Simonds Saws

Brought to you by How + Print

Atkins Backsaw


Tool Stories

  ... "It's 50 cents." 50 centavos? SOLD! by Tom Price


The flea market season is in full swing here in my little corner of the East Coast.  I guess I should say 'our' seeing as how Steve Reynolds is looting the same venues.

Regardless, the locals have dug out the basements and garages and the Spigot Of Tools has begun to drip, spurt, or gush forth depending on the weather and the day. 

Today is clear and cool and the flea market was just loaded with tools.  I saw a bunch of Stanley and Millers Falls planes, eggbeater drills, and braces, hand grinders, chisels, axes, adzes and even a few woodies. 

I stood there, sort of amazed by all the stuff and thinking that if it had been like this a couple of years ago when I started scrounging for my hand tool shop I'd be _done_ by now. Heh, heh, as if.  I do get cheaper as I get more selective. I walked away from a beauty of a Stanley #923 brace - the vendor wanted $8 which is over my price limit of $6 for a brace.

We have our share of characters around here and they were out today in force.  The Other Phil, as Steve and call him, was there as well as Phil the Collector.  The Other Phil has been hitting estate sales and auctions all winter and had a massive amount of used tools out.  I bought 9 cabinet makers rasps from him for $9, a nice coping saw and a H. Disston and Sons keyhole saw.  $5 for the two saws.

I almost bit on a pretty nice Disston #7 crosscut saw.  It was a Henry Disston and Sons saw with a readable logo but had just a tad to much pitting for my tastes.  The beech handle was beautifully carved and in great shape.  He only wanted $4 for it but hey, a dollar here and a dollar there and before you know it you're dumpster diving behind MacDonalds for sustenance.  Gotta watch the budget. 

Phil the Collector was checking out the competition but I don't think he has to worry too much.  The Other Phil only shows up a few times a year and only when he's guaranteed to have good weather.  He has such a haul of tools that he is in a real bind if it starts to rain.  I took his card. He said that he only brings out a fraction of what he has and a lot of the older stuff he leaves behind.  Oh heart be still.

Speaking of Phil the Collector, he was still recovering from finding an infill mitre plane on one of the other vendor's tables yesterday morning.  After he set up, he took a stroll and spotted this mitre plane with an ebony infill and an adjustable mouth, of all things.  The vendor wanted $20 for it and Phil paid him because there was another fellow standing behind him with his mouth open. 

We looked the plane over and it has a Moulson Brothers? blade which is logo down and bevel up.  The brass or gunmetal levercap is pinned to the sides and tightens by the usual thumbscrew.  There is a rosewood pad screwed to the 'upper' surface of the blade to act as a handle.  The adjustable mouth spans the width of the front of the plane as opposed to being inset as in a metal block plane. 

Two screws hold the ajustable mouth in place.  I hefted the thing and I must say that it would be the _perfect_ plane to use in a shooting board.  Phil did some research and thinks the thing was made here, on the East Coast, but I didn't get the name of the manufacturer as we were interrupted by a customer. 

While we were chatting, an elderly gentleman came up and asked him if he would be interested in some wooden planes.  Phil said yes, heck yes, and the fellow came back a few minutes later with a matched set of Chapin tongue and groove planes.  Both planes had adjustable fences with screw arms.  The fellow only wanted $20 a piece for them.  Lordy me.

The Encounter of the Third Kind occurred when I ran into the Anti-Collector.  This individual showed up a few weeks ago and stood out from the usual feckless crowd in the Field of Dreams (not paved, no table fee) by having a bunch of very clean tools for sale at low-low prices.  Seems that he had built up a moderate collection of tools (he had about 400 planes, for instance) and then one day decided that he wanted nothing to do with collecting antique tools or collectors for that matter. 

He switched to Japanese tools, partly because no one collects them here, and started selling off his old tools.  He has to pay for those $200 chisels somehow.  He sent a lot of his stuff through Hurchalla's auctions and decided to move the dregs through the flea market.  The first time I ran into him I got a real nice Atkins 'AAA' #2 backsaw for $10, a spearpoint blade for my #71 router for $4, two fluting cutters for my #45 combo plane (these were $2 apiece) and a bunch of Nicholson cabinet rasps (still in the packages) for $2 apiece. 

Today's prize was a NIB Stanley #42X saw set (with instruction manual) for $5.  It's as clean as a surgical instrument.  We chatted about Japanese saws and chisels for a while (hey, when in Rome...) and he warmed right up to me when he found out that I actually used my tools (well, OK, some of them).

The other gloatable was a saw.  I was on my way out when I glimpsed a saw handle behind a wooden box.  The vendor was a young guy and was apparently selling off some of his late grandfather's stuff for some quick cash.  I squatted down and found myself staring at a 'Disston' #7 'Lightweight' with a nice handle and even nicer blade.  The blade was full, bright and as straight as an arrow. 

I squatted there reminding myself that I had a boatload of saws and hardly needed yet another 7 point crosscut, and a fairly late model (although Philadelphia made) Disston at that.  As I was pondering my dilemma the guy came over and said, "Found the saw, did you?".  I said. "Yep, I did" while wondering if he would take maybe $4 for it. 

He smiled and said, "It's 50 cents." 50 centavos? SOLD.

Best dang 50 cent saw I'll ever buy.

Tom Price
Text Copyright Thomas Price, 1998
Galoot Progress

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.

Millers Falls Drills

Goodell-Pratt Tools


Copyright 2005-2018, and Wiktor Kuc.  All Rights Reserved.  Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
No part of the content from this website can be reproduced by any means without specific permission of the publisher.
Valid CSS!