Long one, the tops about the mortiser and the rest is the story behind it.
I picked up a Champion Mortiser today with very high gizmosistry and thought
somebody might be interested in it.
Here are some pictures.
It stands about 19 inches tall and the main gear is about 12 inches across.
The casting is marked J. LEUKART MFG. Patd Sept 10 1912 Columbus Ohio
Based on the date I found it at datamp here:
I found an old catalog that shows it mounted on a door and the type of work
it can do here:
As you turn the crank it spins the bit, advances and sweeps from side to
side for as much or little a range as you set. I have played with it enough
to figure out how to set the side to side sweep and I think the advance
mechanism, no idea if it also retracts with turning as well once the depth
hits the adjustable catch mechanism or if it just stops advancing. The
catalog says it can do a hole or a slot up to 6 1/4 inches long and that I
now can cut up to 120 lock mortises in a day. There's a couple of Youtube
videos showing the mechanical action and some other stuff on OWWM.com. It
is a pretty cool thing to play with.
The back story follows if you are interested. Kind of long and rambling,
but it was an interesting few hours.
I found it a couple of miles from my house. I got an email from the
Assistant Manager at my local Woodcraft (who knows I am into old tools)
saying "We had an older gentleman come in wondering if we knew anybody
interested in old Stanley Planes, here's his contact info". Prior to the
call I am thinking he'd have a couple of Stanley Handyman planes and maybe a
Shelton jack plane. So I make the call and he comments that he went into
Woodcraft to buy a rip saw and saw how expensive stuff was which lead him to
inquire if they knew anybody that wanted old tools. I was kind of
scratching my head on who isn't into old tools and wants to buy a hand saw.
And even if you are into old tools and hand saws, you probably just want a
rip to match the fact that you have a cross cut and are incomplete without
that rip. Seriously how many random people in 2019 are looking to buy a rip
saw? Ripping is a lot of work.
I was wrong on the Handyman and Shelton. House has one of those plaques on
it that we have out here that says it was built in 1795, this is a good
sign. We head to the basement and I notice the ceilings are like 12 feet
high, my house is 1860 with 10 foot ceilings on main house, but the basement
is 8. I have been told the high ceilings are to allow the hottest air to
rise and keep the person height of the room cooler in pre-AC days.
Basements here are below ground and generally cool so no need for high
ceiling. I comment on the unusualness of it in an old house basement, he
replies that it was a blacksmith's house and that the area that now houses
the oil burner was the forge. I go over and see what to me looks like a 8
foot tall 4 foot wide brick cave that could indeed have housed a coal forge.
Seems unusual to me to have a forge in the house basement, but actually
seemed legit. He points out some strap hinges on doors and latches and
things that indeed look hand forged and old. Very cool.
I talk to him about rip saws for a little bit, he tells me of a favorite one
with a hole in the handle for the thumb. I say it was probably a Disston
D-8 thumbhole rip saw. I later look through his saws (all cross-cut, a
decent Disston No. 12 but the horns looked a little bobbed). He tells me
nobody in the family wants the stuff, about his father buying tools, his
father buying tools from a carpenter that was a veteran of WWI as a
reference to the vintage of some of the stuff he has.
He had some stuff arranged in the basement on a bench, I first notice from
across the room a Stanley No. 55 that was mostly complete except for cam
stop and missing one oblong nicker and had the 4 boxes of cutters, a Stanley
No. 45 again complete with 3 depth stops, slitter, both rod sets, cam, and
has 2 boxes of cutters, etc.. He comments that on some things that he has
multiples that serve the same function he wants to keep 1 and sell the other
(so either the No. 45 or the No. 55, my choice). He says of a shelf under a
bench, these are the ones I want to keep, I ask if I can take a peek at
those. About 6 metal planes running in sizes from 4 to 8, with 2 in the 4
length. The duplicate No. 4 size was a Sweetheart No. 10 1/2 rabbet plane,
the other highlights are an early Bedrock No. 605 and a Type 4 No. 8. I
comment on the No. 8 saying it is from around 1880 and point out that it
doesn't have a lateral adjust. Vintages are 1880 to about 1930. A couple
of tongue planes, a groove plane, no set and they wouldn't mate up in size,
but he says he uses them. Had a good panel raiser from N. E. Tool Works out
of Groton, CT that were sold in the 1990s by Garret Wade and the like, I
think they must have been somehow connected to Leon Robbins of Crown Planes
as they look very similar to my eye. He says that one is more recent, I
tell him who I think made it and confirm it with the stamp on the heal of
So back to the bench. I make a pile. We agree on a price after a very
little back and forth.
I then keep looking, there is a ton of stuff, mostly mundane block planes
(had a Millers Falls 07 like a Stanley No. 140 that he wanted to keep,
Stanley No. 9 1/4, etc.), lots of chisels (all old and decent), spokeshaves
(stanley No. 51, 151, 55). Decent stuff, but common and I just don't want
the work of cleaning, sharpening, storing. Mostly stuff where the perceived
value to a person who has no knowledge of tools values and a person who has
knowledge of tools values pretty much match. A random spokeshave looks like
it would be worth $10 or $20 to the non-tool person and it probably is to
the tool person also. I was looking more for stuff that I could pay him
fairly for but might have an actual value higher than what he might think.
Looking more for wholesale prices than retail prices. We come upon the
mortiser, he thought was for post and beam, but I thought was for probably
for doors as it looks too narrow and light duty for post and beam. That
gets added to the pile.
Here's the small pile I left with without the mortiser
Stanley No. 45 Type 12 (1915-1920) in near new shape (the condition of this
was much better than the No. 55 so I opted for this)
Stanley No 45 No. 5 Bullnose attachment and cutter (this came in a craftsman
made bow with the No. 45)
Stanley Sweetheart No. 71 near new with just some light storage rust with
all the parts in a ratty box
Millers Falls No. 85 Rabbet plane complete in ratty box
Stanley No. 90 Made in USA (he opted to keep a No. 92)
2 Stanley No. 203 bench brackets
Early Siegly No. 2 combination plane with beading cutter
Stanley No. 39 3/4 dado plane
On the fan, we were digging out what appeared to be a GP miter box that had
a weld repair when I saw it. I commented "there can be some value in older
fans with brass blades" just trying to be nice figuring it is probably about
$100 to a collector based on a past one or two I sold. He asks If I am
interested. I say no. He says "I'll let it go cheap". I don't want it,
but say or groan "how cheap", he says $10. So it's in the pile. After I
agree to buy it he says it still works. He proceeds to plug it in to show
me it spinning and oscillating, which it does. He then goes to unplug it
and moves the cord which results in sparks shooting in all directions from
the cracked and frayed cord. Proving once again hand tools are the safest
way to go.
A good haul at somewhat aggressive wholesale prices that we both seemed ok
with. I had fun, he commented that he liked the fact that somebody who
appreciated the stuff and was knowledgeable about it was getting it.