So you want a brand new tool and consider old tools as a cheap second hand option!
I want you to consider a couple of things first before I go on about the reasons you should consider looking at old tools over the modern types, I say types rather than equivalents there are significant differences.
This Charnley Forest stone for example is no longer mined, it’s completely exhausted and only a few remain in existence today.
Stanley and Record produced better tools many years ago than they do today!
- If you want yesterday’s quality in a modern tool you need to look at the the best money can buy today.
- Craftsmen of old were highly skilled and quality started with their hand tools.
- Toolmakers of old were craftsmen in their own right and skills were often passed from father to son and as such they produced tools far superior than made today, where accountants make the decisions.
- The mass produced disposable age of tools was the start of decline in standards.
- Used tools offer users better value for money.
Forged High Carbon Steel is often found old tools and the bigger toolmakers over the years have generally looked for ways to reduce the costs to make items more affordable to the masses. The general user would not notice the difference however to the experienced craftsman would know the difference of using quality tools. High carbon steel was at best when it was forged, hammered in a hot state thus why blacksmiths were revered prior to the mass production age. My experience tells me that “high carbon steel” takes a sharper edge than the A2 kind of steel offered by most modern woodworking tool manufacturers mainly because these are now cold rolled. The reason it makes a difference is the sharpness created by hardness of genuine forged high carbon steel in the older tools.
If you haven’t tried a genuine forged high carbon steel tool you should definitely try it.
Old steel is wonderful stuff, hard as good tool steel can be, however getting an old blade flat is a tough job, however once you get it flat then you’ve got a real tool for life, it does take real effort but that only illustrates the quality. The tools nowadays are generally toughened at the tips whereas the older types were hardened all over, another sign of the modern throw away age.
A2 steel is popular with many modern woodworking tool manufacturers however that edge is just a bit too dull. Many students buy these chisels however people new to this woodworking game should be taught with a high carbon blade as the burr comes away really sweetly.
Toolmakers were craftsmen in their own right and their knowledge and skill was essential to producing excellence, hand finishing each and every aspect, why is this important? I’d say ask Rolls Royce as they know the reason the human eye and craftsmanship betters machine production.
Modern woodworking tool manufacturers continue to make products more inferior than those of their forefathers. With the exception of the top quality manufacturers such as Lie Neilson many of the existing well known tool manufacturers do not make their goods to the same quality they once did. It seems they live on the past achievements which means its likely if you buy an old version you have a tool superior to its modern counterpart at a much reduced price. This is where Tooltique becomes different to other general second hand dealers as planes for example are reconditioned and re-tuned to ensure complete flatness for a plane for example.
This brings me back to what I believe is also true, tradesmen of old had exceptionally good skills probably due to the type of work they undertook but having far less help from modern machinery and all that comes with it. I wouldn’t have any hesitation in saying that they wouldn’t accept the quality of modern hand tools mainly because they relied on them so much more.
Now ask yourself why should you accept anything less? and why would you buy an expensive modern tool when there is so much better value out there?
Let’s hope whether you are experienced or starting out you get a better idea why we do this and why we believe quality used tools should be recommissioned and used.
Besides this there is there is a environmental benefit to all this, as the production of new tools certainly has a negative impact on the world’s resources so this alone for those who are genuinely passionate about their carbon footprint using reconditioned old tools is worth considering.