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Where to find tools if you don't know how to forge your own (yet)

 
pioneer
Posts: 198
Location: Chesterfield, Massachusetts, United States
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Hey ho all!

I'm looking for a good source for quality yet affordable tools for woodworking. I found a nice local fella who offers to sharpen knives, chisels, axes, etc. for like $10-15 a pop and I asked him if he'd be willing to teach me how to do my own if I paid him for his time and amazingly, he agreed for $25 for an hour lesson that he said would be all I'd need. Wow! Generous dude.

So I'm learning tomorrow how to get a really good, razor-sharp edge on tools. I'm really interested in coppicing and just felled my first tree in the woods this evening now that there's snow on the ground and the leaves are down and it's good and freezing cold. (Should have taken a picture so it'd count toward the badge bit, darn it, I forgot!). I'm wanting to learn a ton of information about how to work with wood. I've been watching lots of Ben Law videos and I am super jazzed about getting lumber and kindling from my wood lot as well as allowing it to grow coppice/pollard and increase the biodiversity tenfold or so.

I have a list of tools that Ben Law recommended, but I don't know where to get some (most?) of them. Would any of the more experienced woodworkers around here know where I might acquire the following tools affordably while still being a decent quality? I have seen axes that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and I'm sure they are super top-notch, but I'm enough of a newbie that probably I'd mangle them horribly. I don't want to be given a Lamborghini when I'm still on my learner's permit, you dig? :) But I also don't want to be slogging away with a Jalopy and making my job 10-times harder than it would be with more reasonable equipment. So with that in mind, where would you suggest looking for the following in New England, especially western Mass:

1. Froe
2. Drawing knife
3. Side-axe (they have axes at the hardware stores around town but they have a bevel on both sides already...where do you get a decent axe for splitting off shakes and hewing and such?)
4. Bill hook or similar edge for removing small to medium branches (or would a fold-out saw be sufficient do you suppose?)
5. Framing chisel
6. Chisel plane (different than a regular chisel, apparently, in that you use it like a plane to level out surfaces or add a bevel to the end of wood rather than hammering it into wood, not sure if a regular chisel could double as this or if you need a different edge on it etc. etc.)
7. An adze for cleaving out dowels or rods
8. Rounding plane


Many thanks for the kindness of sharing your wealth of knowledge with me!

Regards,

D.W.
 
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I don't know why I'm assuming  your in the northeast but places like this might be found outside lots of big cities. There used to be a whole bunch of used tool stores outside Boston, on mass ave I think  from about newton west, don't know those places still survive today, they were not pawn shops but used tool stores that had all kinds of old tools for very reasonable prices.
online there's always places like Garrett wade, rockler woodworking, northern tools, and there is always eBay and Etsy and craigslist
 
master steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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My recommendation is to go to antique shops.  All the good old tools that people used 100 years ago are sitting on their shelves for $15 each.  
 
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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^^ What Mike said. And if you put a bunch in a pile, the price is often negotiable.
 
gardener
Posts: 2732
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I agree with Mike and Douglas.  I get most of my tools at 2nd hand shops and antique shops.  When I'm travelling I stop in at a few.  sometimes it takes a while, but this is how I got my draw knives, and scythes, and I often get axe heads and woodworking tools this way too.  Yard sales have gotten me most of my garden tools.  Swap meets and flea markets can also be good.  I sometimes like to go to a place and scope out what's there, and then come back and put a bunch of stuff on the counter.  The worker or owner usually asks me how much I'll pay for it, or they give a very reasonable price. If the price seems a little high, ask them to throw in something extra that you (cleverly) didn't yet bring up.  I have also found heirloom cuff links for my vintage suit and a nice necklace pendant for my mom's birthday.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I have all but 2 items on that list, and all but 1 came from craigslist.. over the course of several years watching for them.

In my part of the PNW these mostly seem to be in high demand, and if they are not vastly overpriced they vanish very quickly at thrift/vintage stores.. I've passed on a number of old beat-up draw-knives at such stores that were just as expensive as a brand new good quality one from Lee Valley..
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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That's a tough list.  Several of the items are available via Amazon, but they usually have bad lines and the visibly-questionable metallurgy typical of scrap metal foundries in various cheap-labor overseas countries-of-origin.  

I was able to source one froe locally by begging on a bunch of local Facebook groups.  A gentleman about 20 miles away graciously pulled an old rusty one out of his ancient barn junk for me, and gave it to me.

You might want to add some kind of broad axe to your list.  It is what it sounds like -- an axe (typically with one flat side) and a cutting blade six to 12 inches wide.  Looks like a medieval polearm, used for quickly and easily (well, relative to not having the correct tool anyway) making rough square timbers out of round logs.  

 
master gardener
Posts: 2422
Location: southern Illinois.
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As Mike said, hit the various antique and junk shops.  Inspection the tools carefully before you buy.  I have too often found trash tools mixed in with quality ones. Also check for chips and hairline cracks. Often my fingers  can find problems before my eyes do.
 
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Flea markets. If you want to up your game, look around online for makers marks (or whatever those stamped symbols are called). You can find a lot of old tools with those on them and use it to identify good steel and other qualities that many people won't know to look for.
 
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Location: Japan
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Find your local blacksmith. Hopefully there is one close.

You get a few bonuses with this: make a valuable connection, get a potential inroads towards learning new skills, and the price for quality steel is very reasonable, though it probably won't beat used prices or auctions.
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