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Tool Stories

  Got a few old tools today...  by Bill Taggart


I started out this morning by hitting an estate auction that I had seen in the paper.  Turned out to be a wash, so I left and hit ye olde junque shoppe on the way home.

I had stopped in this place once before, maybe a year ago, and had gotten a decent #7C (corrugated sole jointer, Jeff) that's still waiting for me to get to it and clean it all up.

Well today I was not disappointed.

First thing I found was a pretty standard #5 - hard rubber knob, kidney hole lever cap, so it's not my favorite type, but it's all there and looks like it's seen only marginal use - just quite grungy and lots of surface rust. Should clean up quite nicely.  I picked that up and carried it around as I perused the area.

Came across an old rusty tool box on the floor, full of absolute dreck, but after about one minute of digging, I discovered a "perfect handle" style handle.  Well, as some of you may remember, I have a bit of an addiction to those, so I yanked it out, and lo and behold, it's one of those beefy, square-shanked mechanic's screwdrivers!!

I've been wanting one of those for a while, but this was the first time I have found one in the wild.  Paint spattered, rusty, dirty, but I can see through all the grunge that the wood is actually in quite good condition, and the tip is PERFECT!!  Man, what are the odds of that?

Next I came across a piece of plywood painted white, with a bunch of old tools wired to it - clearly somebody's idea of an artistic display.  There were a few rusty saw sets and an eggbeater drill - whoever had assembled that unlovely display had drilled a hole through the eggbeater's handle to pass the wire through so they could attach it to the board - ick.

Anyhow, the only two things I was interested in on that board were a nice wide Stanley chisel and an old woodie dado plane.  But there was a price tag indicating that the whole board was $100.

Well, it turned out the lady running the store had just gotten it at an estate sale and was willing to cut those wires!  So I ended up getting the chisel and the plane.  Upon closer inspection, the chisel is an Everlasting - wood handle is shaped just like the #20 in Walter's book.  The socket has a patent date of 5-6-24, which according to Walter's book was for more effectively securing the ferrule into the handle. 

I notice that there's a line running all the way around where the socket meets the body of the chisel.  Based on the list of chisels that this patent was applied to, I'm concluding that it's a #20.  Anyhow, it's two inches wide, a full six inches of steel left - man, what a nice chisel!  Not bad for $10, I think.

The dado plane has two stamps - "Dunn & Spencer" and "Petersburg, VA" - on the toe.  Also says "6/8" on the toe, so it's 3/4".  "J.W.J." stamped his initials in three places.  A bit paint-spattered, but otherwise in quite good condition and will clean up into a very nice user.  Based on the shape, I'm guessing early 1800's.  Also not bad for $10, I think.

$4 for the nice perfect handle screwdriver; $18 for the #5 - not truly gloatable prices, but not bad at all, really, compared to what I've seen some of these junque shops ask for similar tools.  The great thing is, all will clean up to really very nice users.  And this is the first decent old tool score I've had in a long time - makes up for the lousy auction. 

I also got my hard felt wheels the other day - hopefully tomorrow I'll get them set up and see about giving these tools the James Thompson treatment.

Bill Taggart
November, 2005

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