An Unprofitable Morning - Popular Woodworking Magazine
 In Chisels, Chris Schwarz Blog, Letters, Personal Favorites, Sawing Techniques, Saws, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

After last weekend’s orgy of tools, woodworking and back-breaking workbench moving at Woodworking in America, I decided to take a break today and buy some tools and old woodworking books , and move a huge metallic garden bench. This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and headed down to Louisville, Ky., with Megan Fitzpatrick and friend Phil Hirz to attend the annual meeting of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. This is the morning of the tailgate selling in the conference center’s parking lot. The good news was that Patrick Leach didn’t have a table in the parking lot. The bad news was that about 30 other nearly-as-dangerous people did. Those of you who know me are aware that I’ve been selling off a lot of the extra tools I have, so as we pulled into the parking lot, I was determined to stick to the plan: Talk to all the friends and people I missed at Woodworking in America and pick up a couple tools on behalf of some friends. The plan did not go well. First there was the portable Lodi Manufacturing saw vise that Carl Bilderback had. I’ve never seen one like it, and you can sharpen a 29″ saw in the vise without having to shift it. It is so simple, compact and awesome it’s a wonder that no one has copied it. We need a saw vise at the magazine in the shop, so I decided to get it. Then I found a few Christmas presents that were dirt cheap (only $15 total). And I picked up a bunch of books on tools and bench work , nothing wrong with that, right? Then my resolve failed me. I saw a jeweler’s fretsaw that I just had to own — I’ll just sell my old one that is tuned up to a crazy high level. I resisted the 24″ Starrett combination square (despite Phil and Megan’s urgings). Then I saw something that I just had to have — an oilstone in a beautiful box that is sculpted with an ogee base and a cove around its lid. As I handed the $25 over to the nice woman, all that was going through my head was, “You idiot, you gave up oilstones about 12 years ago.” Phil bought a few Fray braces. Megan bought a couple chisels , a Buck and a Greenlee. But I outspent them both. The highlight of the morning was when Patrick Leach showed off his new garden bench made from wrenches. We pulled it out of the back of his truck. The bench was made for him by fellow collector Emery Goad of Wichita, Kan. The thing is gorgeous, comfortable and heavy. I want one. And then I ran into Ed Hobbs. Those of you who know who Ed is also know that I am now in huge trouble. No money changed hands , yet. Please excuse me now. I need to go sell some more plasma and see if Adam Cherubini will buy some of my hair to make finishing brushes. – Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 7 comments
  • Tom Dugan

    If you know Patrick, you’ll know why it could be (nearly) nothing but Guinness.

    Chris, I gotta tell you that I put my waterstones aside and ordered a set of India stones last week. I have a set of crank neck Bucks that are seriously out of flat and I needed something coarse that would do the job. I was getting dubbing using coarse sandpaper. Correcting that and getting to flatness has been a job, but it’s coming along. They’ll be followed by soft and hard Arkansas and a Belgian Coticule I picked out of a bucket for $5 at PATINA a couple of years ago.

    Besides, when I re-enact an 1812-era joiner I use Arkansas stones. My usual sequence in the shop has included waterstones and ends with microabrasive paper, so I don’t have the best of all worlds, I think I have all worlds, period.

    A lot of words to say don’t feel bad about picking up oilstones that you like. You WILL be using them at some point in the future.

  • rdambra1

    I’ve been studying various saw vise plans in anticipation of building one, but most are too short, ie.
    less than 26 inches. Can you share some details of the Lodi vise?

  • Stephen Shepherd

    That bench would probably cause a wrench collector to retch.


  • Bill Rusnak

    Wow, 2 people beat me to the Guinness comment. Too funny.

    Chris, can we get some pics of this awesome saw vise?


  • Adam

    I noticed the Guinness right away too. Funny how your eyes and brain pick up on deliciousness.

  • Brian

    That is a Guinness beer in that wrench bench isn’t it? I can tell how it lures me in away from everything that i love about woodworking. Ahhhhhhh, beer 🙂

    Seattle, WA

  • Joel Jackson

    Chris – I can tell that Patrick was not set up…the two transitionals in the first pic would be ablaze.

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