Today I went to the Brown International Tool Auction & Dealer Show, which comes twice a year to within 10 minutes of my house. To tool collectors and users, this is "kid in a candy store" land. Imagine a banquet hall filled with a sea of metal & wood handplanes, other tools and antique books, and well...I'm starting to get choked up....moving on...
At this event, there are well-known dealers and makers of tools. One plough plane maker, Jim Leamy, whose shop I've had the good fortune to tour, kindly spends a great deal of time talking with me at these shows. You wouldn't believe what this man can do with metal and wood. He makes every part of these planes himself, including the gears and threaded arms, and has a back order of 18 months. His planes are already collector's items. After talking with him, I never know if I should be inspired or depressed!
Jim introduced me to another planemaker, a maker of miniature planes, Paul Hamler, who is also extraodinarily talented. That little plane to the right is sitting on an actual coin. The slipper plane below is about 2 inches long and hand engraved. Seeing that I was so interested in planemaking, Paul ran out to his car to retrieve a wooden briefcase filled with his miniature tools. One little plane was, and I'm not kidding, less than 1/2" long and made of solid gold....AND it cut wood!
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I'm in awe of these guys.