Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gloat! Flea Market at Theresienwiese

I do not get to do much rust hunting.

The Frau is not a fan of flea markets, so I rarely get to go to one.  If I do, I usually wind up dragging her in to one that we stumble upon.  Very rarely do I get to find any decent tools at these small markets.

Today, however, I made a plan.  One of the largest flea markets in Germany was to take place today on the location of Oktoberfest!  I invited my beautiful bride to accompany me, but she wanted to go to the outlet stores instead.

It was raining cats and dogs today.  I got up and to the flea market early (OK, early for me on a Saturday) at about 8:30 or so.  I figured if I got out of the house early, and since it was raining, that there might be fewer people shopping there.  That could be, but I still thought it was crowded.

The rain was a disaster.  Only about half of the stalls had any kind of tarp over it.  My guess is that any old tools that weren't bought today will be ruined forever.  For instance I saw two magnificent, big, old frame saws laying in the mud displayed next to a bunch of other old crap, just soaking up water.  More than once I found wooden planes laying on the wet pavement, in the mud, or in a tub with standing water in it.  I knew there were some tools out there that desperately needed rescuing before they disintegrated.

The second table I stopped at had a big plastic tub full of old wooden planes.  Most of them were crappy junkers, but  I pulled this nice little smoother out and paid 8 Euros for it.

I need another smoother like I need a hole in the head, but it would have been destroyed otherwise.  I picked it out because it had what looked like a user installed patch on the throat.  My opinion is this is a sign that a tool of quality was used well and taken care of.  I think this will turn out to be a nice little user.

There were no markings indicating the manufacture of this plane that I could make out.  The only marking other than a "48" on the heel was on the iron.
Not familiar with this iron.
Speaking of the iron, it looks to have a magnificent tapered iron that was sharp, clean, and installed in the plane correctly.  Nice.

Tapered blade.
Feeling smug I wandered around for the next hour not finding anything of note.

Then, I felt like I hit the mother loade.  I came upon a miter jack.

Miter jack.
As soon as I saw it I knew that no matter what I had to have it, even if it didn't work.  Amazingly, the wooden threads seemed to turn freely, and the moving block slid easily in it's track.  I was thinking at worst, I could use it as a plan to build my own.  Happily, as far as I can tell it is in perfect working order.

It appears to have two working sides, one 45, the other 60 degrees.

Nice manufacturer's medallion.
I really didn't need any new tools.  Who would think you would run across one of these in the rain and mud in Munich?  I hurriedly handed over the 30 Euros to take possession.  Once this thing dries out, I'll tune it up and put it to good use in my shop.

While the previous owner was helping me put this thing in my big framed backpack (thanks for the tip, Michael!), he saw the smoother plane that was already in there.

"You might be interested in what we have under this box!" he said, and opened a trunk full of old planes and mallets.  It was fun going through all of that stuff.  I chose a scrub plane that caught my eye.  One can really tell the difference between the modern junk and the quality old stuff.

This thing feels so natural in your hands.  I can't wait to try it out.  Well worth the 10 Euros that was asked.

Oh, I have no need for another scrub plane, either.

I had almost used up my alloted time, so decided to make a quick run in one section that I hadn't even been to yet.  While I was zipping down the lane, I stopped at one table and right in front of me was this, which I paid 6 Euros for:

Nice mortise chisel.
I am also unfamiliar with this mark.

When I bought it I thought it was a German mortise chisel.  When I got it home, I noticed the handle was a hornbeam replacement.  Not a bad handle, but it is round.  This tool actually is an old English pig-sticker.  When this one wears out, I will replace it with a traditional oval shaped handle.  I'm not positive until I check against my plow plane irons, but I think it is a 3/8" chisel rather than the metric equivalent.  Score!

I think over all I could have spent a lot more time there and hunted a bit more for some real bargains.  However, there is no way that I can complain on a day when I found a miter jack in the wild.  Who would have thought?

Besides, if I had spent any more time there, it could have really cost me and my bag was full.


  1. Well done Brian!

    I missed a miter jack last week on ebay... the seller didn't know what it was, listed it as a gluing clamp and it finished unsold at 1 euro :(

    The local flea market was ok, but in the end I only bought a scratch awl and a miter square. My friend scored 2 bench dogs and a plumb bob by picking them before me. I almost purchased yet another broad axe but decided to keep the money for something else instead. There were also a few Ulmia tools: miter box, frame saw and jack plane.

    The cheap electric glue pot got delivered this morning and the first batch of bone glue is soaking :) I'll make a batch of 192g hide glue next.

    1. Do you think miter jacks are common in Germany? Regardless, I think the one I have will turn out just lovely.

      A glue pot would be cool. Someday, when I grow up, I want to be like you.

    2. Miter jacks are more common in Germany and Italy than in the rest of Europe, from what I have gathered. The 1 euro one was exceptional, normally they do fetch around 50.

      Yours is more than just lovely, it is a well regarded brand.

      By the way, the glue pot is a baby bottle warmer... it fits the bill for a fraction of the cost ;)

    3. Aha. Good idea! Might have to give it a try.

    4. @ michael
      You should contact the seller, even if it ended unsold! I have done this before, I found a mallet like this and other stuffs, contacted the sellers after I missed the biding endtime..

  2. Hi Brian,
    since you don't need that miter jack, here's my address......

  3. Dude... it's a shame they don't have this tool market in the same location at the end of September... I'd be in heaven (and then in hell the next day with a headache and more tools than I remembered buying!)

    1. Old tools and festbier. Not sure if that sounds like a good idea or a bad one.

  4. Nice catches!
    Unless I am mistaken, it looks like you didn't bargain the price...
    The miter jack is beautiful!

    1. Thanks Aymeric. I actually did, but didn't save that much. I'm not quite such a cutthroat negotiator as my sister Linda. You should see her at the garage sales. If something is marked 25 cents, she will haggle just for the sheer principle.