Friday, at the Brimfield Fair this year, was a little
different. The single field to open, "J & J's" had historically opened at
6:00am, and the die-hard buyers rather enjoyed lining up in the dawn hour to
away the opening. This year, for reasons not clearly explained, the
sisters who now run the field--daughters of the original owner and creator of
the Brimfield Fair, made a decision to open two hours later, at 8:00am.
The upshot for me was that I was able to sleep in, and have a solid breakfast
before leaving the house at 6 for the 1 1/2 hour drive. Even arriving a
half hour before the opening, my spot in line was a little farther back, at the
back entrance, than usual, and by 8am the line stretched a good 150 yards behind
me. As every other day this week, the crowd of buyers was larger than any
that I've seen before.
The line snaking back
And looking ahead to the front
At the opening, it didn't take long to find a good Stanley
rule, and then a real nice slater's hammer. The owner of the hammer had a
lot of nice tools, all labeled with hefty prices. I tested him on a
couple, and they were still too high for me. But he recognized me, and
made nice comments about my brace page. So, we agreed that I'd cover the
field and then come back to retalk about his prices. Walking pretty
quickly through the field I didn't find too much of interest until a spotted a
fairly nice bedrock 606C sitting by itself. The dealer wanted a very
reasonable price, so it went in the bag. After that I visited a nice
couple who usually have some interesting tools and other things. Today
none of the tools caught my eye, but they had some hand fashioned ivory baby
teething "chew toys" that were interesting. I'm pretty sure that they were
elephant ivory, but had they been whale ivory, I'd have bought them in a flash.
Ditto for an exquisite and delicate pair of ivory sewing sissors that they had.
At this point I moved back close to my starting point, and met
a young Pennsylvania dealer, Gerren, by pre-arrangement. He likes to pick
the field himself, before uncovering his tools. He didn't have anything
really outstanding on this trip, but I managed to gather a few small things--95
butt gage, Stanley excelsior tool handle, bright and clean Stanley 65 marking
gage, the larger Starrett mercury plumb bob, Upson Nut Co rule, G-P speed
indicator, Bridgeport tool handle, and yet another hefty Wilkinson folding draw
knife. This has been a May for folding draw knives!
From here on it was walk about, and pick a thing, for a while.
The take included a decent A. Cummings ogee molding plane, a Denison dado
plane, a bright and clean MF smaller breast drill, and a very bright and clean
6" parallel ivory rule. By this time it was approaching 10am, which was my
witching hour, as I had to be back in New Bedford for a museum meeting. So
I walked back to the high price dealer, and together we cut a deal for a
few tools--nice Stanley No. 3, another No.3, virtually new in its original box,
a No. 95 edge trimming block plane, and a crispy Greenfield Tool Co. wooden jack
plane. This put some heft in the back, and so it felt like it was a good
day. On the short walk back to the truck I came upon Gerren putting out a
very clean, new looking MF 732 brace, so that went in the bag as well. All
in all it was a good 2 hours, and I felt the time was well spent. Now to
rest up for the next Brimfield show that will be in early July.