It appears he lived in washington in 1920,30,& 40's. The uniform with the cross type effect on the front of the uniform and the number on the collar looks like the no. on the Salvation Army uniforms; but this is not a Salvation Army uniform that I have seen. The numbers on the uniform collar remind me of something else; but i can't remember.
The insignia on the top of the hat and the fact that he lived in Washingotn and there must be a lot of forestry land around there.
An Axe is used for chopping a Tree. The tool between the Ax and the Sledgd hammer looks like a wedge.
You first use the Axe and chop length wise down a tree and then you put the wedge in between the chopped out area. You then would use the Sledge hammer to pund the wedge in so far at different intervals and you repeat this along the length of the tree until you split it in half. Abe Lincoln "The Log Splitter".
The only thing that throws me is that the front of his uniform looks Religious. Then the tools could be used the same way. To seperate something with a religious significance. The Soul from the Body; but I think this is far fetched.
I would look into some kind of forestry work. It would not be the Rangers I don't think; because they are all about saving the forest; but you never know. You should talk to the local Forest Rangers or a company that removes trees.
He didn't serve prior to 1930 in any military capacity. It just doesn't look military. Did he fight or allied himself with any other country during WW2.
It has to be associated with forestry or an off shoot from forestry that removes trees or volenteer Forest Fire Fighters. The tools are a part of the trade. Thats about the best I have for the area. and the time.
Was he into Drama. There was a lot of theatre work that the WPA backed during the Roosevelt Administration and put a lot of artist to work and he was not real far from holywood. or a local theatre group.
It could be a formal type uniform of what ever organiztion he might have belong to for Ponmp and circumstance and ceremonial things. If you know what I mean. Take care and God Bless and God Speed. I will keep the thread in mind and look for your response if there is one.