Thursday, April 2, 2015

The search for tools continues.

While my shop time has been limited, and several projects lay languishing on my bench, I have found some time to be a be a seat of the pants woodworker.  I've been keeping up with all of my regular blog reading.  One thing that has become obvious from that, is that if you have contact with enough other woodworkers, you're bound to be working on some of the same or similar projects.  It's nice to get other woodworkers input either before or during a project.  You have all been very helpful to me.  Especially the non-professional woodworkers who's thoughts and issues often mirror my own.

The other aspect of virtual woodworking that has consumed some of my time, is expanding (or trying to) my tool collection.  Since I tend to rely on vintage tools that I rehab myself, I try to look down the road and anticipate what tools I will need in the future.  This allows me to hunt for favorable prices on users that won't take weeks to rehab.  It also gives me the time to work on them before they are needed.  It's not always easy to get into a good work flow, so once I do, I hate to break it to work on a tool for the next step.  My luck in this pursuit is streaky at best, but I am always grateful for what I am able to acquire.  Lately, I've had a mini-streak of good luck.

I've been searching for some time for a brace.  My antique store finds have either been junk or priced beyond what I thought was reasonable.  Same thing on EBAY, especially considering the addition of shipping.  But I finally found the right deal, an old Millers Falls.  It's definitely a user, but it's fully functional and the price was right.

This one won't require too much cleaning.

My next two finds are based on my spring cleaning.  One of the old projects I'd stowed out of harm's way prior to my hiatus from woodworking came to light.  And I couldn't resist putting it on my to do list.

The beginning of the base of a tall case clock.  

When my grandfather passed away, I inherited a set of plans for a tall case clock that he had built for my mother.  After living with that clock on a daily basis for more than a decade prior to leaving home for college and work, that clock came to symbolize my grandfather's craftsmanship to me.  So when I felt able, I began to build my own.  The plans are a "traditional" design, probably from the 1970's   I didn't want to build the clock exactly to the plans, I envisioned something that was influenced by historic examples that abounded in my new home state.  When I began the clock, I was almost exclusively a power tool woodworker.  Switching to hand tools really won't have too much of an affect on my plans, but I know that I'll have to find a way to make the mouldings for the transitions from base to waist, waist to hood, and on the hood.  I got a copy of "Mouldings in Practice" by Matt Bickford for Christmas and realized that hollows and rounds would be my best bet.  My search is not limited to any particular sizes (I hope to build the vaunted half set) but the mouldings around the waist are going to require some larger coves.  Enter my first stroke of luck.

My first set of hollows and rounds.

I found these beauties on EBAY, and I'm guessing due to the larger size (16), I had no competition and was able to acquire them very reasonably.  They are in fantastic shape, even sharp right out of the box.  A huge thank you is due to the previous owner.  I also bid on some additional sets from the same seller, but as those were more commonly used sizes, i bowed out of the bidding well before my competition.

Mere days later, my luck was still in place.  I found a usable set of 18's, also on EBAY.  Again, no competition and another addition to my growing collection of hand tools.  

The 18's just out of the box and in need of some work.

The shipping of these planes provides an odd and (for me) unsettling story.  I received an e-mail while at work that they had been delivered.  When I got home that night, I had forgotten about them, until my family and I were out for dinner.  When I remembered, I asked my wife, but she said they had never arrived.  It really ruined my night (Wednesday) and most of the next day, but I held out hope.  By Friday night, I had come to the realization that they were probably stolen off my front steps.  When the thief of thieves opened the package, I was sure that one more set of planes would be bound for the landfill.  But surprisingly, early Saturday afternoon, the package mysteriously appeared on my porch.  The box was pristine, completely unopened.  I still don't know what to make of it, but I am very thankful that they finally found their way to their new home.

The second set of planes was in need of a lot more work.  I won't go into that here as +William Lattanzio did an excellent job documenting his work on a set of these planes here:  Thank you for your help.

I have a long way to go to complete the set, but at least I've ticked two off the list.

This Day in (Mostly American) History 

1513: Ponce de Leon reaches Florida.
1777: Ebenezer Learned promoted to Brigadier General.
1863: Riots in Richmonnd , Va. over food shortages.
1865: The Army of the Potomac captures the Confederate lines surrounding Petersburg, Va.
1902: The first female judge passes away in Wyoming.
1917: Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war.
1941: Erwin Rommel recaptures Libya.
2005:Pope John Paul II passes away.


  1. Hi Jeff,
    you might want to look over Jim Bode Tools and Hyperkittn tools run by Joshua Clark. Patrick Leach is another source - I haven't gotten one bad molding plane from him yet.
    I recently won a bid on Brown tool auction. I got a lot of planes - all good and usable - for less then $30 each.

  2. Hi Ralph,
    Thanks for the tips. I have a long to go on completing my tool kit, so good sources will help. And I'm sure I'll be adding plenty of tools that beyond "basic" as well. I appreciate your help, and love reading your blog.