Last weekend I had the good fortune to make a road trip to Covington, KY to visit the open house and tool sale at Lost Art Press. This was hosted by Chris Schwarz and if you read this blog and don’t know who that is, then I suggest you check out his book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest”.
About fifty or so equally-minded individuals descended on the small store in a melee that would be remeniscent of an estate sale crossed with a Comic-Con.Everyone was super nice, just I hadn’t expected such a rush. Chris was off-loading some of his own tools that he didn’t need anymore. To be sure, the author of “Handplane Essentials” does not have much junk, so it was worth a look.
The sale started at ten. Being shy and not in need of many more tools, I strolled in at five after ten to see everything scooped up already with patrons waiting in line. I hemmed and hawed over a brass copy of a Stanley 80 scraper, seeing as how I was looking for one anyways. I picked it up and wen to peruse the books for sale, the real reason for my visit besides being part of a MidWest road-trip. I just like to take a look at books before I pick them up.
The books for sale were printed by Lost Art Press, some written by Chris with others being re-prints of old texts that are out of print and some by other authors. I picked up a book called “By Hand And Eye” by Jim Tolpin and George Walker. It deals with learning design and proportion using simple tools and handed-down methods
When the line died down I made my way forward to pay for the scraper and a Lee Valley square that I also found. I got talking to a fellow enthusiast who was building up his tool kit. Seeing as how I had brought some tools of my own to sell, I asked Chris if it would be OK to park out front and try to deal from the trunk of my car. He suggested I just bring them into the store and peddle my wares.
This was very hospitable indeed! I got to sell off a couple of smoothing planes and a jointer that I don’t use anymore along with one of the saws I seem to accumulate. With extra cash on hand I picked up the “By Hand And Eye” book and stuck around to chat with Chris and others that had come for the conversation and for a general look-around.
Along with the tools and books for sale, I was able to poke around the shop and see an example of Chris’ six-board chest, the oft-debated workbenches, and the tool chest itself. Now, it’s one thing to read about a thing and imagine but another to see something for real. It took all of my reserve to not walk off with one of more of the fancy tools within.
Back to reality, I came home with my new book, a couple of posters and new tools. I took the scraper out a couple of days later and polished the blade, jointed it and then turned a hook on it. Then I sanded the base of the plane to make it flat and let it loose on some cherry I had just planed.
It did quite well, even if I do say so myself. The scraper is designed to make curly shaving and leave the surface uniform. I think it succeeded in this regard.