When my wife and I were first married, money was a bit scarce and we struggled but from time to time we would splurge on something. Since I was into woodworking and was in the process of building our kitchen and its cabinets, I was usually making a case to my wife that I needed this tool or that load of wood and more often than not, I did. One night she & I were laying in bed and I was looking at an issue of Fine Woodworking magazine for a few minutes. I saw an ad where a fellow in Juda, Wisconsin had a Stanley #45 plane in mint condition with all of the parts in the original box. It was one of those choir-light-through-the-clouds moments. A Stanley #45! Back then (1983) the internet was unheard of in people’s homes and finding a tool like this was a rare occurrence. I was so excited I told my wife “It’s only $350!!”… “but honey, it will replace all of the other planes I need to buy…” Eventually she relented. Instead of dinner for the next couple of weeks I would spend the money (JUST KIDDING)… Actually I had set some money aside for the kitchen remodel and it fit the budget even though in reality I ended up never using it for the kitchen.
I called the guy and had a long talk with him. That was what sold me. Actually what sold me was he answered the phone. I knew I wanted it. At work the next day I was telling a guy I worked with that I was buying a tool from a guy in Juda, Wisconsin. He said ‘You’re kidding, right? I grew up beside Juda!” It turned out his family knew the guy. Small world. That convinced me it was fate :). So I nervously sent the check for $350 to someone I had never met or knew in a land far, far away for what I thought at the time was the Holy Grail of desirable woodworking tools. I was terrified I would never see the money again nor the plane. Well, in about 2 weeks it showed up. It was in a cedar packing crate (still have the box). I was in seventh heaven. So here I am that night sitting on the edge of my bed saying “Honey! It has rosewood handles!” Like THAT made a difference to her.
As it turned out, I never used the plane until about two years ago. It sat on the shelf in my shop for almost 12 years before I ever opened it again and used. Yes, from time to time I would open the box and look at the parts, etc. and dream away but I never tried to use it. I knew one day I would and I was still glad I bought it. They’re actually cheaper today (I assume because of the availability due to the internet) but I still don’t regret it.
Another heart-warming woodworking story of spending more money than we have for something we really don’t need but ending up but still being glad we bought it. Sound familiar?