I'm busy with Christmas production, both family gifts and website offerings, but the plans
for a new hand tool cabinet are always teasing at my brain. (See my plan for it here:
Thinking Through a Cabinet Design)
My hand tool collection has some gaps I am trying to fill, before I have to lay out the
storage plan for the upper cabinet. I have only one narrow mortise chisel, and am lacking
some good screw drivers, since my 'batch bought' foreign series of them broke at the tips
and caused many bad words for doing so.
Now I've discovered e-bid, and a seller in the UK with many more resources for 'boot sales'
than I have here in my local area, which is a dry desert for flea markets or hand tool sales.
His older tools are of heavier steel, nothing is stamped into shape, and he cleans and sharpens everything before putting it on the market.
These arrived by 'Royal Mail,' flown all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and the
continental United States and right into my hands. They'll start a new life now:
It has been quite cold here recently, with lows into the high teens and sunny, daily highs
just at freezing temperatures, so these have had a chance to sit in my living room for a
few days before finding a position out in the garage. I've had a chance to handle them,
examine them, and think about them. The blades are somewhat pitted, scarred and marked.
The handles are worn and could do with a good sanding, because some of the 'patina'
slips over into 'grime' and comes off on the hand. The hooped end of the mortise chisel is
dug into and decayed like it's been hit with a tack hammer instead of a mallet... what's with
that? What was someone hitting it with? The wood extends above the metal hoop though,
so it can be sanded down and improved. It's very good, thick steel and I'm pleased with it.
Even with shipping, I paid under $20 for it, and a new 3/4" mortise chisel goes for well
above that. The little calipers are a treat...weighty in the hand and with a good screw
mechanism that will hold a setting without moving. The veining chisel is 1/8" wide.
I've sold all my carving tools because someone else would get much more use from them
than I had been over the years, and now I'm looking to replace a few of them I've missed.
The Archimedes drill was quite inexpensive, and was purchased just for fun.
So, Welcome to America, old used tools. I don't know what projects you've been a part
of, or whose hands have held you, but you are now destined for new endeavors in a new
land. You'll gradually, with use and time, become 'mine,' and I won't think much about it
any more. Then someday, when I die and my kids have a big (choke!) yard sale, you'll
move on to someone else's hands, and continue your craft. I'm not going to mark my
name on you, or brand you with initials, but I am going to ask a lot of you...
Performance, Integrity, Reliance.
I think you'll do just fine here. Welcome home.