Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Mid West Tool Collectors Association, MWTCA, is a non-profit with 3,500 members and is more or less international in scope; it has members as far away as Australia. This club holds annual local, regional and national tool meets. Members receive the Gristmill, a scholarly quarterly tool magazine and many other benefits. Annual dues are $25, Canada $40. Check out their web site, mwtca.org.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
An original and a look-alike. On the right, a Stanley #122 Liberty Bell plane made in 1876. On the left, an Ohio Tool Company knock-off #0122 made circa 1894. The year 1894 was busy. The Stanley patent on the #122 expired and Ohio Tool merged with Auburn (NY) Tool Company.
Ohio Tool made knock-offs of many Stanley tools, prefixing the Stanley model numbers with a zero. The Ohio #0122 is a drop-dead copy of the #122, except for the lever cap logo and lever connection to the cutter, which is very thick and tapered. Note the Ohio red japanning.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Stanley #120, length 7-1/8”. Manufactured from 1876 to 1947. This example was produced in 1878 and is considered extremely rare. It has the Liberty Bell plane style adjusting mechanism which was used in these planes until 1887. Acquisition of this plane completed my collection of Liberty Bell planes.
Monday, January 27, 2020
Rounding plane, witchet, widget, take your pick on the name. This tool, found in the Texas Hill Country, is user made (stamped E. G. Bell). It is of mesquite, I think, with a cutter from a saw blade. The hole tapers from 1” to 3/4”. As seen in the photo, it turns out a very nice 3/4” dowel.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Turns out one saw is filed rip, the other crosscut. They are intended to cut curves, as in a round table top. As the direction of the grain changes the user swaps from rip to crosscut or visa-versa. The kerf is wide to allow turning. Though they make a rather rough cut, they do the job and that’s why we have spoke shaves.Grandpa’s tool box had these saws in it. No maker’s mark on handles. Illegible marks on blades, which are 8 tpi. I have recently become interested in what these saws are all about.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Sunday, December 8, 2019
I purchased this Stanley No. 67 mortise gauge mixed in a junk box at auction for $3.50. Nobody else even looked at this well-worn gauge. This one has an unusual wooden slide adjustment. It was made from 1867 to 1898.
Bob Kaune, not the most inexpensive but basically reliable dealer, has one listed this month at $259. Wow! He rates it as EXTREMELY RARE.
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Lowes sells a 6” reflector lamp for under $10. Combined with shop scrap, a little labor, and a cool-running LED bulb, I now have perfect lighting for my scroll saw. I wish I had built this 20 years ago. Think I’ll make one for my band saw.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
This historically significant bit is the first patented (1852) expansive bit known to have been manufactured. It is considered rare. It was invented and manufactured by Charles L. Barnes of New York City. It has a range of 5/16” to 1/2”. Two other sizes, 1” and 2”, were made.
I acquired this bit about a year ago for $3. It was very junky looking, but identifiable as an expansive bit. Nobody thought to identify it at that time. That took some recent on-line research. Other than the patent listing, there is an article, which includes this bit, by Eric Brown in the E.A.I.A. Chronicle, March 2019.
Friday, August 30, 2019
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
My former home in Northern VA is surrounded by deep, wooded ravines. There were many fallen trees in the woods, mostly 12”+ chestnut oaks. On a cool autumn day it was pleasant to work in the quiet woods, bucking the trees into fire wood lengths. The aroma of freshly sawn oak was wonderful. Often a squirrel or bird would perch on the end of my log, wondering what I was up to.
No noisy chain saws here. I used these Disston one/two man timber saws. Four footers that, when sharp, easily sliced through the oak. The hardest part of the job was hauling the bucked logs out of the steep ravine.
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Saturday, June 22, 2019
A few years ago the National Public Television station WCVE, in Richmond Virginia, auctioned off the props from their production of Mercy Street, a Civil War era story line. There were several million dollars worth of stuff and the auction was held over at least two four-day weekends. Most of the props were just “old stuff”, with some genuine antiques mixed in. Several of us from Central VA attended both weekends, a big effort.
I am not fond of auctions as people tend to over-bid, but I went along to carry stuff. I bid on and won a box of mixed old tools. I am a sucker for hand screws with threaded wooden rods. What a mix of stuff I got for my effort! I will not elaborate, some of it is in the photo. My trash bucket was happy. My cost was something like $5 per keeper.
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Collecting vintage tools is big business, and is very rewarding. Collectors lurk everywhere. There are clubs, associations, and societies around every corner. They are gathering places for collectors to talk, study, buy, sell and trade tools. If you are not a club member, you should join one. The usual cost is about $10 per year.
Friday, March 29, 2019
The shop is a friendly, quiet place to work with hand tools. But, life is short. Power tools make quick work. Maybe I’m not so good with hand tools? Hot sawdust smells good? I decided to inventory the power tools in the shop. What a shock! Fourteen plus machines. How can that be? How do I move around and work in the 400 square foot space? The shop does not shout, “here be machines”. I guess parking them along the walls hides them. Never in my right mind did I set out to build a machine shop. Nevertheless, there it is. Norm would be proud of me, Roy not so much.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Who doesn’t love old machines? I have two. A Delta 24” scroll saw, built in 1952, and this W. F. and J. Barnes Co. drill press. We call her Madonna. When disassembled, with her two drive cones sitting side by side on the floor, well... that’s how she looked. She is a Barnes model “15 INCH DRILL”, serial number 5615, with a patent date of NOV 12 1885. Don't know how old, maybe 130 years. She was lacking a chuck, quill return spring, and bearing oilers; easily replaced. Her worn babbitt bearings leak oil everywhere. At the speed I run her, it is no matter. She had the remains of a foot-operated line shaft clutch. I added an electrical switch to the clutch rod and run an old GE bronze bushing 1/4 hp washing machine motor. The motor is adequate. The foot switch is a luxury. When doing a complex production run, two drill presses, set up, are nice to have. My other press is a modern Jet bench top model.
Friday, March 15, 2019
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
I came by this collection by accident. One of us was into antique silver flatware and we visited many, many antique malls. Boooring. I needed something to do while she browsed for silver. On a whim, I decided to see how many Liberty Bell plane examples I might find.