events #2: Anderson Plywood "Tools of the Trade" Old Tool Swap Meet - pics!

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 02-24-2010 12:13 PM 6157 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Anderson Plywood “Tools of the Trade” OLD TOOL SWAP MEET Part 2 of events series Part 3: EMPLOYMENT »

I’ve been lagging on getting these pics up since this past Saturday. I’ve been busy in the garage, and tonight I went to see a taping in Hollywood of an episode of a TV show that my old friend from college wrote. It’s his first written episode, and it was a good time.

Anyway, Anderson Plywood is in west LA, just north of the Washington/Sepulveda intersection:

Anderson Plywood seen from the closest intersection

Anderson Plywood

It didn’t look like there was too much to see walking up from the nearby lot:

swap meet

However, I kept finding more tables tucked around corners, and a very long table one guy had set up inside Anderson’s building. It was the length of most of the building inside!

swap meet tables

I only took a few shots of tables, but this will give a small sense of what kinds of things are at these meets:

planes and old hand tools

swap meet table

old tools

swap meet tables

One of my favorite ‘exhibits’ was Steve. He was the only guy there not selling anything. He just likes woodworking and came to hang out:


Steve had built a simple, but very solid little workbench with a lot of little bells and whistles, especially on the back side. It could hold things in all manner of directions very stably. I mentioned LumberJocks a few times while touring the tables, and was shocked to find no one who’d heard of it. Where are all of our 16k members coming from? Steve was the most interested and took down the information. Hopefully he’ll join up and say hi.

He let me try out by far the largest plane I’ve ever used, though sadly, not knowing much yet about planes, I don’t recall the make or model number. I believe it was the one on the table in front of him. It was nice to feel finally how a good, larger, properly set-up plane works. It’s a lot better than the little 6” block plane I have at smoothing long edges of planks. Just the weight and handhold area makes it so much easier to power through a cut, though I really didn’t need any power. It just slid right over the board, peeling up a nice shaving the whole way. Some day I’ll get one or a dozen…

Here’s the back of Steve’s bench with all of it’s doodads. The top was lauan:

Steve's bench

Inside there was a guy who must have had 100 of these blue bins, all full of interesting tools from the common to the unidentifiable. This one held a tool with a tag that said “IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS IS – CUP YOUR NUTS & WALK AWAY” :)

tools in a bin

On that table, hidden in with everything else was something I wanted “just because.” It was an antique wooden box, about lunchbox size. The top half lifted away to reveal dozens of punches in drilled holes all around the perimeter, inches deep in each direction, and all framing a little metal device in the middle that looked like a mini microscope. It was used by watchmakers. You could put a small metal part where the microscope slide would go (in this analogy), and stick a punch through where you’d normally look through a microscope, and tap it with a hammer to punch the metal on the plate below it. The plate was actually a disk with little holes all around it. The smallest was like a needle point. You could unlock the disk and spin it around to align the correct size hole beneath the punch. I have no use for it, but it just seemed so cool. A lot of the fun was just finding a bin full of eclectic devices from all manner of creative fields and trying to solve their function.

One was a little bracket with a long, thin ribbon of metal sticking from one wall across a back plate to the opposite side. It was just like a long, paper-thin feeler gauge. A man standing next to me and I both tried for a while to guess its function. The metal ribbon would spring up and down, and its tip lined up with an arc of numbers along the back. I thought maybe it read pressure, or temperature, but finally realized it must somehow weigh light things. That’s when I noticed etched above the numbers the word “GRAMS.” We couldn’t figure out how or to what it should be mounted, or what on earth you’d balance on the little strip of metal, but at least now we knew what it measures. There were a lot of things like this, so I spent an hour browsing.

In the end, I didn’t buy anything. I’m just on too tight a budget for now, and I still have so much to deal with in my garage without adding any new clutter. There were 50 or so things I’d like to have picked up, especially a number of unusual hand planes, and of those especially the specialty planes, like the moulding planes and the router plane with the bronze version of the usual wooden plane handles. If you’re anywhere around this area between 6AM and noon this coming May. 15th, consider stopping by, and thanks again to Anderson Plywood for hosting this 4 times a year!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

7 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23262 posts in 5008 days

#1 posted 02-24-2010 12:19 PM

Nice little get together. I take it you don’t know what that is, eh? (Talkin’ Canadian in honor of the Olympics:-) )

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 4781 days

#2 posted 02-24-2010 12:50 PM

That “thing” is used to turn bulls into steers.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5294 days

#3 posted 02-24-2010 03:56 PM

Yep, a Burdizo if I remember correctly

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4440 days

#4 posted 02-24-2010 05:40 PM

Thanks for sharing these Gary. I will have to see if anything like this comes to my part of the world.

As far as the rest, after reading the comments, I just cupped my balls and walked away…


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View lew's profile


13486 posts in 5087 days

#5 posted 02-25-2010 05:44 AM


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Scott's profile


66 posts in 4661 days

#6 posted 03-03-2010 01:41 AM

Thanks for the pics Gary. You and I are in the same town working for similar industries!

The Anderson event was my first tool swap. Definitely looking forward to the next one. I was very stoked to pick up a nice brass jeweler’s hammer (will serve as a wooden plane hammer) and also scored a set of James Swan auger bits. My big score was this two speed $15 Goodell-Pratt 5 1/2 hand drill. Works like a charm!

Goodell-Pratt 5 1/2

-- Scott

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4713 days

#7 posted 03-03-2010 12:29 PM

To everyone who taught me about Burdizzos, thanks. Now I’m sitting funny. Hope I forget about them soon enough!

Scott – that hand drill is a beauty. I think had I seen that, I would have bought something that day! Nice score.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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