Old Tools are Fantastic!

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
Through the joy of the rural network, we got a fresh Fallow today to process for the freezer. Mature does are not the biggest of deer at up to 50kg but not light either. Time was when hanging one off a 5m high beam would have been done by lifting it and bunging a line over. These days I need to work smart

Enter the Handy Billy tackle. A vintage 4:1 cast iron block & tackle that has a hook on each end. There would have been one on every farm at one point, probably several. They are useful for shifting big wood when bucking up firewood, lifting heavy beams and for hooking onto a Gambrel! With a Handy Billy hoisting a Fallow carcass is a one hand job!

Fallow carcass by English Countrylife, on Flickr


Our Handy Billy must be well over a hundred years old but with a little oil and reeving it with manilla it lifts huge weight with ease

Gambrel through ham strings by English Countrylife, on Flickr


Blocks are not just for boats!
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
8,513
2,131
47
Exeter
Thanks mate! It's a simple life, but very rewarding :)

I do wonder how much of what is made today will still be working flawlessly in 100 years time?

Pretty much guarantee nothing if its made by big business.

Now all design built to fail just after the warranty runs out or the latest software upgrade instructs it to stop working.... #colourmesceptical.


Still get the occasional home grown business owned by people that care that put production and longevity 1st however, But rarer each day.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
Pretty much guarantee nothing if its made by big business.

Now all design built to fail just after the warranty runs out or the latest software upgrade instructs it to stop working.... #colourmesceptical.


Still get the occasional home grown business owned by people that care that put production and longevity 1st however, But rarer each day.
I have an old post at the front of my property. Almost worn through with decades of abrasion. No rot. Where can I buy rot proof posts now?
 
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demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,484
498
-------------
There's lots of heirloom tools made nowadays to as good or better standard than ever.
Just look at good handplanes to see tools built to better tolerances than the best of the old Stanleys which are still good themselves.
I currently have a 90 year old 5 1/2 Jackplane which is lovely but there's modern manufacturers that make better blades for them, more accurate castings from ductile iron instead of cast iron.

Some old gear is great but sweeping generalisations are often hard to justify if you look close enough.

The good old tools have survived because they were good and usually pretty simple and the tat has long since been launched into the local tip.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
You may be right, but I think the expectation of longevity and maintainability has now gone in the main. Recent lawsuits over "right to repair" on very expensive items - from iPhones to John Deere tractors seem to indicate a preference for either obsolescence, rolling replacement or tied in servicing. It's a shame. I'm sure there are good, long lasting items out there, but longevity & maintainability seems less a point of pride now
 

birchwood

Nomad
Sep 6, 2011
365
48
Kent
I bought another Primus the other day, made a new filler cap washer for it and fired it up and made a brew. It was made in 1937.
I was wondering then how many things that if I bought it today would be working in 80 odd years
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
I bought another Primus the other day, made a new filler cap washer for it and fired it up and made a brew. It was made in 1937.
I was wondering then how many things that if I bought it today would be working in 80 odd years
Just so. Even simply the old brass materials are less corrosion prone!
 
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Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
811
1,039
Here There & Everywhere
I don't like to take the reactionary old fart position of 'things were better in my days' but when it comes to tools...I find myself in full agreement.
Generally, they were made of better steel. Although, as pointed out above, top end modern tools are just as good if not better.
But then it comes to cost.
For example, I really could do with a new set of chisels. They're not something I use very often at all, so can't justify shelling out silly money. So what I am waiting for is boot fair season to start and then go and buy chisels made of decent metal for a tiny fraction of the cost and sharpen them myself.
There's also something about a wooden handle. A tool with a wooden handle wants to be used. It wants to shape, craft, create. A plastic handle is mean and resentful - it does the job but there's no joy in it.
Well, that's how it seems to me, and that's all that matters.
 

Seagull

Settler
Jul 16, 2004
852
75
Gåskrikki North Lincs
+1 ref 'wooden handles'.. I have long thought that such things had some form of magnet-like attraction for people 'of their hands'.
What other reason can there be, that a bucket full of wooden handles has the power to draw such folk, unerringly across the width of a 3 acre car-boot sale ?
Regards All
Ceeg
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
+1 ref 'wooden handles'.. I have long thought that such things had some form of magnet-like attraction for people 'of their hands'.
What other reason can there be, that a bucket full of wooden handles has the power to draw such folk, unerringly across the width of a 3 acre car-boot sale ?
Regards All
Ceeg
Absolutely Ceeg. I once bought a bundle of ,(different) wooden hammer handles at a car boot because.....well...err

Stanley planes had rosewood handles. They probably aren't as durable as black plastic but are far more aesthetically pleasing and definitely more tactile. There's an argument that a tool for woodworkers SHOULD involve wood!
 
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TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,138
1,008
Vantaa, Finland
Generally, they were made of better steel.
This is in doubt, even plain carbon steels are nowadays better than long ago, at least quality is even. I think most differences are in heat treatment and I think things like chisels used to be tempered slightly softer than today. I suppose the same holds for planes and at least some knives, quite possibly for cutting tools in general.
 

Kadushu

Full Member
Jul 29, 2014
391
375
Kent
I was lucky enough to "inherit" some old chisels for free. They were all blunt and some of the wooden handles looked worse for wear. However, they sharpened up nicely and I recall whittling the frayed end off one of the handles and making it a comfortable dome. I like that they carry scars from their use and have that dark grey patina that carbon steel acquires when it's kept rust free. They are quite handy for wood working too ;-)
 
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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
Nice that you were able to get a matching pair of the sheaves Hugh. All too often stuff like that gets seperated and lost
They were being sold separately Steve :rolleyes:. Thankfully at a reasonable price so I smiled nicely and bought them both (I was using your Stanley no. 8 just the other day by the way - I mentally thank you each time).
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,815
764
Mercia
For those interested in the progress of "Fallow to freezer", today's work was to break all the primary cuts (e.g. haunch) into secondary cuts (e.g. topside, fillet, silverside etc)

This is secondary cuts from one haunch (plus trimmings for stew, jerky and mince)

Venison fillet, topside & other secondary cuts by English Countrylife, on Flickr

The next job is final preparation - cutting steaks, mincing preparing individual roasts etc.
 
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