The Wooden Clamp Journal

Issue Six, October 1999
Dedicated to those
who love, use, collect, or deal in wooden clamps

Issue List

Table of Contents

(Any particular issue may have more, or less, than this list.)

Editorial Comments

The WCJ is for presentation and discussion of any material related to wooden clamps, and related devices, whether factory made or craft made. I'd be especially keen to receive information about clamps made outside the USA.

The companies that made wooden clamps also made pianoforte clamps (aka bar clamps) and bench screws. I think those are worth discussing too.

Discussions are also welcome about transitional clamps, with metal screws, or about other clamping devices, such as Tarbell's Improved Clamp, patented in the 1890s.

Please mail your ideas or suggestions about what you want to read.

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id="RPTS" >Reports on Past Events

I went to the Spring and to the Fall Brimfield Flea Markets, and the usual analysis of prices is presented below. The Spring Market had almost 3 dozen clamps, mostly of good quality, while the Fall Market had less than 2 dozen, none of them very good.

A hurricane had come through earlier in the week in September, and some fields were emptier than usual for a Saturday, but I was surprised to find maybe 80% of the dealers were still there.

Would anyone like to report on any Recent Auctions? Meetings of Tool Collectors?

Histories of Makers, Sellers, Owners, Users

Recently, several new makers, sellers, owners or users have come to light:

It has been fun tracking down what is known. In some cases, the owners of the material have been kind and generous to let me examine it. Certainly, I have received cooperation from state, county, and city historical societies.

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Questions, Answers, Speculations

What to do with Grandpa's Tools

Also, this last year, I had an interesting exchange of email with a person who had inherited a number of clamps, and who wondered what might be done with them. We discussed auctions, such as eBay, and sales to dealers, and the prices that might be obtained. No great windfall was likely, and selling the inheritance was not attractive.

We also discussed ways to establish a history for them. They had owner's marks, with a fairly uncommon name. I used a telephone number search engine, and found only a half dozen men so-named. I surmized that one (or more) was a likely descendent, and could supply information about his ancestor. This would make them more attractive gifts to a historical society.

In the end, the owner was most attracted to a donation to a nearby living museum, where they would be appreciated, put to good use, and seen by interested people. The likely dates of manufacture and the period of the museum were mis-matched by a few decades, but only a few experts would detect that.

Any suggestions about other possible uses? Please send email.

Price Update

It's time for update of prices. This is based, as usual, on Saturday asking prices for every handscrew I could find at the Brimfield Flea Markets. Your mileage may vary.

In the Spring, 34 hand screws were found, in conditions ranging from poor to very good, and the typical price was 20 or 25$, with a low of 5$ for just a pair of jaws (suitable for making candle holders, I was told), to a high of 39$.

In the Fall, just 21 hand screws were found, in conditions ranging from damaged and poor to good. The smaller items tended to be the better ones, and the larger the poorer; this confounding of the data means that the analysis is not too good.

Dealer ignorance was rampant. One dealer had a Bliss Number 14 dated to 1760 to 1820. When I said that Bliss didn't exist before 1830, and didn't number things before the Civil War, he reminded me that historical records couldn't be trusted, and things weren't always what they seemed. Too true!

Another dealer had a couple of married clamps, Bliss Mfg x ONeil; he said he had never noticed, and didn't know there were factories for clamps - he thought they were all hand-made.

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Letters to the Editor

Editorial Policy will be to print all letters, edited for length, relevance, or offense.

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