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are old tools worth it?  RSS feed

 
ari gold
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Hi there everyone,

So I've been looking for a drawknife and basically don't know if its better to buy one new or used. Is it a question of the steel? Is modern steel better? Better enough to make the expense worth it?

I'm assuming that I can get a old tool sharp and would, of course, be happier reusing something that works than consuming something new.

For what it's worth, I'd like to get one so that I can remove the bark off of all of these prunings I have to make them more functional.

Thanks!

Ari
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I found an old one in an attic and it's great. Try taking just one slice of bark when sticks are fresh. The rest may peel off with your fingers or with a dull knife that won't score the wood.

If you ever get a machette or other blade that is made of soft steel, it can be improved by heating it in a fire and quenching in oil. The steel picks up extra carbon and becomes harder. It will take a better edge. Also becomes more brittle. I do this with the tips of cheap shit demolition bars from China.
 
Michael Brant
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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I use old tools all the time. I usually find them at auction sales or antique markets at reasonable prices. The quality of some of the older tools can meet or surpass those of new ones. It depends on what you are using it for. To peel bark, a used drawknife given a reasonable sharpening will work just fine.
 
Kirk Mobert
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Location: Point Arena, Ca
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Old tools were made by people who depended on them for their livelihood. They tend to be better.
Also, good tools can improve with competent use. Like a violin improving when played by a master. The hand shapes the tool, the tool shapes the hand.

I've found that there are two options when looking for quality tools. Either get an old one and fix it up or find a professional woodworker tool catalog and buy the highest quality one available.
Don't go for cute extras, tools with whizbangs, ETC, keep it simple but of the highest quality.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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old carbon steel is MUCH easier to sharpen. New stainless is very hard to sharpen
 
Jordan Lowery
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it depends, some old tools are really bad or were cared for badly. others are built like tanks. most of them need work to get back into shape but perform great and last forever.
 
Kirk Mobert
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hubert cumberdale wrote:it depends, some old tools are really bad or were cared for badly. others are built like tanks. most of them need work to get back into shape but perform great and last forever.


Sure, there were some poorly made, knock off tools. Also, many are used to the nub or damaged beyond (reasonable) repair..
Still, some of my best tools were blobs of rust when I found them. My best drawknife was hardly recognizable when I found it, a little love, some elbow grease, new wooden handles good as new.
 
Leila Rich
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Old steel and iron is usually much better quality than new.
I wouldn't buy old secateurs again though, there's a lot to be said for modern gearing technology and plastic grips
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Quite often, for me, the question is "Are new tools worth it?"
 
Erica Wisner
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Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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John Polk wrote:Quite often, for me, the question is "Are new tools worth it?"


Exactly.

I will mention that I've been reading 'Country Woodcraft,' by John Langsner, and just got to the part where he talks about the blade angles for draw-knives. His favorites are all beveled at around 33 degrees. He has a few at other angles (around 20 and 40 degrees) that he has never found a good use for. They either bite too much, or won't cut much at all.

He's got some nice hand-work bench examples too, with foot-clamps and other options for conveniently holding or bracing the work.

For a draw-knife, I'd probably go with an old one if I could find it. We've had good results with old hand tools, as long as they are not completely rusted through.

-Erica
 
John Henderson
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Hi, just for your information. I listed my old tools online at
http://www.toolworldexchange.com and they didn't charge any listing fees or selling fees. They have a nice private messaging system where you can haggle with the buyer. Also you can try http://www.craigslist which I also hear is good.
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