Figure It Out

Paul Hope, TOH Associate Editor
Father of Suzie, 6 months

My dad wasn't a believer in play tools. He liked to give me pulleys, hinges, even a car jack. I was only 4 when a workbench magically appeared on my birthday. He had built it, in secret, in the basement of our apartment building. It had a vise, and the back was pegboard, so I could hang my tools. It was a great way to see them—and to understand which one was appropriate for a given task. He knew it was important for me to experiment, too. We'd go to the hardware store and pick through the scrap pile, taking the best pieces home. Sometimes I just hammered a bunch of shingles together. But gradually I learned for myself; I learned what tools to use when and how best to use them. That's what I'd like to pass on. I can't wait to tell my daughter, "My dad built this workbench for me, and now I'm giving it to you."

Shown: Paul Hope and Suzie prepare for a trip to the hardware store.
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