I always enjoy tool sales, such as those put on at the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, but after years of attending them, surprises at these shows are few and far between.
So it was quite a rush to attend a tool meet put on by the Hand Tool Preservation Association of Australia this morning. There were so many tools and brands that I’ve never seen before. I stayed until they started packing up the boxes to leave.
What’s different? Plenty.
- Common Stanley stuff was pretty expensive. While you could still find garden-variety bench planes for $50 or so, the 19th-century Stanley planes were crazy expensive – like $250 for a Type 8 No. 7.
- Some expensive stuff in the U.S. was cheap in Australia. I saw a Millers Falls No. 42 coping saw for $2. Tons of Swedish Eskiluna chisels for almost nothing. Sweet combination squares (in Imperial measurements) for less than $20.
- Used Japanese tools. Thanks to Australia’s somewhat closer proximity to Japan, they actually get a fair amount of used Japanese tools imported into the country. I saw many beautiful Japanese chisels for $15 each. I didn’t dare buy one because I don’t know any of the names.
- Infills, infills, infills. They were everywhere. I saw Norris, Mathison and a bunch of other lesser makers. There was an unused shell casting ($55). Lots of shoulder planes and bullnose planes, many in gunmetal. Two panel planes. And infill mallets ($55 each).
- Buttloads of cross-peen hammers. I think I saw 50 or 200, I can’t remember. Most were going for about $20.
- Very few moulding planes. Unlike U.S. shows, there were hardly any moulding planes. I saw one beat-up beader. One hollow. A few wacky profiles.
In any case, it was great fun poking through all the piles of rust. I could have stayed for another three hours and still not seen everything I wanted to pick up and play with.
I did buy one small item – a wooden architect’s triangle made from boxwood and very cleverly joined.
— Christopher Schwarz