Road trip’en with a vandweller

One of the things I really enjoy about saws is the journey and people you meet along the way.
Enter Dean a tool reseller and collector from NH.  I struck up a conversation while attending a MJD show this spring in Nashua NH. Two minutes into the conversation Dean declares with a smile, “Daddy has a saw problem.” I laughed as we continued to talk shop, how the tool market goes up and down, why we both enjoy it and so on. Later after shaking hands over an 8” H. Peace dovetail saw (I just can’t seem to part with), a plan was hatched to see his stockpile of saws as well as his collection of unique tools he’s been collecting since the 70’s.
With the price of gas and lack of vacation days I formulated a plan parlaying vacation with a summer Friday. I started the trip camping in Clarksburg State Forest with friends camping and kayaking the Dryway section of the Deerfield River in Monroe, Mass. The Deerfield has regular releases throughout the summer and this weekend coincided with the river festival so it was nice running into friends from other parts of  New England and Canada.

Another plus this time of the year is the weather. It was highs in the 80’s dropping into the 50’s at night. A lifetime away from the 100+ temps called for in the tri-state area. Combine that with the cooler water on the river and it’s about as perfect as one could ask for in the summer.

Come Sunday it was time to switch gears and head north to the promise of saws. Having time to kill and a love for driving back roads beckoned and I followed.
Once you cross into VT Sugar Shacks are dotted along the road and it jogged my memory that I needed maple sugar (great alternative to cane sugar). The next shack had a sign for sugar on snow, a perfect snack for what passes for a heat wave in their part.

Sugar on snow is normally offered in the spring when syrup is made and snow is still on the ground. In talking with the shop owner, he rented a shaved ice machine this spring due to poor snow fall and expected school trips. It turned out to be such a hit he bought his own and started offering it year round. The snow cools the syrup producing a gooey taffy. A pickle is traditionally served on the side to cut the sweetness.

Next roadside stop was to picked up some veggies for dinner and couldn’t resist fresh strawberries that were just in season here. With shopping done it was time to start thinking about camping for the night. Normally when traveling by myself I pride myself on finding picturesque “questionable camping” but looking at the VT Gazetteer I found a local state campground and being Sunday it was empty. Plus the gods to reaffirm my decision left wood or maybe it was campers; either way a fire was in order along with dinner and a quick shower.


The next day I meet up with Dean who already had a table full of saws ready. YES!

I’ll save my evaluation process for another time but simply put, I check the plates first then handle and try and rate it 1-5 for resale. In this case I was looking at 100+ saws so I made piles: collector, user, parts. The important part is don’t get ahead of yourself and skip checking them over just because it’s a brand. As a self respecting Monger I can’t help to get excited when find a Richardson or Harvey Peace but the name alone doesn’t make a sale or cut wood.

The process continued for the better part of the day with Dean bringing more saws from his barn and me looking them over. When the pile outside was sorted I moved into the barn and went through more. Dean really has collected a wonderland for all tool lovers; moving things around and finding hidden treasure.

With the day winding down it was time to put pen to paper and get down to brass tacks. Dean pulled out the saws he felt were premium value, we discussed, and an offer was made. Cash is king, followed by a handshake. Business done we loaded up the van, I got

a quick rundown of future shows, and I headed home.
The trip back although long was uneventfully. I travel to the Berkshires a few times a year and the trip home is always a little somber.

The green mountains give way to green fields as I cross the Connecticut River and as the miles pile up so does the asphalt heading back to suburbia.

Once home in Gollum fashion I sorted and ogled over my new collection. The “My precious” of the bunch is a Harvey Peace P-47 “Perfection” Back Saw.  It’s made for a right handed sawyer, which I’m not, but till a left one comes along (I’m told they were made) this will do fine.

Joe Federici
Saw Ogler and Vandweller

5 thoughts on “Road trip’en with a vandweller

  1. Joe,

    Is that bottom pic on the right a Harvey Peace? I have a similar handle that Wenzloff made on a saw years ago and it may have been from a saw like that…although mine is a tad different, it has the plate inset in the handle bottom/rear.

    • Alan,

      I can see how the extra time would be hard for Mike to make a profit. The tenon saw I have of his also uses a folded back. I kind of like the look over he slotted but they can be a bit more troublesome as we all know.


      • Joe,

        Some people do prefer the folded back to the slotted back, your not alone. Mike wasn’t making slotted backs when he made that saw for me, it pre-dated them.

        Interesting to note that the folded back he put on this saw was different than most folded backs in that Mike hammered it flat, so it is not horseshoe shaped as most folded backs are, and there is no space between the back sides and saw plate. I don’t know if he did all of them like that, I don’t think so, as I have seen some of the Kenyon saws he did and they were more horseshoe shaped.

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