MJD Toolapalooza Day 3

Truth be told the only reason for me to stay for the third day was to bid on a pair of magnificent new-in-the-box Japanese planes from the estate of Jay Gaynor, friend and tool maven from Colonial Williamsburg (I thought I took a picture of these, but my camera says “no”).  One of the planes in particular was simply magnificent, easily a plane well beyond my budget — perhaps as much as $4-5k new — but I hoped that perhaps in this crowd of vintage toolaholics this might slip between the cracks, bid-wise, and I could pick it up for a pittance which sometimes happens for tools that have little interest to the crowd.  So I  settled in to watch the entertainment that is a superb auction of things I like.


In the mean time we waited with anticipation and encouragement for Sharon to bid on a vintage printing press she had developed a crush on.  When the time came we all cheered as she got it!  The smile on her face was so big it enveloped her whole body.  Truly, her delight was infectious.


In the aftermath of that she saw a small lot with something she wanted to get for her husband who was unable to come with her.  Part of that lot was a very fine file-maker’s hammer, which we discussed when previewing the box.  I have no real need for a file-maker’s hammer, but when she won that lot too we made a deal for it to go home with me.  Perhaps I can figure out a good use for it, but for the immediate future it will just be something to show off.

Then came my Japanese plane lot.  The bid started low, indicated little interest in the absentee-bid sector, which I took to be a very good sign.  Unfortunately there was in the tent a fellow who came down from Canada for the simple and singular cause of going home with those planes, and he did.  I ran into him as we were checking out, and he is committed to putting the plane to use in his studio, which I admire.  I was going to do the same thing.  Since I didn’t get this one I now have the inspiration to get all of my Japanese planes tuned to perfection.


Disappointed but not distraught I immediately sought out the flea market vendor who had the infill miter plane I had looked at frequently through the weekend, and we made the deal for it to come home with me.  It was little-used, and with some sprucing up it will become a centerpiece of my working plane set.  I will use it as a dedicated plane for my shooting boards, and may make some new ones in celebration.


Though unmarked, the vendor thought it might be from the renowned British maker Robert Towell, an attribution I find persuasive.  My friend Raney Nelson used a Towell plane as the model for his full-sized infill planes, so when I see Raney next month I will ask him to look at it.   You can see the old Towell next to one of Raney’s petite miter planes on my bench.


Thus endeth our time at Toolapalooza 2015.  We bid farewell’s all around, and headed for home with thought of next year.  Perhaps it is time to cull the inventory of surplus tools and set up our own table out in the flea market.