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I checked out the sawblades (or "sawplate", in jargon) for straightness. The three wooden-handled ones were straight. The yellowy-handled saw had two kinks in it (which would make it hard to saw straight) -- but the handle was interesting -- kinda Art Deco. The black-handled one was bent a few inches in from the tip -- although I could possibly cut it off there. Or, I could try to hammer out the kinks (never tried it; worth a try). And, as you can see, part of the handle from one (second from the bottom) of the wooden-handled saws was missing.
I pointed out the flaws, said that I'd be willing to take all five anyhow, and asked what they could do for me regarding the price (i.e. less than 5 x $10?). The guy said "Make an offer", so I offered $40, thinking that it might be a little low. He accepted.
Here's a closer look at the "Buck Rogers"-looking handle. Usually I don't like plastic-handled tools -- but this one is sufficiently quirky that I don't mind. Even if I never manage to straighten the blade, it's still pretty nifty.
For you saw buffs: That looks like Henry Diston's signature, there -- right above the medallion.
As I was getting ready to go, the seller mentioned that the plastic-handled saws had been his dad's, and the wooden-handled ones had been his granddad. Neat-o -- a bit of history. I wrote down the names of the dad and granddad, and added it to my log of tools when I got home.
He also mentioned that he had a box of misc. tools that he was planning on selling -- but just hadn't gone through them yet. I casually asked if he'd be willing to go through them now: I was right there, and still had some cash in my pocket...
He brought out a small cardboard box and let me lay out its contents on the patio table. Some things I chose; some I put back. I did a quick tally, and offered an intentionally low-ball price, just to start the negotiation: twenty bucks. I admitted that it was a bit low -- but also that the tools would definitely be going to a good home.
Surprisingly, he accepted!
So, here's my twenty dollar stash. Not gloat-able if you're from the New England states -- but around here it's a pretty decent deal:
I took the various wrenches and pliers because I thought they looked interesting. His dad had been a t.v. and radio repairman -- back in the days when it was actually worth it to get your t.v. repaired. So a lot of the tools were clearly specialized, or modified for a task. It also had a nice little wooden-handled trysquare, and a bevel gauge/sliding bevel, which was was pretty sure had belonged to his grandfather.
My favorite portion of this haul is the three matched set of chisels (part of a larger set?) -- 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" -- with stickers with a picture of a fish, saying "E.A. BERG MFG Co. LTD" and "ESKILSTUNA sweden". Bevel-edged, with remarkably thin blade thicknesses. Some surface rust, and the blade of the widest one is caked in some kind of putty. But clean-able.
I also enjoy the Bakelite(?) handle for a keyhole saw.
For you Galoots: I sighted down the teeth after I got them home -- and all five of them appear to be filed for ripping, not crosscutting. Given that most handsaws are set up for crosscutting, that's pretty weird. Over the next few days I kept squinting at the teeth, thinking maybe I'd seen incorrectly -- but nope. Huh.
TPIs are as follows: backsaw, 12TPI; black plastic, 9 TPI; yellow plastic, 7TPI; bad handle, 6 TPI; other wooden, 9 TPI.
I tried out the pistol-grip backsaw -- I own a few (inexpensive, used) backsaws, but all are closed-tote. This one fit my hand marvelously. The blade needs a clean, though, and a sharpen.
I offered the other two saws with wooden handles to a colleague, Tanay, who is getting started in woodworking. They're a bit cumbersome to take in to work via the bus, so I'll get them to her eventually. She doesn't own **any** handsaws -- so I'll suggest she leaves the bad handle (6TPI) as rip, and re-file the 9TPI saw to crosscut.
I also offered her the tools in red rectangles. She declined the slip-jaw pliers, but accepted the trysquare and sliding bevel: I charged her $2.50 each. We checked out the trysquare for squareness, and it is indeed square. Both have a fair bit of surface rust on the blades -- but she says she like restoring old things (a good Galooty trait). She'll take some "before" and "after" photos to chart her accomplishment. :)