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Thread: The Pleasure of Vintage Tools!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    The Pleasure of Vintage Tools!

    Hi All,

    The recent post by Jason on finally getting his #7 plane just got me to thinking about vintage wood working tools from the golden age of such.

    In that post were discussions on older planes that folks have and use, and it was very obvious that guys like Jim, Steven, Bob, myself, and now Jason are very satisfied with some quite old planes.

    For what ever reason, I find it really satisfying to restore and use saws, planes, and chisels that might be 100 or more years old. The recent post about "Oldest Tools?" made it pretty clear that I am not the only one that feels that way, and likes to know about the vintage and history of tools we use.

    When I first got started, the older planes were so much cheaper than new planes of equivalent quality, (and still are even though they sell for a whole lot more than they did just a few years ago,) that for me that was the only way to go.

    Somehow, as time went on it got to where using the vintage tools became less of a necessity and it became more of a satisfaction to use them. Restoring them became a bit of a labor of love, even though it seems like it usually is a lot of work. The goal of restoring them still is "being able to use them with satisfaction," however, as I am not a collector. (At least I don't think I am....but I am not 100% convinced of that....but I won't buy one I won't use.)

    Also, tools that belonged to my dad and grandfather, and vintage tools that I bought as a young man also give me great satisfaction to use. I've had my Stanley 45 a little less than 50 years, and as best as I can determine it was made in 1913 or 1914. My younger son in law likes hand tool woodworking, vintage tools, and appreciates the family history connection. I want to pass those tools on to him and to my grandkids.

    I wonder how many of you are the same way? What are your thoughts? Are we all nuts?

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 03-27-2020 at 11:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    No, we are not all nuts.

    It could be one is a contrarian to the "must be new and shiny" feeling so common in a consumer society.

    For me it was a way to make my hard earned money go further.

    My wife is a sensitive person when it comes to the paranormal. It is kind of interesting when she handles a recent purchase and says something like, "the person who owned this before really loved it." Maybe some of us feel the spirit of the person who owned a particular tool. Maybe we feel we may benefit from their residual spirit in the tool.

    Sometimes my thoughts when using a hand plane made over a century ago turn to hoping some of my work lasts as long.

    Of all my planes, the one requiring the most effort to get in to working condition is also the one to bring the biggest smile when it is being used.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    DuBois, PA
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    1,817
    I like my new tools (well, my hand tool-itus started better than two decades ago!), but I love the inherited vintage stuff, from my deceased dad (2004) and uncles. My father was a house carpenter after WWII, as were several uncles. They were in the emerging era of power tool use, but they still carried handsaws and several planes, as well as a few chisels, but no where near the number of tools us hobbyists today, think we need. When I use those tools that my dad used, it seems they (the tools) were trained to just "work better".

    What were they? a Stanley 60-1/2, a #5 Bailey, several Stanley 750 chisels and Winchester chisels, several Atkins handsaws (no Disstons in our family!). Psychological? Most definitely!
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  4. #4
    I have a few antique tools, including some that came to me from my dad. Some people like to leave their old tools dirty - calling it patina - but I always clean mine up. On hand planes I'll sand the knob and tote and put a light finish on them. I attempt to make the tools look like the were when they were new. All by bench planes are older Stanley planes. When I started woodworking I certainly couldn't afford Lie Nielsen planes (I remember being shocked the first time I saw the price of LN planes).

    I don't have any special feeling about using old tools, except those that belonged to my dad. They're just tools to get a job done.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I have a collection of Bedrock planes in three sizes. I also have a 5 1/2 Bailey. If you get a rusty plane, derust it and paint it with
    black engine enamel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Central Florida
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    71
    I get what you’re saying Stew and no we’re not nuts. A Stanley Bailey pattern plane is a work of art in itself along with many other tools especially those made pre WWII. If you are lucky enough to get a plane or tool that was well used and cared for by a craftsman a life time ago or better, from a family member that used them, there’s an experience that’s bigger than just using a good tool. And My practical side loves the idea of using an existing object that with a relatively small amount of work can perform as well as any new tool without any more consumption of material. It’s how I think so many more things should be built and used. Not that I don’t cover and own a few Lie Nielsen tools

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    Just used Olde Heft & Hubris this afternoon...
    Tool Cabinet Door, leveled the sides.JPG
    had to level the sides....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,698
    I love tools, old or new. The most important to me is they work as intended. Old tools that have been worked by someone who knew how to work them and are not worn out are a pleasure to use. New tools need to be “trained”. That tote with that little raised area, that screw that hits you on the knuckle has a sharp slot, the handle is just a little to fat. Old tools that have been worked have many of those bugs worked out for you. Good new tools can be trained into proper working order most of the time, cheap ones can get better but never proper.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Seattle
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    126
    I guess my thoughts are opposite.

    I have very few vintage tools. 2 hand planes (#3, #4), 1 spoke shave, 1 screwdriver and two hand drills.

    I will keep #3 forver since Jim fixed it, so I feel it has "woodworker" touch and it makes it special.

    Rest all tools I bought new and don't think I will buy any other vintage tools (if I can afford new). I like shiny tools and get more satisfaction out of them.

    My father does not do wood working, else I would keep and used all his tools. He likes gardening, so I will keep tools he uses.

    Only other reason I will buy a vintage tool is, if it antique and affordable.

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