Finding Tools in Antique Stores

Finding tools in antique stores is a fun way to add to your tool collection. Not only are these tools fun to have and use, they are also examples of durable craftsmanship. Searching for them is part of the experience, but the reward is worth it. Here is how you do it.

Finding Tools in Antique Stores

finding tools in antique stores wooden molding plane 1Just this week I had the pleasure of taking a short family vacation to Prescott AZ. We stayed in Prescott Valley, and went into Prescott to spend the day, shop, and eat.

My two kids did really well through all the stores, and even in the restaurant, which is awesome.

My wife and I walked up and down Cortez Street taking in all the small shops and the antique stores. At first, I didn’t even think about looking for tools. However, once I saw some of the older tools that I remember seeing at my grandparent’s house, I was hooked…

Finding Old Tools in Antique Stores

finding tools in antique stores wooden molding plane 2We probably went into about eight different antique stores, and some of them were better than others. All of them had tools, so depending on what you are looking for, there may be something that you can use.

Most of the older tools were hand planes, old drills, and oil dispensers. The tools that I saw are only one small selection of what’s available in the world. After all, this is only one town, and a few stores.

There were tools that I remember seeing as a kid, and some that I have never seen before, all waiting for a new owner. Each store had tools spread out throughout the place, which made the process more enjoyable because you have to really look around.

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Antique Tools are High Quality

finding tools in antique stores wooden molding plane 3Most of the time, antique tools are high quality, you just need to make sure that you are buying the right thing. An old rusted tool may not be able to be saved, but an old hand plane with a good iron and some dust can be a quick restoration.

Restoring an old tool can also mean that you gain a lifelong tool for your collection. The mere fact that the tool has lasted several decades already before you found it in an antique store is a testament to its quality. This is one big reason to Restore a Carpenters Bench, which I did to my Grandfather’s old bench.

Just about any tool that can last decades will last a few more in the right hands. If you care for your new antique tools, you can be sure you will keep them for a long time. In an age of everything being disposable, tools like this are a rare treat.

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How to Find Antique Tools in Your Area

finding tools in antique stores wooden molding plane 4Do a Google search and look for antique stores in your area. Pop in and see if you can find some tools that still have life to them. If the price is right, you can take them home and give them a second chance in your shop.

The nature of most antique stores is that the stock changes daily. Especially in stores that have many different people all bringing pieces in on consignment, the stock can even change several times a day.

This is great if you are looking for tools.

Since new pieces are added all the time, you can start frequenting a store or two. Each visit will show you new tools, and give you more opportunities to find something you will use in your shop. It will also help you establish a baseline for pricing, so you know what you should be paying.

The pricing is something that can vary widely from place to place. While on my search I saw what appeared to be basically the same wooden hand plane for $10 in one store and $40 in another. It pays to look around, and even do a quick Ebay search for a pricing guide.

My Antique Molding Plane

The star of the show in this post is the antique molding plane that I found in Prescott. There were many of these hand planes in the stores, but this was the only one I found that had all its pieces. Since I planned on using the tool, all the pieces were important.

I only use a few hand planes, and molding planes come in lots of patterns. What makes this plane so nice is that the pattern is a simple cove. Really complex molding patterns are not something that you can use all the time, but a cove is.

Normally, I would get out the sandpaper to put a small round edge on my work. With this molding plane, the operation is going to be even quicker. Once it’s sharp, a few quick passes on the edges will round them over nicely. Not bad for a few trips inside a few antique stores.

Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks

a beginners guide to woodworking book to help new woodworkers make betterwoodworking projectsWhile I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well.

You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.

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