Yes folks, I’m talking Hand Tools. Hand Tools are one of my favorite topics. If you live in the South East like I do, then you are privileged to have some wonderful tool resources to draw on to add metal pieces of industrial art to add to your toolbox.
There are several places I search for these treasures of yesteryear. Two of my favorites are Craigslist and Marketplace. Sometimes they advertise rusty stuff other people just pass over, with patience, a keen eye and if you really look closely you can find some great deals.
Yard Sales are another place to find some really nice deals. People are generally unaware of the value of their old tools collecting dust in their garages. Also, most people are willing to negotiate price, so haggling is part of the fun.
Flea Markets, I love Flea Markets! But beware, dealers often know the eBay price of most of their items and have them priced pretty high. Look for the non-dealers and people that have boxes of rusty tools under the tables, that is where you’ll find a lot of great tool deals. That being said, if a dealer has a tool that you cannot find after lots of searching and it’s a reasonable price, it’s ok to pull the trigger and buy it. No guilt trip here.
Estate Sales, Estate sales are awesome and dangerous as you can get caught up and buy lots of stuff you don’t need. Go check out some near you and you will be rewarded by some really nice tools sometimes, and not have to pay lots of cash for them.
Thrift Shops are a good place to find tools. I found the plane pictured above at my local Habitat ReStore for $15. Yes, $15 although it was covered in rust and needed more work that I have ever had to do to any plane to get it in the pictured condition. Now, it’s a very nice tool and a valued addition to my tool inventory. Click here to see a picture of it before I cleaned it up.
The places I have mentioned up to now are really great and you can add lots of tools to your tool box from these sources without breaking the bank. As you get more experience and start to know what to look for in old tools, you’ll start seeing tools you may already have or do not use or need. That’s ok, because you can go ahead a buy them if they are a good deal, then resale them on eBay (tools sell really well on eBay) to help pay for you hobby, vocation, avocation or tool addiction. Keep in mind some of these tools may need some work if you plan to use them yourself, but a little effort will be rewarded by a lifetime of faithful service by these vintage beauties. I find that in getting them ready for use, you also learn a lot more about them and enhance your understanding and experience. I also consider it fun to see them emerge from the rust to become wonderful tools.
MWTCA or Mid West Tool Collectors Association. If you want to see a lot of tools, go to a local MWTCA tool meet. They have lots of vendors and regular tool owners selling (and buying) tools. You can learn a lot about tools from these vendors and the prices are usually pretty reasonable. They sometimes have estate sales at the tools meets and you can get some real bargains at those.
Last but not by any stretch least is Ed’s Tool Store over Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro NC. A better collection of reasonably priced vintage hand tools will not be found anywhere in the South East. Do yourself a favor and Email Ed Lebetkin to find out when he is open and plan a trip to Pittsboro to see this store. You can thank me later.
Now that you have a full set of tools, go ahead and make yourself a tool box https://lostartpress.com/products/the-anarchists-tool-chest I can’t recommend this book enough. Chris Schwarz is an excellent writer and your whole concept of Hand Tools will be reset after reading this book. Just buy it! Get both the Hardbound and the PDF version if you can afford it. If not, At least get the Hardbound edition.
What tools do you need to start woodworking? Look here at a PDF I wrote to get a list of the tools I consider to be first in any beginners tool box.
May your shavings be thin and your joy abundant