A tool swap score

Finding old tools around here (the Pacific Northwest) is a bit of a challenge, and finding ones that are users as well, even harder.  Let’s not even talk about the ridiculous prices that people put on them in antique stores around here.

I’d got a hint of a tool swap that would have at least one table of old tools, and after some online sleuthing figured out a date and location.  I swear it was harder to find out information than just about any event I’ve been to recently.  They really didn’t promote it at all, and I only had a couple of mentions and posts in random places.  But went out on a limb, got up way too early, and checked it out.

Surprisingly there were quite a few old tools there, scattered among a lot of dusty old power tools and boxes of screwdrivers.  It was an odd mix of people, mostly older, with a few young folks as well.  I did pretty well for myself I thought, and am happy I got up way to early (time for a nap maybe?) to go check it out.

Here is what I picked up:

Two saws of good quality.  A Disston 8 pt Crosscut, and a Disston 11 pt Crosscut saw in good shape with saw guards.  I sort of put myself in the old guys hands on this one.  He had a rack of saws that were obviously in good shape, well cared for, and he seemed to know what he was doing.  I asked him what he thought I might need, and recommended those two.  I offered $30 to his $35 and he took it.

 A Stanley #5 Jack Plane.  This guy had a line of well used dusty/rusty #5’s with the back end painted green.  I walked by a few times, and finally asked the price on them.  He replied with “How much do you want to pay?” so I quipped back “$5” thinking he’d start bargaining from there, but replied “Sure.  I just want cut down on the amount of stuff I have.”  Rolling with it, I asked him which one was in the best shape, and he pulled the blade from one and put it in the one with best body for me.  I guessed some kind of shop over stock, because they were all so similar looking and green paint, and he said “former shop teacher”.  Good deal for me!

Here was my favorite purchase. A Stanley #48 “Tongue and Groove” plane, in good shape.  This is a single unit that does both the “Tongue” and the “Groove” with a simple switching of the fence.  The fence pivots on a single point to cover one of the blades, and align it with the center of the wood for the groove part.  Swung the other way, it’s fence for the tongue part with both blades in play.  It’s really clever, and surprisingly simple.  When I was at the Woodwright’s School for my class, they demoed one of these and I thought it was pretty neat.  It’s also, once I sharpen and tune it up, going to be put into use on a project I’m contemplating.  He was asking $75 but he took $60 which is pretty fair for the condition and rarity of these.

All in all, it was a good day, and I feel happy with my purchases.  I’ve already cleaned up the #5 and under the light rust it’s in great shape, and it’s cleaned up nicely with just some WD-40 and a light wire brush work.



  1. Jay April 30, 2010

    Sheesh. Nice Disston D-12 you scored there. Those are getting hard to find. If it’s a Simonds #62 it’s even harder to find.

  2. Badger May 2, 2010

    It cuts like a dream too. I have had lots of problems with sawing, and saws which is actually the tools to a certain degree, and my technique to a lesser degree.

    I’ve always had cheap hardware store saws, with hardware store sharpening. And no idea what I was doing. Which is no wonder I hated sawing.

    This saw cuts like a dream, and makes me realize how much I was fighting it before. I either need to learn to sharpen like this or find a service for it locally.

    Worlds of difference.

  3. Jay May 3, 2010

    Yeah, I had a similar experience with a D-7 and am just now recovering from my saw addiction. I think that there are scads of subtle aspects that these older/better saws have to make sawing not only easier, but a downright pleasure. I learned to sharpen as well. If you’re in the advice-taking business, head on over to Logan Cabinet Shoppe. Bob Rosaieski (sp?) has a video on proper sawing technique that made me angry at myself for thinking I needed a table saw. Now I’m doing all the ripping and crosscutting with old saws and will put that dangerous table saw up for sale.

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