As I mentioned, my work colleague Tanay is getting into hand tools. There's a guy on Gumtree.com.au
who had several different tool ads posted. Since he lived in town and had a broad range of used tools at good prices, I thought I'd guide and advise her in making some initial purchases towards her woodworking kit.
But, after some discussion, Tanay decided that she wanted to first decide on her next project, and then choose tools to support that. Fair enough.
Meanwhile, though, I kept looking at the photo he posted of all those chisels: I kept coming back to it -- especially the ones with the doorknob-like handles. And also the linesman's pliers: I'd recently read a guy's woodworking blog entry
where he talks about the simple beauty of linesman's pliers -- and I realized that I didn't own any.
Finally, after about two weeks of deliberation, I figured I'd stop by and check out what he had -- without my colleague. Even though I don't need any more chisels, I thought I'd find some good, solid "users", pick them up, and either sell them (at cost) to Tanay or my co-worker Danielle (who also is beginning handtool woodworking). Or, maybe add them to my kids' toolboxes.
So, I stopped by today. On my way out the door, I told the kids that anyone who came with, I'd let them choose a tool. Only B1 (blondie boy) took me up on the offer.
Just ten or fifteen minutes to the guy's house from mine. I poked around the guy's garage for about an hour -- he had the tools along the floor on one side of his garage. About twice as much as what he'd posted online -- so it took me longer than I expected.
B1 behaved well. Oddly, when I reminded him that he could choose a tool, he didn't express any interest.
of good stuff, in reasonable condition, at good prices for around here (Brisbane, Australia) -- although apparently not as good as the flea markets in the midwest and east coast of the U.S.
I went through and grouped everything that looked good into a little area. Then I realized how much I'd accumulated -- and the cost -- and started paring down, putting the less-good and less-interesting things back. For example, I ended up putting back about half the chisels because of cracked handles or other structural warning signs.
It took me a fair while to weed through my pile. We chatted about tools as I went through the pile, and every once in a while he'd take something from my not-yet-sorted pile and toss it into the "no charge" pile. Sometimes he justified it by saying that he was just happy I'd actually showed up (he gets a lot of calls from people who say they'll stop by, then never show) -- and sometimes he gave me tools for free just because it was clear that I liked tools. (He's a retired carpenter.)
Once I'd finished my paring down, we both tallied up. He stated his total -- which excluded the "free" pile -- and I made a pair of counter-offers: what I'd **hoped** I could get it for, and a more reasonable price. He agreed to the more reasonable price -- which was halfway between his price and my lowball price.
And, here's what I ended up with: photo at left. (Click to enlarge, if you like.)
I won't tell you what I paid -- but I will say that based on my estimate of the prices he **would've** listed for his non-advertised tools -- and once you include the tools he let me have for free -- I ended up getting 40% off the advertised prices. And those were very reasonable prices to begin with (e.g. $6 for a hammer).
Some of my favorite finds were the linesman's pliers (one of the reasons I decided to go: I already owned a few different types of pliers, but -- oddly! -- no linesman's pliers), and especially a silver one with jaws that are always parallel (pictured in the final photo of this blog entry). He actually had five or so linesman's pliers, but I chose the two with the longest handles -- figuring "more leverage".
Some interesting clamps: one might be a clamp for welding; not sure about the others.
Also a bundle of spade bits, in a variety of sizes -- both metric and imperial! Prior to today, I only owned one spade bit.
In this photo, I'm not sure what the top item is.
(It's also in the previous photo, to the left of the hammer.) It looks
like some sort of hammer, but with a dull adze head for the peen.
also a head for a hewing hatchet (also to the left of the hammer in the
photo above). Hewing hatchets are reasonably rare around here: The
Lady and I used to go to a lot of antique stores, and I'd never seen
one. You can tell it's a hewing hatchet because there's a bevel only on
one side (usually hatchets are ground symmetrically). Ten bucks. And
the guy was very fair: even though I was excited to find it, he didn't
raise the price on me when I told him what it was.
I also thought these two were interesting. I initially
thought the thing on top was some type of specialized chisel, because the
edges were rough. Upon further inspection it turns out that (I think)
someone ground the teeth off the top and bottom of an old file, ground
the end into a chisel point, but -- for some reason -- left the teeth on
the side. Odd.
(BTW -- I've heard that turning an old file into a
chisel isn't a good idea, unless you re-temper the steel: to be harder
than the metal they're filing, a file is tempered to be hard -- but
brittle. This means that if you turn an old file into a chisel or lathe
tool, it could shatter on you.)
I like the hammer: although I own a few hammers, the barrel(?) of this one is an interested truncated-cone shape, which is different to anything I own. So, it's a keeper.
I also like this teeny little plane. When I got home I let the kids look through my tools, and I let them take shavings off the edge of a scrap piece of 2" x 4". So, even without further sharpening it seems to work fine.
Also for five bucks was the small mitre gauge (the 45 degee angle layout thing): I didn't own one, and now I do.
Also a smaller marking gauge. Five bucks, essentially new.
Once I got home, blondie boy decided that he'd choose the blue plastic trysquare as his "free tool". I tested it and it's not perfectly "square" (i.e. not perpendicular) -- but the boy doesn't mind.
The Girl wanted a trysquare as well, so she used some of her allowance money from previous weeks to buy it off me (this one **is** square!). Likewise B2 liked the look of the pliers, so he bought them off me -- including the "parallel jaw" pliers. He actually wanted all three of the pliers -- but since one of my aims had been to pick up some linesman's pliers, I told him he had to leave me with one.
And: that's my haul!
Labels: tools, woodworking