|Keyhole Saw, LCHS collection|
Our volunteer and friend Rod Headrick recently brought us a tool chest with a rich family history. This large chest was the property of Rod’s grandfather, Reuben H. Headrick, who hauled it over the Oregon Trail first to Oregon in 1870, then brought it to the Lenville District of Latah County in 1876.
Among the hand tools in the chest is one that particularly catches the eye. It’s a keyhole saw blade that has been mounted in a handle made from the crotch of a tree limb. This kind of ingenious “farmer fix” has a special kind of appeal, the result of making do with whatever is available to get a job done. The blade is attached to its tree limb handle with a combination of hardware: a nail through a washer on the other side where it was cut off and peened, a flathead wood screw that was cut flush, and a twisted-off piece of wire. According to our LCHS Trustee and carpentry expert Steve Talbott, the wire likely became necessary when the screw split the wood at the fore end of the handle.