The Fall (Sept) Brimfield Fair.  Friday, Sept 11, 2009

To recover from the exhaustion of trucking all of Wednesday's tools, and spending some time sorting through them (it was a real trove), I took Thursday off from Brimfield--without any regrets.  Actually, it was a day of adventure, with an interesting scrimshaw workshop and luncheon discussion at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and then the arrival home to find a stopped up sewer line leading to my septic tank at home.  After alerting my son to the crisis, calling a local honey dipper (great answering machine message:  "We're No. 1 in the No. 2 business-------remember, in our trade a flush beats a full house every time!", and traveling about to rent a plumber's snake, my son Jeff & I managed to isolate the blockage, which was quite severe and inaccessible to the snake.  But with some judicious opening of cleanouts, and some ingenious long stick work, we solved the problem.  One upbeat result, was the Borg did not charge for the rental of the unused snake.

But today was another trip to Brimfield to look through the sole Friday field, J&J's.  This has always been a good one for me.  Today the weather forecast was for "possible showers developing in the afternoon."  The field opens at 8:00am, and since the weather seemed destined to be ok, by wife went along to do some poking about on her own.  Well, the rain started as we were about half-way to Brimfield, and settled into an intermittant drizzle while standing in line to get in the back entrance to J&J's.    When 8am came, I followed a slight variant of my usual route, and pretty quickly came to a stand with a few tools, some of which were nice.  My only purchase was a really Fine James Swan 3"slick, with original handle, and no pitting.  Not cheap, but worth it.  At the other end of the field, another booth held promise, with shelves of nicely displayed bedrocks, scraper planes, dado planes, etc.  Most of these were a bit overpriced, and not that salable these depressed days, but I did buy a few things.  Included were a minty P.S.&W No. 1003 brace (I don't think I've seen a better one), three boxes of Irwin bits (two of them boxes of ten made in Germany (Schangenbohrer), and the other an Irwin No. 22 brand new in its box, and a later Stanley No. 65 boxwood marking gage.  The last item found here was the best of the entire week.  It is a 2 1/2" steel bevel with slotted handle and blade clearly marked by the St. Johnsbury Tool Co.  This is the smallest one I know of, and it is in great condition.


With the rain showers beginning to intensify, I made the trek back to the parking lot to empty my bag, and then came back to cover some more of the field.  There was modest success, but nothing like Tuesday.  From a dealer with his tools out in the rain, I rescued a Millers Falls low angle block, and an early excelsior body Stanley 9 1/2 block--both of which will clean up.  Then a Disston No. 5 1/2 metal try square, and a really neat script initial stamp for someone with the initials JJP .  Then, before heading back to the truck in the downpour I found a nice MF No. 5 drill, with lots of original bits.  It took a little while to find the wife (who had sought refuge in the concession stand), and get her back to the dry truck.  But she had scored some pyrex refrigerated dishes and a neat and ornate sterling silver bookmark from a noted Baltimore silver smith.

There was just time for one last pass through a couple of unseen aisles, before quitting to meet my sister for lunch in Sturbridge, and in that moment three more tools fell to the bag.  These included  a nice set of Stanley RJ bits in the three tier box, and very minty Millers Falls breast drill, with complete original finishes, and one of the best Topp's framing squares that I've seen, complete with all the original markings.


With the deluge continuing, it was time to head to Sturbridge, lunch, and home.  While this day was not as productive in the terms of quantity of tools, as were Tuesday and Wednesday.  The quality was pretty good, the St. Johnsbury bevel was a good find, and the time spent on the field was fairly short.  All in all, I count this to have been a good Brimfield, and now will look forward to the next one in May.