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About 30 years ago, my girlfriend led me to a dark, cluttered basement workshop to meet a sweet, 70-ish gem of a man: her grandfather, Hayes. He was surrounded by a lifetime’s collection of tools, and it was obvious that this was his domain. This was the first of my many enjoyable visits to his shop.

One day, he gave me a paper bag containing an assortment of hand tools and one well-preserved electric drill. He said that he couldn’t see well enough to use the tools, and knew I would put them to good use. There was no sadness or resignation in his voice, only the peace from knowing that he’d lived life to the fullest.

I often think of Hayes when I’m in my own cluttered basement workshop. I married his granddaughter, and use his tools now and then–especially the drill, which has become dedicated to my pocket screw fixture. I like its size and heft, but I love its connection between different generations, and the pleasant memories it creates of a wonderful, special man. –Bob Winkler

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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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