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Funny how actual experience can blow away expectations and romanticized notions of particular tools.
I fell in love with old tools soon after getting into woodworking as hobby. Chisels, planes, saws, you name it. I didn’t aim to collect, but instead to find nice users. With not much experience actually using at that point, and despite their prices, I fell for Stanley’s Everlasting line. I think I was drawn to their unique robust design – they just seemed to embody vintage quality. Before too long I’d put together a decent little set of 40s, mostly from the SW era, but I never used them much as I was still practicing my sharpening techniques and had yet to embark on projects I thought deserved "the good china" of my chisels so to speak (LOL).
I simultaneously bought some far-from-pristine 750's for like $10 or less each that I figured I’d sort of use as semi-beaters (not to pry paint lids mind you, just as more day-to-day users and to practice sharpening techniques, etc.). The 750s I got had good iron (no-pitting), but often beat up handles without their leather and sporting badly chipped laquer. I rehabilitated them by sawing off the nub and rounding the end that held the leather and sanding the finish off (replaced by BLO) and sharpened them up.
Well, funny thing happened, and I bet you’ve guessed it: those 750s have become my favorites by far. In fact, I really don’t like the 40's for most tasks as they are too heavy and out of balance (top heavy in operations like chopping out dovetail waste, for example).
I may have to sell the 40's - pretty as they are. Some collector will hopefully appreciate ‘em.
Edited 10/27/2006 3:45 pm ET by Samson