New York is a good state to live in as a Blacksmith It is a state rich with colonial, agricultural, and industrial history. Between Agriculture and Industry there are a lot of old tools in New York. It is possible to find used Blacksmithing tools at reasonable prices. But showing up at Quad-State on Friday is still like Christmas morning! Hundreds of pick-up trucks are loaded with tools on the tailgates. Junk and tool sellers have rows of tables of old tools!
Here we are looking at tools before the sun has come up!
Each year the opportunities are different. The economy has an impact as well. Ten years ago when I started going to the event there were half a dozen or more old power hammers for sale. There were also 3 vendors of new air hammers. In 2013 there were lots of vendors and things for sale, but fewer power hammers and items in the multi-thousand dollar range. There was also only Big Blu selling new power hammers. I thing that reflects nationwide trends in the economy. Blacksmiths were still looking for tools and things they needed and are spending money. But they are buying more small items instead of one big item.
Our band of Outlaw Blacksmiths may be representative. Out of five of us we bought one new tool. My son bought a nice 800g German pattern cross-pein. Here are a 600g, his 800g, and my 1000g German pattern Cross Pein hammers. Ironically they were all made in France!
But the rest of our purchases fell in two catagories. Used tools to rehabilitate and restore to use. We brought home a broken Champion Post Drill, two leg vises without mounts or screws, and a rusty bench vice. I found a Champion No. 96 for $20! It has a flywheel with broken spokes. But unbroken was the downfeed cam mechanism that is broken on the identical drill I already own. I ended up mounting both of them in the shop side by side! I'll forge a new down-feed cam using the one I have as a guide, and get both drills in top shape. The more worn one will be used for bigger bits and the tighter one with a Jacobs chuck for smaller bits. I thought I was getting parts, but instead I am using it for patterns to make parts! That way I have two drill presses!
I also bought an assortment of sledge hammer heads, new files, and used files.
Raw material to use to make new tools or ironwork. Our first purchase Thursday night was used Nascar axles. We bought a bunch to use to make anvil tooling. They are good steel. The best deal we found on materials was real Wrought Iron! Several people were selling iron from 19th century bridges.
We collectively bought more than a hundred pounds of 3/4 round, square, welded eyes, and massive wrought iron bolts! We are already making the list of tools we will buy or sell at the conference next year! Looking forward to the 4th Saturday in 2014!