Antique Woodworking Tools

By Sharon L. Cohen
Antique Woodworking Tools

You name it, someone collects it. Most often, people collect antiques that pertain to their special interest or hobby. For instance, many woodworkers enjoy looking for old tools, particularly items such as chisels, planes and levels from the 1800s and early 1900s. Antique wooden tools are sold at flea markets, antique auctions and tag or garage sales throughout the world.


People collect old woodworking tools for a number of different reasons. Some love to do their own carpentry, so they are interested in how the tools evolved over time. Others remember how their parents or grandparents used these tools for construction jobs. Or some people like the feel and look of antique wood as it ages over time. Plus, some of the tools are still the best to use. For everyone, it is the thrill of the hunt and joy of the find.


Electric tools were not used until the 1900s. Until then, all woodworking was done with hand tools. The majority of manufacturers of hand tools were located on the East Coast of the United States. They made a wide variety of products, including scrapers, planes and saws, which were designed after those produced in Europe. Over time, the American designers made their own type of hand tool, which changed throughout the decades.


Stanley Hand Tools

Stanley hand tools are often the most desirable to collect. The Stanley Works, which started out as a manufacturer of bolt and door hardware in New Britain, Conn., in 1843, later began producing other items such as the level and rule. It is quite easy to locate Stanley products since they were made in such large quantities. Collectors often compile different types of the same tool or one of each separate item. Some like collecting the catalogs that listed all the hand tools available each year.


Many people collect antique planers, which were most often made from a wooden block and a sharp blade to shave the layers of wood. Some of them had hand-tooled metal handles. Later, metal was used to make the planes. They were all quality made and very durable. That is why so many are still seen today in barns and woodworking shops.


Another tool that people often collect is the handsaw, which was produced in many different designs and teeth formations. Many of the handsaws are distinguished by their handles that have a variety of shapes and specialization. Although the different handles were used for decorative purposes, they were also very practical. It has always been necessary to develop handsaws that can be held and used for many hours at a time without the hand becoming tired or sore.

About the Author

Sharon L. Cohen has 30-years' experience as a writer and editor. Her Atlantic Publishing book about starting a Yahoo! business is being followed by one on and another about starting 199 online businesses ( See Clients love her excellent high-quality work. She has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin, Madison and an M.A. from Fairfield University Graduate School of Corporate and Political Communiation.