Things That I Didn’t Buy

So I was driving home on Sunday afternoon, my hatchback and floorboards overflowing with a newly acquired fleet of bronze and iron, my wallet convulsing with pain. I passed an antique store. A really big antique store. I did a U-turn.

Now, before you go about staging an intervention for me, let me assure you that I wasn’t remotely interested in buying more tools. I do, however, enjoy the opportunity to see what kind of furniture awaits. Rural southern “antique” stores tend to be light on the antiques and heavy on the dumpster salvage, but you never know.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, but the pleasant surprises will have to wait until tomorrow. Today, I’d like to direct your attention to some tools that I didn’t buy on Sunday.

For example, I didn’t buy a kinked, black-spray-painted keyhole saw  with mismatched replacement nuts for $12:

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I didn’t buy a rusty, plastic-handled handsaw for $35:

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And I most definitely didn’t buy an “economy” brace with a chuck of questionable adequacy for $75:

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I wasn’t sure whether to admire the booth owner’s ambition or feel sorry for his ignorance. More of the latter, I suppose.

I did see one tool that was at least interesting to look at (in a different booth): a mahogany-handled ripsaw with a steel plate on the cheeks and domed brass nuts. I’ve seen one like this before that was in much better condition, at twice the price. I believe these things were often branded for specific hardware stores. Could be a beauty if it was cleaned up. But no, I didn’t buy it. My Disston 6 PPI No. 7 still works just fine, thanks.

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I Can Explain…

Last Friday, I posted a thoughtful essay on the adverse psychological effects of owning unnecessary accouterments. Then on Sunday, I drained my bank account to buy thousands of dollars worth of tools that I do not need.

Okay, so I’m a giant hypocrite. But I can explain, sort of. A woodworker friend has recently retired and transitioned into full-time RVing. Since he no longer has a shop, he is selling his extensive collection of premium tools – Lie-Nielsen, Blue Spruce, Veritas, Caleb James, Czech Edge, and many more – not to mention a huge assortment of books and videos. He wanted to sell the Lie-Nielsen planes as a single lot, to avoid hours of picture-taking, listing, emailing back and forth, fielding questions and offers, packaging, and shipping. I don’t blame him. And there is no woodworking tool that is more unwieldy to pack and ship than a plane. I’ve been there, and it’s a lot of work.

My immediate reaction should have been to back away slowly. But instead, I was intrigued. I’ve always been a bit of a cheapskate. Usually I piece together the tools I need as inexpensively as possible, through fleabay finds and antique store bargains and my own handiwork. I’ve never been one to shy away from rust or repairs, as long as the tool is solid. I had never even seen a Lie-Nielsen plane in person until I visited their manufacturing facility/storefront in Maine in 2014. So I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be nice to pick up a few of the planes that I’ve always coveted at a decent price? I’ll just sell the rest. It’s not like these planes will require hours of rehab like most of the tools I’ve sold in the past. It should be easy!” So against my better judgment, I made an offer.

I think I was halfway through photographing the planes when the enormity of the task fully sank in. And with that, the first twinge of buyer’s remorse bubbled into my consciousness. Well, what’s done is done. I am the proud temporary owner of a sprawling fleet of bronze, iron, and cherry.

More than being embarrassed at my hypocrisy, am reluctant to turn my blog into a commercial venture. But since it may be of interest to some of my readers, please feel free to visit the “Tools For Sale” tab at the top of the page. Bevel-up bench planes are currently listed. Much more to add in the following weeks.