Box of Rust

In the Spring of 2018, I got a phone call from my brother to say that on a visit to a local hardware store, he had noticed a box of old tools. When he inquired about them he was told that they had belonged to the previous owner of the store, who had sadly past. It had always been his intention to clean the tools up and put them on display. As like many a project, he had never gotten round to doing so.

The tools now belonged to his elderly wife who only came into the store on a Wednesdays. The person that my brother was speaking to was the owner’s daughter. She said that they might be for sale, but that they had been “stung” by somebody who had gone through the box and given £50 for a Norris. Of course, when they checked up on the price of the Norris, they had felt cheated.

My brother called me to ask if I would be interested in making an offer on the tools that remained. He said that the box contained a 13 1/2″ Spiers, a Mathieson smoother, a Preston bullnose, a Preston bullnose copy, a copy of a Preston router, an unnamed smoother and a beech brace. Wednesday came and I decided to make my way to the store. I introduced myself as the brother of the guy who had called in the previous week.



The older woman was busy cleaning the tools and her daughter told me the story of the Norris, saying that they might not sell the tools because they felt cheated. I explained that I was a collector, which I consider is top of the food chain as far as buying tools is concerned (mug!). She still said that they were unsure. I told them what the tools would be worth when restored and what I thought they were worth as is. I made a top offer for the tools and I just about had my hand bitten off.

The daughter said that she had looked up the router on the web and it was a Tyzack. At the time I didn’t realize the significance of that but after checking up, I found that they are rarer than hen’s teeth. I decided to show off my newfound spoils to my nephew, whose reaction was, “You’ve paid hundreds of pounds for a box of rust?”.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!


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