toolbox which belonged to his mother's father, thus my great grandfather, and my nephew and neices' great great grandfather. He owned tenements and was a master plumber, and the box, which he handbuilt to his own specs, includes some 1890s vintage tools as well. My dad never treated it as a treasured family heirloom; rather, it just sat on the concrete basement floor and when he was done with a tool, he'd simply heave it back into the toolbox. As a result, I saw it used, and used it myself frequently, not knowing its history. Turns out it's our oldest family heirloom.

We also had a chest full of old china that was never used, but passed down figuring someone would want it, but nobody did. It's not like I have any fondly remember family get\-togethers where we ate from those plates. They were always too valuable to risk breaking so they we were never served using them and none of us even remembered seeing them much. My elderly relatives were aghast, but why should a big set of plates and cutlery we've never seen mean much to us? I'd rather have the old tools and toolbox that were a part of my life growing up and thus actually meant something to me. It shows if you want your heirlooms to be seen as valuable to the younger generations, you have to actually use the stuff. That won't happen if it spends its entire existence locked away in a wood chest at someone else's house and never taken out for meals or other gatherings.
    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:43PM
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It shows if you want your heirlooms to be seen as valuable to the younger generations, you have to actually use the stuff.

I so totally agree with this.

Oh, and I've started saying to my kids, "This is important to me, so treat it well. But when I die, don't feel the slightest qualm at tossing it out; I don't expect the stuff I value to be important to you; its value lives in me, and it will die with me."

(Watch--the item I specifically said that about, my marble pen holder from my college, which would be a worthless tchotchke if it weren't that I've decided to care about it, will be something they fight over.)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:17PM
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I am writing this with watery eyes. My heart goes out to those of you who have lost yours. Thank you for sharing your pics and stories.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Just wanted to add that when I said, "Don't touch it" I meant don't refurbish it. I agree that it should be used in a way that would honor your dad.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:52PM
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I think that if a person were to refurnish, and even strip and repaint, the tool box, it would -still- be a tribute to Dad. The fact that you're using it, and value, is what's important; not that you are keeping it in exactly the same condition it was when you received it.

You're not a museum; if you want to spiff it up so it looks nice, I think that's a perfectly legitimate pathway. And it's still honoring your dad.

But I personally wouldn't bother--not because I found the slightest value in its peeling and battered appearance, but because it would just be a heck of a lot more work than I wanted to go to.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:43PM
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