Old Tools

I started this page back when I was newly enthusiatic about collecting Old Tools. Let's just say the page has been overcome by events. It has not been updated in many years.

I collect old tools. There! I said it! I do use a few of them, but mostly I'm a COLLECTOR! I bought this minty Stanley #55 combination plane in 1991. This is Stanley's Universal Plane. It was billed as a "match, sash, beading, reeding, fluting, hollow, round, plow, rabbet, and dado plane with a slitter." This fascinating Rube Goldberg gadget ostensibly replaces a carload of special purpose wooden molding planes. There is a group of folks out there, small group I think, who insist these things can be made to work very well. Let's just say they can be made to work! (Start with soft, straight grained wood ) Frankly, I'm intrigued by the gadgetry and I have several of these. Old tool hunters break down into many types and categories. There are history buffs and engineers. There are users-only. Some folks claim to be cheap and only buy stuff that more discriminating folks throw away. Some folks enjoy scrounging parts to salvage incomplete tools. I like new condition old tools. The ones I own have been well cared for or perhaps purchased and never used. I don't have very many. (A lot of old tools would be the 1500 block planes claimed by one gent I know.)

I seem to have tools of one sort or another all through the house. I finished making these display cabinets in July 2001. I had been displaying my tools in a couple old bookcases. As I accumulated more tools I simply stuck them away to wait for these new display cabinets. I thought there would be plenty of room, but I found I had a LOT of stuff squirelled away. Anyway these are nearly full already. Care to take a closer look at cabinet 1? Or cabinet 2? There is another cabinet in the family room. These pics are big enough so you can see pretty well what is inside. Yeah, there are a few newly manufactured things in there also!

I do have some favorites. These Miller Falls bench planes are pretty nice but not real old.

The development of Stanley bench planes has taken place over more than a hundred years. Students of the old tool pursuit divide the various developments and changes into what is called a type study. After I wound up with 2 type 16 bench planes, I decided I'd try to get a whole set of the same type. Type 16's were manufactured from about 1933 to 1941. So far I have eight... of twenty-one (2, 3, 4, 5, 5C, 6, 6c, 7C).

This Stanley $444 dovetail plane came 'dearly'.

Old wooden and ivory rules are fascinating. Before the development of the common zig-zag rule there were several hundred different styles of these fold-up rules available. Boxwood Architects four fold #53 1/2 rule sold for $8 a dozen in 1915. A similar design in ivory and German silver cost $96 per dozen. The ivory rules were less accurate and more prone to variations because of heat and humidity. Even back then the yuppies needed to show off on the rare occasion they actually went to a job site.

This is a Stanley #193A fiberboard plane. It is more fancy knife handle then plane. This tool was used to put attractive edges on fiberboard used as interior walls during the late 30s and early 40s. Since this thing is not really a plane, it is viewed with disdain by many old tool aficionados. My ancestral home had fiberboard walls and this tool could have been used there.

The #45s and #50s are poor relatives of the #55 combination plane. The #50 came in a nice SweetHart metal box. They are still complicated enough to be interesting.

These #90, #92, and #93 rabbet planes are very nice. Do you have the #94 to complete this series?

Imagine throwing a nice chrome plated brace with a rosewood handle into your toolbox to be banged around.

Here's a nice #386 fence for use on a bench plane. There are some of those 703A bench dogs there, too.

These #79, #98, and #99 side rabbet planes are used for clean up and final fitting.

Hand beaders like these #66s will put a small molding on straight or curved stock. The japanned one (the black one) is from WWII.

The #71 router (yeah, router, no wires) will install hinges and other hardware.

I bought this #289 filletster and rabbet plane at an auction. Before the auction, during the inspection, I noticed it had been handled so much it was warm to the touch!

Here's a nice #97 cabinetmaker's chisel plane. Guess there are lots of favorites, huh?

I use this #81 scraper quite a bit. Mr. Taran provided a replacement for the nice 'V' logo blade. My favorite user may be this little parts-missing Stanley #278. It's a combination rabbet and bull nose plane. I got it by mistake at an auction. It looks good after sandblasting and repainting. (Don't have a heart attack, it was a junker!) Works great for cleaning up mortises, installing hinges, etc.

There is a growing interest in use and collecting of old tools. The Electronic Neanderthal provides a wealth of information for buying selling, trading, events, etc. Pat Leach is an old tools dealer and old tools guru. His web page is a well-presented write-up and picture story about all the Stanley planes ever made. His knowledge is remarkable, as are his opinions. Martin Donnelly is another web dealer. He offers high quality and high prices with his twice-weekly lists. He offers nice pictures. The Mid West Tool Collectors Association is the biggest old-tool organization. There are many others. There is even an old-tools list that provides discussion via e.mail.