My collection is a healthy balance of new tools and reconditioned vintage tools. A page of my favourite tools, therefore, would not be complete without a list of tools that I think are worth looking out for on the second hand markets.
Photos will follow...
This was the first vintage tool that I bought and the one that got me hooked. It was a featured tool on a Paul Seller's build video where he was cutting grooves for a panel in a clock.
It's a simple tool and I think it looks pretty good - the one I bought only needed the blades sharpening, but came as a complete set (all bar the original box!). It is used to cut grooves along the grain, but can be adjusted for cutting rebates and potentially (with a bit of extra work) tongues for tongue and groove joinery. This was a really affordable tool when I bought it although a quick search shows the price has crept up for complete sets since I bought mine. It appears to be considered as the poorer brother to the stanley combination planes in that it is limited to working with the grain and that will keep the price down a bit.
When compared with the bigger brothers from Stanley, what it looses in functionality, it gains in simplicity and ease of use. There is only a fence and blade depth to adjust on this and that makes it a tool that I go back to using again and again.
There is something quite satisfying about using a brace and bit rather than an electric drill. I'd become familiar with them at church where we would use them to drive awkward screws mostly, but I liked the idea of being able to maintain more control when boring holes too. There are loads of examples of modern braces, a quick Amazon search will bring back a few results, but for the same money or less, you can normally find some good examples of complete brace and bit sets.
My first brace came with a set of bits in a shoebox of tools that I bought from somebody who found them in their cellar. I paid £35 for the box and it came with the brace and bits, chisels and gouges, a useful caliper-type ruler and a few other bits. I immediately made £10 back as the carpenter at work bought the gouges off me as soon as he saw them and that meant I had more than just the brace and bits for less than I would have paid for a reasonable new one.
The bits needed (and still need) a bit of work to sharpen them up - they are functional, but the brace is used very regularly and it does allow much more controlled hole boring. My first project for the brace was a joiners mallet, where I needed to control the angle of a wedged mortise through the head of the mallet; something that would have been hard to achieve with the power of a cordless drill.
Stanley Number 7 Plane
Following the success of the Record 44, I went about searching for a Stanley No7 jointing plane. I quickly found that usable examples were out of my price range, with heavily rusted planes going on ebay for £75+ - the sort of plane that would take 2-3 days work of hard work to bring back to a usable state. Still, I kept searching and eventually found another crate full of tools sold as part of a cellar/garage clearance, which clearly contained a No7 plane that was in not too bad condition. The whole crate of tools cost me £55, so I consider that good value!
The plane took about a day of work to remove the rust and sharpen the blade and it is now one of my favourite planes.
Paul Sellers doesn't recommend this sort of plane due to a tendency to twist along its length - not something I've noticed at all in my use of it! He would suggest that you use the older wooden planes for jointing as the significantly greater dimensions mean that they are more rigid. I have a couple of wooden planes that came in the same box, but I don't think they are as easy to set and adjust - maybe that's something that I'll learn over time.
Until then, the No7 plane is a beast. There are times where I'll reach for this plane because of it's extra mass - if I'm trying to plane through some awkward grain or past a knot, there are times where the big Stanley is unparalleled in its abilities.
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