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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #28: Old Hand Tools Acquisition

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Blog entry by Paul Bucalo posted 02-10-2015 08:03 PM 2871 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 27: Slice-n-Dice Part 28 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 29: Vintage 8" Folding Handle Draw Knife Acquisition »

Over the weekend I setup an appointment with a computer client to review a Windows XP to Linux conversion, providing a much more powerful and newer machine than her tired old Dell. The street price for my services and machine was going to be around $250, depending on training time given. We got to talking about what I have been doing since the last we spoke (about 2 years). When I mentioned I was expanding into woodworking she told me about a stash of her grandfather’s hand tools she would be willing to offer in trade for services rendered and the newer machine. I wanted to say “Hell Yeah!”, settled instead for “I would be delighted to consider your offer.”

A little background:

Her grandfather was a woodworker by trade. His specialty was intricate hand carvings, in furniture he made as well as in carved pieces to display. If my client will let me, I would like to take pictures of his work and post them here. I do not have to be an expert to know that this man from Holland was a master craftsman of the kind not seen often today. I suspect that some of the tools I looked at were hand made by him. All were hand made by someone who knew the business of making fine tools. The exception in my stash is the Stanley plane, which was her father’s, and is definitely not collectible. Later on that.

So that appointment came and went. Three hours later, I was home again. Of that time, I spent maybe 20 minutes on computer related matters. Here are pictures of what I brought home. Please feel free to comment. I am interested in knowing what I have acquired. While it would be nice to know I have picked up something highly collectible, I really want to use these and their usability is really all I care about. By the way, if it turns out that I acquired a very collectible piece that is well over what I am giving back, it would be good to know. I can give her more time and future services, which is what she would like if the trade wasn’t equitable. If I got less, which I highly doubt, I will say nothing more to her. I’m fine with what I have.

Wooden Marking Gauge
I’ve been meaning to make a marking gauge of my own. When I saw this hanging on her downstairs den wall, I knew I wanted it:

The marking pin is barely 1/32”. It’s sharp, though, so do I assume correctly that this was all the tool needed? It’s in great condition. Note the wood screw.

Wooden Rabbet Plane
I’m calling this a rabbet plane because It will obviously do that, but the stepped bottom leads me to wonder if this is differently named and used for a specific type of rabbet cut. Any ideas?

From feeling the side of the iron, I don’t believe it was designed to cut on sole and sole edge.

Wooden Roundover Plane
I’m excited about this one. The holes on the side make me wonder if her grandfather attached hardware to the side of it for precision cutting along long lengths.

Wooden Shoulder Plane
This has one massive cutting edge. On the nose it is stamped with “R. Carter” and “Troy”. There are three more stampings of the same, mounted around each other in a triangle: “J. Cottier”. This has the feel and size of a heavy use shoulder plane. The iron is till very, very sharp.

I have done a little research on the Web. References to the last name point to an Edward Carter of Troy, NY. The nose of the plane is clearly stating the creator was R. Carter. One in the same?

Stanley C557MP Plane
It didn’t take long on the Web to find this isn’t a sought after plane. Information on its date of production vary greatly, so I don’t know what to think. A couple of sites said they were produced between ‘62 and ‘67. Others have stated they were made in the ‘80s, when Stanley quality had taken a nose dive. Outside of minor surface rust, it is in good condition. The iron is pretty sharp for not being in use for three decades. My expectation is only that it will cut clean and straight once cleaned and tuned up. I wonder if this is in the same class as No. 4. Anyone know?

Regardless of the collectible value of this acquisition (or lack thereof), I am excited about having these tools to add to my working environment. They bring me one step closer to the swoosh of hand plaining, dovetails and who knows what else that doesn’t require electricity and ear protection. Cool, huh?

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA



10 comments so far

View changeoffocus's profile

changeoffocus

457 posts in 1078 days


#1 posted 02-11-2015 12:32 AM

Looks to me like you got some nice old tools and you are happy with the deal it’s a winner.
I like the fact that you are asking someone to tell you if you treated the customer fairly, that says volumes about your character.
Enjoy you new found treasures.

View Matt Cremona's profile

Matt Cremona

103 posts in 750 days


#2 posted 02-11-2015 12:35 AM

Awesome set of tools, Paul! I’m thinking the step on the rabbet plan is a depth stop. How wide is that c557mp? That should tell you if it’s in the same “class’ as a No 4

-- Matt Cremona | Minneapolis, MN | http://mattcremona.com

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

620 posts in 820 days


#3 posted 02-11-2015 12:38 AM


Looks to me like you got some nice old tools and you are happy with the deal it s a winner.
I like the fact that you are asking someone to tell you if you treated the customer fairly, that says volumes about your character.
Enjoy you new found treasures.

- Bob Current

Thanks, Bob. Appreciate your kind words.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

620 posts in 820 days


#4 posted 02-11-2015 12:51 AM



Awesome set of tools, Paul! I m thinking the step on the rabbet plan is a depth stop. How wide is that c557mp? That should tell you if it s in the same “class as a No 4

- Matt Cremona

The measurements on the Stanley are as follows (trying to be as accurate as I could read it):

2-15/32” W x 9-3/8” L or 63 mm W x 245 mm L

When I tested out the rabbet plane the step acted as a stop depth stop.

The roundover is not symmetrical, I notice as I was using it. I wonder if this is a molding plane?

I haven’t tried the shoulder plane, just the other three, which while a little rough in cutting are impressive considering they haven’t been used in decades.

I manage to break off the wedge top while tapping on it. Looks like making a new wedge will be part of that plane’s refurbishing process—-yes, I should have disassembled first, nourished the wood, then tried it out. :/

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

2461 posts in 1763 days


#5 posted 02-11-2015 01:01 AM

Old tools like these are survivors of an era long gone. To bad they can’t tell us about the many things they helped make and the man who used them. Now that they are in your position you can continue to contribute to their story by using them to build beautiful things. A good trade is when both parties come away from it satisfied with the outcome.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

620 posts in 820 days


#6 posted 02-11-2015 01:10 AM



Old tools like these are survivors of an era long gone. To bad they can t tell us about the many things they helped make and the man who used them. Now that they are in your position you can continue to contribute to their story by using them to build beautiful things. A good trade is when both parties come away from it satisfied with the outcome.

- luv2learn

Well said, Lee. In this case, I have the good fortune to see a picture of the previous owner at his bench working on a carving (my client smiled, closed her eyes, and kissed his picture after she showed it to me) and got a small bit of history on him, as well as witnessed his artistry within her home. You have to see the Christmas gift he gave her in 1940: an extraordinary, hand build and carved jewelery box that showed the depths of his love and his craftsmanship. I hope she lets me take pictures of all she has of his this Friday, when I deliver and set up her replacement computer.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

620 posts in 820 days


#7 posted 02-11-2015 01:20 AM

By the way…

The closet picture I have found on the Web that looks similar to the shoulder plane is what’s called a Luthier Violin Maker tool, #p47. Close, but not right, because on mine the blade runs through the body and throat at an angle to the length of the sole. Weird. I just can’t find anything on the one I have other than the manufacturer.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-1pcs-Planes-Woodworking-Tools-luthier-Violin-maker-tools-Solid-wood-p47-/141564629625

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 856 days


#8 posted 02-11-2015 02:34 PM

Great find, Paul!

Those should all be excellent users, and they have a nice history behind them.

And these couldn’t have gone to a better person….

-- Ed

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

620 posts in 820 days


#9 posted 02-11-2015 03:11 PM


Great find, Paul!

Those should all be excellent users, and they have a nice history behind them.

And these couldn’t have gone to a better person….

- handsawgeek

Thank you, Ed!

I know that every old tool has a history. Knowing the history does make the tool that much more special. Wouldn’t it be great if they all carried the essence of their previous owners and that carried into your use, like a guiding angel? :)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 856 days


#10 posted 02-11-2015 04:18 PM

Perhaps they do…...

-- Ed

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