Well, my pal Michael Winget-Hernandez was a-gonna proudly report
on our trip to the Antique Tool Show here in the Richmond, VA area
this past Saturday, so he cold relate his first gloat, but he tells
me he's gotten all-fired busy on a pesky work-related project, so he
gave me special dispensation to take the lead...
Anyhow, the show was quite well attended, with lots of dealers
and plenty of very nice tools and stuff to behold and paw. I suppose
we should have thought ahead and taken a digi cam to capture some of
On to the part where the gloat comes in...
Michael had said he was looking for some mortise chisels.
On one table, I spied a cheesy sheet metal tool tote with a bunch
of chisel handles sticking out of it. Upon closer inspection I saw
that the marked prices were very reasonable for what were pretty
decent chisels, especially compared to the prices found on most of
the stuff found on other dealers' tables.
I ran over and found Michael and drug him back to the
table. We both dove in and eventually emerged with a total of six
chisels - I had two wide ones (can't resist them for some reason,
even though I truly don't need them, but these prices were pretty
good) and Michael got four mortise chisels. Dealer comes over, says
"ya want me to make you a price?" Uh - yeah. He does some faulty
addition on a scrap of paper and comes up with
$92 total. Then says "give me $60 for all of them." Woo hoo!! Ten
bucks a chisel for some that I seriously would expect to see
sporting a $20 price tag (maybe more) on any other dealer's table.
Later on, we returned to the same guy's table and I got down and
dug through the pile on the $3 tarp while Michael rooted around in
the $5 box. He pulled out two more chisels, and the guy says to him
"Tell ya what - pull out one more thing and you can have all three
for ten bucks." Michael grabbed a Stanley marking gauge. He got
himself a decent chisel that says "German Cast Steel" on it, with a
handle that didn't quite fit the socket, plus another chisel and the
marking gauge, all for $10. The guy tells me that the $3 items are
now $2, so I grabbed a few more things that I don't really need, but
for two bucks a pop, hey how can you resist?? I got a chisel in need
of a handle, a pair of Channellock needlenose pliers, a bundle of
six extra slim taper files and I don't remember what else.
Anyhow, we returned to my lair, and I fired up the lathe and fine-tuned the taper on the chisel handle that didn't quite fit
Michael's German Cast Steel chisel until it fit just right, Michael
grabbed a mallet and whacked it into the socket, and then we
polished the chisel and handle up. Then I ground the bevel and gave
it a quick sharpening.
Michael ended up with a very respectable user
that would easily sell for $15, maybe more, but he paid about $3.30
for it, plus about 20 minutes of fun fettling.
Here's the "after" picture of the chisel. Not too shabby for $3.30 and a few minutes of fooling around in
the shop, I think.
Here are the four mortise chisels Michael got. As you can see, they just need minor cleaning and a bit of
I think Michael made out pretty well. His other gloat is that
those pictures were taken on his Bob Key-style workbench.
Sorry for the long delay in addressing
this. Just trying to get the mortgage paid... you know the routine.
Thanks for filling in, Bill.
Anyway, first of all, let me say that Bill left out the best
part, which I guess he did because it's my gloat. We got the
chisel deals, just like he said, and one of them had a handle that
had been, well, it looked like someone had taken a handle for a
larger chisel and chewed on it until it would barely penetrate the
opening in the socket, but it wouldn't stay.
In fact, when I
first picked the thing up in the $5 bin, the handle wasn't with it,
and I was ready to buy it anyway. But Bill (what a chiseler)
came over and said, "Where's the handle?" So we dug around a
while until we came up with it, and one for another one that I
wanted that didn't appear to have a handle, either, and of course,
the guy comes around and says, "Yeah, I'm sure the handles are in
there somewhere." And Bill and I just looked at each other and
Anyway, Bill found the handles - both of them, but this one was,
well, let's just say that it was the opposite of "trying too hard."
It was a slacker handle that seemed like it wanted to get out of the
$5 bin, but not enough to stick in the socket long enough to get
smacked with a mallet.