Show us the OLDEST WOODWORKING TOOL in your shop


Old tools always come with a story!! 

What’s the oldest woodworking tool in your shop and what’s the story that comes with it? 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

57 Replies

Couple of tools from my dad that originally belonged to my grandpa.  I have the spokeshave working but the blade on the handplane needs work to get the front straight (still have not tackled that 😕). 

When I received them last summer they weren't in great shape - dirty and rusty.
Need to "find the time" to get the plane fixed up.

Treasures!! You are doing them proud 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

The oldest Tool in my shop would be Me, I suppose.  I dont collect old stuff, really, but this Fishtail below was one of those - I have to have that - deals, bought at a flea-market here.  I was told it is Sheffield Steel, there are no markings on it tho, except the # 25, which can barely be seeen in 2nd photo.   Pretty sure the handle is a replacement.

This spirit level isnt that old, the cover for the spirit is plastic, and the brass isnt brass.  60 centimeteres would be what, 25" in length?  I found this one inside the cavity of a stone wall when I was tearing out space for sink cabinet plumbing, along with a bunch of almond husks put there by rats.  The Makers mark says it was made in Switzerland, the wood Teak.  Whats funny about that is, this isnt the first level I have found inside a wall.  I have a much older one up in Denmark, maybe as much as 100 yrs old, also found while doing demo.

No Bees. No Honey. Bees Lives Matter

I'm not looking to make them look "new" but rather back into working shape.  It is neat to think of what projects my grandpa may have used them for on his little cramped shop/shed.  He died when I was in high-school, long before I got into woodworking.  Wish I could have learned from him.
I have used tools that are probably older but this is a 1948 ShopSmith 10ER (with speed changer) that I restored.
I bought it non-functional for $50.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

I love the stories and, hey, if your oldest tool is 6 months old and is the first thing you bought to start woodworking? That story is precious!!! 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

It's a bit hard to date some old tools.  I have a saw that if you were to go by the patina, it makes one think it is quite old but I can't be sure.  One of several things in my shop that I don't know the true age of. I don't have a story to go with the saw.  Can't even remember where I got it. 

I do have this Stanley No 3, type2/3 Pre-lateral plane that I found in a nearby antique store.  As I understand it, it should be from right around 1869 to 1873.  The knob on it is my doing.  I don't remember if the tote is original or not.  When I first saw this plane in the antique shop, I picked it up, looked at it and put it back on the shelf because I didn't recognize it.  It was in very rough looking condition and I just did not know what it was.  After walking around the shop and coming back to this plane a third time that day, because it was nagging me, I finally realized what it was so I ended up bringing it home.  

Drop out of warp and prepare to be boarded. Mike southwest CO

Nice cleanups BB & Blaster!

How are you going to remove that table saw blade from the coping saw? 😀
I also like the power tool restorations. Being a motor head, nothing like slipping in fresh bearings and scrubbing away old grease to really appreciate vintage.

Bought this old bandsaw at auction and did a total refurb, Not my oldest tool, but the oldest I use every time I'm in the shop.

Powermatic 141 built in March '64 (21 months after I was hatched)

One very clean green bandsaw.  Great job!

Drop out of warp and prepare to be boarded. Mike southwest CO

I believe the oldest tool in my shop is me!!!!


Not counting hand saws these three are the oldest.

From the left to right, Ohio Tool Co. skewed moving fillester, M Copeland skewded moving fillester and finally M Copeland fenced plow.

The two Copeland are roughly 1860’s, not too sure about the Ohio.

Edit: Then there is me, a septuagenarian!

Watch and learn, practice and learn, create and learn

Shipwright - I'm working on a 1953 Model 10ER right now.  Mine did not come with the legs so in the process of building a cabinet for it currently.

My oldest tools are probably a pair of #6s.  I have a type 5 and a type 6.  The type 5 is sporting an E.A. Berg iron.

I also have an early type #75 that I'm not sure of the age but probably right around 1900 if I had to guess.

Not sure that this is my oldest but I bought it in about 76' or 77'.

Looks like a regular drill, but I promise it's a superman's drill. 
This is the strongest drill I ever had. It'll twist your arms right off.

I don't use it too often though.  (trust me it's dangerous)  I used to use it mainly for hole saws, 
but when you have a 3" - 4" hole saw bind up in the hole it yanks you around like you're limp monkey.
Drilling electrical holes in studs once, it put my elbow right through a window.  

It's still works great and still is the strongest hand drill I have.
Too dramatic?  Trying for a good story...... 😁

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.

Too dramatic?  Trying for a good story...

🤣love it !!
You know how to play the game lol 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

MsDebbie, wrong forum I know but, you got me thinking homemade tomato soup.  : ). 

Drop out of warp and prepare to be boarded. Mike southwest CO

Forget Sawstop, I am getting some of these from circa 1485.  Now that is old. They can double as security if my shopduck is testy when i give him treats.  Yes, I do have a shop duck, always within 10 ft of me when I am working.  He doesnt like me, or anyone; he only likes watermelon, and squatting in sawdust.

No Bees. No Honey. Bees Lives Matter

My oldest hand tool that I can date is my Stanley no. 3, Ty 9, so it dates between 1902-1909. I don’t have a cool story about this tool (other than its old) but….

…My oldest power tool is the Walker-Turner 16” that I inherited from my FIL, which does have a cool story. It’s usually hard to actually date the WTs since they used the same numbers for a huge range of dates, but…my FIL got this saw in the 70s. As the story goes, he bought it from a retired tradesman who was unloading his tools due to his age. Supposedly, the saw was new in ‘42-‘43 when the tradesman took receipt of it off the delivery truck at the production shop he was working at for the War effort in the San Francisco area (Richmond, I believe). When he left the shop, many years later, he bought the saw off of them and kept it in his own shop, until selling it to my FIL… Kinda cool!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

MsDebbie, wrong forum I know but, you got me thinking homemade tomato soup.  
Glad I can be inspiring lol :)

(And, homemade?? Well, that recipe needs to be shared at our sister site. hint,hint) 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

I have some old drill presses.  This was an excuse to create my first blog on this site based on some from elsewhere:

“Fake quotes will ruin the internet” — Benjamin Franklin