I have restarted my old tool presence on the Internet. My old web page was an early old tool website but I never got past the lists of tools for sale to share information with other tool collectors. That was my original goal and with this new site I plan on doing that. It will be a combination of articles about old tools and of course some tools for sale lists. After all, that is how I get the money to purchase more tools. I am only a tool collector, not a very proficient user. Maybe that will come with time.
Tools have always been a visual thing for me. I enjoy the appearance of cast iron, rosewood and brass formed into a functional device. I am fascinated by the history of tools and how they fit into the growth of civilization and the rise of industry in these United States. Researching new tool finds through my books and catalog reprints is one of my favorite pastimes. During the next couple of weeks you will see this site grow as I add more pages dealing with specific types of tools. I don't claim to be an authority but I am an enthusiastic collector. So please spend a little time with me and share your thoughts with me about old tools.
Who am I? Where Am I? What am I up to?
I am Chuck Zitur. I live in Billings, Montana with my wife ,Sheryl and two boys Joe 16, and Jeff 20. My daughter Beth has grown up and flown the coop, so to speak. By day I am the customer service manager for a janitorial supply company, K.B. Commercial Products. I work every day in a 85+ year old building in downtown Billings. I am always amazed, in these days of steel girders and beams, that this building constructed of massive timbers and brick stands while other "worn out" 35 to 50 year old buildings are razed to make way for progress. I think that is a testament to the craftsmen who applied adze, hand saw and slick to create this building.
When the work day is over I retire to my humble abode where I pursue my various hobbies. My most active pursuit is my passion for old tools. I started buying old tools about 1989 when I purchased a rusty Stanley Defiance plane in a local pawn shop. I subdued this reprobate tool by sanding, wire wheeling and spray painting it into submission. I still own this original plane. It cowers in the corner of the garage afraid I will return to further desecrate it. But, no, I have mellowed out and no longer do this to tools.
I did go on a plane binge for a couple of years and at one point had over 600 planes of various types and condition. At the same time I was also buying any tools that looked old and were in my price range. (say $2.00 or so) More importantly I started to purchase books about my passion that helped me learn more about my possessions. I also began to subscribe to tool lists put out by Roger Smith, Ron Kaune, Louis Schmidt, Bud Steere, Bob Finch, Iron Horse Antiques and others. I still use these lists as a rich reference source. If nothing else they let me know that others were buying these same tools and had not been locked up in state facilities. You can only imagine my relief at finding that out. I also joined the two major tool collector clubs, Early American Industries Association and Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. Their publications The Chronicle and The Gristmill. gave me a lot of great information.
Somewhere in the mid 90's I purchased my first computer. Soon we had an internet connection and I began to search for others like me. I remember a fellow showing up in the AOL collectors forums. The Rat was Mike Urness from St. Louis. Many of you know him. And then I stumbled upon the old tools list. The Porch. Paddy Odeen. Tom Bruce. Patrick Leach, dealer supreme. The Galoot Buddy System as faithfully demonstrated by Tom Price and Steve Reynolds. The soul sacrifice of John Gunterman. Dr. George Langford, the brains of the gang. Sandy Moss who parlayed a single "My Daughter's Dowry" for sale list into a very popular old tools site. Some are gone to other passions. Many remain or resurface as time goes by. Jon Zimmers had a great tool site (he still does) with PICTURES OF TOOLS.
I remember the frantic emails when FMM (Flea Market Monday) graced my computer screen once a month. I began to sell tools to other "Galoots" and before long I found myself looking for more tools to sell. And then I built my own website. What had begun to be a forum to share information I had about old tools denigrated into tool for sale lists. But Alan Fisher promoted my site on the Electronic Neanderthal Woodworker and I sold tools to people all over the country. At the same time Nathan Lindsey, Randy Roeder, Patrick Leach, Tom Price, Pete Taran, Stan Faullin and others began to set up sights rife with content. That is my goal, my mission, to share old tools information with other collectors and users of these antiquities.
Along the way my collecting tastes have turned to boring tools of all sorts and screwdrivers. I will initially concentrate on that area trying to fill in the scattered pieces of information I have on these drills and braces. I will move on to other tool categories as time and knowledge allow. But be forewarned. I am not an academic or a great researcher. This will be compendium of things I have learned and things I have. It will not be all encompassing or definitive. It will be fun or it will not be at all.
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