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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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

Upcoming Projects

Every woodworker has projects he or she wants to get to. I’m pretty sure it’s the natural order of things, truthfully.

I personally think most woodworkers get started in the craft because there’s something they want and they can’t find it or can’t afford it or something like that. In truth, I’m no exception. I just wanted various good quality pieces, things my family could pass on for generations to come. I came into despising what I call our “disposable culture.” I wanted to have better than that.

I still do.

But the truth is, building stuff like that takes time and skill, and skill is a product of time.

As such, my first projects need to be more about building skill than creating perfectly stunning home furnishings or decorations. That and they need to fill a basic need in my shop area, which will be outside, for the most part.

So, here is my project list: Continue reading