Loves Tools, Needs Life

I’m not one-hundred-percent sure, but I think that the fact that I get a warm-fuzzy feeling when I take pictures of rusty metal objects makes me just the slightest bit crazy.

MysteryMan and I had an odd day this weekend where we felt like being a normal couple — you know… going out to breakfast, running errands, taking naps– instead of doing our usual weekend  activities which most often consist of framing, insulating, drilling, and drywalling. With all that free time on our hands I had a brilliant idea, and to MysteryMan’s credit he only blinked at me fifteen times when I asked if we could spend an hour in an unheated barn in 30-degree weather taking pictures of old tools.

This is outside his grandpa’s barn, a place I like to think of as “I’ve died and gone to the heaven of old tools.”


I wouldn’t call myself a photographer… I rely on my camera being smarter than I am for any really good shots, but I like composition and shape and color, so between that and photoshop things usually turn out okay.

My one hard-and-fast rule of taking pictures is Natural Light Only, so I was getting a little frustrated in the low-light conditions in the barn. I thought I might have to scrap the whole project until MysteryMan flipped on a shop spotlight that cast the workbench in this warm early-morning-sunlight glow.


This may be my favorite batch of photos ever, all thanks MysteryMan who is constantly proving to me that while I can do almost anything myself, sometimes things turn out a lot better with his help.


Not that he doesn’t make a little fun of me when I’m laying on the ground to get the right angle on a dented oil can. Or fussing over drill bits in an old cashew tin.



It’s totally worth the ribbing though, and I can’t wait to have some of these printed large format to hang in our yet-to-be-constructed home.



This old belt-driven drill press is for sure something I could lose a finger too. I’m pretty sure MysteryMan’s grandpa uses it all the time, but there’s a reason why he’s Superman and I’m not.


And this one, which is not quite as efficient as the Makita (we know because we tried it out) but way more fun to look at.


I mean, don’t you just want to be there? I can smell the oil and sawdust just looking at these.


Forget the beach, workshops really are my happy-place.

That may be a sign that I need to get a hobby that doesn’t involve using tools, or taking pictures of them…


7 Responses

  1. you’re right that lighting is amazing. your pictures came out great. there’s something really compelling about the old and rusty, at one time common objects. I like to take pictures of old abandoned houses in the area. Like these tools, they sort of tell a story.

  2. Sigh… Those remind me of all the old tools my Dad had in our basement when I was a kid! He used most of them, too! I have no idea what my brother has done with them, I only know he was NOT willing to let any of us GIRLS get our hands on them! Even though HE never uses them, or ever did! Of course, he was taking all Mom’s old canning jars to work and GIVING THEM AWAY, rather than see any of the rest of us have them. I only ended up with two small ones because my SIL called and told me he was doing this. At the time, a regular sized old canning jar was worth about $6 or $8 at the antique shops, and Mom had a lot of odd sized, and really big ones. So, who knows how much money he gave away? Us girls were the sentimental ones who wanted them because they were Mom’s, he only worried that we wanted anything for the value of it, but HE was the one giving away/getting rid of everything! My brother always wanted to be an only child, I guess this was his revenge on us for being born!

  3. Absolutely not crazy, I am partial to old buildings and thing from the old days of industry. A time before high tech took over. Rust and decay bring it on. The smell of saw dust – heaven!

    These photos are wonderful.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.