MF Bit Braces


Tool Stories

  Sheer Luck... by John Clark


I have collected woodworking tools for over 30 years and am always on the lookout for yard sales, lawn sales, and any person who can direct to old tools.

In my travel through Amenia, NY as a salesman, I drove by a home with assorted items in the driveway and a small sign stating “Garage Sale”. Quickly turning around, I pulled in the drive and found the homeowner, an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair talking to several people about his items for sale.

Looking over a collection of boxes, I saw nothing of promise in the way of tools. The homeowner came wheeling over and asked what I was looking for. Any collector worth his salt has a short list of tools he or she is searching for and I was looking for a Coachmaker’s traveler for measuring the circumference of wagon and carriage wheels for the iron band.

Suspecting the little old man would have no clue what I wanted, I half-heartedly told him what I was looking for and he abruptly said, “Oh, I have one of those”. Shocked but now my interest piqued, I asked where it was. The man directed me to move a number of boxes and to my surprise there was a bronze traveler in a small box among the clutter.

Barely able to contain my excitement I asked, “How much for this?. The man said, “I have to get eight dollars for this one”. The cash was out of my pocket before you could say, “what a bargain”.

This took place back in 1993 and I still don’t know if I could top this one for sheer luck.

John Clark
June, 2008

I have been an avid antique tool collector since 1978, when I purchased a number of tools from a retired patternmaker who took me under his wing and instructed me on how to use and care for chisels, saws, and planes.

My interest in collecting led to a hobby in woodworking and today I mix the use of traditional hand tools with modern stationary and portable power tools in making furniture in my free time. I am fascinated with how much there is to learn in woodworking and have not committed to a particular specialty. I want to explore bowl turning, chip carving, marquetry, veneering, inlay, and so much more.

By day I am an executive sales representative with Andersen Windows. As you may expect, my list of projects is far greater than my time permits to build, but that is the advantage of being an amateur and not depending upon my woodworking for a living.

I hope someday to retire and spend my workdays in my garage / shop.

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