Poem: Old Tools and Your Little Secret

Old Tools and Your Little Secret

Tools hang on the wall. Your grandfather’s.
Hand tools. Well worn.
Somehow still your favorite,
even if everything you build with them
is slow in its finishing.

Or maybe,
Because it is slow.
You feel each joint and cut differently.
They have meaning. Time and history.
An unseen beauty,
your little secret.

About this poem

The picture is not of my grandfather’s tools, which sit in a box in my project room. But I have at least one of each tool in the picture. I have a weakness for slow work. Some people would not call it a virtue. But I do.



  1. Hello, Tom,

    Thanks for the poem and picture. As a woodworker, I appreciate the sentiment and the picture of the tools, of which I also have many.

    But I cannot confess I use them; I’ve gravitated to mostly electric tools where I see my results more quickly and with more precision than I’d ever achieve with hand tools. I admire woodworkers who remain true to hand tools exclusively…and sometimes wonder why I never moved in that direction? Is it because I began woodworking later in life…and at 72 I realize my time is shorter?? Who knows?

    Still it’s a labor of love and it’s time alone in my shop where I am at peace.


    Steve Brubaker

    • I don’t know that there is any virtue in my using the older tools. I am NOT a woodworker and any work I do is strickly in the piddling around category, even when there is a goal n mind. So the slower, less accurate path is fine with me, more a connection with my past than a project. In your shoes? I’d go with the power tools too! Thank you for your kind words.

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