Gradually filling out my suite of essential tools. I have been tempted several times to buy something extravagant (well, within my budgetary constraints anyway) but have instead endeavored to find quality tools at affordable prices. I have found that with patience and diligence, as well as a little luck, it is possible to find good used tools in working condition or nearly so (a little cleaning/tuning/sharpening necessary perhaps) for a very reasonable amount of money. About all I need now are some card scrapers/burnisher and a spokeshave to finish out the bare essentials. Of course, I realize that this is only just the beginning. 🙂
My most recent purchases include:
a Record 044 plow plane minus the short fences and lacking some of the cutters but in otherwise excellent condition for $18, a like-new vintage Stanley 71 router with the depth stop, fence and cutters for $70 (a little more than I was hoping to spend, but this is a pristine example with not a spot of rust/corrosion and the nickel plating absolutely flawless) , a stanley no. 40 scrub plane sans blade (Hock tools has a replacement for $39) for $9 ($9!!!!), a newer but still perfectly satisfactory Stanley block plane, barely used, for $5, a Stanley 81 scraper plane in marvelous condition with the rosewood sole in excellent shape as well for $20 and a beast of a Columbian bench vise for $45 bucks.
Of course, I will need to do add some cutters for the 044, but it has the 3/8, which I need for the wall clock (I’m a Johnny-come-lately, having only just started my hand-tool oddessy recently).
The Stanley 81 I am fairly sure I snagged at such a low price because the ad listed it as a “Scapper” haha…it pays to dig a little deeper with searches on Ebay!
So if there are any other beginning hand-tool enthusiasts out there who are discouraged at the expense necessary for even the basics, fear not! With some time and patience, you can acquire a nice stable of tools fairly quickly from Ebay, Craigslist, and local garage/estate sales and flea markets. Good luck and good hunting!