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.


  1. The Spofford brace is fairly common. I have the same and found it to be quite useful. It is the brace that I use the most. I put some rubber bands in the slots where the pewter used to be. (Did they use pewter or lead?)
    The one you found has more of the plating left on it than any I have seen.

  2. That 'spokeshave' is a bootmaker's heel shave, used to shape the layers of leather used to form the heel on a boot or shoe.

  3. Alfred and Peter,

    Thanks for the knowledge! I found a link to a process to replace the pewter rings in the wrist handle, so I'll be attempting that and posting pics of the process.

    I bought the shave because I thought it was a neat piece. Now that I know its a leather workers tool, I'll be less inclined to sharpen and use it. It will probably be available for sale pretty cheaply at the MWTCA meet in Chesaning MI on April 17.



  4. Zach: I have two spokeshaves like that: one is unmarked, the other is a Snell & Atherton, with OED 5 on the bottom.

  5. Rusty,

    Mine is unmarked as well. Do yours have any japanning on them? This one looks a little bare...


  6. Zach, those heel shaves can also be modified a little and used like a travisher for scooping out chair seats. If you ever want to try making a windsor chair, you might consider hanging onto it.

  7. Peter,

    Interesting possibility. I'll have to consider that. What kind of modifications would it take?


  8. Well, just cut the handles down shorter so they don't get in the way and that's about it. They are a fairly common tool but I can't bring myself to do it to mine :-) I'm going to make a wooden body travisher instead.

  9. Peter,

    I think I'd have a hard time doing such drastic surgery. I think I'll hang on to it and mull it over.