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We ran across this web-posting of a great first-hand story regarding one man’s incredible “find” at a New England garage sale.  In the lucky guy’s own words:

“For some unknown reason I mentioned the word ‘patternmaker’.  When I did, it was like correctly answering the Final Jeopardy question of “The profession of my long-dead father”.  I instantly became his long lost son, as he and I slugged it out trading patternmaker volleys in a game of one upsmanship.  He was totally amazed that I, being a 30-something-Chuck-Taylor-wearing-in-sore-need-of-a-shave-who-looks-like-he-oughta-be-tending-a- garbage-scow-for-a-living-‘murican-male would have even a remote clue about a trade that’s all but dead.

“He tells me about all the patternmaking that his father did while employed at a firm just down the road from where he lives. His father made patterns for machinery used to process wool. He then tells me that his great uncle was also a patternmaker…

“This is when he decides to tell me that he has a patternmaker’s chest that belonged to his father…”

And what a chest it is, as you can see in the picture above — just one of a half-dozen or so photos of this treasure.

The story apparently originated on the newsgroup rec.woodworking in May of 1995, but I’d imagine most Toolmongers can relate to the experience of a great “yard sale” find — if not one of this magnitude.  (My beloved portable band saw came from a behind-the-flea-market deal my Dad made, and though it’s not new and pretty, it definitely works — and was in our low budget at the time.  Thanks again, Dad!)

Anyway, the rest of the story is incredibly entertaining and worth a read.

The Superior Works: C.A. Jewett’s Patternmaking Chest [Supertool.com]


10 Responses to A “Yard Sale” Gold Mine

  1. Rick says:

    Great Story… Thanks for sharing it.

    Luckily that wasn’t me.
    Or as a buddy of mine quiped:
    “I would have been like: ‘can I use these for cutting plastic as well as wood?’
    and he would have yelled ‘Next!’ ”

    Darned young whippersnappers!

  2. Jeff says:

    Ah…those garage sale treasures…great story…can’t wait for this years yard sale finds!!

  3. l_bilyk says:

    Wow what a find!!!

  4. Hank says:

    I have a Studley print for framing. Looking at it, and looking at this find is interesting. I would like to own both. If Leach bought this, then he is the right man to own it. He knows more of old tools than anyone I have come across, read about or imagined. I tend to agree this find is more “workable” than the Studley, as the Studley, I guess, is more a work of art. This a a chest of work. I am on Leach’s mailing list (I think it is his list) and he does sell good, old, workable tools for woodworking. His site is fun, and gives advise freely.

    Thank you for presenting this find. It makes me more determined than ever to keep my eye peeled for such treasures.

    Hank McCreight

  5. Brau says:

    A real historical rarity for sure – and a well written, entertaining story too!

  6. eschoendorff says:

    Fantastic score!!!!! Not only did you find some cool treasures, but they have a great story to go along with them. Those are the best kind!!!!!!!!!

  7. John Shea says:

    So tell us about your portable band saw!

  8. Wesley Phillips says:

    Some people have all the luck.

  9. KaiserM715 says:

    What a cool story. I have always thought along the lines of the “seller” in this case. It is much, much better to keep an original set of tools together and sell / give them to someone who will truly appreciate them and keep the set together. I also have a special appreciation for tools with sentimental value as these do. I have a large majority of my grandpa’s machinists tools from when he had a machine shop, that were handed down to my dad and then to me.

  10. natalie says:

    You can find more tools at garage sales in new england faster, and have them all mapped out for you



    The 163 represents the first three digits of a zip code.

    On thrusday or friday to get the most updated map. Try any ZIP in New England or even the rest of the Country.

    Good luck on your tool hunts!

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