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
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
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
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.