Friday, December 02, 2016

Too Much Stuff

A week or so ago Andy over at Oregon Woodworker posted about culling his herd of bench planes. Ralph at the Accidental Woodworker wondered if Andy was coming down with something and I tried to sell him on buying another plane, the old one out one in thingy. Andy had a point, too much stuff just gets in the way of making things.

I'm lucky here in the desert there isn't much of a rust problem, if I had to do rust patrol my tool collection would be much smaller.

For sometime I've been trying to get rid of the truly unused tools with out a lot of progress although this week I did get rid of the last of the router bits and jigs. Problem is most of the stuff is very useable but not for the way I work. BTW, I will get to the point of this post.

Even tools for the way I work there are too many of 'em in the shop. There are planes out the kazoo, stuffed in every corner of the shop, in the plane till, the storage cabinet behind the joinery bench, and under every bench in the shop. I know some folks have it worse than I but..... and BTW, the chisels are another post.

The crazy part is eighty percent of the time I'm using one of four metal planes and/or one of the wood stock jack planes. The four are all type 13 or older Stanleys, I do have after market irons in them not because the thicker irons improve the plane but because it is hard to find good stock irons. The reason I reach for the old Stanleys is because the are light, it is the same reason I use the wood stock jacks. Light is good, with a light plane I can work most of the day. With a modern heavy plane I tire very quickly.

A photo of the four users, from left to right a #3, #4, #4 1/2, and a #5 sharpened as a jack:

The #3 and #4 are freshly sharpened and planed the White Oak like it was butter, the #4 1/2 and the #5 not so much. Gives me something to do tomorrow.

The plane till with mostly LN's:

We have truly been sold a bill of goods that heavy is better. That said, the new LN and LV planes are works of art and I like using them for quick jobs. I wish someone i.e. LN would make a modern Bailey pattern plane. Sigh, my guess it is not to be.

I guess the point of all this rambling is I admire folks like Andy that can keep their tool collection genes in check and even more someone that can sell off unneeded planes or chisels. To steal a line from David Bromberg when it comes to selling off tools I have one green eye and one red. It's "stop", "go", "stop", "go" with stop usually wining.



  1. Hi Ken,
    good points on that topic.
    I just fear the effort and all the discussions you will have to sell the not needed stuff.
    Finally I stopped the selling activities after endless mail discussions with potentially buyers.

  2. he he Ken welcome to my world... except.. I do have to battle rust on a continuous basis, being close to the ocean Atlantic...
    My solution? Just get more :-)
    OK I will admit there is a small flaw in my thinking but who is going to stop me now??

    Bob, getting ready for yet another trip, this time dashing thru the snow in Quebec city

  3. Hi Ken
    I can see getting rid of duplicates or multiples of one and I have done that. I gave away a #7 and a #5 Stanley handplane. I like Andy's thought of using the extra planes in specific tool kits. I still don't see any need for a 5 1/2 and 5.
    I have thought of giving up my LN 4 1/2 for a Stanley 4 1/2 but I have two O-1 irons for the LN so I may just keep it and put up with the extra weight.
    I think my herd is complete now but I wouldn't pass on a deal for a stanley 4 1/2 because like you, I like the lighter weight .

  4. Stefan,

    That is exactly the problem with trying to sell, It ain't worth the effort. While I would like to cull the herd I don't want to give tools away to someone that can afford to buy 'em and yet even if I can get the true value my time is worth more than the moneys received. Storage cost is minimum.


  5. Bob,

    Minus the rust, been there done that. No one needs, IIRC, five #4 1/2 planes. It is a sickness. But as I posted to Stefan it is too much trouble to sell them off and besides something might happen and I will need five #4 1/2 planes. Sometimes I think I'm not well.


  6. Ralph,

    The extra weight of LN planes is very apparent with the LN #4 1/2 vs. a Stanley #4 1/2. I've 3 or 4 #4 1/2's. The Bailey pattern ones are much more pleasant to use. On the other hand I use the #4 1/2 so seldom it is not a big deal.


  7. Ken,

    I definitely agree with you about the hassle of selling vintage tools. Sometimes I wish there was a way to just give them to a deserving person who can't afford to buy tools.

    A lot depends on whether you have the space to keep tools you don't use regularly. I don't.


  8. Andy,

    I'm with you on giving to someone that can't afford to buy...Not too keen on helping a bargain hunter. I kinda have the space but....


  9. Donate tools to the local high school woodworking/carpentry program. I have been teaching for almost seven years now and it is always a struggle to purchase quality tools and materials due to budget constraints. I would love to have someone offer some vintage planes, chisels, etc. or donate some materials. I expect most programs struggle with limited budgets. I know of one Instructor who splits 2 X 4's so his students have enough material to learn framing.