Blog — Tools RSS





A "Best-Case Scenario" Backsaw Restoration

I found this nice Disston carcase saw in a secondhand shop a few years ago, and it’s been living untouched in my tool chest since. Yes, I paid $5 for it – there are still bargains to be had if you look hard enough! The tote was solid but covered in dark grime, and the plate and teeth were straight but needed cleaning and sharpening. One evening last week, I finally pulled it out and gave it some TLC. My first step was dealing with the dark coating on the tote. My best guess is that it is some kind of highly oxidized (and very hard) oil coating – linseed, perhaps? I tried multiple solvents – alcohol, xylene, and even wiped-on...

Continue reading



The Shelf Life of Technology

Most everyone I know has some equivalent of a “junk drawer” in their house – it’s the place to go if you need to find a book of matches, a ball-point pen, or a USB cable. And recently, the junk drawers in our lives have become a final resting place for a growing pile of useless goods: obsolete digital tech. Who here still has their old Nokia “brick” phone from the early 2000’s, that device renowned for its ability to get run over by a train or dropped from the roof of a high-rise and still take calls (with custom ringtone)? Maybe you had a cool flip phone from the Matrix era, a sweet BlackBerry, or were an early adopter of...

Continue reading



Interview with Tool Collector Skip Brack: Issue Two Table of Contents

Liberty Tool Company in Liberty, Maine has become a legendary stop for woodworkers vacationing in Maine.  This massive three floor grange hall full of antique hand tools is the labor of love of Skip Brack. Brack has been picking tools all around New England for decades and turning them around for sale to honest to goodness users. His prices are very affordable and his selection is reliable. You won’t often find rare mint collector items but if you are in need of a trusty jointer plane or a Stanley #4, you know Skip will have tons of options for you. If can’t find what you’re looking for at Liberty, then you can try his two other tool stores not far...

Continue reading



The Bench Bites Back

It seems that one of the hurdles folks have to installing a toothed planing stop in their workbench is fear of the teeth marring the plane iron. They worry that as the plane works the stock thinner and thinner all the sudden out of the blue, “BAM!”, your edge is toast. I’ve been using a toothed planing stop regularly for a few years now and never once had an incident like that. I’ve found that woodworking demands so much attention anyway that working the height of the stop into your consciousness is not a big deal. As long as you’re awake and paying attention, you will have no issues. This morning, I was barely awake and hardly able to pay...

Continue reading



Pocketknife

  - This is the first post from M&T staffer, Mike Updegraff - One year, when I was young, my grandpa walked me around the Pennsylvania Farm Show, an iconic and massive exhibition of all things agricultural, creatively crafted, and edible. We wandered away from the food areas, past livestock pens and potted vegetables and a giant butter sculpture, and into an area of local handicrafts. I was immediately transfixed by a man sitting on a stool, carving the most intricate and expressive little chickens out of natural forks using only a sharp pocketknife. The birds had proud tail feathers, bright red painted combs, and fanciful expressions on their tiny faces. I was in awe. My grandpa vowed to help...

Continue reading