As I posted in the last blog I bought a new car but I’d be seriously remiss if I didn’t take a second to share the passing of truly one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. I recently bought a new car, 2013 Jetta Sportwagen tdi, and with it traded my 1998 SAAB 900 SE.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a car guy and like most of us I’m loyal to my brands. So why the change of heart? Well I spare you the long rant but mostly it has to do with the GM takeover and quick dismantlement of EVERYTHING Saab owners appealed to. As happy as I am that GM and American car manufacturers are doing better, it doesn’t help those who loved everything Saab offered – a truly unique car that married luxury with utility performance safety. Let us not forget Saab may not have invented the seat belt but in 1958 was the first to make them standard. So now I’m getting comfy with the new ride but with a tinge of sadness.
Ok enough about cars (for now). Let’s talk saws. When you’re looking for like- minded individuals you need not look further than the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. I think it was Matt Cianci from the saw blog who turned me onto a member while looking for information on a saw maker. When I got a bit deeper into saw-dom, I found most tool guys were members regardless of their geographic location. So this being my second year in the fold I really wanted to make one of the bigger national meets. As I’ve already been hobnobbing with a few board members, I made plans for the June spring meet.
The drive out from Jersey is about 12 hours so I decided that leaving around sunrise was my best bet and it worked well. Vincent Van Go may not look it but travels quite nicely provided you’re not looking to break land speed records.
Once there I quickly found the reserved parking area for the boot sale on Thursday. Funny enough, when I pulled into the area, rolled down my window to ask the first fellow van dweller in the parking lot, it was none other than the infamous leader of the “I’ve got a saw problem” 12 step plan.
This man really needs no introduction if you’ve spent anytime reading about saw identification. He most likely has the largest collection of American backsaws in the United States…Phil Baker. I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time talking with him but it was just nice to say hello and thank him for all the great research he’s done. I did learn he’s an avid tennis player and plays almost everyday. Good for you, Phil.
So despite the long drive I was there only for a short time, and for those that know me, I’m not much on waiting around for paint to dry. After finding a flat spot it was into the lobby to meet up with friend and co-hoarder of saws, Mike Stemple, for dinner. As it turned out we were joined by a few friends. Mike knows just about everyone in the club so it’s always fun hanging out with him.
Dinner was followed by a little show and tell saw-style. Mike and David Latouche both have a wonderful collection of early American makers and really excel at researching history on the makers and also the interrelations between all the makes.
It’s truly a small world when you realize that most of the early makers were transplants from the same area in England. Then after coming to the trained a few future makes that because the seeds for most of the US makers. The scale of the US being so small at that time you’d think it be easy to research makers but do to a lack of good records it can be very slow going. So most of what’s available is advertisement and basic business and tax records.
The threat of bad weather, possible tornadoes or hail, thankfully turned out to be heavy rains overnight. By the morning things had cooled down with just a light drizzle. The rain slowed down the early morning sale but by noon the sun was out and most tables were set up. For me the boot sales are always my favorite, not just because I resell but also it’s a really great way to meet people and gain a little info. Who doesn’t love finding tools or things and learning about their use or the history that goes along with them?
This being a different region it was interesting to see such different makers as well as lots of farm type equipment. The standard makers like Stanley and Disston were there as well as some makers I don’t tend to find around these parts: E.C Atkins and even a few C.E. Jennings saws and early Philly makers.
Sadly the sales wrapped up early as many members were attending a local tour of the La Porte County Museum and Hesston Steam Museum offered through the club.
Friday was the indoor sale and trade displays. I didn’t get the opportunity to see them but I’m told this year’s were really impressive to say the least. I headed back in the morning and had another thankfully uneventful trip back to the northeast.
Although it was a short trip it was great seeing everyone and making a few new friends. I’m sorry I missed the “friends of Phil Baker” picture that Mike orchestrated and emailed me afterwards. Any saw problem clubs there are I really should be a member of.
As always, if anyone is looking for restoration or sharpening services, I do my best to keep turnaround to less than 2 weeks. I’ve also been trying to post a bit more through my direct site and on ebay as “buy it now”. I know many of us are not fans of the auction site or auctions and I do my best to balance things so everyone is happy. . .
Cheers and I hope everyone’s summer is going well