MWTCA meet in Chesaning, MI on April 17th

This is a reminder that the Midwest Tool Collectors Association Area C has a meeting coming up on April 17th in Chesaning, MI.  If you are interested in the details, please email me.

Come out and support a fantastic organization.  I'll be there, buying and selling tools and talking to folks about woodworking.  It's a great way to make new friends and buy some tools at a fair price.  You'll find everything, from user chisels to highly collectible infill planes and cast iron levels.  You'll also see interesting themed displays on old tools.  Mike Stemple is running the Chesaning meet this year and he always has a great setup of rare and interesting saws. 

Don't miss out!  If you want to stay informed on the MWTCA, join today!  It only costs $25 a year and you get the following benefits:

* Attend with your spouse, the two annual national meetings as well as numerous local or regional meetings which are planned throughout the year. Featured at these meetings are tours and visits to appropriate museums, restorations and other sources of historical impact as well as lectures, seminars, films and interesting demonstrations of early crafts. Members are encouraged to display outstanding tools from their collections and to bring items for sale and trade. Programs for the non-member spouse are also an integral part of these meetings.

* A subscription to our magazine, THE GRISTMILL, a quarterly publication featuring stories about and of interest to MWTCA members as well as articles of educational importance written by and for tool collectors.

* All publications and reprints issued for each year of your membership with the Association. Over the years a wide and varied assortment of tool-related literature such as out of print tool and trade manuals, tool and hardware catalogs, etc. have been printed and distributed to the membership.


My shop

It's spring time cleaning in my shop.  With all the hours I've been working, cleaning hasn't been a huge priority.  It was getting to the point where I was no longer walking on the actual floor, but on wood shavings.  While sweeping up I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

My shop is the back half of a two car tandem garage.  It measures 15 feet by 20 feet, more than large enough for the hand tool work I do.  It is a simple wood-frame with wood siding, as you can see from the pictures.  My projects for this year will be the installation of some windows on my bench wall, as well as a new floor to go over the concrete.  I am blessed to have such a comfortable space in which to work; it just needs some more natural light.

My new Roubo bench with my Grammercy Tools holdfasts

Over the winter, as time allowed, I put this Roubo bench together.  The legs are 6" x 6" posts with pine stretchers.  The 24" wide top is actually made of laminated birch drawer sides with a quarter-sawn white oak front board and is 8 1/2 feet long.  The total cost of the top was less than $50, with another $40 for the legs and stretchers.  I used an adze to level the bottom of the bench before assembly and a 28" wooden jointer to level the top.  It was a lot of work to get a nice flat bench but I really couldn't be happier with it.

Extra top pieces. It took over a gallon of glue to put them together!

 The dog holes in the bench

 The leg vise... you might recognize it from an earlier post

I also took some pictures of some of my tool storage locations.  I use a wall mounted tool rack in front of my bench to store some measuring and marking tools, as well as a few of my most-used chisels.

My tool rack

My plane till holds my user metal planes, while a pair of cabinetmakers chests hold just about everything else.  The plane till was made to my own specifications, but based on a similar one by Chris Gochnour of Fine Woodworking magazine.

 My plane till, which also holds my scrapers and burnishers

My spokeshave and drawknife rack.,

My new springpole lathe

Finally, we come to my new springpole lathe.  This took me about ten hours to build, based on the plan from Roy Underhill's book, The Woodwright's Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge.  I've only used it for a few minutes since finishing it, but I'm quite pleased.  I will probably build a sash-saw attachment similar to the one Roy shows in The Woodwright's Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft. Don't worry about the cobbled-together tool rest; a real one is in the works.

Well, that's a brief look at the important elements of my shop.  What do you think?   As always, here's hoping you get some time in your shop and the time to shop for your latest treasures.


Steve Cooke passes away at age 61

Popular Woodworking is reporting that Steve Cooke, the "Sharpening Guy", has passed away at age 61.  Like many of our fellow woodworkers, I'm deeply saddened at the loss of Steve.  I recently had an old Disston backsaw sharpened by him.  He returned it with a great sharpening job and even took the time to clean the blade a little and apply some wax to the tote.  The saw was, and is, beautiful.  It is my go-to joinery saw.  I was so pleased that I was just getting ready to send him some more saws.

Steve, you will be missed.  If you had any experience with Mr. Cooke, feel free to comment here.

A sad day.


My weekend tool haul

This weekend, the wife was busy with a bridal shower so I had the opportunity to sneak away to hunt a little rust. I ended up traveling over to Allegan to an antique store I'd never visited. It is called B & C Emporium and it represented one of the highlights of my tool hunting career. The owner, Craig, was a fellow tool-collector and he had a great selection of very solid tools. I ended up leaving the store a very happy Galoot.

The first thing I noticed in the tool area was this patternmakers molding plane.

It only has a 1 inch, 1 1/8 inch, 1 1/4 inch, and 3 inch bottoms and is missing the 1 1/8 inch blade. I figure it shouldn't be that hard to make a new blade and perhaps add a few new radius profiles to the kit. This one is getting a special place in my tool box.

I also bought this backsaw. I have a weakness for backsaws and I've been gathering quite a few over the last few months.

This example is a J Taylor and Son, with the lamb logo. It also has split nuts, so I figure the saw dates to the 1860s or so. It needs to be retoothed, as someone in its history really goofed them up.

My final purchase at B & C Emporium was this really nice 12" Starrett level.

After leaving B & C Emporium, I decided to head over to the Lake Odessa Antique mall. I've been there many times and I've always had good luck. This trip was no exception...

My big find of the weekend was this James Fray Spofford pattern brace.

This has the somewhat rare March 23, 1880 patent date and is nickle plated with cocobolo wrist handle and top pad. Unfortunately, the pewter inlays are missing from the grooves in the wrist handle. This is easily the nicest brace I own. I'm still trying to pinpoint exactly how uncommon this brace is and if it should go on the user shelf or in a display case.

While at the mall, I also found this odd spokeshave.

There are no makers marks anywhere on it. Anyone have any ideas?

As you can see, I had quite a good rust-hunting day. I can't wait to make some new new radius bottoms for that patternmaker's plane. Anyone ever done that? Have any advice?

Coming up next is my new spring pole lathe. I used it a bit today and was quite happy with the action and the results.

As always, here's hoping you get some time in your shop and time to shop for your latest treasures.


Good and gentle readers,

Finally, after much delay, I am able to post again. Work and weather have kept me away from both the blog and my shop, but with spring approaching and work slacking a tiny bit, I can finally get back to both!

In the following days, I'll be posting pics of my new Roubo bench as well as my soon-to-be completed spring pole lathe! As always, I'll post new pics of my latest tool finds.

Please let me know if there is anything you guys would like to see on the blog. I'm happy to accommodate!