Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Old Tools

I stayed with my aunt in California, who has a great love for Asian antiques. When she found that I was interested in old tools, she took me out to her favorite antique shops in the area. I only had room in my suitcase for around 20 more pounds, so I was very selective about what I bought. I was looking for things that were useful rather than decorative, so that cut out much that I saw.

I rejected most of the cast iron cookware on sight, since I've seen lots of cast iron available in Ohio. However, I ran across a little corn muffin pan that makes cornbread in the shape of ears of corn. I had never noticed anything like that around here, but there were a bunch in several of the shops. Most were overpriced and/or in very poor condition, but I found one pan that was $25 and had hardly any rust on it. I think I can easily recondition it for kitchen use. The thing is called a Krispy Korn Kobs Junior.

It's kind of strange that I've never noticed them around here, since it was made in Sydney, Ohio.

There were also lots of iron sheep shears available, most over $20. However, one of the shops had one for $4, and at that price I don't care if I break it trying to make it functional. This one doesn't look like it was ever sharpened, so perhaps it's a reproduction? Well, I will attempt to sharpen it and see what happens.

Finally, I also saw many draw knives. This is a necessary tool for stripping bark off of wood, and also for shaving down a piece of wood. Since I want to start turning some of the newly dead wood in our forest into useful items, I kept my eyes open for functional-looking draw knife at a good price. The one I ended up buying caught my eye because it looked like it had been well used and maintained. It also felt comfortable and right in my hands. Best of all, it was on sale for $16! Most other draw knives were $25 or more and in poorer condition. It needs some slight sharpening, but otherwise looks very serviceable.

Finally, my aunt also gave me a cast iron clothes iron from our family. She said it's very unusual for the stand to remain intact, which is why you'll see plenty of irons at the antique store but they almost never have their stands. I don't know if I'll ever iron clothes with this, but I really appreciate having it.

Oh, and my suitcase ended up weighing 49.5 pounds at the airport. That was close!


Tracy said...

Very nice collection you obtained there!
I know Steven uses our drawknife all the time -- it is very handy to have around. We also picked up a pair of hand shears at a flea market/antique store last year, but have not had opportunity to use them yet.

We actually have quite a few of the antique tools here at the farm just by having the same place be in the family for so long. If there is anything specific you would like to find, let us know and we will see if we can help.

That corn cob pan is really amazing! I've never seen anything like it! :)

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

I'm very excited about the draw knife! I intend to sharpen this one for wood work, but I could also leave it dull for leather tanning. I don't expect to do any tanning for a while, though, so I'll just have to get another one when I'm ready to try that.

I've got several good sources for old tools around here (the steam thresher's reunion is the best), but I'll keep that in mind. :)

Anonymous said...

If you're going to use the drawknife for woodwork, you'll need a shaving horse or bodger's bench. Both are well described in Scott Landis' "The Workbench Book." He also demonstrates cleaving and shaving brakes to help with that part of the work.

Eventually you'll want a froe, hewing axe and a spokeshave. A spoon bit drill would be good for chair making. Look at Roy Underhill's "Woodwright" series for other great ideas.

Peace and blessings to you and Paul,
S from AZ

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

Thanks for the resources, S. I'll have to check those books out. We used to live in Arizona; are you someone we know or did you just stumble upon us?

Anonymous said...

Sadeq knew me as Johannes De Silentio, so I have been reading your blog for a while.

As for woodworking, my dad did a lot of cabinetmaking and I have been reading his books on colonial crafting. The drawknife takes skill but the skill can be gotten by working greenwood down to splinters. Eventually, you learn when to stop and then you get good :).

pax vobiscum

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

Aha! You were high on our list of guesses, but we were thrown by the "from Arizona" part. Are you back in AZ, or still in Oregon, or...? How is M? It's great to see that you're still alive! ;) Do you still have Paul's email address?

Anonymous said...

I am still in OR. M is well. No, I don't have Paul's addy and mine has changed domains. I am at isp instead of theriver. You can use the 'finder' at my employer to get my work addy.

2008 scored high on the suckage scale and 2009 is getting even more fun. It's ice here today with snow for the weekend, and Oregonians have negative clue about snow.

I'm having fun setting up my woodshop and doing "what was this for" with the tools. That's why I read Landis book. I have a few of the woodwright's books as well.

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

I will look up your email, S. It will be good to catch up.