A find of not-so-epic proportions...

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 03-18-2008 03:22 PM 2497 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

(an excerpt from

My wife and I took a trip across the river to the monthly Belleville Flea Market this past weekend. We combined that with a visit to my great Aunt Edy who is about 80 and still walks five miles every day (wow!). Dana and Aunt Edy spent a lot of time looking for cut glass and Griswold cast iron. If you can imagine, I focused on other things; namely, handtools.

To be honest with you, I thought the pickings were quite slim, as far as flea markets go. I did find a fairly nice Stanley #5 in good condition. I chuckled as I disassembled the plane, checking the various parts out for defects – the blade was set bevel-side up! If it was a “user”, it must not have worked very well…When I assembled it again, I put it together properly; my OCD would not have it any other way.

The handles were crisp and tight and the Victory blade had a lot of life left in it. It wasn’t priced terribly high, at $27, and I was sure I could talk him down some, but I thought back to the pre-WWI #5 I have sitting at home, waiting for me to restore it, and I decided to pass. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have. I could have fixed it up and given it to my best friend or one of my woodworking friends… I probably won’t pass up the next one I find like that.

I did not, however, pass on a nice little piece I thought I’d share with you. It was in the $1 box, so I didn’t feel right trying to talk them down any. It is a hand tool, but not the usual kind one keeps an eye out for, I suppose. Here’s a picture of it in the untouched state…

paint scraper (untouched)

Not much to look at, is it? Give me a few minutes with some mineral spirits and a green scotchbrite pad, though, and see what you think after that.

paint scraper (cleaned up)

That’s a little better. Now take a closer look at the handle. That isn’t plastic, my dear big-box-shopping friends! Looks like rosewood to me. And check out the metal in this close-up.

paint scraper (detail)

The blade, the ferrule and the tang are all one piece of metal, riveted to the rosewood handle with brass pins. In this picture, you can also see a small band of sapwood on the end of the handle. It actually has a maker’s mark on it, too! It says, ” G. L. & CO. CHICAGO” on one side of the blade. Google didn’t come up with anything on it, yet, but I’ll keep an eye out.

The blade is really thick and hefty; I wonder if I might be able to file a nice clean flat edge on it and sharpen it up like a scraper. I could use it to clean up the insides of boxes or tight corners, maybe? It feels like it could really hold a hook, though.

I’ll have to post something about it if and when I give it a try!

Aunt Edy kept apologizing to me; she felt badly that I didn’t find anything other than an ordinary paint scraper. I don’t know… a rosewood handled paint scraper with an integral tang? It might not be the find of the Century, but in our world of plastic and poor quality, I’d call that anything but ordinary…

-- Ethan,

23 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4133 days

#1 posted 03-18-2008 03:33 PM

Good find, Ethan. I like it when I find something like this even if I don’t really need it I appreciate a good tool.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4485 days

#2 posted 03-18-2008 03:35 PM

That is a winner! Good eye!

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3913 days

#3 posted 03-18-2008 03:37 PM

That is a great find for a buck!

-- Mark

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4497 days

#4 posted 03-18-2008 03:42 PM

that is a good find indeed. Flea Market in March?! – Spring must really be on it’s way then (not that you can tell looking at the backyard here ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

539 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 03-18-2008 03:45 PM

Where exactly is the Belleville you speak of? Was that Belleville, MI? Because if it is, I’m bummed I didn’t know about the flea market…I was in Belleville MI this past weekend.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4344 days

#6 posted 03-18-2008 03:56 PM

Sorry, Alan; Belleville, IL.

It’s an indoor/outdoor (mostly indoor this time of year) flea market that goes on all year long (third weekend of the month).

There is another flea market not too far from where I live that should be starting up some time soon. It is completely outdoors and takes place every Sunday through spring, summer, and fall. The good tool sellers don’t usually start showing up until about May, so I still have a while to wait.

Good thing my wife takes naps after church on Sundays! ;)

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18616 posts in 4331 days

#7 posted 03-18-2008 05:03 PM

now I don’t know much about tools but I do know that a blade that is one piece of metal that goes right through the handle is a treasure!!!! Awesome…

Well done

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View MrWoody's profile


325 posts in 3945 days

#8 posted 03-18-2008 05:11 PM

They sure don’t make them like that anymore.
Nice find, I’ll be keeping my eyes open from now on.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4389 days

#9 posted 03-18-2008 05:38 PM

What a neat find for $1!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4236 days

#10 posted 03-18-2008 05:43 PM

Good score – and for a $1l you can’t loose.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4470 days

#11 posted 03-18-2008 06:01 PM

Very nice find, I think I have one similar in my tool box. I’ll have to take a closer look at it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4159 days

#12 posted 03-18-2008 06:16 PM

You can’t beat that for $1. It’s a great piece.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4045 days

#13 posted 03-18-2008 06:29 PM

I’m right there with you, Red. I love the flee market. I am a very serious flee shopper! Our closed down for a few months, the told us it was forever though, since the land got sold. But they just decided to open back up again. I haven’t been there since they reopened two weeks ago. But I love finding stuff like this. Very cool. Makes me want to make sure I get to the flee market this weekend.

-- Happy woodworking!

View printman's profile


72 posts in 4244 days

#14 posted 03-18-2008 06:40 PM

Hi Ethan, I have three of those. One is 2” wide and the others are 4”. Mine are by a company that made ink knives for printing presses. They were used to stir the ink in the ink fountain on an offset printing press. I took a 4” knife home and use it all the time for scraping of all kinds. If you want to try a good Flea Market try the one in Wentzville on Sundays. I’m not sure if they have started up yet but they are open all summer long.

-- St. Louis - just a cut away from finishing!

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4045 days

#15 posted 03-18-2008 07:36 PM

Nice catch! I’ll have to visit one of these flea markets.

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