The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Old tools for a young man

comments (5) November 7th, 2008 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
thumbs up 17 users recommend

Still Strong. I recently bought this No. 7 jointer plane. Its a Stanley Type 2, about 140 years old, and doesnt have a lateral adjuster. But it cuts wonderful shavings from thick to fluffy.
A good fence makes good edges. This plane gauge, which came in the original box, is a nifty way to cut accurate bevels or square edges without electricity. Its definitely old school, but also more elegant than a router.
Still Strong. I recently bought this No. 7 jointer plane. Its a Stanley Type 2, about 140 years old, and doesnt have a lateral adjuster. But it cuts wonderful shavings from thick to fluffy. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Still Strong. I recently bought this No. 7 jointer plane. It's a Stanley Type 2, about 140 years old, and doesn't have a lateral adjuster. But it cuts wonderful shavings from thick to fluffy.

Photo: Matt Kenney

If you don’t know already, Maine is a great spot for used handtools. On a recent trip there I came across a Stanley No. 7 jointer plane that is in great shape. That’s impressive since it is about 140 years old. For you old tool junkies, that means it’s a type 2. I don’t collect tools, so this one will see use as soon as I get a new blade. The old one is a bit too worn, even though it still takes a keen edge.

I also found a very cool plane gauge that attaches to the side of any larger plane, from a No. 5 jack to a No. 8 jointer. Basically, it is an adjustable fence that allows you to cut a consistent bevel or maintain a nice square edge on your board. I got it because I have a cabinet with coopered doors floating around in the back of my head. This will be just the tool to bevel the staves. (I know that I could do that on a tablesaw, but I prefer the nice whisper of a sharp plane iron and the slow pace of handwork.)

I won’t tell you exactly how  much I spent on these beauties, but I will say that they cost less than a tank of gas for an SUV. I bought them from a friend, so I won’t tell you were I got them either. But if you’re in Maine and want to shop for some used tools, try the Hull’s Cove Tool Barn. I’ve been there and it’s a great place to spend a morning.

If you know of a good brick and mortar store for used tools, let us know. Handtool fanatics like myself are always looking for another dusty place to spend time in.

posted in: blogs, tool

Comments (5)

lukulele lukulele writes: I had the good fortune to roam NH and Maine auctions and tag sales in the 70's finding Ohio 2c's and other tools I use in my shop and with my students. Your find is symbolic in carrying on the tradition of the "user" and not the collector. E-bay has made tools available to everyone but will there be any users in the future?
Unless woodworking enthusiasts support trade educational programs there is no future for acquired hand skills and a viable outlet for non-college track students.
Let me also recommend the Midwest Tool Collectors Association for extremely knowledgeable members and tool meets where both users and collectors can find(and touch)most any type of woodworking tool. You can also find gems in the private label brands that were made by the major manufacturers. I've concentrated on a now defunct major retailer's brand that has allowed me to access all types of woodworking hand tools at a fraction of the collector's prices.
Finally, hand tools are like the proverbial rabbit in your summer garden, they multiply exponentially. If you start thinking's all over.

Lou Nachman

Posted: 10:28 pm on November 11th

MKenney MKenney writes: Molson0620,

I'm not sure how serious you are, but I can assure you that although I might not be a Maine native, I am by no means fancy. I too need tools at an affordable price. And I didn't buy the plane and gauge to have them sit on a shelf somewhere. They'll be put to very good use in my shop. (And to make sure it's clear, I'll say that I write this with a smile and friendly voice.)

But I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. The NE is a great place to look for used tools. If you'd like the names of a few other places in ME and the nearby area, let me know and we can exchange emails.
Posted: 9:44 am on November 10th

molson0620 molson0620 writes: Matt. I dont mind sounding like a crazy old coot from Maine, but you fancy out-of-staters should not be coming up to Maine and purchasing nice old tools from the barns and salvage stores scattered around the state. As a young man (29), I veiw these items as heirlooms and an incentive to keep the traditional woodworking techniques of Maine alive. Without the wonderful antiques tools at "affordable" prices, how will the youth of my state acquire the equipement to become superstars like your very own Christian Becksvoort (tool collector!?), Steven Thomas Bunn, and Peter Turner. Will we be reduced to taking all of the cushioning($) out of mother's arm chair, to pay a visit to Lie-Nielsen? Only to purchase a shiny new replica of something that is buried in a box, in one of those musty brick and mortise buildings, waiting to be bought, cleaned, and given one more chance.
Please do not start a rush to Maine for antique tools, this is my heritage, and I loath the fact that I am currently living in Colorado. Lusting to be home, so I can rummage through old barns and dicker with old men to settle on a reasonable price for an old plane or mortising drill. My very best tools are hand-me-downs and odd finds.

I apologize about the tongue-lashing, but I have been on the search for an old joiner plane, and am just a bit jealous of your find. Those rosewood handles would have sealed the deal for me.

Posted: 12:51 am on November 10th

MKenney MKenney writes: Robin,

Now that's an odd coincidence, because my plane gauge and No. 7 we a bit of a package deal too. As for eBay, I've bought two planes there, but now prefer. Glad my random little post offered you some useful information.

Posted: 12:38 pm on November 8th

pharmachippie pharmachippie writes:
Hello Matthew,
It seems it matters not how old one is,[ from where I stand,the title of your post should read "Older tools for an old man"],but the gems I find whilst digging around in FW appear limitless.
I recently bought a #7 on Ebay,something of a lottery,I know,but was delighted when it arrived,found it in A1 condition,but with this rather odd looking contraption included.It looked not unlike a small farm gate with knobs attached!
I had no idea what it could be,and have spent some time looking at it,no doubt that it was examining me as well.
Then I came upon your article,and now of course I feel such a fool! Seriously though, I can only thank you for having added to my small fund of woody type knowledge.
With very good wishes for a never dulling blade,
Robin Twist.
New South Wales

Robin Twist
Posted: 7:37 pm on November 7th

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