My Cup Runneth Over

This is kind of a bittersweet post and I am doing some struggling to find the right words.

The generosity that has been showered upon me recently has been overwhelming but this one went above and beyond to the point that I am having difficulty articulating my reaction.

A gentleman named Ron got in touch with me through the blog last week and offered to send me some machinists tools.

Not just any machinist’s tools.

He had a brother who was a machinist who was taken prematurely in a car accident back in 1970 and he has had his tool box and tools ever since.

I guess after reading about my recent birthday and me trying to teach myself the arcane intricasies of machining metal parts, he decided it was time to let some of that stuff go.

I just read another Email he sent me in reply to the one I sent him letting him know that I had received the package he sent me and how grateful I am, knowing how difficult it must have been going through his brothers tools and then very carefully packing some things up and sending them off to a perfect stranger after having them for so long.

He told me that he had been saving them for his son but that his son went into management and would probably never use them. He also figured his Grandson would never use them either so he sent them to me because I will.

Boy howdy will I.

As I was unwrapping these items it kept recurring to me over and over what it must have taken to make these decisions and what memories must have come back to him every time he pulled something out to make the decision of whether or not to keep it.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the saying about it getting dusty in here to avoid showing your true feelings in front of everyone.

Well, let me tell you.

It didn’t just get a little dusty back in the kitchen here a while ago.

It did this.

When I started unpacking the contents of that box the gut check I got was hard to describe.

Unbelievable generosity.


The Wifely Unit hasn’t seen what was in it yet but just from the sign that Leonard sent me yesterday, on top of the massive generosity at my birthday, she doesn’t know how to make it compute.

She just shakes her head in puzzlement.

I know the feeling though. Amazement writ large.

When I sent the thank you note to Ron, I assured him that I will clean and oil these precious tools up, then put them in my Snap On box to make sure they are well protected and I will pull them out when I need them, clean them up real good and put them right back away.

I will be taking very good care of his brother’s tools.

Because as a 40 year mechanic who has literally spent tens of thousands of dollars on tools over the years, I know full well the intrinsic value of quality tools.

Everyone knows the reputation Snap On has for being the very best.

Well what Snap On is to mechanics everywhere, Starrett is to machinists world wide.

I am just beside myself.

Thank you Ron, they came to a good home and I will take very good care of them.

At this time I would like to thank you all, very sincerely, for stopping in here for more than two seconds, for the wisdom, laughter, banter and most of all, for being the very best that this country has to offer.

You guys rock.


I no more than hit publish to post this when I get an email notification that someone has sent me a donation for $50 through the Paypal link.

Thank you John!

I am saving every penny I get from that for the new compound I need for the Smithy when they come back in stock in May, unless I can find something else sooner.

Like I said, you guys rock.

31 thoughts on “My Cup Runneth Over

  1. I’ve had a number of friends pass on, and I wound up with some of their tools, even guns, when the missus was cleaning out.

    Some of them are pretty innocuous. A pipe flaring tool here, some taps & dies.

    I have three old school hand saws. If I remember that far back, one is most certainly a rip saw, the other crosscut. I don’t recall even seeing saws like these in stores any more. Funny, I wind up using them from time to time.

    These are treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those are beautiful. And have a value far above replacement cost. I know where you are man. Having someone, a mentor, give you such a valuable gift, it’s humbling. I am proud for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great score Phil! One shipment and you’re catching up with me. Over the
    years, I picked up a lot of precision tools. By plugging away at eBay and
    Amazon, I got Mitutoyo OD and ID mics to 12″, 0-6 depth mics, snap
    gauges, large and small Fowler mag base kits. Mitutoyo digital indicator,
    Fowler digital calipers, a couple of Starrett 196 indicators with all the
    hardware for double reverse precision shaft alignments, a Starrett
    combination machinist square, and some other goodies.

    The best score ever was when the SSCC paper mill was shut down and
    the mill manager invited us to buy or steal anything that was not nailed
    down. Years earlier, some employee came up with a design for a shaft
    clamp for a dial indicator, and a digital LASER shaft alignment kit.
    It was a simple-to-use Volkswagon compared to the 25 grand Optilign
    kit. At 7 grand, it could correct offset and angular misalignment to
    .0001. That haul included a 1/2 ton long reach chainfall, a 3/4 ton
    come along, lifting straps, shackles, eyebolts, a 3/4 torque wrench, etc.
    The God of tools has been very very good to me!

    I even followed your lead and bought one of those Chinesium calipers
    with a scribe for layouts. As a pessimistic old fart, one is only one
    broken bolt or stud away from turning a 30-minute job into an all
    day job so I have every kind of bolt, screw, and stud extractor on
    the market including some homemade shit and left-hand drills. It
    beats cussing and throwing tools in my workshed!

    Here is the LASER alignment kit I scored:

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A good chunk of my precision tools have 2-3 names engraved on them. I am third owner of a lot of these devices and it never ceases to make me smile to think that I can be part of the history of these tools. It’s kinda silly, but I feel like a curator in a museum of precision, keeping the memory of the previous craftsmen alive for a while longer. The ones I really treasure have old school names from the old country engraved on them, along with the names of their American apprentices as they were passed down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are the ones to really take care of. I only have one or two like that but they are very special to me.
      One of the pieces Ron sent to me is a very small precision square that has his brothers name engraved on it. That is going to be the very first thing that I get cleaned up and I am going to find a small wooden box to keep it in.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Audel makes one and a mechanics and Millwrights guide as well.
      I don’t have the machinist guide, but the mechanics and Millwright
      guide is indispensable. Glover makes a pocket-sized reference
      that covers everything under the sun. If you do any electrical
      work, Ugly’s and Audel is the way to go. A lot of electrical
      supply houses gave away free copies of a pocket manual
      but I can’t find it. If you do not have enough memory in your
      noggin, have access to all the reference material you can
      get your hands on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ron trusts that these tools have found a good home, that is why you have them. Precision tools are needed for precision work. Good on you, Phil.
    Ron. My hat is off to you, sir.

    Whitehall, NY

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Score! Hooray for you Phil, and many thanks to the donor. If you can’t use something, give it to someone who will make use of it, even if you don’t know em.
    God works in mysterious ways. You give out good things, you get good things in return. You done good things Phil, now you get rewarded…
    Politicians excluded…..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kudos to Ron!

    I have most of my Dad’s Starrett tools, and use them regularly. Take care of them, and they last “forever”.

    Thanks for the smile, and in reaffirming that there really are some good people out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Several years ago, Ken Lane sent me a set of his dad’s mics. Note saying that his dad would have wanted them used to building something for good. Those became instrumental in putting together (to date) one of the finest 1911’s I’ve ever held in my hands. That it was built BY my hands still impresses me. But the reviews from one of the premier firearms photographers on the planet only cemented it in my mind that my dad’s gunsmithing skills matched with Ken’s dad’s machining skills carried my weight on some very stout shoulders. It was a very popular photo for a short while. Just wish both could have been alive to witness what they created.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Phil, I’m sure you have a set of gage blocks for checking the accuracy of those tools. If you should ever, God forbid, drop a tool & be unsure of its accuracy, I’m a calibration tech, have been for the last 20 years or so. I’d be happy to calibrate & return them for nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I worked for Weigh Tek we had a traceable set of calibration weights, we treated them like GOLD and NEVER took them out of the shop. We also made sure they were calibrated every two years even if they never got touched…
      Traceable to NBS -it’s not just a Good Idea!


    • I really appreciate the offer!
      I actually don’t have either a set of gauge blocks or pins either yet. I have been keeping an eye out on Fleabay though.
      Gotta have those.


Pansies, Trolls and Liberals are urged to flee this place.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s