Antique tools to collect when shopping in Southampton, PA
Like any other collectible, it’s smart to buy what you like or what you will actually use when it comes to antique tools. Woodworkers choose tools for their quality, craftsmanship, and functionality. Collectors who never intend to use an antique tool are more interested in the history, aesthetics, and condition of a tool. They generally collect based on the type of tool, the time period, region or the patents on the design. There are many factors to consider if you have decided to start collecting antique tools and before you head to your local antique store, here are a few pointers on what to collect.
If you are collecting for the sake of collecting, here are some tool-collecting categories worth looking into.
Aside from being highly useful, many planes are also visually aesthetic and have an intriguing history. Styles and types range, and you can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars for an unmarked wooden one to thousands for one made by a celebrated 18th-century craftsman.
Collectibles include everything from squares and bevels to gauges and rulers. Much interest in this category has become popular as of late.
These common tools were sometimes works of art in themselves. Designs range from the straightforward to cast-iron styles with intricate filigree patterns and gold painted trim.
Beautifully weathered handles and a patina finish on blades put this category in a cut above others. Collectible types include crosscut, rip, back and coping blades. Disston was the most successful saw maker of all time and like Stanley, it has a collectors’ following of its own.
Many collectors will ask whether new or old tools are better. The 19th-century society focused on handwork and their best tools were state of the art. In the 20th century, things moved toward manufactured goods and mechanization and the emphasis on making great hand tools was gone. That old adage that “they don’t make them like they use to” is especially true for antique tools.
Determining the worth of a tool is generally based on its condition, rarity, current demand and its history. You can check a current antique tool price guide or online to see what dealers are asking for tools to get some idea as to fair market value. Start shopping at antique dealers and estate sales to see what you can find to add to your collection.
Once you’ve found some tools to collect, protect them. If it is dirty, clean it but do not refinish it. You will ruin the integrity of its original condition. Store them properly and if you don’t intend to use them, display them out of reach and out of the elements.
If you are shopping at your local antique store like Antique Allure in Southampton, know what you are looking for before you go in, however, don’t be intimidated and feel free to ask questions. You may be looking for something specific so ask if they have it. You may see something while you are there and aren’t sure about its history so ask.