Thursday 23 May 2013

Antique Tools at Bob's Tool Box in Cornwall.

I've been in Cornwall this week and no trip to this lovely county would be complete without a trip to Bob's Tool Box in Liskeard. It's situated in a couple of shops / sheds by the cattle market and he's always there on a Thursday, a good day to call!

Here's Bob helping out a customer, he's been working with wood tools all his life and knows his stuff. I heard plenty of the local Cornish accent on my visit but not from Bob, he's Scottish. Once we have a nice spring day the shorts come out and stay out no matter how cold it gets and today's bracing wind must have been a bit of a challenge on his knee caps, but then coming from Scotland (kilts and all) he used to it.  There are 3 or 4 rooms packed with stuff, if you only look round once you'll miss so much.

I unearthed this super large Moxon vice (or so I thought). Bob explained it was actually a massive book press and the two grooves in the left hand jaw of the picture were used to guide a special wooden plane to create the nice even curve to the pages of a closed old book, fascinating.
Book press or not it would still make a great Moxon vice!

Now I knew what this was, an old coopers plane, a monster to lift. At nearly 6' long you'd have to be superman to enjoy using this, except of course the plane is stationary with one end propped up on a tripod and the barrel staves are run across the plane.

The blade is 4" wide and most were blacksmith made with no name stamp. This one was by Isaac Greaves and was made from Electro Orasic Steel, more investigation into that needed, although Bob said he had come across this steel before.

Here are some shots from inside the shops.

These are my purchases, a fine Matheison 1" shoulder plane, a smoother stamped J. Bruford Plymouth, a tool dealer but obviously made by Slater and a very pretty unnamed chariot plane.

I also picked up a few plane irons the most interesting of which were these two. The round topped iron is well stamped Samuel Newbold, I'm sure this is early but will need to look it up when I get home. The other is a very early Ward iron with matching chipbreaker.

The nicest tool I bought was this surgeons saw. Bob tempted me as I was walking out, now I know nothing about these but can recognise a quality tool when I see one. It has an old Indian rosewood pistol grip handle and the hole is angle to suit right handed use, it's the most comfortable saw I've ever held. The blade is original and there is no overall damage but I suspect the two screws holding the blade are replacements.
The teeth are all in good order but a long way from sharp, I would't have liked to have been the last person this saw was used on!

Here's a shot of the tensioning screw, they don't make them like that any more!

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