Why do I buy old tools instead of saving up for new ones?

I like Christopher Schwarz as a writer. I think I’ve made that abundantly clear. Hell, as much as I talk about him, one might be forgiven for thinking I’m some kind of a fanboy.

However, reading his Handplane Essentials has given me the impression that he’s not really a fan of vintage tools. More specifically, of new people buying vintage tools in need of restoration in order to be usable.

And that’s precisely what I did all those years ago and why I bought a Sargent 5306 low angle block plane last night.

Here’s my thinking on why that’s a good idea for new woodworkers.

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More work on tools

I spent more time today cleaning up tools. A couple of saws, a combination square, a spokeshave, an #4 plane, and a scraper plane all made it into the vinegar today. Further, the spokeshave, scraper plane and the #4 all got hit with a coat of black paint to pretty them up just a bit.

Now that I’m getting closer to having that done, it’s time to plan what happens next.

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Sitting here with a pair of jacks

Today, I got done with work kind of early and figured it was a fine time to get to work. Yesterday afternoon, I’d picked up some vinegar, some sandpaper, and some mineral spirits. It was time to get to doing some work.

Before I can do anything, I have to take the rust off of the tools, though. What’s a Barbarian Woodworker without usable tools, right?

So that’s where I started.

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Thoughts on workbench design

Now that I’ve found my tools and identified the work needed to get them ready to roll again, I think it’s time to start thinking and planning my workbench. I’ve set that up as my first woodworking project, and I really do think it’s a necessary one.

After all, a proper workbench is reportedly a handtool user’s best tool.

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A few more members of the family

After my “family photo” yesterday, I mentioned to my wife that I was missing some tools. She recalled seeing a few in a particular box in our storage room, so off I went to look.

It turns out, her memory is far better than mine is, and a few more members of the family are found, including a couple of surprises.

Unfortunately, the whole family isn’t together. Some are still missing, and that means sorrow for me.

But, not for long, because I do have a few goodies to share!

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What I’m working with

As noted earlier today, I actually have a fair number of tools already. I won’t need to make a whole pile of purchases before I can start building a few projects, after all.

After I posted yesterday, I decided to pull everything out of the old crate I use for storage to see what kind of shape they were in.

The crate I picked up from work. I figured, why build a tool chest when one was already made?

This above crate used to contain chemical weapons protective gear in a previous life. At least, that’s what had it just before I got hold of it. I worked on a military base with an operation that destroyed that gear to terrorists couldn’t get their hands on it. We demilitarized the gear, but that left this crate, so I brought it home for tool storage.

Well, let me tell you a little something. It ain’t that great for tool storage.

I mean, it’s a big box. There’s no organization to it, nothing. I could probably add stuff to the box to help with that if I wanted to, but it also isn’t all that wonderful at keeping the tools clean either.

So, the first step was to empty the box almost completely. Continue reading