Monday, March 16, 2009

Patina Report














My friend, Scott, and I arrived for the tailgating at 6:30 a.m., a cruel hour, and hustled from seller to seller looking for bargains.

If you go in future, be sure to take a flashlight and wear long johns. It was very dark and colder than a [insert mom-in-law's colorful West Virginian metaphor that would garner this blog an NC-17 rating].

Nonetheless, my first experience at the Patina Spring Auction and Dealer Tool Sale was great fun: tools, tools, tools, and a surprise glimpse of the flash known as Saint Roy.

Roy seemed to be on a tear to buy tools and I spied him on more than one occasion flipping open his billfold. With ninja-like prowess I snapped a few pics, but unfortunately the camera was on the wrong setting, hence the fuzziness. (Or maybe it was just that Roy was moving too fast?)



One guy, who told me he owns 700 saws, overheard me asking Tom Law about his handsaws, of which I know very little, and took it upon himself to escort me around to all of the tool dealers who were selling saws, including a very expensive panther saw ($750).



I asked Tom to help me choose a crosscut saw and he said, "You know how to choose a saw? You pick it up and feel the 'hang'. If it feels right, it's the right saw for you."

So I found two that were not at all pretty but felt absolutely perfect in my hand. Scott asked why I chose such short ones—24" and 18.25"—that his own are quite a bit longer. They just seemed "right", I told him.

Yesterday I tried them out and in using the longer of the two at a saw bench, discovered that it came within an inch of hitting the floor on the downstroke. At my height, I would not have been able to use a longer saw. Turns out Tom's advice was spot on.














Other items that came home with me were a snipesbill plane ($28) and three books ($24).

Will I go next year? Absolutely. I'll be the one wearing the down snowsuit and mukluks.

18 comments:

Tim said...

Nice score! And the Watson book is very good stuff. Love the simple but true advice from Tom!

--RonG said...

Thought I saw you but wasn't sure. By the time I made up my mind, you had disappeared. Never saw you again. Now, of course, I am sure... I recognize the saws.

As for me, I picked up three random mortise chisels that also "felt right in my hand." I tried them out when I got home... Clearly, the advice works for a variety of tools.

naomi said...

Colder than what? You can't leave people in suspense about a naughty simile!

The Village Carpenter said...

Tim—someone had recommended the Watson book to me and I was thrilled to find it--with a quick skim, all three books seem to be great.

RonG—ah yes, my clever, bleary-eyed disguise fooled even me. Glad you were able to find some "just right" tools.

Naomi—I'll shoot you an email. ; )

Larry Marshall said...

Thanks for showing us how the rest of you get to buy used tools. As someone who has looked for a 10pt cross-cut Disston around here for 3 years, it's amazing to see so many saws in one place.

Shannon said...

I love that Watson book, one of my favorites. I read through the post looking for the pic of St Roy and was disappointed thinking you didn't post it since it was fuzzy. It wasn't until I scrolled back up that I realize you did post it. Funny how I didn't recognize Roy without the suspenders and floppy hat!

Gary Roberts said...

Wow! Roy has a head under that cap? Who knew? He even has hair. At least a lot more than I do.

Sounds like PATINA was a great time. And yup, how a tool feels is a large part of the deal. Did you ever wonder why there are so many of the larger Disston saws out there and in good shape? Maybe because they really weren't used all that much, maybe?

I'm 5'8" (was 5'9" but ages takes it's toll) and prefer a nice little 20 inch cross cut saw by Atkins. It feels right and cuts right.

Many of the older books recommend the overhand style for ripping... for which you would want a longer saw. If you tried to rip holding the saw as we are used to, that would be one long stroke you'ld have to make. While reading all these old books I sometimes think that somehow between 1920 and 1970 we lost a whole lot of history and learnin'

Gary

The Village Carpenter said...

Larry, you could contact Tom Law directly for your saw. That is exactly what I got: a 10pt crosscut Disston for $30.

Shannon, you're right! I didn't recognize him either. My friend had to point him out to me.

Gary, I know what you mean. I'd love to see more of those vintage ww videos so I can see the techniques they used. I think the saws I bought were longer at one time and had been cut shorter.

Gary Roberts said...

Kari

about the vintage ww videos... I found some from c1825. Once I get them transfered to Quicktime, I'll post them.

Gary

The Village Carpenter said...

Awesome, Gary!!!

Gary Roberts said...

ummm.... Kari... Hate to tell you this, but moving pictures were sort of not invented until well after 1825? Nor was VHS, not even Betamax...

Gary (ducking the thrown wood bin scraps)

Woodbloke said...

Kari - great event, fantastic selection of droolworthy tools to choose from. I too, being of mild disposition and sheltered upbringing, am curious...colder than a what?? - Rob

The Village Carpenter said...

Gary, yeah, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe you meant to say 1925...at least I was hoping!

Rob, you'll have to ask Naomi! ; )

Gary Roberts said...

As recompense for my dastardly misleading statement...

http://www.archive.org/details/Woodwork1940

Gary

The Village Carpenter said...

Thanks, Gary! I added it to my links page.

LizPf said...

Kari, it's nic to hear a different perspective on saw length.

I'm still in the learning and tool acquisition phase, and getting lots of knowledge from the 'net. But it seems like so many of the tool mavens are TALL men.

So 6'4" Chris Schwarz uses a 26" panel saw, and a 32" tall workbench ... Shannon's also a big guy ... I'm barely 5'2", with short legs yet -- how do I shorten things appropriately?

At least now I know how to choose saws. I need to see if they are well-hung. Sorry, I couldn't resist!

The Village Carpenter said...

LOL@Liz!

The other thing about the saws is the weight. I didn't like the heavy ones and you might not, either. The extra weight probably helps with cutting but I think my arm would get tired more quickly.

Dan said...

Kari - That crosscut saw looks very similar to my favorite. I'm on the short side, and all the saws that "feel right" to me are short ones. They also have smaller handles. Boy, if I see too many more of these kind of posts, I will seriously start thinking about moving back east...