Old Tools And Old Guns

Experts | Think Tank |


By Tank Hoover

Both are handed down, usually from father to son.

Not brand spanking new by any means, their glint and shine is often long gone, replaced by earned wear glimmering in its own nostalgic way. Holding the same tool your long lost Pap, or Daddy held, maybe the one who died before you were born, makes a connection with you. The heft, and the custom feel, come from being gripped in his hand, hour upon hour, doing hard work, just makes it feel “right” in yours, as you hold it.

The burnished patina can’t be duplicated, but evolves from years of a natural process called carbonization, giving it character and appeal. His DNA is embedded not only in the tool itself, but also in its soul, stirring your emotion every single time you pick it up. The rugged, polished look screams out, “use me!” Back when men weren’t afraid of drowning in their own sweat. If factories could duplicate it, they would and call it “old-school cool,” or “hard-work worn.”

Picking up the aged tool humbles you with respect, honor and reverence as you hold it in your hand. Simply put, a sense of pride fills your heart every time you hold the salty tool.

Old tools aren’t for everyone. They’re for a special breed of person who appreciates family history and are filled with a sense of pride when they grasp something from long ago. The old tool is far more valuable than anything new. It’s priceless. Nothing could ever replace it. Yet, it will be used, not placed on a pedestal or wall for safekeeping. That would be a crime.

That Magic

My Pap’s old Savage 99 is a case in point. When he died, the rifle went to a cousin and was his deer rifle for years. When he bought his own, he handed the gun down to his son — and now daughter. The rifle keeps the magic, and Pap’s spirit, alive as it passes through each new generation. I’m sure when the time comes, Emily will pass it down when the time is right. It’s what tradition is all about and how it starts. I know Pap is smiling each deer season, every time “his” rifle is taken in the deer woods, watching closely whoever is carrying it.

Guys who like old tools, tend to like old things built by those tools. Pap was like that. He collected old tools, and many are displayed on my living room wall. I know, If I ever need to drill a ½” hole with an auger, to pound in a wood peg, saw a tree down or shear a sheep, I know where I can grab the proper tool. I would use them in a heartbeat. But keeping them within eyesight is both soothing and relaxing to me as I’m reminded of the skill and hard work so prevalent back in the day. Men and women worked hard, enjoyed a good home cooked meal, and everyone seemed happy, compared with today. Think there’s a connection between hard work, self worth, and happiness? Hmmm… I do!

My Pap loved old barns, built with these very tools, no pre-fabrication kits for his generation. Each barn was built, stick-by-stick, usually with lumber milled by their own hands and was built to last.

My cousin’s daughter, Emily, proudly holding my Pap’s Savage 99. Pap was her great grandfather.
Think she appreciates that old tool? The knowing smile says it all, I’ll wager.


Today, old tools seem to be forgotten. Where’s the plug? How do you plug it in? Meanwhile guns, let alone old guns, are demonized by many. It’s a shame everyone doesn’t have the common sense to appreciate both. Old tools are overlooked and guns are considered “evil” by the out of touch. I feel sorry for such people who fail to see the beauty and nostalgic feeling’s alive in these old tools. Perhaps if these people were happier in their own lives, they could see some beauty where they never saw it before? Or maybe, they would just mind their own business. Don’t like it? Fine. Move on!

I consider myself lucky! I’m not rich by any means, not monetarily at least. But I’m richer than most in that I can appreciate old, handed down, family heirlooms that “speak” to me. Not everyone hears it, but those who do are lucky. We know how to be happy with what we have, not with what we want. Old tools and old guns are like old dogs. The longer they are around, the more we appreciate them — and see the beauty within them.

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