Tag sale

Went to a tag sale yesterday that had tons of tools. Didn’t buy any, but it was an interesting peek into someone else’s woodworking.

A large 19th-century home went up for sale here recently, and the owners – who plan to move to Hawaii – are selling everything in the house. No, I mean everything. They literally went through their home and put price tags on nearly every object in it, from the tiniest knick-knack to the largest piece of furniture.

The old house, which had been converted to offices, was a mess when they moved in 10 years ago. They decided to restore it, and over the decade they lived there poured about $500,000 into its restoration, doing much of the work themselves. In a word, the home was beautiful; more like going on a museum tour than a tag sale.

While I admired a lot of the furniture (and, of course, their fantastic restoration work), the real fun for me was in the basement where his shop was. As with the rest of the house, every item there had a price tag on it. I was interesting to see his stuff. Like my shop, his tools and equipment were a blend of good stuff that surely got used a lot, plus some cheap stuff that you don’t care if you break.

For example, he had a really nice DeWalt planer and Makita portable table saw, but there were also lot of dollar-store clamps so cheap and in such bad shape that even a clamp hound like yours truly wouldn’t buy one. The real insight to how he worked was the routers. I counted six of them, plus two trim routers for a total of eight. And since the sale had been going on for a while, it’s possible there had been more than that before I got there.

Considering the thousands of feet of molding in the big house it was clear he did a good portion of that himself. Those routers, plus a nice portable router table, that Makita jobsite table saw and the sliding miter saw were all ample evidence of that.

I never got to meet the woodworker himself, but thanks to a simple tag sale I think I did the next best thing.

A.J.

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