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
looting the same venues.
Regardless, the locals have dug out the
basements and garages and the Spigot Of Tools has begun to drip,
or gush forth depending on the weather and the day.
Today is clear
cool and the flea market was just loaded with tools. I saw a bunch
Stanley and Millers Falls planes, eggbeater drills, and braces, hand
grinders, chisels, axes, adzes and even a few woodies.
sort of amazed by all the stuff and thinking that if it had been
this a couple of years ago when I started scrounging for my hand
shop I'd be _done_ by now. Heh, heh, as if. I do get cheaper as I
more selective. I walked away from a beauty of a Stanley #923 brace
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
force. The Other Phil, as Steve and call him, was there as well as
the Collector. The Other Phil has been hitting estate sales and
all winter and had a massive amount of used tools out. I bought 9
makers rasps from him for $9, a nice coping saw and a H. Disston and
keyhole saw. $5 for the two saws.
I almost bit on a pretty nice
#7 crosscut saw. It was a Henry Disston and Sons saw with a readable
but had just a tad to much pitting for my tastes. The beech handle
beautifully carved and in great shape. He only wanted $4 for it but
a dollar here and a dollar there and before you know it you're
diving behind MacDonalds for sustenance. Gotta watch the budget.
Collector was checking out the competition but I don't think he has
worry too much. The Other Phil only shows up a few times a year and
when he's guaranteed to have good weather. He has such a haul of
that he is in a real bind if it starts to rain. I took his card. He
that he only brings out a fraction of what he has and a lot of the
stuff he leaves behind. Oh heart be still.
Speaking of Phil the Collector, he was still recovering from finding
infill mitre plane on one of the other vendor's tables yesterday
After he set up, he took a stroll and spotted this mitre plane with
ebony infill and an adjustable mouth, of all things. The vendor
$20 for it and Phil paid him because there was another fellow
behind him with his mouth open.
We looked the plane over and it has
Moulson Brothers? blade which is logo down and bevel up. The brass
gunmetal levercap is pinned to the sides and tightens by the usual
thumbscrew. There is a rosewood pad screwed to the 'upper' surface
blade to act as a handle. The adjustable mouth spans the width of
front of the plane as opposed to being inset as in a metal block
Two screws hold the ajustable mouth in place. I hefted the thing and
must say that it would be the _perfect_ plane to use in a shooting
Phil did some research and thinks the thing was made here, on the
Coast, but I didn't get the name of the manufacturer as we were
interrupted by a customer.
While we were chatting, an elderly
came up and asked him if he would be interested in some wooden
Phil said yes, heck yes, and the fellow came back a few minutes
with a matched set of Chapin tongue and groove planes. Both planes
adjustable fences with screw arms. The fellow only wanted $20 a
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
from the usual feckless crowd in the Field of Dreams (not paved, no
fee) by having a bunch of very clean tools for sale at low-low
Seems that he had built up a moderate collection of tools (he had
400 planes, for instance) and then one day decided that he wanted
to do with collecting antique tools or collectors for that matter.
switched to Japanese tools, partly because no one collects them
started selling off his old tools. He has to pay for those $200
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
into him I got a real nice Atkins 'AAA' #2 backsaw for $10, a
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
#42X saw set (with instruction manual) for $5. It's as clean as a
surgical instrument. We chatted about Japanese saws and chisels for
while (hey, when in Rome...) and he warmed right up to me when he
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
handle behind a wooden box. The vendor was a young guy and was
selling off some of his late grandfather's stuff for some quick
squatted down and found myself staring at a 'Disston' #7
with a nice handle and even nicer blade. The blade was full, bright
as straight as an arrow.
I squatted there reminding myself that I
boatload of saws and hardly needed yet another 7 point crosscut, and
fairly late model (although Philadelphia made) Disston at that. As I
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
He smiled and said, "It's 50 cents." 50 centavos? SOLD.
Best dang 50 cent saw I'll ever buy.
Text Copyright Thomas Price, 1998