We have been making up for the time lost during the trip from hell.
Leaving Oakland, California last Wednesday we delivered in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday.
After delivering in Las Vegas we left for Fresno, California to pick up two trucks for Joe to deliver back to Las Vegas.
Leaving Fresno and heading to Las Vegas we stopped at Brooks Ranch restaurant for breakfast. Brooks Ranch is a favorite of local farmers and ranchers. The men come in for a bit of gossip and gab time before they go back out in the heat to toil in their fields or work the cattle.
The wall space in a large dining area is covered with antique tools, tin signs (not antique), and other advertising items.
An electric soldering iron is hung on the dining room wall next to an older non electric model.
A device to suck oily liquids then squirt the contents out, reason unknown, is hung atop the wainscot of the lower wall.
A hole punch tool used on leather, canvas, or thin metals. Looks similar to something you could purchase today made from aluminum.
The next tool I have no idea what it was used for. Neither does my all knowing Joe.
Sheep shears with the sharp tips jammed into the ceiling area and screwed to the wall.
A hand scythe mounted high on the wall sparked a memory from long ago. Greeley, Colorado had an immigrant population that worked the onion fields when I was a teen.
I watched a Hispanic man of over 40 squatted on his haunches holding a scythe similar to this in his right hand as he snicked his hand back and forth cutting the grass of the little home he and his family lived in.
The man’s hand worked quickly over the grass. Palm toward his body as he drew the tool through the grass. On the return pass away from his body he twisted his wrist with palm facing outward. Each swipe back and forth cut the grass cleanly and easily.
I watched the man sharpen the tool’s blade on the concrete curb from time to time then return to the job of cutting his grass. His work was every bit as good as had he used a lawn mower. Amazing.
A spoke tool hangs on another wall.
In Colonial Williamsburg, back about 1999, I watched a man take a piece of a tree branch about 20 inches long. With a hatchet type of axe the man whacked the blade through the branch splitting the top part. He inserted a wedged shape piece of steel and quickly split the branch.
The bark was quickly stripped from one of the halved branches. After clearing the bark debris from the table surface he then took the spoke tool in his hands and began pulling the sharp blade along the length of the wood.
In minutes, and mostly a blur of motion, the man had worked the crescent shaped piece of wood into a smooth shaft to be used as an axe or sledge handle. One end was notched to accept a tool head. This tool was created, originally, to carve wagon wheel spokes from timber. As this tool was worked other uses sprang up – axe and sledge handles to name two.
The old arts are almost gone.
The next tools were more advanced. These are the “Power Tools” of the day.
The top most is a socket wrench. I used to have one of these. The wooden handle is a palm swivel knob thing. By placing the socket end over a bolt or nut, holding the wooden knob in your non dominant hand to steady the tool, wrap your hand around the crooked part moving in a circular motion to loosen or tighten a bolt. I had nothing to use this tool on but enjoyed messing with it.
The center tool is an “Automatic Screwdriver”. The shaft has a spiral groove. There is a “sleeve” on the shaft that moves up and down. That piece causes the shaft to turn a screw in quickly. I used one of these over 30 years ago and found it to be one of my favorite tools. I don’t remember now if there is a button or a tab to push or flip to cause the driving action to reverse but it does have something like that.
The last tool is a drill. It works by turning the wheel part. There is a little handle that is used to turn the wheel which rotates the drill bit. Unlike the power tools of today, regulating the speed was easy. All one had to do was hold steady and crank slowly.
Reversing the drilling mechanism meant turning the wheel the opposite way. Totally idiot proof.
These are “Sweet” tools and I had fun using them a lifetime ago.
This next tool had me stumped.
My ever knowledgable Joe said the tool above is a “Nail Puller”. I have no idea what that sharp beaked thing is nor how it works.
One thing I do know. Long ago, during the gold rush days, people would come in large numbers in search of their chance to make it rich. Canvas tent and slapped together wooden shanties would be replaced with sturdy buildings in the town square. Homes would be built around the growing town. As the rich mining petered out leaving behind broken dreams the home owner would pack up all their belongings in a wagon then set fire to the house that was once called home.
After the fire cooled the ashes would be combed through to salvage every single nail used to build that home. Nails were expensive. Too expensive to leave behind in a building that will never be lived in again.
Thus ends a blathering lesson on old hand tools and my jaunt down memory lane.
We are on our final trip before going home for a while. Santa Rosa, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Paperwork and 100 plus degree days await me. Oh joy! Oh well, gotta tough it out and get it done.
Hope you all have a great work week and the temps will be cooling for you, maybe even some much needed rain will fall where you live. One can always hope.