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Favourite old tools.......

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Rik Shaw05/04/2014 18:42:21
1483 forum posts
398 photos

I am not an avid vintage tool collector but when I saw this well rusted set of dividers at a boot some months ago I paid the 50p asking price and spent a pleasant hour this afternoon with emery and solvol autosol fettling them up.


They are 180mm long and have a very pleasant "heft", well made and with zero play in the hinge. They sit on my desk in front of me as I type this and I think they might stay there as they look so handsome. They are old but not antique as they are marked "FOREIGN" and have a makers name of GLOST?? , the stamping is cock-eyed so I think it might be "GLOSTER"

I'd like to say that I used them this afternoon with my wife's help to plot a course to Tarrant Hinton - tickets/accommodation and the like later in the year but no - we did it on line as normal.

What do you covet - vintagely tool speaking?


Edited By Rik Shaw on 05/04/2014 18:44:07

Thor 🇳🇴05/04/2014 18:53:36
1630 forum posts
46 photos

Nice dividers you have got there Rik, they will serve you well for many years. I have got something similar, but not vintage. What I covet - ehm.. well what about a Colchester Master 2500 in good condition?


Rik Shaw05/04/2014 19:42:06
1483 forum posts
398 photos

Covet? And so you should Thor, a very nice machine tool indeed - sounds like you have a good one, I'm envious!


Thor 🇳🇴05/04/2014 19:51:54
1630 forum posts
46 photos

Sorry Rick no Colchester in my workshop, but the Colchester is the lathe I turned my first work on decades ago. I wish I had room for one in my workshop. What I had room for (and could afford) was an asian 290F lathe, not in the same league as the Colchester of course. But about the biggest lathe a couple of friends could get into my basement workshop.


Edited By Thor on 05/04/2014 19:57:43

Sandy Morton05/04/2014 20:45:55
104 forum posts

Not quite my favourite tool but one that I remember very well was a farmer's spanner. To most people that would have been a huge hammer!

terry gorvel 105/04/2014 21:31:33
3 forum posts

Hi Rik

This is the first time that I have responded to a subject, but I could not let this one go buy. My Father passed away nearly 2 years ago, whilst emptying his workshop I also found a pair of dividers.

I have just been into the workshop to measure them 12.5 inches from top to tip and open to max is 20 inches, no manufactures name stamped but I assume the original owners name stamped. G TODD 1902. Perhaps this will start an age interest.

I live in Jersey. Channel Islands.

Terry Gorvel

speelwerk06/04/2014 15:53:04
443 forum posts
2 photos

The old tool which is still very useful in the restoration work I do is this "rounding up" machine from (I guess) around 1850. It is very handy for making small wheels fit existing wheelwork or when you are lucky you can a safe a wheel with damaged tips. Next to it is a tray with small wheels ready to use if needed, they are a little oversized in diameter to have enough material to play with, Niko.


Rik Shaw06/04/2014 16:14:47
1483 forum posts
398 photos

Terry - Dividers?? Sounds like a drill sergeants pace stick to me!

Lovely old machine Niko - I'd be afraid to use something as venerable as that.

Oompa Lumpa06/04/2014 21:03:06
888 forum posts
36 photos

Rik, when I saw your post the other night, I couldn't believe my eyes. I had only just that same day rescued these from a junk box:


I have put them into some acid tonight and I will report back in due course.

But the title also includes "favourite" and some of my favorites are old tins. I have quite a few and I store all sorts in them. This is a recent aquisition:

military tin.jpg


Edited By Oompa Lumpa on 06/04/2014 21:05:51

roy entwistle07/04/2014 10:12:37
1525 forum posts

Doe's anyone else find that old tools that have be used but looked after, feel comfortable when you use them whereas a new tool feels a bit awkward or is it just me


Michael Gilligan07/04/2014 11:20:06
20185 forum posts
1053 photos
Posted by roy entwistle on 07/04/2014 10:12:37:

Doe's anyone else find that old tools that have be used but looked after, feel comfortable when you use them whereas a new tool feels a bit awkward or is it just me



Yes indeed I do, Roy

Sometimes I like to think that they retain some "spirit" of the previous owner.

... But in reality; it's probably just that they were honestly made, and have had the rough edges worn off by handling.


Ian S C07/04/2014 13:11:46
7468 forum posts
230 photos

There is an interesting tool at my local second hand shop, a Leytool divider setting gauge, I think the price on it is $NZ24, might be able to get it to $NZ20 (about 10 UK Pounds). Don't know whether to buy or not. Ian S C

colin hawes07/04/2014 13:14:18
558 forum posts
18 photos

I bought a ballpein hammer 50 years ago and even when it was new I could tell if I had picked up a different but apparently identical one. colin

Saxalby07/04/2014 14:43:29
176 forum posts
26 photos

Have'nt got any old tools worth a mention, but do have an old Gerstner tool chest

tool chest.jpg

Bought it at car boot sale. Managed to beat then down to £10. One of the draw backs is stamped with a duty paid stamp for Windsor, Ontario and is dated 1927. So its 87 years old and still as solid as the day it was made. Often wonder who may have own it.

Regards Barry

Rik Shaw07/04/2014 16:00:00
1483 forum posts
398 photos

Barry - I did - can I have it back please? wink 2

Saxalby07/04/2014 17:36:21
176 forum posts
26 photos

Dam - just my luck the owner turns up. That said if you bought it when you first started work at say 15 yo, that makes you 102 years old. Far to old to make use of it any more............smiley

Nice try.

NJH07/04/2014 20:15:10
2314 forum posts
139 photos

So then Rick and Graham with your puny little dividers how about these babies?


The rule ( ruler, scale etc.) gives an idea of size.

The story is that the small pair of M&W dividers on the right is the first ME tool that I bought ( about 50 years ago!) The rather more substantial pair came from my father. He had a woodworking business and I believe that this jumbo sized version came with a batch of secondhand tools that he bought as an apprentice - getting on for 90 years ago. I think these dividers were old when he bought them! I know that he did use them a few times and I have too. The thing is though I don't think that cleaning up and "pretty-fying" them would be appropriate so I will leave them!

Also amongst the tools that he bought S/H as an apprentice were a large number of carving chisels. As a young man he had made a few carvings, which I value, but cabinet making was his sphere. When I inherited his tools I had some vague idea that I might have a stab at carving but it has never happened. I now have a Son- in- Law who is a woodworker and has recently returned to carving. He has ( for me) an amazing ability to see things in three dimensions and, from a block of wood, produces the most remarkable and beautiful work. I think I've found a good home for Dad's old chisels!

Sorry to rabbit on so but the thread is "Favourite Old Tools" and I really like the old, well used and cared for items. There is something very satisfying about working slowly and carefully with a comfortable old hand tool.

Ah - nostalgia reigns !



Robbo07/04/2014 23:37:40
1504 forum posts
142 photos

If we are going to include tins and boxes, then these 2 are my favourites. The BTH is particularly fine.

2014-04-07 16.36.07.jpg

Robbo07/04/2014 23:40:03
1504 forum posts
142 photos


Re your "different feel with old tools", have a look at this and see which you would prefer to use. New on the left, old on the right.

2014-04-07 16.38.09.jpg

Nicholas Farr08/04/2014 01:15:56
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi, these are a few of my favourite old tools, mainly because they were my farthers. The inside calipers were made by Star Tool Works New York U.S.A. The ouside calipers were made by Sandow New York U.S.A. The screw driver was made by HMM Ltd. no idea where it was made, but has a little secret and maybe some of you will know what it is. I don't use any of them much, but the little silver one with the disc on a threaded bar is used the most, but do any of you know what it is?

Favourite Old Tools.jpg

The inside calipers open out to a max' of 4" and are 4 1/2" high. The outside calipers open out to a max of 2 27/32" and are 2 11/16" high. The little silver thingy is 1 9/16" high with the bar being 7/8" wide and the screw driver is 3 11/16" long. I've known about all of these from as far back as I can remember, but i do know that the outside calipers date back to at least the mid 1940's because I have a photo of my farther holding them while at his lathe.

Regards Nick.

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