Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Bank Holiday weekends are not good things. Not only are there far too many days when I'd like to be at a car boot sale, but I also get out of the way of blogging. 'pologies. Anyway, the aforesaid car boots were, well, okayish but nothing spectacular. The Tall Scotsman failed to find the chisel to go with the handle - and hadn't brought the handle either, which was a shame 'cos I may have just the chisel to fit it myself. The weather was rather greyer than the forcasters had lead me to believe too, so turnout wasn't what it should be for the Easter weekend. I suppose we should just rejoice that it didn't snow... Friday I stayed home and, erm, what did I do? Haven't a clue. Nothing very interesting then.

Saturday was a rare visit to Truro Cattle Market and the sale there. Used to go there a lot, but they started to charge for entry and the atmosphere went right down. Not sure I went there at all last year. This time was no exception - everyone's busy trying to justify their entrance costs and all the good sellers aren't there any more because the pitch charge went up too. Hardly a tool to be seen from one end of the place to the other, but eventually a rummage in amongst rusty spanners produced two oddities. One, a bevel gauge of some sort. The other marked The GreenWatt Plane, with patent number; evidentally some sort of scraper. Naturally they didn't look quite like this when the cost was negotiated to 50p.

Found the patent for the GreenWatt, #216433 and it turns out to date from the 1920s and uses a razor blade as the means of scraping. Invented by two chaps from Tunbridge Wells called Alfred Greenwood and James Ernest Watson - hence "GreenWatt". Don't suppose it set the tool world alight, but it will come in handy cleaning up saw blades.

To my delight cleaning the bevel revealed it to be a Starrett and some research actually reveals it to be a #47 Improved Bevel. A bit of Googling and I find it retailing now for $75. Phew! Okay, so this one isn't it its first youth, but it works a treat. Cool.

Sunday saw a plethora of car boot sales, all rather sparsely populated. At the first one, for some unknown reason, I found myself asking "how much" on a grubby canvas tool roll of rusty auger bits. When I countered the £3 with £2 and he said yes, I was stuck with them. Most are of the Irwin/Solid Centre variety, which are exactly the sort I'm not short of. D'oh. Not even the Expansion Bit fills a void - I already have two of the blasted things, and complete what's more. Oh well, they've cleaned up okay at any rate.

The TS may not have found the chisel, but he did have a #03. A Record #03. A rosewood-handled, pre-war Record #03. Okay, yes, there's pitting, but the iron is original and plenty of length. My only prior exposure to the #3 size plane is a Stanley that I got in its box. The reason it was in its box is 'cos the frog bedding was ground all to pot and it's practically impossible to use. So I've not been a fan of #3s in consequence but here's an opportunity to rectify that unfortunate state of affairs. I told myself I didn't need any more planes, I certainly don't need another smoother, however small. I asked the fateful question. I know there are fortunate folks out there who probably pick up #3s in better condition than this as freebies or something, but the required tenner seemed reasonable to me. I succumbed.

The TS seemed mildly unhappy to see it go, which at least made me feel like I hadn't been done - even if I had. Look, it's still got its decal on the top of the rear handle, it's not a total dead loss. Possibly to convince myself of this I launched into cleaning it straight away. Been a long time since I did a whole plane and I've lost all my speed - took me all day. The result is an attempt at clean but not trying to be new (which it isn't). So I kept refinishing the wood down to a minimum f'rinstance. My only real Bad Thing was the brass polishing; I can't help myself. But time and tarnish will sort that out in short order.

Anyway, the whole haul for the long weekend. Pretty poor, but still a record breaker. First time for years I've got everything cleaned from a weekend's rust hunting within a week of the purchase...

Finally, in the post this morning, a pressie from my woodworking internet-less chum, C. We'd had some discussion about inshaves and travishers and he couldn't place them so I sent him a pic or two and a few spare PWW mags and a copy of The Axe Book (also spare) 'cos I thought he might find them interesting. Today I got this in unexpected return; a "heel shave" I believe. One of those tools that confirms the galoot saying "if you can't identify it, it's a leather-working tool".

It has no maker's marks, not even the usual suspect "Snell & Atherton", but a couple of sixes stamped on the top and sevens stamped on the blade and adjustable toe. Pretty dinky little thing; looking forward to seeing how well it works 'cos it has an adjustable mouth as well as depth of cut, so it could be good. Or finicky...


  1. Mike Wenzloff (MikeW)4/19/2006 05:51:00 pm

    Hey Alf, good haul!

    That shave sure does look like an S&A. Works as well I bet even if it isn't.

    Take care, Mike
    virtually shaveless these days--and feeling the need...

  2. Like the #3, cleaned up well!
    Sounds like a good weekend (especially if you can't remember what you did Friday! ;) )

  3. I know there are fortunate folks out there who probably pick up #3s in better condition than this as freebies or something, but the required tenner seemed reasonable to me.

    I've been looking for a Record #03 for years (in good nick and cheap, that is ;-)

    Ya did good.


  4. Howard Roberts4/21/2006 04:52:00 pm

    Hi Alf,

    The numbers on the Travisher may, (I said may), relate to the graduation of the curve.
    No 1 being straight, up to 6 being almost semicircular.

    Charles Stirling at Bristol Design sold DIY travisher blades like this some years ago and I suspect the old style travishers used the same nomenclature.

    Just an idea

    Good Luck




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