Lost Art, Found Artifact


The 28th Annual Groundhog Day Tool Meet was yesterday, sponsored by the Southwest Tool Collectors Association.  A couple of dozen dealers present.  Looking over the hundred or so attendees, Evan was one of a very few not likely to qualify for the senior citizen discount.  Mark had a similar observation about a major tool show he had attended recently in Kansas City.  Young people just aren’t there to buy tools, old or new.

Some years ago, tool collecting was considered a safe investment, a relatively harmless hobby of acquisition and accumulation, filling in the gaps, trading up for better condition.  The apocryphal notion that tools were useful, or how many hands had worked with them was quickly overwhelmed by market value.  What really mattered was getting a mint condition Stanley #1, in the original box.  Never mind that a #1 was scaled to fit a five-year-old’s paws, it was going on a shelf anyway.


These three pieces of steel cost me $75 total.  There’s a bit of lathe work to be done, the 2″ chisel really should have a London pattern octagonal handle, and while I’m working boxwood, may as well take care of the others.  The French pattern drawknife is great on the shaving horse, and that scribing gouge has a very slight curve along its length.  I bargained the boring machine down to $100 even, found a couple of Eric Sloane books to round out my set…


…and this is the entire haul, mostly.  I let Evan have a 9″ combo square and a #9 ½ block plane.  The little jeweler’s hammer is Alice’s.  For Valentine’s Day…


opportunity cost: lack of access to education, tools, health care…
poverty of means: inability or unwillingness to see beyond one’s own experience…
skills set: the sum total of tools, technique, knowledge and experience acquired by an individual.

There are some things that cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things, and because it takes a man’s life to know them, the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.       Ernest Hemingway

About michaellangford2012

Timber framer, boatbuilder, dreamer, writer, musician; collector of books, tools, aphorisms. "There is nothing, absolutely nothing…half so much worth doing…as simply messing about in boats."
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2 Responses to Lost Art, Found Artifact

  1. gblogswild says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m only 41.

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