Wednesday, June 10, 2009


For the last week and a half I have been working on a remodel/addition to the local Wells Fargo branch. When I say working I mean that I have my bags on and am doing all the demo and framing myself. Things are tough all over.
This morning I was on the roof finishing off the overbuild when I dropped my Swanson speed square, it tumbled down the roof and came to berth out in the parking lot with a large chunk broken off the top corner. I want to tell you why this hurts me in my soul but first the picture of the product.

There is nothing as valuable to a framer as this square, it makes angles and roof pitches a breeze. I bought this square in 1991 for my first day on the job as a framer. I have had this square longer than I have known my wife. It is the only tool that I have been able to keep for so long. Hammers have come and gone, nail bags have worn out and if I had a dollar for every tape measure that I have broken there would be no recession at my house.
The edges on my square are worn down to a soft, comfortable corners from being used as an ice scraper in the winter and a saw dust pusher in the summer. I have figured out mind numbing roof problems with that square. It is scarred and abused and still has the waffle imprint where I was using it as a wedge and pounded it with my hammer.
What a great tool, I am sad to see it go. I looked at the new models at the store, I couldn't bring myself to buy one. Too shiny and sharp, I think that I will first cruise the pawn shops and see if I can find one that has a few miles on it.

Maybe Ebay has a category for vintage speed squares.


Kristin said...

ah Mark, such a poetic tribute to such a random object. beautiful. just beautiful.
sorry to hear you're actually having to 'work' for a living again. that does suck. maybe you should team up with a minority and get some gov't contract work. Dad's never been so busy in his life. they way overpay too. stupid gov't. oh well, more for my inheritance I suppose.

Michelle & Steve said...

Even though it isn't what you'd choose to be doing, do you sort of like being the one on the roof with bags on again? Nostalgia and all that?

shawn & bekah said...

Sorry to hear about the square. Luck on finding one with a few miles. Can't believe you've had it for that long - that's the year I graduated from HS.

Mike S said...

Sorry about your loss brother. My tool of passion (No... not that tool) is a 16' Stanley measuring tape that I've had since I was an apprentice cabinetmaker in 1993. I can't believe she has survived this long. I'm not looking forward to the day I have to say goodbye. I might have her bronzed.