Swan Chisels


Tool Stories

  Flea Market Report... August 2006 by Charlie Driggs


Fellow occasional rust-hunters ...

I drove LOML into work at 6:15am (she's doing a 12 hr shift, and day shift is not her favorite to begin with) and swung by the Reynolds / Price /et al named Field Of Dreams flea market reported on so many times in the Archives. 

This was the second time I'd stopped by this year, the previous event being a dry-hole experience last week.  It has been a tough place to find much of anything the few times I've been by over the last two years.

I arrived before most of the regulars had the tarps off their tables, but there were some new guys this time who had that early morning enthusiasm.  Well, today apparently was 'mechanics & power woodworking tools' day.  Some decent mechanics tools were offered which I didn't need more of, and some well beat up portable power saws of various types. 

 A modest assortment of handtools for a change at a couple of unfamiliar tables, but all junk except perhaps one Bailey #5 in poor condition.  This was, however, the first time I've ever seen a guy bring the Block Plane Burial Ground and dump it on a tarp on the pavement for all to see, along with a box of what had to be forty bench plane irons in moderately to very rusty condition. 

A couple of the irons were interesting due to being wide (probably most came from #6 - #8 Stanley's and similar), and for the chipbreaker or cap iron attached to a few.  One in particular looked like it might have come from an English infill, with a bevel & miter edged cap iron, but the name barely readable through the rust seemed to be "Clover Brand", which sure didn't sound all that promising.  I didn't expect much better than unpleasantly pitted condition upon cleanup of any of them, so eventually just walked away.

There had to be 50 block plane bodies, sans almost all other parts, and all looked to be bog common Stanley standard bevel angle varieties, or their equivalents, although there had to be an adjustable mouth body somewhere in there as there was a damaged sliding mouth part laying on the ground, probably from a Record given a tinge of what looked to be blue paint. 

Don't know why the seller bothered, but other people bring stuff that I would never think sells, and I guess some of it must.  One other (unknown) guy was standing there looking at this pile with me, obviously knew what the parts were too, but he had the same reaction I did.  Picked up one body, looked at me, put it back, and he moved on too. Garage sales are looking better these days in Old Tool Hell.

Maybe we've finally reached the point in the market Todd has been waiting for all these years - his stash is now that last source, he's got 'em, and e*ay is ready and waiting for our bids.  Well, maybe, per the paper last week - at least until e*ay raises their rates one more time and the second Amurrican revolution gives Todd a chance to try out all those old muzzle-loaders in his stash. Sigh, ...... I really liked the hands-on ways of finding tools. It's been dead at my other favorite places too.

Charlie Driggs
Newark DE
August 2006

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