Tools of the Trades – It’s a week to show day!

On Sunday April 8th, it’s time again for Tools of the Trades, undoubtedly the best vintage tool show in Canada. Next  Sunday (April 8th), at the Pickering Recreation Complex: (10am to 3pm). If you are looking for tools to use, restore, or even collect, then this is the place for you. There are always an abundance of wooden moulding planes, metal bench planes from Stanley, Record, Millers Falls.

There are vintage saws, pliers, vises, and measuring tools… and weird Buck Rogers type, futuristic, red Millers Falls tools. Likely a good bunch of vintage chisels, and even Swedish chisels.

Too many things = collection

This is a question I ask myself a lot. Is it when going into your workshop seems overwhelming? Maybe it’s impossible to have too many tools. Maybe the problem is collecting. Ahhh… that’s it.

c   o   l   l   e   c   t   i   n   g

It”s such a simple thing. You start with one block plane. You get a second. before you know it you have ten of them, and you think, hey, why not start a collection. Then you have 20. 30. 40. You start to think of sub-categories – a nice collection of pressed-steel block planes? Maybe block planes from Sargent? Maybe aluminum block planes. Partially collecting provides a sense of preserving the past, and is there anything wrong with that? It happens in other things. Books? Why *not* collect mysteries set in Ancient Rome? Or books on tools. Cookbooks? Everyone has their own thing. I’m sure there are people that collect French copper pans.

The question of course is to define what “too many tools” is. Is 90 block planes to many? What about a couple of hundred No.4 smoothers, or a thousand different hammers? But collecting isn’t just about the physical object, it is also about exploring toolmakers, tool studies, tool design and aesthetics, and looking at how tools have evolved. As time progresses, collecting may become harder, as your collection fills up, and rare pieces become harder to find (or more costly). A tool collection is a living entity, implements which can be used – not every piece in a collection has to be a museum piece.

Or if you can’t get over the collecting bug, then maybe join the worlds largest tool collecting organization, the Mid-West Tool  Collectors Association. I think I might just join myself.



Fixing a European wooden plane (i) – analysis

The European jointer plane I bought for $20 has some issues. Foremost is the fact that the rear portion of the sole is de-laminating. Likely not that unusual, considering  the style of the “V” joint used, which is simpler than other European methods of laminating a sole to the body of a plane.

Below is view of the wound on the side of the plane, Due to the angle of the grooves (which seems about 70°), it produces a wavy pattern on the side of the plane. This can lead to damage along the ends of the grooves (which can be seen below).

The second issue has to do with some cracks which show up in the ends of the plane. Wooden planes are of course subject to drying, and wood contraction, like any wooden structure. This could have occurred due to a quick construction, or it being stored in a dry environment. Either way, the cracks do not seem to pose a huge problem for the plane, as they have not surfaced. For a tool that is likely 100 years old, this isn’t terrible.

There are no cracks in the throat of the plane. This part of the plane is just grimy.

The third major issue has to do with the plane’s handle, which for one is slightly off-centre (a sign of reduced quality?), and has a slight vertical warp, likely due to the cracking present in the handle.

The handle is joined to the body of the plane with two (rusted) screws. Is this a sign of reduced quality?

Last but not least, the plane blade is covered in corrosion.