We are not the Waltons.
My step-mother believes we are. Or, perhaps, she believes that if she acts like we are the Waltons, we will become the Waltons.
We know better.
We are scattered geographically (Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri X 2 and California) and by age, I am 8, 14 and 16 years older than my siblings. When I left for college in Pittsburgh my family moved Denver. And I never lived with the family again except for four to six days occasionally at Christmas and three weeks when my father died. How the sibs turned out is not my fault.
So, like many other families, I assume, we do a Christmas lottery. Every sibling and spouse participating is assigned another sibling or spouse in an allegedly random draw and given the opportunity to purchase said sibling or spouse a gift from a supplied list not to exceed $100 exclusive of shipping and tax although point has been so subject of some discussion and dispute. Over the years the proffered gift lists have gotten shorter to the point of being only for a gift card or cash.
Annually, I supply my list of 4 of 5 items that actually requires a fair amount or research. Making an Amazon wish list helps. What inevitably happens is that a sibling or spouse would “buy” something my wife had already purchased from the same list. Many of these items were tools. In recent past, there were many tools at the $99 price point. Now, not so much.
These tools have included:
An 8″ Ryobi bench grinder.
Home Depot now only stocks a 6″ bench grinder for $45. I don’t use this grinder much anymore since like all good Kool-Aid® drinking woodworker, I have replaced it with a slow speed grinder.
This is not the actual grinder I was gifted. My sister gave me one like it the year the family was spending the holiday with her in Los Angeles. Driving to the airport, I was concerned how I was going to check it and how much it would cost for a third checked item. I found a Home Depot en route and returned that one for cash. I bought this one at a local Home Depot the next day.
Then there was:
The current version is green, $129 and has a laser.
Still used for the annual Toys for Tots build. This year I had three drill presses for the build. I could have used a fourth but space is not infinite.
More Ryobi. Current one is green and $129.
In a break from Ryobi, there was this:
The Delta tenoning jig. The box had a picture of Norm Abram on it.
This is now the Rockler Heavy-Duty Tenoning Jig, Item #: 29840 for $129.
Moving away from woodworking:
A ubiquitous Craftsman n+1 piece 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ socket set.
The missing sockets and drive live in the bandsaw now.
I thought Woodcraft was selling a rebranded version of this one but I can’t prove it.
Home Depot is now selling a Wen that looks a lot like a Rockwell that looks like a Triton that looks like a Grizzly that looks like a Scheppach. Then I stopped looking.
The last tool I mention in this walk down memory tool lane is this classic:
The low-end 12″ dovetail machine. A tool I never thought I’d use.
I did buy an additional template and use it to make box joints.
Discontinued by Porter+Cable, this machine next spent time as Woodcraft’s WoodRiver 12″ Half Blind Dovetail Jig. It is now the MLCS Dovetail Jig. Old tools never die, they just get new boxes.
I thought I would never use this dovetail jig because I don’t like the aesthetics of machine cut dovetails. Maybe if I had one of those $500 dovetail jigs I might feel differently but I don’t and I don’t. I’m not one of those dovetail purists/fetishist that rejects the existence of machine cut dovetails on philosophical grounds. They are a valid method of joinery. I just don’t like the look.
I never thought I would use the jig until I found this on eBay:
Seems to be a variation on the J. V. Hammond dynamite box for use in mining.
But this one is different:
The bottom is attached with half-blind dovetails.
I was bothered by this in that is not like the others in the collection:
Typical of others in the collection.
The typical box has a bottom attached with a sliding dovetail creating feet to keep the contents away from damp mine floors.
I was also bothered by the fact that a design feature of the boxes was that the were assembled without any glue. The joinery hold the box together. No glue required. Half-blind dovetails cannot rely on friction to maintain joint integrity. What keeps the box together?
Turns out the dovetails are pinned in all four corners.
Having bought one, I had to build one:
And I did.
Right down to the half-blind dovetails.
Not pinned yet.
Many blogs about these boxes if you care. Just search for blasting or Hammond.
The family took a vote this year on the Christmas lottery. Some of us felt it had become functionally like taking $100 from the left pocket and putting it in the right pocket. Less tax and shipping. The vote was two to discontinue, one to continue and one abstention. Maybe not a principled abstention, more like disdain or disinterest. Only siblings were polled. We didn’t think it fair to get spouses involved in such an emotionally charged issue.
A white elephant exchange was suggested. (Everyone provides wrapped, low value gift. The first person selects a wrapped gift. The next person can either select a wrapped present or take the first person’s gift. If a gift is stolen, the victim can select a wrapped gift or a previously selected gift. You cannot immediately steal back a stolen gift. And so it goes.)
This did not happen because one sibling was very seriously concerned about ending up with a $25 tchotchke they didn’t want. Apparently they never heard of regifting…
We all just donated $100 to a charity of our choice.