Mike Druffel’s tool shed is not so much a place to work as it is a work of art.
Built entirely of old tools welded into fanciful walls and topped with a roof shingled in saw blades, the shed is a celebration of form over function.
Mike, who died in 2009, was a southeast Washington farmer. In his free time, he was an inventor, collector and restorer. “He loved most any kind of tractor,” says his friend, David Ruark, “but probably preferred the Caterpillars that he used to farm the steep Palouse hills.” He also collected 1-cylinder engines, and vintage cars and trucks.
For years Mike gathered up junk tools for pennies a pound near his home in rural Colton, Wash. He had a good rapport with local scrap dealers, who’d sell him tools in bulk. He was a regular at auctions, swap meets and pawnshops, and friends gave him their castoffs. All were raw material for his creations: benches, chairs and cabinet doors, among others.
A longtime member (and past director) of the Lewis-Clark Antique Power Club, Mike also enjoyed building scale model farm equipment, including a battery-powered, hand-operated bulldozer. He regularly demonstrated those pieces in the dirt at club meetings, plowing bees and other gatherings.
Inventing, tinkering, collecting: It was a lifelong hobby for Mike. “One of his friends who had known him since childhood told a story about one of his earliest accomplishments,” David says. “One day Mike came to school with working windshield wipers for his glasses – in the second grade, no less! There was really no end to this man’s talents.” FC