Getting Unplugged – Part 1

Like a lot of other woodworkers I have added quite a few power tools to my arsenal. And also like a lot of woodworkers in the past few years I have become interested in getting “unplugged”.

This journey began over twenty years – very slowly. My wife’s grandfather was a carpenter during an earlier part of the 20th century (probably starting in the 1920’s), and apparently one of his tasks was to work on ships and some of his tools reflected that. My wife’s grandparents bought a duplex house in the 1930’s, I believe. It was like two houses joined side-by-side, and each one had its’ own garage, and on his side he added a small “lean-to” that was his shop and where he kept his tools. He passed away in the 1960’s and that is where his tools remained – unattended. And over the years that small shed began to leak, actually became like its name and began to lean along with the rest of the garage, and unfortunately the tools began to rust.

Then in the 1980’s my wife’s grandmother passed away, and I was given the chance to retrieve any of the tools I wanted. Because of the structural condition of that shed no one had been in it for years and so no one had any idea what was in it, and it was sort of like going on a archeological expedition going in there and one that was rewarding for me. Among the things I retrieved:

  1. Stanley #151 Spokeshave
  2. Stanley #39 Dado Plane (1/2” skewed blade) – missing depth stop assembly
  3. Stanley #11 Belt Makers Plane (which has since broken in half, rather mysteriously, just sitting on a shelf)
  4. Stanley #113 Circular Plane
  5. Bull nose Plane (1” wide blade – no name/# – like a Stanley #75)
  6. Plane (9 3/4” Lg. sole – no name/# – like a #3 Plane w/Stanley Blade c.1912-1918)
  7. Stanley #191 Rabbet Plane (1-1/4” Wide Blade)
  8. 2- Lg. Draw Knives (one w/folding handles)
  9. Small Curved Spokeshave (no name/#)
  10. Bailey #7 Jointer Plane
  11. PlaneW/9” Lg. w/corragated sole (no name/#like a Stanley #4C)
  12. Stanley #10 2-1/8” Carriage Makers Plane
  13. Bailey #5 Jack Plane (missing lateral adjustment lever and I have since replaced the frog)
  14. E. C. Stearns & Co. Fence for a Jointer or other Plane (attaches with slides similar to what you see on window locks)
  15. Round Spokeshave (marked C.T. & Co.)
  16. 3” Wide Slick (very long – like a timber framers chisel most likely used on ship timbers)
  17. 2” Wide Slick (very long – like a timber framers chisel and also most likely used on ship timbers)
  18. Large wooden mallet (the head is quite large and very heavy most likely made out of a rosewood or lignum vitae)
  19. Triangular Scraper
  20. 1-1/2” Wide Gouge
  21. 3/4″ Wide Gouge
  22. Set of Bronze Trammel Points w/pencil socket (Stanley #1, 2 0R 3)

There were also several Stanley folding rules, large Stanley Bevel Gauge and a small Millers Fall wooden Torpedo Level, all which were fortunately kept in the house. And while you would think I would be excited to have these and put them to use right away, with the exception of the Stanley #113 circular plane, the Stanley #39, the small bull nose plane, and the Stanley #11 Belt Makers Plane, I just left all of the metal tools in a box until last year when, after I was laid off, I had time to refurbish the rest of them. And that process was a learning experience all in itself, but definitely a rewarding endeavor and in Part 2 I will share some photos of that work and continue the unplugged journey.

Hugh Terry

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