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Antique Tool Box #1: Is this a joiner's Tool Box?

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Blog entry by CaptainKlutz posted 03-13-2018 05:52 AM 2578 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Antique Tool Box series Part 2: Ohio Tool Wood Plane »

#1 Dislike blogs. This is a documentary.
This series of posts was created to document a recent estate find and hopefully gather some information from the antique tool collectors that troll LJ for entertainment. Did not want to pollute the HPOYD thread and potentially lose information.

Back story:
I have been working wood for 40 years as a hobby. As I become more senile and slow down from my impetuous youth, have learned I like the “FEEL” of working wood and started using hand tools more often. This caused me troll Neanderthal & hand tool forums for last 10+ years tying to learn about hand tools. Call me crazy, I like using hand planes. Have become reasonably proficient at using them. I have a pile of antique Stanley Bailey and Bedrock planes, plus a couple of new Veritas with PM11 blades for comparison. Many times when I need to joint edge of single board, I grab #7 or #8 before I even think about turning on the 8” jointer sitting 15 feet from the work bench.

For many years I have been curious about wooden body planes, but was never able to get my hands on them to see if I would enjoy using them. Until now.
Perusing local Craigslist ads dreaming about finding a cheap used 15-20” planer, I stumbled across an estate sale ad. They had one picture of an antique tool box with some wooden planes inside. WooHoo!

I free up my Sat morning schedule, and I arrive 15 minutes before sale starts, thinking I was early enough to have a crack at the tools. But no, there are already 2 others waiting in front of me. :(

When the doors are opened, 1st guy literally RUNS through the house to garage and grabs all the old chisels, and other small wood working tools from one table. 2nd guy runs to garage looking at table saw and some garden tools. I head for tool box with planes, take one look at contents, and deciding it was too heavy to carry around, go back to front desk to negotiate and pay for the tool box. While I am paying for my prize, two other folks ask for a price on the old tool box (nothing was marked at the sale). On my way out of garage with box, 2 more tool hunters ask me if I am dealer and planes are for sale. Lots of competition for planes at that sale!

Side note – That is how it is here in Phoenix in winter time; Too many wood workers invade our desert escaping the cold and snowy north regions, while spending their weekends scavenging garage/estate sales for old tools. It is almost impossible to buy any salvageable old wood working tools unless you are 1st person into sale when doors open. If the garage/estate lists wood working tools and shows pictures of planes or chisels, you can guarantee anything with a fair price will be sold in 1st 15 minutes. Only time stuff last more than an hour, is when the prices are too high, or it is hidden inside drawers with mechanics tools that wood workers searching old iron have missed. Doesn’t help that Phoenix is home to a couple of people that buy and restore hand planes/chisels to sell on flea bay. :(

So now that I own this tool chest, what do I do with it?
First thing is to post some pictures of everything in blog entries and figure out what I found.

The chest itself is been used and abused. Below are some pictures of outside.
Box itself seems commercially made. It is made from nice quarter saw oak. The top and bottom panels consist of 2 boards held together with dowels. Sides are single QSWO board. Edging on corners is beat up. The top looks like it might have been mahogany veneer on top of plywood.

Is this a commercial box? Do you know who made it?
Please share…

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!



12 comments so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

382 posts in 1575 days


#1 posted 03-13-2018 05:53 AM

Seems I can only insert 2 images in blog post?

Future blog posts will show planes inside, as I hope LJ’s can help me learn more.

Thanks for looking!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18869 posts in 2648 days


#2 posted 03-13-2018 09:40 AM

Unless you can find a tag, finding who made the box will be difficult. Hopefully the planes are marked.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18869 posts in 2648 days


#3 posted 03-13-2018 09:41 AM

Oh, and excellent find!

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

15440 posts in 2699 days


#4 posted 03-13-2018 12:34 PM

That is a great find, congrats! Unique box / chest too.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

9879 posts in 2532 days


#5 posted 03-13-2018 12:48 PM

I’d call it a carpenters/joiners chest. Looking forward to many pics of the contents.

A good project wold be a full restoration of the chest.

As the others have said, great find.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

193 posts in 537 days


#6 posted 03-14-2018 03:36 AM

How would you restore the old tool box?

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View simonov's profile

simonov

62 posts in 586 days


#7 posted 03-16-2018 04:33 PM



A good project wold be a full restoration of the chest.

- theoldfart


Please, no. Leave the old chest alone.

It might be nice to reproduce it exactly in a new chest.

-- Nunc est bibendum.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

9879 posts in 2532 days


#8 posted 03-16-2018 04:45 PM

“Please, no. Leave the old chest alone.”

Why?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View simonov's profile

simonov

62 posts in 586 days


#9 posted 03-16-2018 06:21 PM



“Please, no. Leave the old chest alone.”

Why?

- theoldfart


Because the chest, as it is now, embodies its history, and that’s the most interesting thing about it. You “restore” the chest and you ruin it. It would be easier to simply make a new chest to the exact same design, and you wouldn’t ruin the old chest. You’d have two: the genuine article and a nice replica.

We restore old tools because they need to be restored so we can use them.

Firearms collectors know one if the simplest and most common ways to ruin the value of an antique gun is to “restore” it by re-bluing it, etc. The holster wear and stock scratches of an old gun in no way diminish its utility, but they do convey some of the firearm’s history, so they have value to the collector. Personally, I’d look at this toolbox in the same way.

If I “restore” an old hammer by replacing the head and replacing the handle, do I have an old hammer anymore? How much of this fine old chest would the OP have to throw in the trash as part of its “restoration?”

-- Nunc est bibendum.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

9879 posts in 2532 days


#10 posted 03-16-2018 07:47 PM

Simonov, I would agree with you if the chest had historic significance but in its current state its utility as a protective container for tools has been compromised. The only thing I would do is to replace the almost non existent top veneer.
I can’t tell from the pictures if there were any trays but the saw holders on the lid could use some attention.

Virtually all of my tools are vintage or antique. Some needed work to get back to usefulness. I make it a point to restore/repair just far enough to make my tools and shop fixtures useful and preserve them.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Don W's profile

Don W

18869 posts in 2648 days


#11 posted 03-16-2018 10:39 PM

It may be an example of different meaning to verbiage, but I’d definitely agree that the chest could use some love and repair.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

15440 posts in 2699 days


#12 posted 03-17-2018 01:37 AM

I’d also fall on the side of working on that chest to get it up to snuff. As is, it’s an eyesore and something not even a mother could love. Get it functional at least. Lots of ways to do it that won’t compromise it’s ‘old’ pedigree. Think on it a bit. Use old materials, something.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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