Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Benefits of Clean Living Part 1

So the excitement of cutting the legs was evidently too much for me and I had to have a bit of a lie down for a few days... Not really, just No Woodworking. So often it seems to happen in my projects; I take a big step forward and subsequently don't do a thing for days.

Today, however, was All Go. First of all the timber fella got back to me yesterday and yes, I could come over and take a looksee. When would be a good time? Tomorrow morning? Right, 10.30 or thereabouts then. Where are you? The answer to that one took a while and even then we managed to over-shoot the target.

But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. First a stop at Pool Market, or rather the car boot sale opposite. By the time that had been combed there was no time for the market proper. Nice day, you see, so sellers were out in force. Except there was only one with any tools worth considering. Luckily for me it was the Tall Scotsman who usually frequents Hayle RFC on Sundays - but they're knee-deep in building works so that one's off and here he was. Excellent. Plenty of droolable stuff but usually he's a bit on the costlier side of things so I tried very hard not to get carried away. However a socket chisel caught my eye. I hoicked it up out of the box of bits and pieces and squinted at it to see if there was a maker. Nope, not a sign in the usual place just below the socket on the back. Odd. I looked at the socket more carefully and wait, what's this? S -T -A- What the...? It's a Stanley? Squinted some more... Made in U - S - Whoohoo, a USA Stanley in the land of Sheffield steel! Now there's a rarity for you. I clung on to it and looked around a bit more - the more you buy, the cheaper they come as a rule of course... Propped at the very front of a box, virtually hidden, I see a promising-looking beech handle. I haul it out to reveal a 14" back saw, London pattern handle, 3 split nuts (tampered with a bit, but nothing too awful). I sight down the blade. Not bad. Name on the back is stamped... What's that? Constantine? New one on me; gonna have to ask about that one too.

Meanwhile I'd also spotted out of the corner of my eye a Sjorbergs holdfast in another box. I directed the Old Man in that direction with a query as to whether he wanted another one to go in his Sjorbergs bench? He had a look. He asked. £10. He bought. I was encouraged; I was expecting higher than that 'cos it was virtually new. I proffer chisel and saw. Ah, have you not got the handle? There's a handle for it? sez I. Yeah. He rumages. Here we are. He has a Marples beech handle, decal and all, (with leather striking washer doodahs - don't see those often round these parts) in his hand.

I point out that's not the right handle, wondering all the while where the Marples chisel it was the right handle for was...

Ach, no, it's this one. One rather bulbous and lumpy Ash user-made example with a copper striking ring is squashed into the Stanley socket. Oh well. I try for the "How much?" clincher again, but he's off through the boxes like a dervish muttering that the chisel for that Marples handle is around here somewhere. Oh really? I start to look too.

We didn't find it.

Now how much for what I have found? £2 each. Ach, it's a done deal. I hand
over a fiver and possibly under the influence of the Old Man's tenner he gives me £2 change. I express gratitude and we reminisce about how long I've been a customer of his and my regret that I didn't buy a Stanley ratchetting electrician's screwdriver from him about 5 years ago. We part en rapport. I'll keep looking for that chisel, sez he. I'll drop by on the way back and see if you've had any luck, sez I.

We complete the circuit and head back towards the car via the Bonny Banks of the Tall Scotsman. He's engaged in badinage but breaks off to say no, no chisel, but he has something else for me, wait there. Naturally I waited there.

Turns out his old man was knee-deep in tools too, died a while back, but only now is the TS feeling able to actually part with the surplus stuff. I sympathise. Anyway, here are three chisel handles of his you might find handy, on the house so to speak. I thank him and we talk further of Pa TS and his habit of making model aeroplanes with 3ft wing spans and giving them to members of his family which was a bit of a mixed blessing when you live in a small council house in Glasgow. I tell you, you couldn't write it... Turns out the only thing he's keeping and using of his pa's tools are some rather prosaic black-handled Stanley chisels and how ironic it was given all the nicer tools that have passed through his hands. I agree and wonder why that sounds familiar.

But time ticks on, wood to see, so we start to go. Are we coming next Sunday? If he finds that chisel he'll put it aside for me. Kewl. He'll have lots of stuff; he sent his girlfriend off to Winchester to sell a load and she got there too late and was turned away so he'll be selling on Easter Sunday. I told here, sez he, get out of bed earlier.

I realise what's sounding familiar. The Tall Scotsman is Cornwall's answer to Todd Hughes. Okay, so he doesn't have a skull on his van, apparently only one girlfriend and so forth, but it's awfully like a more restrained British version...

Anyway, the booty:
Tune in tomorrow to see them cleaned up and what happened at the Wood Man. Can a Blog be a "page turner"? Maybe a "link clicker"? An "RSS feed checker"? Oh never mind...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Owing to vast quantities of spam this blog is getting, I'm afraid only registered users can post. All comments are moderated before publication, so there may be some delay. My apologies.