Getting ready for my photo session in my studio in my loft.
The nail sticking up out of the wooden floor caught my eye, what could I remove it with. Sitting on my shelf full of props for my photography a small wooden handle sticks out hanging over the edge. Leaning forward I place my hand on th smooth wood and gaze over the stained wood handle. Covered in old grooves and marks filled with dirt, the iron head out of shape through years of use curled over like I just melted it in a furness.
Holding it I feel moved by its look, I have held it before in my 10 years since I moved in, never moved from its place under boards down between insulation his for years how many I don’t know. Only to be found by a new hand, I think to myself how many hands have held the hammer. Men women children from the 60s when the house was built, did it belong to the person who moved in back then. Or did it start its journey before then.
Did it belong to the builder that built the house, loosing it in the build never to be seen again, only for the new occupants to come across it his away. Nails of all different sizes hit with force metal head all new in a perfect shape. Carried by a man who walked where I walk now. Sitting back I look at inscriptions in the wood beam, nails stick out everywhere rusty and bent hammered in by who?.
Maybe the owner asked a favour of someone to borrow the hammer and never got returned so it’s journey could have started in another house in Thornton our maybe a relative visiting in his car had it in his boot. It’s miss shaped head shows signs it has been used thousands of times hitting and pulling nails in and out.
The wood I stand on has many nails in it, some not hammered him properly, the person giving up leaving it exposed for me to catch my sock on 60 years later the his wife or friend said don’t leave that nail like that you will catch yourself in it.
I feel stories and memories when I hold old tools, strange I know but it has a sort of life, from being made by a metal Smith or machine, some one made it be to could have a story. Maybe it was the first or the last to be made as the steel industry came to grinding halt. Was it a leaving present for a person who retired.
What shop did it sit in when it was shiny and new no marks no dirt on the handle the metal silver smooth shaped by the old man’s skilled hands, skills lost now to a ever changing world.
Hands young and old hitting there fingers and wanting to blame the hamner, thrown across the garden, garage or loft in frustration. Sitting in a tool belt only to be dropped and found by a passing person.
Giving as a gift at Xmas or a birthday to a craftsman or handy man or just a DIY dad promising to fix the hole in the floor if he had a hammer
So I look at the hammer its old but still does what it was made for, the hands it helped over the years just a memory in the grain of the wood that started as small seed in the ground, what species was it, what country did it grow in, how old and tall was the tree the hammer came from.
Did it get blown down in a storm or was it felled with a 2 man saw, or a Chainsaw or maybe an Axe.
Did the man that cut the tree down all those years ago know that a small piece of it would be made into a handle for a hammer and have a metal head form by another craftsmen made for the public then sent out for someone to buy.
The little old wooden hammer sits in my loft ready to help me when I next need it tomorrow or next year who knows.
There is letters and numbers on the top and I would love to know where it came from.