September 5, 2008

This morning, at about 9:30 I pointed my truck toward home and left Brimfield behind, not to be revisited until next May. This morning saw the opening of J&Jís field, and I walked, with some success, from 6 am, covering about 5 miles in that time. J&Jís is a fairly large field, and most folks are set up in tents, and have arranged their stuff from the night before. So everything is out and ready at the bell. The disadvantage to the buyer is that you can be sure that the dealers have combed the field, cherry picking from one another. So the best stuff has likely been culled out, or has changed hands and is now presented by the new owner at a higher price.

Like Mays yesterday, this is a field that I like to enter through a fairly obscure rear entrance where an abutting land owner offers parking at a cheaper price than at the front. Today the trip from home was especially swift and easy, and I arrived with about 30 minutes to spare. This put me quite near the front of the line.

When the gate opened I was a bit ahead of the crowd. This was good, for the first dealer set up with tools on my path had some good stuff, and I just nosed out another tool guy to get to them. It is pretty dark at 6 am these days, and you carry a flashlight to look things over carefully. I quickly bought 4 tools from this dealer, with the prize being an early type bedrock 608 jointer that is in fine condition. Along with this I picked up a No. 3 type 11 smoother, 60 Ĺ block plane, and another of the diverse Millers Falls push drills. I

donít think Iíve seen this particular model (No. 79) before. Wanting to move along quickly, the dealer agreed to pack the tools up, and hold them for me to claim later on. But I neednít have been in such a rush.

What followed was a long tool-free hiatus, punctuated only by junker tools not worth looking at. Eventually I went over to a dealerís tent from whom Iíve bought lots of tools in the past, and waited for him while he did some picking. The guy likes to buy, and wonít open up his tool boxes until he has covered the field. Friend Walt Quadrato also had the same thought. So we waited for about 30 minutes for the dealer, and chattedótwo elderly guys comparing their medications and vital signs!

When the dealer showed up, he was slow getting things out, and it soon appeared that he really didnít have much that was worthy. So, after a while I drifted away and went to see another dealer who had promised to bring me what he thought was an unusual saw. En route I stopped at another, fairly jolly dealer, who generally has some neat things. Today was no exception, and I bought an old and interesting large iron spoke shave, a small Stanley No. 1, a Darling, Brown & Sharp jewelerís gage, a really neat machinist made thread gage, and a Nobleís patent bit brace for my collection--Nothing great here, but still interesting. The Stanley No. 1, by the way, was a No. 1 bit extension, with the early patent. But it is in the uncommon short, 12" length.

The dealer with the promised saw was next. This guy usually has some very interesting, and often pricey, tools. The saw was, indeed, worthwhile. It actually is not a saw, even though it looks just like a medium quality 22" panel saw, with simple beech handle and three brass saw screws. But the blade does not have teeth. A very clean blade, the etch tells the story:

It is a tool for cutting carpeting. The Newcomb Loom company made weaving looms in the early 1900s, and this "saw" was sold by them. Iíve never seen another, and havenít met anyone yet, who has seen one. It was worth buying. This dealer also had a really nice example of Robertsonís Bill Poster Hammer. This is the two section variety (they came in 1, 2, 3, and 4 section types. But it is in near perfect condition, and the price was agreeable.

Feeling a little better about the morning, I went back to dealer No. 1 to pick up my planes bought first thing in the morning. I looked again at a bunch of wooden planes he had, that included several by David Andruss* of Newark, New Jersey. The group included a pair of No 2 H&R planes (hard to find), two side beads, a snipe bill, and a side rabbet. The offered price was a good deal, so those went in the backpackówhich now with the 608 was getting heavy!

So I stashed the tools in my truck, ate a piece of rhubarb pie sold by the good Methodist church ladies of Brimfield, and went across the street to look again at the dealers set up at Mays. Right away a bunch tools appeared, and when the dust had cleared Iíd picked up two Kimball draw knives, a G-P chain drill, Stanley tack hammer, and caulking iron.

And, best of all, a Yankee (North Bros) No. 1003 bench drill, circa 1940s. This one is complete and in fine working condition. It was a good way to end the day, and the week.

Overall I am happy with the Brimfield Fair this session. The numbers of tools were not high, but just about every day I found something a little special. Now Iíve got to find room for all of this stuff in my shop.