MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Finding Vintage Hand Tools

by Arwen O'Reilly Griffith


If you're looking for a well-loved tool, eBay or Craigslist are probably the places to hit first, but there are a lot of websites dedicated to selling you the perfect vintage tool (or maintaining the ones you already had gathering dust in the back of the garage). Some, like the classic brace and bit, fill in for modern electric tools in a pinch (or a black out). Others turn out to have been the best for the job all along and haven't changed much in centuries.

Here are a few resources to help you track down that exact plane you remember from your granddad's workshop, find the modern equivalent of an old tool, or just chat it up with other classic tool lovers:

It might make sense to start with the all-text Antique Tool FAQ page. It will give you a good, non-partisan look at the antique tool world and a sense of what to look out for. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~alf/en/antique-tool-faq.txtThe

Galoot's Progress is a fun website for "galoots" (defined on the site as "a person with a deep passion for old hand tools, their ways, workings, and their history"). http://homepage.mac.com/galoot_9/galtprog.html

There are an amazing number of websites selling old and antique tools, and many of them are listed on this Open Directory of Antique Tools. http://dmoz.org/Recreation/Antiques/Tools/

And don't forget to just try searching the web for names of tools you'd like to try out; there are a lot of contemporary manufacturers who haven't forgotten how to make some of the classics.