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Redemption and Vice


Redemption and Vice 6
I don't have any vices. I've tried a few, and there are more than several of them at TFWW, but I've never had my own bench so I've been all sugar and spice these last 27 years.

That changed last weekend when Girlfriend and I took a trip up the Hudson river for the opening of the Stormville Flea Market. We woke up earlier than I can remember and piled onto the subway, coffee in hand, bound for Grand Central. We hopped onto Metro North and rolled up the river to the end of the line. Her parents picked us up at the station and we were off. The wind was blowing, and the kettle corn swirled. For good luck Girlfriend recited "The Jabberwocky" as I crossed my fingers that some sap would sell me an Emmert pattern-makers vice for the change in my pocket.

We strolled, and strolled. No vices. I lost my way, and like Dante, began to spiral down into the depths. In my desperation I nearly bought an alien, but swerved at the last moment and purchased a cast iron pan, and a pair of miniature German antlers. I also bought a handful of double head nails for a dollar.

Defeated, I mused to Girlfriend's Mom about the overly wholesome scene at Stormville. Maybe flea market folk aren't into vice? Could be, she said, but she thought she knew some folks who were, so we hopped into the car and drove to Kingston, New York.

Zaborski Emporium is a jungle of rusty heaven. You can tell from the street. As we passed through the pearly, ahem... rust covered gates, the proprietor let us know that heaven has 4 floors, and we we were welcome use the stairs.

I found two rooms full of tools, but as I stared into the piles of rusty steel covering the floor, ceiling, and walls I had a moment of disorientation. I didn't recognize a single item. The sensation reminded me of a hike several years ago through the Laotian jungle. An hour into the walk I realized that the walls of the path were made of unfamiliar plants, the soil was unlike any I had stood on before, and the sun shone down at an angle I had never seen it shine from. As the uncanny feeling passed I felt like I was seeing through new eyes.

I began to recognize tools as they appeared out of the oxidized ether. I was literally standing on a red Crafstman vice. I climbed around and around, and tried every vice, and touched every tool in the place. It was paradise. Photos can't do justice to the beauty and variety of things in that store (especially when I'm photographing). After walking to the far corners of all 4 floors I returned to the red Crafstman vice I had been standing on. Girlfriend said I should buy it, so I did.
Join the conversation
05/03/2011 m_astera
Nice find. I have an old Columbian vice, Cleveland OH, that looks identical minus the red paint.
Now you need a bench, eh?

There used to be a multi-story tool store like the one you describe in Aberdeen, WA. I remember going in there looking for an adze and being directed to a whole pile of them.

The store closed down in the 1990s when the owners died or retired. The tools went to a son who stored them outdoors or in leaking sheds for another decade. The son finally sold the collection to a friend who owned an antique store in Montesano WA. Many of the tools were beyond repair, but many were salvageable. I bought a few and sold a few on ebay; I think the only one I still own is a Lakeside framing square, pat'd 1913. It is a two-piece that fits together with a sliding dovetail and locks with a cam. It's still dead square after almost 100 years.

Michael Astera
Michael- I need a real bench... but I've got too many marshmallows on the fire to build one right now. I'm aiming to have a bench built by the end of the summer.

The Lakeside framing square sounds awesome. Does it have a patent number?
05/05/2011 Lewis E. Ward, Figure in the Wood
Hey, you lucked out. I've been looking for an Emmert pattern makers vice for a long time. It has been suggested to go to auctions in industrial areas where there were foundries. Thanks for the tip on Zaborski Emporium in Kingston. Thirty five years ago you could buy good Auburn wooden planes for $3 bucks a piece. Currently looking for a Stanley rabbit plane in good condition for a good price.
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