the journey begins #1: So many tools, so little money...

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Blog entry by Brigham posted 05-09-2008 07:32 AM 699 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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edit: I ended up passing on both items mentioned in this blog. Thanks for chiming in with advice.

Graduation is nigh! Come Saturday I will be flung officially on my butt, and I’m trying to amass the necessities of woodworking while I can. However, I could use your help and practiced wisdom!

I’ve picked up some new chisels (1/2in, 3/4in, 1in), a square rule, and a cheap-o hand saw (Japanese kerf, though, so that’s a plus).

6in block plane

I also scrounged a 6in block plane- I was happy to find it. My problem is this, though. I also found an old Stanley brand No. 5 plane ($30), and a brace/manual drill ($25). These are both traditionally made items, well crafted (I think), and at least 30 years old (roughly). I left these two items at the estate sale as I wasn’t quite comfortable buying them without really knowing much about them. Tomorrow they will be 25% off, and in two days they will be 50% off.

Should I get these items? Are these good prices? I plan on doing tables in the future, and I’ll be building a workbench eventually, so the No. 5 would be helpful. Is it priced fair for an older, sturdy model (I really don’t want to buy newer, plastic based tools)? I realize that’s asking a lot without your handling it personally, but I’m kind of floating blindly as I’m collecting tools for the trade. Should I get the drill even though I might not use it for a while?

How should I assess the value/health of tools I come across?

Thanks for any help. I can’t wait to start contributing to the community!

ps- Is anyone a member of the Sunflower Woodworkers Guild in Kansas?

4 comments so far

View mjlauro's profile


244 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 05-09-2008 01:36 PM

I can’t say with any certainty that the price of the plane is fair, I have however spent roughly the same on a #5. The brace is way overpriced in my opinion. I pick them up at my local flea market for ablout 3-5 bucks each.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3517 days

#2 posted 05-09-2008 03:09 PM

Sorry, I am not much for older tools. My work revolves around power since I need to make money. I do enjoy watching the guys interested in the old tools. It seems to be quite an adventure finding and restoring them.

What I really wanted to say was, “CONGRATULATIONS ON GRADUATION!”

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View sjdickey's profile


64 posts in 3216 days

#3 posted 05-09-2008 03:34 PM

I’m with Todd. I use Power tools mostly but woudl like to express hearty congratulations!

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3159 days

#4 posted 05-10-2008 09:27 AM

I went thru an old hand tool phase, and benefited from the shared knowledge from all those Goloots. The theft of a chest which held most my user planes and older hand tools helped to curb my enthusiasm for that school of carpentry but many of the older tools have been replaced and are in constant use. I fear the block plane (120?) will be a cause of frustration and will offer only a small sample of the abliity of a well tuned higher end model can deliver, IMO. Check out Patrick’s Blood and Gore. The 5 is as good a place as any to start, if you can snag it for $15 and is in decent shape, score ! There is tons of info all over the web, so read up, learn to sharpen properly, and practice. It would be ideal if someone could coach you in person, if that is at all an option. Sandpaper will be obsolete when good technique with a hand plane is attained.

-- Ciao, gth.

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