Almost continual rain in London yesterday, but a moment’s clear sky allowed me twenty minutes to do a bit of work. A quick rebate for a floor edge I need to finish on a step in the house. A groove with my Record 044, then the waste hogged out with a Stanley 5 1/2. The sharpened blade of the Record 042 shoulder plane squared things up perfectly. Lovely.
I had a few people comment that reading the blog was pretty tough on a mobile phone, so last night I made a few modifications and activated a mobile theme. Having just been on holiday, I spent a little more time than usual looking at my blog on my own phone and zooming in and out all the time was indeed very tedious. Now if you go to Hackney Tools using your phone, it should be a lot easier on the eye, with text at a more legible size.
There are quite a few other changes I’d like to make to the site and I would appreciate reader response on what works for you, or not.
Being a ‘hobby-level’ tool dealer, it’s important to me to have my contact details to the fore, but what I enjoy doing most is blogging about tools, traditional technique and makers of fine tools and furniture. So there is always a tension between trying to present a ‘half and half’ approach to the blog, and trying to enhance that with the design.
I guess I’ll carry on noodling along making incremental changes for now, but one thing I really would like to change is the ‘For Sale’ page. I always envisaged selling tools without getting eBay involved. However, listing tools for sale can be quite laborious using manual coding, especially as the tools themselves are relatively cheap. What I need to do is upgrade the page to use an e-commerce solution such as WooCommerce, or Shopify, or something, so that people can click to buy and check out with Paypal.
Honestly, I have looked at all these solutions to some extent, but I do worry that something of the ‘personal touch’ is lost by having a page which looks so commercial. Most of my tools sell after someone has been in touch and we have had a chat about the item, this is something that woodworkers and craftspeople seem to appreciate as an option.
My other worry is that listing global shipping options for tools seems incredibly laborious. Spending half an hour listing a few screwdrivers with all the shipping options seems rather counter-intuitive. How do other people do this? I assume there are faster ways of photographing inventory, listing it on your site and activating it for sale. It’s easy when your items are all the same weight, such as t-shirts, you can apply shipping rates and know you have all the bases covered.
If anyone has direct experience of integrating e-commerce solutions with WordPress blogs I would appreciate tips on the best way forward. I don’t have lot of time I can put aside for the blog, but I need to make the tool-dealing particularly a smoother operation, mainly so I can get more up online and shift away from eBay.
(The theme I use on this blog is the excellent Graphene theme).
I’m wondering if I can find out a little more about Copley of London? I have one of his saws in a pile here, but know very little of him. If anyone has more info I’d be delighted to publish it. I now get a lot of hits on the site from people just looking for basic information about English makers, I’m keen to collate as much information as I can for other people to use. Thanks very much.
I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman yesterday who was selling some tools left by his father. Judging by the excellent quality of the tools and the outstanding condition his father had kept them in, he was a man who respected the tools and appreciated their quality.
We were able to agree a deal which we both felt was fair and I came home with some very good items.
If anyone has info on ‘S.Willson’, (the skewed rebate plane), please let me know. This was my favourite find of the day. With a perfect skew blade, (and another used one), a nice boxed edge, depth stop and lovely overall patination, it’s a pleasure to behold.
With that, a nice E.C Atkins ‘Stanley’ mitre-box saw is stunning condition and plenty of fine carving chisels. The roll of the smaller chisels feels like a surgeons kit, such are the fineness of the blades. I also found a great toothing plane by Moseley with a body and blade in a condition that made it look hardly used.
A great day with a lovely chap and some great knowledge learned along the way.
The maker of the skewed Badger plane is actually Arnold, as ‘HandMadeInWood’ makes clear in his post below. If anyone has more details than he has kindly supplied, I would love to know more about this maker.
Well. This is a tale of one plane actually, but the second image may as well be a second plane, for all you will recognise.
I sold this Norris A5 a couple of weeks ago. Straight from a master carpenter’s toolchest. I ‘ummed and ahhed’ about selling it, because it had just the right amount of wear, no damage whatsoever and a full original iron.
However, I tend to keep only tools I really need, or don’t have, and decided to sell it to cover the outlay of buying a large job lot. The plane went to a buyer and all was good on the transaction.
The plane is now back on the market, with what I can only describe as a ‘makeover’. It has been buffed to oblivion, all trace of it’s history, the marks from it’s owner and it’s own patination removed.
Not a hint remains that this plane has been lovingly used and cared for, for well over a hundred years. The buyer is flipping it on eBay in it’s freshly polished, preened and shellaced state. The poor owner must be turning in his grave.
It’s my personal opinion that only grime should be wiped from quality tools, (and there are other methods for sensitively removing other problems such as rust).
These quality tools will likely outlast us all if kept properly, doing this sort of terrible work to a good plane not only ruins it in the short term, but denies future owners the chance of seeing how time has worked it’s magic.