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In my shop there is a seldom opened drawer full of tapes, rules, dial indicators and calipers of all kinds. Some instruments are metric, some are imperial, some have readouts in thousandths, some are, through use, are missing marks and numbers. Their common weakness is that they all rely on numbers. Numbers that often require conversion. So, in the drawer are also conversion charts, Imperial to metric and decimal to fractions and, calculators for those in between numbers. In recent years I have grown increasingly weary and frustrated with these tools and their cumbersome and often inaccurate implementation. Some of which, I'm sure, results from operator error. I found a better way. Direct measurement. No need for numbered measurement tools. The direct measurement set up tools I've found most efficacious are: Adjustable and/or job specific, one time use, story sticks. Four 1-2-3 blocks. Keyway stock, 1/8" thru 1" in 1/16" increments. The 8" length ones fit nicely between the teeth of a 10" blade. Open end wrenches. Feeler gauges. A good, large set of drill bits. Both metric and Imperial. A good, large set of long hex wrenches. Both metric and Imperial (unlike drill bits, they don't roll) Using these tools, in combination or alone, has vastly improved the accuracy of my cutting tool setups, decreased the time involved, saved a bunch of calculator batteries and, eliminated many math induced headaches and feelings of inadequacy...in the shop, at least. I hope this has provided some food for thought. As always, comments, derisive, humorous and/or otherwise, are encouraged.
Last weekend my wife and I celebrated our 41st anniversary and we did so by picking our way to Nashville and then a little more picking on the way home. I did take her out for a very nice dinner at Stone River Steak house in Franklin, TN so it wasn't all about picking and she likes it as much as I do. I didn't take pictures of her treasures, but she got quite a few deals. She like dishes and pottery. I found a variety of things a several different places along the way. So I found that Keen Kutter metal sign and most likely it is repo but it was a cool sign and I wanted to put it up in the shop. Tool signs are hard to find so I try to get them when I can. I also got the Screw and Bolt signs which are double sided. I ran across this one place that had a great collection of really nice tools. They were locked in a glass cabinet. I ask the person to unlock it and told her I was going to be looking in there for a while. She ask if she needed to get the mop to clean up the drool. I first got this nice Keen Kutter Sliding T Bevel square. It is metal and nickel plated. Just below the screw it has a patent date of Oct 29, 07 stamped. I also got this Lufkin No. 014 Caliper ruler. What I thought was really cool about it is the fact that they also put the Stanley number next to their number. Shows you how popular and big Stanley was even them. I have this same small caliper rule in the Stanley 136. I then pulled out this really nice Stanley No. 53 1/2 ruler. When I started college I wanted to be an Architect so this ruler was kind of neat to find. The No 53 1/2 was made from 1879 to 1942. The rule was beveled on the inside edges so the numbers would be close to the page. This ruler has the brass arched ends and brass joints and ends. The patina is really nice and it is very readable. I also saw this nice No. 66 1/2 boxwood ruler that was made from 1870 to 1957. What makes it special it is one of only three 3' four fold rulers to survive WW II. This one happens to be from the Sweet Heart era 1922 to 1935 so this one would have been Pre WW II. This one also had the brass arched ends. This one wasn't cleaned by someone. I have the Stanley No 36 Cast Iron level in the 18" and 12" and it was nice to find this one in the 6" size and all of the vials intact and working. Then I found this Stanley folding ruler with Green Ends. I had just been looking through one of my original Stanley catalogs a week earlier and saw this information on the Green End rulers. So when I saw this Stanley Green end folding ruler at a very cheap price in the cabinet I had to get it out and add to the collection. And then I found my real prize of this pick. I saw this really nice Stanley No. 98 and picked it up and checked it out. No cracks and the finish is in good condition. I had to include it, I just couldn't leave it there. They made these in right and left handed models. The No. 99 is the left side model. I am looking for one of those to add to the group and to make this complete by having a right and left model. This little plane was made from 1896 to 1942. This one appears to be a Type 1a which was made from 1905 to 1907. One of the things about this little plane is the knob is the same size and a perfect replacement if you need a knob for a Stanley No. 1 bench plane. The knob can be worth as much or more than the plane itself. So I have added a few more items to the latest display cabinet in the house. This is the ruler shelf. All of the catalogs are original catalogs and the oldest one is a Stanley 1914 catalog. So that was my anniversary weekend picking and we had the best time out with each other looking for those special treasures. Till next time.... Patriot Picking
This is the middle shelf in one of my cabinets. Most of the items here are small finger planes, but there are levels and bevel gauges and other things that need a place to rest. couldnt get get a good picture. I don't think I'm a horder yet!