gathering up

I've located and/or obtained a few more items in my quest to fill out a primarily hand-tool workshop.

Last week's trip to a flea market yielded a motley collection of spiral auger bits (from various manufacturers) for my braces. I had to paw through the dimly lit and rusty piles of tool-shaped objects to locate the most promising ones. My plan so far is to try to de-rust them using electrolysis, then sharpen and polish as required. I doubt the full range of diameters is represented, but I still have an iron in the fire for a complete set of Irwin or Jennings bits.

Today's antique market visit yielded a #4 Stanley "Handyman" H1204 plane - but not for me this time. With a little rehab work it should meet the needs of my brother-in-law for his recent woodworking interests. The Handyman line was a little on the light side in terms of construction, but can still be made functional. Should he reject it, I can easily turn it into a scrub plane for my own meager efforts.

While perusing a garage sale last month, a friend of mine grabbed three drawknives he thought I might be interested in (yes, I have great friends). Two of them are in excellent condition, merely requiring sharpening. The third is a little wonky in its handle-to-handle alignment, leading me to believe it was run over at some point - it may yet be made useable, though.

I'll be very interested to try the Lee Valley froe that I picked up last week. An old maple tree on our property had to be cut down before it fell down of its own accord. I've kept the majority of the wood from the trunk; the sections may or may not prove workable at this point. A couple of old wooden baseball bats will stand in as mallets until I can fabricate a proper whacking stick for the job.

Between the drawknifes, the froe and the various bench planes I already have, I anticipate being able to extract some usable lumber from short sections of tree trunks. This could turn out to be well beyond my capabilities, but I am sufficiently interested to give it a try. I can't see simply burning the entire maple that grew for 50+ years on our property without trying to capture something permanent from it's carcass. There are a number of other possible sources of stock in my area that could yield enough material for boxes, small cabinets, and basic furniture components. Given the price of good wood at the retail level, I think it deserves an attempt on my part.

Still outstanding on the list of desired items are a shoulder plane for cleaning up dadoes & tenons, and a #7 or #8 jointer/try plane for dealing with the long edges of boards for glue-ups; there's not much else I can think of that can't be made in-house. Sure I'd love a full set of chisels, some sash & panel-raising planes, and an infill smoother but these are all going to have to wait.

There is still a good deal of work ahead of me in cleaning up and tuning the vintage items I have already gathered. In an oddly comforting way, I'm really looking forward to the process. I'd better start thinking about a proper tool chest to put them all in!

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