Heads or Tails?....I Win!

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Forum topic by reedwood posted 418 days ago 808 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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858 posts in 1274 days

418 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: humor cherry plane

Man…what a great day! Hope you don’t mind but I had to tell somebody!

I recently remodeled a master bath for a previous client which included making a new custom cherry vanity. It’s only 42” wide and hard to find at the cabinet store so I told them I could build one for them.

Well, that meant a road trip for materials to Owl Hardwood in Desplaines, Illinois.

It was on a Saturday and my wife, Lynn said she wanted to go along too and stop for lunch on the way back.

I said sure, Let’s go!

We always enjoy going there together and walking the aisles of perfectly stacked exotic woods reaching all the way to the ceiling. I love how the smell of walnut and oak fills the air.

The different grains like Lacewood, Cocobolo, Zebrawood, Quilted and Birdseye maple draw your eyes to observe them from different angles and wonder how a tree can create such beauty.

They had small blocks for turning bowls and making pens and huge, three ft. wide slabs of Bubinga, 20 ft. tall, three inches thick, standing on the end of the aisles, destined to be a spectacular board room table, no doubt.

After checking out all the varieties of wood with Lynn, I loaded a cart with several sheets of maple plywood and a dozen hand selected 4/4 1×8 cherry boards to build the vanity and replenish my cherry inventory. She enjoyed helping me select the boards and even sighted a few to make sure they were straight.

It was a proud moment for a cabinet maker, married 30 years….What a gal!

On the way back, we stopped at Super Dawg, a Chicago landmark hotdog drive in joint and had a great lunch.

Afterwards, we stopped at an antique store that was going out of business and I found these four Stanley planes sitting outside on a display table. What are the odds of that?

My heart started pounding as I looked closer and I tried not to let the salesman see my bugging eyes.

The Stanley No. 7 had a low knob which meant it was very old. It had two patent dates: Mar. 25 1902 and Aug. 19. 1902. There were no dings or cracks on the rosewood handles or the body, it was all original and, low and behold….. a sweetheart blade.

The No.4 and No.3 planes were not as old but in very good condition. I don’t think they had ever been sharpened and still had the factory finish on them.

The no.15 Stanley block plane was a bit weathered but not pitted or rusty. I could tell it was hardly used and was never cleaned or refinished. It had an adjustable throat and a full length sweetheart blade.

Time to negotiate.

Now, you have to know….I am a professional watcher of American Pickers.

Mike and Frank have taught me a few tricks and now it was time to go after this pick “like a honey badger”, “break the ice” and “Pop” on a good deal.

I pretended to be slightly interested but ignorant as to what they were worth when the salesman asked me to make the first offer. I said I was interested in the No.7 but if the price was right, I might take all four of them.

He insisted I make the first offer so I threw out a number of 40 bucks. He said the no. 7 was worth at least $100.

He counter offered at $100 for all four. I came up to $50 and he came down to $60. So, I counter offered at $55 but he stayed firm at $60.

Time to flip a coin! $50 bucks if I win and $60 if he wins – I call it.

I pulled out a quarter, called heads and flipped it in the air. It landed on the ground and rolled under the table.

We leaned down and looked under the table cloth and watched it roll round and round to a stop…. Tails!
We stood up and laughed about it and heartily shook hands as if we both won the bet!

Yea, I lost the coin toss but it was worth ten bucks to work the deal and see the salesman overjoyed at his good fortune…. And I still walked away with the best deal, without a doubt.

Hey!.... no sales tax or E Bay shipping either.

Like I said, what a great day! And…..Have I got a cool wife or what?

-- mark

19 replies so far

View MrFid's profile


506 posts in 502 days

#1 posted 418 days ago

Sounds like a dream date. Good find with the planes.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View papajohn54's profile


10 posts in 422 days

#2 posted 418 days ago

Great story, good luck with the vanity.

-- John, Washington,

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1763 days

#3 posted 418 days ago

I think you ought to invest in the stock market and buy a new house this week, and trade in the old truck. Let’s face it, you are on a roll…........and nothing could possibly go wrong!

........and now you have posting fodder for planes for the next year.

Gotta take the good with the bad, but right now you are on a good streak….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2175 days

#4 posted 418 days ago

Fun story Frank I mean Mark ,LOL After 46 years my wife and I still enjoy days out like you had,it’s great to have your best friend as your mate. It looks like your pickers technique gained you some great plains enjoy.

-- Custom furniture

View SPalm's profile


4753 posts in 2480 days

#5 posted 418 days ago

My wife unit and I are best friends also. It makes life really nice. She likes wood shopping too, actually any shopping :)

Nice score on the planes. Really nice.

Play some Lotto tonight,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View CFrye's profile


2490 posts in 438 days

#6 posted 418 days ago

Great story and score Mark!

-- God bless, Candy

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1481 posts in 1703 days

#7 posted 417 days ago

I had to show this to my wife of 33 years. She has surprised me with wood purchases and I like to take her to a wood place because she MAKES me buy more than I would have. ” What about this board?” “Don’t you want it?” Of course, she has a lot of nice things I have made for her.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and so little time!

View whitebeast88's profile


3402 posts in 788 days

#8 posted 417 days ago

sounds like an awesome day!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View oldnovice's profile (online now)


3599 posts in 1966 days

#9 posted 417 days ago

You can wake up from your dream now!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View CharlieM1958's profile


15661 posts in 2816 days

#10 posted 417 days ago

Sounds like a great day!

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

View Buckethead's profile


1903 posts in 467 days

#11 posted 417 days ago

A great read! Sounds like a great day…. With icing!

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View reedwood's profile


858 posts in 1274 days

#12 posted 417 days ago

Hey everyone, Thanks for all the comments.

I enjoyed sharing this with you. Funny thing…. they’re were several other couples in there, just like us.
Maybe the lumber yard is the new place to go for “date night”. Ha!

Lynn said she didn’t know anything or care much about wood types until I brought her there the first time.
She said that was the day she fell in love with the woodworker in me and understood why I loved what I do.

I’m in the process of spraying the final coat on her new cherry kitchen cabinets but it will have to wait until I finish this vanity for a client. I’m so close! Can’t wait to show you guys!

She’s waited 30 years for me to build her cabinets (had to remodel the whole house first) ... Did I mention she’s very patient too?

-- mark

View helluvawreck's profile


15404 posts in 1465 days

#13 posted 417 days ago

It sounds like you hit the jackpot on those planes. I wish we had a hardwood company near here that stocked more specialty woods.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View reedwood's profile


858 posts in 1274 days

#14 posted 417 days ago

Morning Charles,

Owl hardwood is about an hour south of us which isn’t bad considering it’s a scenic drive through several little (wealthy North Shore) suburban towns. Just right for a nice half day road trip with your BFF.

I’ve been watching the no. 7 on E bay and they get as much as 175 bucks for this one. I think the owner was right – it’s worth about 100.00. I cleaned it up a little and the japanning is 99% there.

I’m torn between a complete refinish or leaving it alone, just clean up the rest of it. I haven’t researched it yet. I would guess it’s around a type 10. I’ll post it when I finish them but I have a few projects to finish first, may take a week or two…or three.

-- mark

View Don W's profile

Don W

14633 posts in 1166 days

#15 posted 416 days ago

hardwood, hotdogs and Stanley planes with the wife. Can’t beat that kind of day ever.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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