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Whenever possible, we try to give you as much information as we can about a tool. Fortunately, there is a growing interest in collecting hand tools as well as learning about their history. For that reason, there are countless books and online resources you can access to perform research on your own. We've included a few of our favorite resources below, along with a brief description of each.


The Art of Fine Tools, by Sandor Nagyszalanczy, opens with a simple declarative statement: "A well made tool is a thing of beauty that's as much a pleasure to look at as it is to use." Never before has such a comprehensive exploration of stunningly elegant, exotic,  and just flat-out gorgeous hand tools been assembled in one book. Includes scores of private tool collections generously made available by private collectors and museums around the United States. The author writes evocatively about a breathtaking variety of inventive and finely crafted tools. He also photographed them individually and in groupings that evoke nothing less than classic still lifes, as objects of art and craft. This is truly a tool-lover's dream book. Click here to buy.


Classic Hand Tools, by Garrett Hack. Once upon a time, woodworkers had to rely upon hand tools exclusively; but recently, the development of power tools relegated hand tools to the status of quaint antiques. In this book, Hack, a contributor to Fine Woodworking and the author of The Handplane Book, rethinks their usefulness. He argues that hand tools are, in some cases, better than their motorized counterparts; they're both quiet and, because they lack motors and generate very little dust, relatively safe. He covers tools of all types: chisels, planes, saws, hammers, and measuring devices, some plain and others fancy. The book contains excellent chapters on making and restoring tools and buying used tools. The wealth of beautiful photographs will make even the most casual woodworker salivate. Click here to buy.


Alvin Sellens' Dictionary of American Hand Tools, A Pictorial Synopsis, is a fascinating chronicle of nearly every tool ever used in North America, including ancient tools used by Native Americans; trade tools used to create coaches, pianos, ships, and saddles; tools for harvesting farm goods, turpentine, and ice; and tools for more specific trades such as bookbinding and watch repair. This comprehensive volume includes more than 4,500 images from catalog illustrations, trade literature, and hand-drawings. Descriptions provide dimensions and applications. This book is a must-have for tool collectors. Click here to buy.


Disstonian Institute. If it's saws that interest you, you need to check out this site; it covers all things Disston. Of particular interest is a page cataloging the history of medallions on Disston and Superior saws. It's an excellent resource for identification purposes. To go straight to the medallion identification page, click here.


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the nation's technological progress and achievement. Visit the USPTO's site and find patents, drawings, and specs for any tool you can imagine. Google patents is another great patent search site, particularly if you have trouble viewing pics on the USPTO's page.


Mid-West Tool Collectors is the world's largest tool collecting organization - a nonprofit organization devoted to studying, preserving, and sharing knowledge of tools. The association touts approximately 3,500 members in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, and the European Union. Members meet locally at about 40 meetings held around the country throughout the year.


Alloy Artifacts is your online resource for 20th Century hand tools and their manufacturers. The site has info on thousands of tools, high-quality photos that show the details of each tool, and history on tool companies that helped shape the industry. It provides tables of patents, trademarks, and logos to identify tools and has a comprehensive list of tool patents and descriptions that are a must for anyone looking for history on a specific item. To access their patent database, click here.


The Directory of American Tool And Machinery Patents allows collectors to find information about antique tool and woodworking patents. Info is gathered from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office online database by volunteers who find and document patents in their area of expertise.


VintageMachinery.org  is devoted to information on the history and use of vintage woodworking machinery. Compiled by thousands of dedicated members, the site contains information about vintage machinery, including historical information, downloadable publications, photos, and technical information on the use of vintage machinery in the Vintage Machinery Wiki/Knowledge Base.


HKTC is dedicated to vintage tools and woodworking. They have lots of good info on Stanley planes & the Harvey Peace company as well as a variety of vintage tool advertisements on their Resources page.


The Toolmera Press is a great resource if you're looking for older publications. In addition to books for purchase, the site features a wide variety of free tool and machinery publications, including catalogs and booklets, you can browse online. It's definitely worth checking out.


WK Fine Tools caters to the community of woodworkers, professionals, and hobbyists who collect and use hand woodworking tools.  They provide information on history of hand tools, their use, and care.  The site is updated frequently and contains a variety of articles for anyone with an interest in tools, whether it be woodworking or collecting.


Antique Farm Tools is based on Peter Charles Dorrington, who collected and restored over 750 antique farm tools between 1985 and 2001. Most of these tools were agricultural hand implements and fenland tools that were used in England, Wales, and Scotland, dating from about 1600 to 1940 (e.g., chaff cutters, flails, scythes, dibbers, and breast ploughs). Photographs of roughly half of the tools that are still in the collection are included here. Information and notes on some of the tools are also included.


Timeless Tools & Treasures carries authentic tools for traditional trades, including carpentry, leather work, machinists, and more. Shop their inventory online or in their store in Bennington, NH. You can also catch them at the Donnelly auctions in Nashua, NH, in April and September or by appointment.

 
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