- traditional tools

image of wood tools

Tools, repairs, re-handling, sharpening.

Over quite a few years of garden, woodland and estate work I have come to appreciate old tools. They are nearly always well balanced and well made. Buying and restoring old tools has become an obsession, and a small business. For a glance at what I do, have a look at my gallery (opens in a new window).

As of April 2019 I'm located at Black Dog (location map) in Mid Devon. More about my work can be found in this article from Reclaim Magazine. To learn more about the history and culture of tools and trades look at my list of links and books on tools and the items made with them. Tools for the woodland and timber trades are what personally interests me most. I particularly like edge tools (billhooks, drawknives, axes etc.) and always try to keep a good selection of them.

Please enquire if you have any specific tool requirements - if not in stock I can look for items without placing you under any obligation to buy. Repairs to your own tools can be carried out by arrangement. In most cases you can find prices on my repairs page. I'm often asked why some modern tools break, I've written a few notes on the subject.

If you think that you might need my services to source tools or for repairs, please get in touch by email. I'll try and respond promptly, but the majority of my work doesn't involve sitting at a computer, so please give me a day or so.

Each year I attend a number of shows and events in the Southern England, selling my tools. This is the best way to buy tools from me, as I can give you advice, and you can get the "feel" of items. A new departure for me is online sales.

I'm always interested in purchasing old tools (gardening, forestry, carpentry, joinery, blacksmithing, light engineering, fencing, agricultural etc.). Clearances of sheds, barns and workshops can be arranged. As you might expect I don't just buy to restore and sell - I keep rather a lot of tools to use.

Why ""? I think it is true to say that I have some Luddite tendencies. I don't wreck machines (well, not often, and usually not intentionally) but I do feel that older methods, materials and technologies are often needlessly thrown aside. Built in obsolescence and poor quality in manufacturing tend to make me grumpy! Tools and machines should be durable, repairable, and a pleasure to use.

I feel we should be more critical of the technologies, products and tools we are sold, and not let ourselves be pushed in directions that are disempowering, de-humanising and ecologically inept.

© 2023 Ian swain

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