We ran across this web-posting of a great first-hand story regarding one man’s incredible “find” at a New England garage sale. In the lucky guy’s own words:
“For some unknown reason I mentioned the word ‘patternmaker’. When I did, it was like correctly answering the Final Jeopardy question of “The profession of my long-dead father”. I instantly became his long lost son, as he and I slugged it out trading patternmaker volleys in a game of one upsmanship. He was totally amazed that I, being a 30-something-Chuck-Taylor-wearing-in-sore-need-of-a-shave-who-looks-like-he-oughta-be-tending-a- garbage-scow-for-a-living-‘murican-male would have even a remote clue about a trade that’s all but dead.
“He tells me about all the patternmaking that his father did while employed at a firm just down the road from where he lives. His father made patterns for machinery used to process wool. He then tells me that his great uncle was also a patternmaker…
“This is when he decides to tell me that he has a patternmaker’s chest that belonged to his father…”
And what a chest it is, as you can see in the picture above — just one of a half-dozen or so photos of this treasure.
The story apparently originated on the newsgroup rec.woodworking in May of 1995, but I’d imagine most Toolmongers can relate to the experience of a great “yard sale” find — if not one of this magnitude. (My beloved portable band saw came from a behind-the-flea-market deal my Dad made, and though it’s not new and pretty, it definitely works — and was in our low budget at the time. Thanks again, Dad!)
Anyway, the rest of the story is incredibly entertaining and worth a read.
The Superior Works: C.A. Jewett’s Patternmaking Chest [Supertool.com]