The Fall (Sept) Brimfield Fair.  Tuesday, Sept 8, 2009

The fall segment of the Brimfield Antiques Fair got under way promptly at daybreak (or even before).  As usual I made the trip in about an hour and a half, arriving at 5:30am after a 3:30am wakeup call.  The traffic was slim and the weather wonderful, with clear skies and temps in the 60sF.  My usual route was followed, starting at the Quaker Acres field, and then working back to the east to Mahogany Ridge, and then west to the Central Park and nearby fields.  Tools were a little slow at first, and enough dealers known to me were about so that the competition looked stiff.

My first purchases were minimal--a sailor's sail making kit, and Yankee No. 10 ratchet screw driver, and a fairly uncommon Stanley 64 1/2 beech marking gage. The next buy was another Stanley marking gage (I was to find yet another), which was the uncommon No. 66 with oval head, plated stem and made of rosewood, and a craftsman-made level with a fairly thick stick of mahogany.   But then the pace picked up a bit with an interesting fishtail slick, with new handle.  This dealer pulled out a box of rules that he hadn't shown before, and I was able to cherry pick a Stanley No. 15 two-fold two-foot rule in fine condition.  He did not know values, so I gave him a fair price--more than he expected--and he'll save stuff for me in the future.  His neighboring dealer had some nice little things, and from him I bought a set of marked pinch dogs, box of Yankee drill bits, small Starrett machinist square, and a Disston bevel in the smallest size.


After offloading this stuff, I headed further to the west, and didn't see too much until finding an excellent (and rare)  James Murdock  cooper's marking hammer.  The price was high, but I parlayed it with a type 2 Stanley No. 11 belt plane in excellent condition.  These two items were a load in the bag (I always carry a large handled tyvek bag in my small back pack, but I stopped by a fancy Civil War dealer who always has overpriced stuff to look at some of his ivory rules.  Most of these were outlandishly expensive, but he did have a very worn ivory and German silver caliper rule.  The condition was not great, but the rule, with its caliper graduated in 40ths of an inch was clearly a button caliper rule--which are quite rare dudes.  Because of the condition, the rule was relatively inexpensive (he had no idea what it was), so it went in the bag--one of my better purchases.  Another small lot of "small stuff then fell my way--a "made in Canada" Stanley No. 64 shave, a curious little flat handled screw driver with a reversible handle, and a 12" Stanley No.25 bevel, with a good bit of its original decal  Then, entering the "Green Acres Field I looked at long brass level in a nice fitted box.  This was obviously English, and was made to attach to a longer wooden piece.  His price was on the high side, so I offered him half of it, and into the bag it went.  The final buy on this segment was from Roger Smith, who had set up in the Green Acres field in a space loaned to him by one of his neighbors, Gary.  An irony here is that in years past, I've bought from Gary a number of tools for relative peanuts, including a Fine Disston No. 43 combination saw and a pristine St. Johnsbury try square (priced at $18, if I remember correctly).  I don't think Gary was running his tools by his neighbor in those days.  From Roger I picked up a Yankee No. 44 push drill--not a common one.

Gages, etc

Then, with the bag heavy with the barrel marker, belt plane and other stuff, I trudged back to the east to the truck and offloaded.  Then, with the 11am opening of  the "Dealer's Choice" looming, I turned around and trudged the mile back to the field.  Approaching the ticket stand to buy my ticket about a half hour before the opening, a young man came up out of the blue, and gave me a dealer's wrist band, saying he was from "Richard's Antiques", and "come and see us inside."  I must have looked pitiable!  But the wrist band gave me entrance to the field before the crowd, and I had a half hour of unfettered picking!  I tried to make the most of it, but only scored a small bung borer, Fray Spofford brace, and a very inexpensive Stanley No. 93 brass-bound level in very decent shape.  Then the doors opened, and the crowd joined me.  But I did find a couple of wooden planes--a Tileston ogee and a Hills and Winship side bead, before the masses reached me.  One more turn around field brought me to well known nautical/whaling dealer that I'd never met.  So we struck up a conversation, and I ended up selling him a good sized whale tooth I'd brought with me, and a scrimshawed boot hook.  This pretty much paid for everything I'd purchased so far, so I was just about even on the day--not a bad feeling.  The same guy had a very pretty English brass chariot plane with a fancy mahogany wedge that he paired with a minty type 1 Stanley No. 77 mortise gage--and the price was right.  So they went into the bag with his check.


That was about enough for this field, so I carried these tools back to the truck at some lunch, and returned for the opening of Brimfield North at 1pm.  This field was a dry hot one, and I walked for quite a while before finding something interesting.  That was the point where I picked up a Stanley No. 8, type 11 in so so condition, but the price was right.  And then it got bundled with a Union X7, the vertical post plane, that was in much nicer condition.  This was heavy iron, so I stashed the two planes with the dealer and looked some more.  The only things that turned up were a nice Stearns No. 57 4-fold 6 inch ivory rule, and an original 1929 Millers Falls catalog.  The was the end of the first day of the Brimfield fair for me.  The long walk back to the truck was shortened by the company of a tooling friend.  In all, it was a good day, with a lot of tools, some of them nice, purchased.  Tomorrow is another day!