MJD Toolapalooza Day 1




Once again this year I was able to attend Martin Donnelly’s summer auction at his place in Avoca NY.  I have been to many Donnelly Auctions over the years, but these summer ones are always my favorites because the warehouse is being emptied.  The sheer quantity of tools is staggering (I think this year there were about 60,000 mostly woodworking tools in 3200 lots being sold in twenty hours of auctioneering!).  This is the MJD auction with the highest number of “user” tools while his other auctions have a higher proportion of “collectible” tools.

As with other recent pilgrimages to Donnelly’s, I joined a good fellowship of friends.  My old pal MikeM could not make it this year, but I was kept company by “Jersey” JonS, Josh Clark of Hyperkitten, TomD from the Chesapeake Chapter of SAPFM, MartinF from Toledo, and new-to-Donnelly JoshP, with whom I rode, and SharonQ.  It was a gas watching Sharon and JoshP being totally overwhelmed by the multiple circus tents of tools.


TomD is already at Lot 200. Only 3,000 lots to go!

JoshP and I arrived late afternoon on Wednesday to begin working or way through the lots, which we resumed the next morning in preparation for the 2PM start.


We also worked in some quality time in the adjacent field with tailgaters  offering many tools for sale in a flea market setting.  Here is Josh gazing at the first booth we came to on our trek.


I bought a beautiful little Brazilian Rosewood torpedo level to fit into my evolving Studleyesque traveling tool kit (a couple of mother-of-pearl inlays and it will fit in nicely), and a little brass hammer that will be perfect for adjusting plane irons.


I kept finding my gaze returning to a British infill miter plane one of the dealers had.  I made a mental note about that one.


One totally unnecessary temptation was this beautiful little Gerstner Tool traveling dentists’ box, complete with dental tools.  It would have fit alongside my other Gerstner tool cabinets perfectly, but I am trying to not purchase things I do not “need.”  (okay, quit snickering)

JoshP and I were both interested in getting an anvil, of which there were many offered, and sat to begin the bidding. I had a few other items I was going to bid on, and wound up getting a couple of them;


a pair of St. Johnsbury squares very similar to some in Studley’s tool cabinet (though not nearly as nice, yet — they were pretty rough and went really cheap),


and a near complete half-set of hollows-and-rounds. I bid hard on a very nice new Japanese plane but did not get it.  No biggie, there were two even nicer new Japanese planes coming up on Saturday.


One of the most fun things about being at an auction with Josh Clark is that aside from being delightful company, he is buying a lot of stuff for his Hyperkitten Tool website inventory, and he is extremely amenable to wheeling and dealing with you on lots that he buys.


That is how I ended the first day with a pair of planes that will be perfect for hollowing out the seats of the Gragg chairs I will be making this coming winter.  I had never before seen a compassed toothing plane, and the little hollowing plane is simply perfect for making chair seats.  But they were in lots that Josh bought, and I acquired them before they got lost in his Hyperkitten inentory.

I think each of us in our posse made multiple deals with Josh over the course of the weekend.

Thus endeth Day One of the MJD Toolapalooza