Did you ever have a user
tool that became a personal collectable?
I have a t15, #3. It wasn't the first
plane I owned, but the first one I ever really fell in love with. It
was a friend's grandfather's plane and she gave it to me one day. It
was the first time I ever saw the sweetheart mark.
It cut like a dream right off (as soon
as I cleaned it up). Then I started to like it and cleaned it up a
little more. I really learned how to sharpen a blade with that
plane. Wasted a little steel getting there, but not too awful, and there is still a good inch and a quarter below the
When (the then) new FWW was getting
popular, several articles on planes came out, of course. I just
barely understood what they were talking about and had never been
close to a tuned tool. But inside every one of us is a memory or
feeling of the Old Master and his beautiful tools. We all strive for
it in some way. I knew my plane could be better.
I polished the sole in the bad old way,
with plate glass and the leftovers from someone's telescope grinding
project I'd got at a yard sale (loose grit). Not your quicklap
experience, to be blunt.
Each new trick I learned was used first
on that 3. It just got better and better. I hauled it out to
jobsites in my youth. Used it hard. Piled up shavings on
construction and finish work alike. But even then I was always
worried about it. I made a wooden shoe out of soft pine to protect
the sole. Had a tendency to watch for it out of the corner of my eye
as the work went on. Somehow it always made it home in one piece.
As I got older and more tools came my
way, it still held the number one spot against all comers because I
knew it so well. But it got to be such a concern that I would hurt
it, that I put it aside one day. It stayed in a glass cabinet for
several years. Then I couldn't stand that any longer. I
worried about rust and neglect so it went back into the lineup.
There was one more stay in the cabinet, but it's back in my arsenal
The hard collectors description of it
would only read Stanley t15 #3 - 70% japan - refinished tote and
knob but wood is intact.
Doesn't sound like much, does it?
It's not for sale.