My Inheritance from Uncle Karl

Not long ago the world lost a good man. My wife Christina's Uncle Karl passed away and what a loss that was. Karl was one of those fellas who could make, fix and salvage anything. Whether it was building kitchen cabinets, a snow plow or a sauna (he was a good Finlander too) Karl could get it done. Most of the conversations Karl and I had revolved around woodworking. He would always ask what I was working on and we would discuss things like techniques, glue and tools like all good woodworkers do.

Not long after Karl passed, I was in his shop picking up some wood that he had sawn (with the sawmill he built and ran) for a special project (more on that in a later entry). My cousin David, Karl's son, told me that he would like me to have any of Karl's woodworking tools if I wanted them. I was beside myself and honoured to have the chance to use some of the tools that Karl used so I set out to go through his shop to see what I could find.

There is no doubt in my mind that Karl knew where everything was in his shop. The rest of us however were puzzled at the sheer volume of stuff in there. Some of the stuff in Karl's shop included:
  • 14 chainsaws in various states of repair
  • A tractor
  • A 20" thickness planer(that was his small one, he had already sold the one that ran off of belt on a tractor)
  • Around 10 sets of auto and heavy machinery tools
  • Survey equipment
Not to mention a whole hockey sock of woodworking tools both hand and powered. The place was packed to the hilt with tools but everything was divided up into areas so I made for the woodworking wing and started opening boxes and searching shelves.

I managed to drag a fairly large wooden box out from under a few chainsaws to see what was inside. The box was built from plywood and had steel corner strapping all around it, making it virtually bomb-proof.

Karl's tool box now in my shop
When I opened the box I was delighted to see that it was full of woodworking hand tools of various types and persuasions. Most of them were geared toward home building from a time when power wasn't always available when building a house. I think this was Karl's job site box that he would take with him so that he would have all the tools he needed. The tool box didn't look like it had been opened in many years judging by the state of the tools and the piles of sawdust and mouse droppings.

The tool box was almost a two-man lift and as I started emptying it I could see why. The top front section of the toolbox folds down and has a saw till inside it. Inside there was two shallow drawers and a large open area for tools.

I started pulling out tools and laying them out on my bench and I was shocked by the volume of tools inside. Glass-cutting tools, planes, chisels, plumb bobs, braces, levels squares and even a saw filing vise and sets to tune up his saws on the job site.

My bench was covered with Karl's tools

Karl was famous for placing his initials on almost everything he owned. There was no doubt who owed a tool when you saw the trademark 'KP' written or scratched on it. 

Many of Karl's tools were fettled to suit how he worked including hand-made handles and custom grinds for a specific task.

I also came away with this tool tote full of saws that were still sharp despite not being used in a while. Most of the saws where Disston's and they have plenty of life left in them.

There is no end to what you can do with hanger strap

I'm in the process of rehabilitating many of the tools and will be putting them back to work in my shop (more on that later). My only hope is that I can honour the Palomaki name by doing work with these tools that Uncle Karl would have proudly stamped with 'KP'.

In order to understand you must do. V