If you've never been to a Brown Tool Auction and Dealer Show, you are missing out on a chance to be in the presence of a boat load of handtools—rare, beautiful, user-friendly, collectible, utilitarian—and scads of other handtool lovers chatting about their favorite subject.
Today, I found what I've been scouting for a few years: user moulding planes with delicate profiles at decent prices. I bought three and they are in near perfect condition.
As I was paying for one, a 70-something year old man walked over and joked that he'd never seen a lady buy a plane before. I told him it was a Christmas present. To which he replied, "Oh, you're buying it for someone else. Well, you had me there for a second."
"It's a Christmas present for me", I grinned.
Later, I saw him again when he was standing with his wife and he pulled me over. "This lady bought a handplane!" To which his wife replied crossly, with hands on hips, "I bought a handplane before! And that's a sexist comment. You could get in trouble for that!"
I thought my day was complete.
Then I ran into Jim Leamy and his lovely wife, Becky, who are always so gracious to talk with me at these shows. Jim told me I could stop by his shop for an interview sometime, so be prepared for some amazing eye candy in a future post.
As I was saying goodbye, Jim reached beneath his display table and removed something that he placed in my hand. It was two of his miniature beech rabbet (rebate) planes. One is 3/8" and the other is 3/16". Both are exquisitely crafted and stamped with Jim's maker's mark and he wanted me to have them.
And that's what made my day complete. I never thought I'd be able to say that I'm a proud owner of a Jim Leamy plane, let alone two. Thanks, Jim!