Enticed by the thought of possibly owning a panther head saw, I decided to take a chance, eat a workday, and make the trip to the family owned and operated Horst auction facility in the heart of Amish country. As it turned out so did one of the bigger resellers of vintage tools. Oh well. A good friend and fellow veeduber and now blogger Malissa Weikel made the trip which made for some fun conversation and catching up, with the vans mostly off the road to save them from all the salt used on roads in the northeast.
Unlike most of the auctions I attend, this one was primarily early American arts and crafts, furniture and décor, something not in my wheelhouse. But as it turned out, being from the area Malissa had a good working knowledge that we tested while previewing. Also not knowing the place I got there a little early to register and check things out. The selection of tools wasn’t much but what was there was nice and after previewing we grabbed some homemade soup and pie.
At some point the topic changed to record keeping as Malissa handles the books for a family run furniture/design company The Cutting Edge, as well as her brother’s insurance company. Sitting behind us, Doug Robinson owner of As Good As Old overheard us (those that know me know I’m anything but soft spoken!) and offered solutions he’s found. Doug, Malissa, and I then talked for a bit about that, tools in general, and of course saws!
With the time fast approaching my hopes of owning a panther head saw were dashed as Jim Bode walked in. For those of us who know Jim, he’s a really nice guy but business is just that and he deals in large volume; within 3 bids the price was above my limit. There were a few other saws on the docket so I figured I’d see how things went; however Jim was on a roll and it was one of those days I left empty handed. Regardless, I made a few friends and learned a few things including what Chow Chow is.
From the Amish countryside of PA, my next stop was the outskirts of Richmond, VA to a friend and fellow saw lover Mark Stansbury. Now for those of you who live in this part of the country, you know running the gauntlet between the inner harbor of Baltimore to Washington, DC is a textbook example of road rage. In hindsight I hit 4 fender benders on 95 in a 10-mile stretch. My leaving around 4pm on Friday didn’t help much but I’ll spare you the blow by blow.
Once there, I stopped for gas, doubled check my directions, and was surprised by the cheap price of $3.13; nice!
I don’t remember when I first emailed with Mark but I’m sure it had to do with Foley equipment. I consider myself to have a better than average working knowledge of the retoothers they made but when it comes to the rest of the line up and the filers in particular, Mark’s your man. In addition he updates a blog Foley Filer. Any of us who own Foley equipment know that they breed like rabbits, and one of the reasons I was heading to his house. I’ve had a Model 61 filer, a late model power setting, and 30/31 retoother sitting in my back shed for the better part of a year while I found homes for them.
Once settled in Mark gave me a quick tour of the shop. His shop space like mine is quite small and Mark built the above ground non-poured foundation to simplify the permit process. Considering its size it’s really quite an impressive loft space with running water! Currently the loft is used for storage of his collection of mostly US made saws. By this time it was getting late so we tabled the saw talk till the AM along with unloading the filer.
The show was a bit later than normal with no tailgating and was billed as “The Richmond Antiques Spectacular.” The tool sale was in conjunction with the local tool club Richmond Antique Tool Society or RATS for short.
So not needing to rush we unloaded the Foley. If you’ve not had the pleasure of carrying a Foley filer, I’ll just say that keeping it to a minimum distance is a real priority. Mark’s garage wasn’t far from the driveway and after manhandling it into place I caught my breath. Looking around I’d say his garage houses the largest collection of Foley equipment I’ve yet to see. I was a little awestruck to say the least. With labor done we finished up the tour from the night before; I wanted to see a few things in the daylight. All I can say is everywhere we went Mark’s got saws. Plus they are really well organized (note to self) and tucked away; needless to say it’s a good size collection and I couldn’t talk him out of a single saw! Hell, I even got some out of Mike Stemple and I thought that was the litmus test for saw negotiation.
I did end up getting a replacement die and hammer for my retoother and although they aren’t a high wear item they do get worn down over time; not having access to a surface mill it’s nice to have a backup.
By this time it was getting close to go time and I followed Mark. We grabbed a quick bite and continued onto the antique and tool sale just a few minutes before the doors opened. I was heading back afterwards so I walked the room with purpose looking for saws of interest. Mike introduced me to a couple of the RATS members, Rick Long president and Joe Fisher. I found 2 nice D-8 rips and Mark got 2 nice examples of “new” 16.
The last item to cross off the list was the hand over of my 30/31 filer to Dana Horton. Dana had picked up a Model 30 retoother that’s pre-electric motor and had emailed to ask a few questions about its use. I offered my 30/31 as the parts don’t swap out with the later models and for occasional use the 30/31 has some advantages; although hand operating the flywheel isn’t one of them, it’s nice to have your hands free to steady the carrier. While it’s running, vibration can really be the Achilles heel of the retoother. The carrier uses wing nuts and vibration tends to loosen them. If that happens mid-toothing, well let’s just say hopefully it’s NOT a customer’s saw. Dana however has the right attitude and understands the tradeoffs and won’t be running a priceless, one of a kind saw through it. Having limited time we unloaded the toother, Mark and I ogled the Emmert’s vise he’d brought to sell and decided we’d all need to continue this another time. Hopefully I can work something out to visit Dana in the spring.
The return trip can be summed up in one word, traffic; but once past the inner harbor it was smooth sailing and I unloaded my few saws and met up with a friend for dinner.
Sunday I should have spent in the shop catching up on some handle repairs but scored free tickets to the auto show in Philadelphia. The Convention Center is located across from the Reading Terminal Market and for those of you with visits to the Keystone state, aka the “city of brotherly love”, aka “you’ve got a friend”, should for sure grab lunch there. It’s as Philly as the Disston Keystone Saw Works. It first opened its doors in 1872 and still houses over a hundred merchants ranging from live poultry to fine dining and just about everything in between. I’m a sucker for the pulled pork with broccoli rabe and a long hot from DiNic’s, hands down one of the best in the world, but I digress.
Finished with lunch we made the trip to the Convention Center. I’m feeling the age of the Saab with over 190K on it but as of yet I really haven’t found a suitable utilitarian replacement. I’m sure like a lot of woodworkers I don’t own a truck; most of my cars have been hatchbacks that have the ability to have seats that lay flat and pull double duty hauling stuff. I also don’t tend to like larger gas guzzling cars. My 1998 4 cylinder still gets around 30 mpg on the highway.
For a few years, about the only car of interest to me was the VW SportWagen that’s now sold with both TDI and petrol engine. This year I was also interested in the Ford redesigned Escape. My friends are used to this but my test for most cars is to bypass the front seats, pop the truck, lay down the seats, then jump inside and lay on my back – your basic mattress test for car. Though the Escape passed well, the only real detraction was I don’t tend to buy new and it’s not available in a stick! Crazy, no? The flat back is one regret I have with the new generation 900 over the early years. They added a hump making it hard to sleep in. Mind you I’ve done it, but these days I normally take the van. Most people recommend the Subaru wagon as a great choice but after 2010 they gained a lot of weight, lost much of its utilitarian ways in favor of being a people hauler and just get bad gas mileage in my opinion. The last stop was to see the selection of early European rally cars from the Simeone Museum, also worth the trip if you’re in the area.
So that about wraps things up for the week. The next adventure was to the M-WTCA cabin fever show held in York, PA.
Saw Monger and pork sandwich aficionado!