Last year I got to spend a couple days in the tool collection of John Sindelar, an Edwardsburg, Mich., tool collector and professional woodworker. It’s one of the most unusual tool collections I’ve ever seen , the sheer number of world-class one-of-a-kind tools in the collection is staggering.
You know those drool-inducing books on fine tools by Sandor Nagyszalanczy? Well Sindelar owns a lot of those tools and tens of thousands more like them. I’ve written an article on his collection for the August 2007 issue of Popular Woodworking, but you don’t have to wait that long to see it for yourself.
Sindelar is opening his doors to the public for two-day complete and utter blowout June 9-10 at his shop in southwest Michigan , a very beautiful patch of the world near Lake Michigan. I’m going to be there showing off my latest workbench (and no, it’s not the English Workbench , but more on that later) and doing hand joinery demonstrations.
But I’m just an insignificant sideshow compared to what else is going on. Konrad Sauer, the infill maker, will be there showing off his planes and doing sharpening demos, as will legendary plow plane maker Jim Leamy (Sindelar probably has more Leamy planes than anyone on the planet). Dexter Adams from ChemCraft will be doing demonstrations on finishing. Plus there will be tailgating. Not “eat a bratwurst” tailgating. I’m talking about tool tailgating. Where you can buy hand tools for better-than-eBay prices from dealers who know what they are talking about.
All this hullabaloo is part of Sindelar’s effort to open up a tool museum for his collection, which could be located in Virginia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania. He’s raising money and interest for the museum right now.
This is a fantastic vacation idea (I’m hoping to bring my family). That area of Michigan has lots of nice beaches for the family to enjoy while you are knee-deep in brass and rosewood. And Chicago is just right around the corner for a day trip. And if you are really into old tools, then you’ll want to head up to the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association meeting June 14-16 in Milwaukee.
Below, you can download a flyer with more information and instructions on how to register (there’s a measly $10 fee for the whole event).