"Brick and Mortar" Vintage Hand Tools (Mid-Atlantic Edition)
When buying an old hand tool, it's best to have it in your hands to try before you buy.
In the Pittsburgh region where I live, we have The Three Rivers Tool Collectors, which serves as a great resource for old hand tools. Tool collector associations such as the Midwest Tool Collectors may be near your area. Flea markets, yard and estate sales can be hit or miss. Another option for hand tool purchases are retail stores.
I wanted to see if we could create a list of stores, not including internet stores, that specialize in selling vintage hand tools. These antique hand tool stores can include a dedicated store just for hand tools or, also, a well stocked booth within an antique mall. I live in the Pittsburgh area, but often travel to Baltimore, so, my list is weighted more to include shops in the southern Pennsylvania and Maryland region. If you know of a shop not listed below, especially outside of the Mid Atlantic, please add it to the comments.
List of Antique Hand Tool Stores
The Tool Store above the Woodwright's School. Pittsboro, North Carolina. Owned by Ed Lebetkin. This store has the largest selection of hand tools that I have personally yet encountered, almost all in working condition. Ed will let you try many of the tools before you buy.
Quality of tools: excellent
Quantity of tools: good
Antique Crossroads. Hagerstown, Maryland. Solid small collection of some more unusual woodworking tools.
Update 2017: The booth is no longer there. There is a small collection of common tools in another booth.
Fayetteville Antique Mall. Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. There are two buildings that have booths with a wide selection of antique hand tools. One building is adjacent to the gas station while the other building is across the street from that building. There are many user tools as well as some collectible tools.
Quality of tools: fair to good
Quantity of tools: excellent
Emmitsburg Antique Mall, Emmitsburg, Maryland: Lots of user grade tools as well as some collectibles.
Quality of tools: fair to very good
Quantity of tools: a lot
Anderson's Bootleg Antiques. Columbia, Pennsylvania: A modest collection of tools with a preponderance of axes and hatchets.
Antique Village of Strasburg. Ronks, Pennsylvania. The building behind the parking lot has a vendor with a small but we'll curated collection of unique hand tools. The day I visited, there was an unusual miter slicer, a blacksmith's post vise, a couple of automatic saw setting machines, a gorgeous inlaid massive tool chest, etc, with fair prices.
Old Glory Antiques. Frederick, Maryland: Good collection of common woodworking tools. Good place for a new woodworker. The photo below shows about half of the items in the collection.
Update 2017: The booth has decreased by about half. Only a small collection of tools, mostly user grade. Several in a glass case that are more collectible.
Factory Antique Mall. Verona, Virginia.
Huge antique mall. One booth dedicated to hand tools.
Quality of tools: average
Quantity of tools: average
Fellow reader Mike added these 5 spots:
Jake's Flea Market, 1380 PA-100, Barto, PA 19504.
By far the best place to get woodworking tools cheap. One Lot dedicated to tools has a good selection of woodworking tools at resonable prices. Other lots vary week to week but can usually find something. Sunday is best. Get there early.
THE MILL PROPERTY ANTIQUES, 2910 Main Street (Rte. 23, Morgantown, PA 19543. Has a well stocked 3 or 4 booths by same owner.
Big Valley Antiques, 47 Auto Auction Cir, Reedsville, PA 17084. Has various tools throughout the two story barn building.
Bedford Street Antiques, LLC, 44 N Bedford St, Carlisle, PA 17013. Has a couple of booths dedicated to woodworking tools.
Hamilton Tool & Supply Co, 7th Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA.
I have not had the opportunity to visit the shops listed below:
Cellucci Saleables in The Heritage Antique Center. Adamstown, Pennsylvania
Dowd's Vintage and Antique Tools. Garland, Texas.
The New Boston Tool Room. Kingston, New Hampshire
Falcon-Wood. Sheffield, Massachusetts
Timeless Tools and Treasures. Bennington, New Hampshire
The Mechanick's Workbench. Marion, Massachusetts (by appt. only)
The Great Adirondack Tool Co. Johnstown, New York
The Colonial Homestead Workshop Millersburg, Ohio
Chris Schwarz reviewed this shop and noted a vast selection of tools including hundreds of hand planes. No official website. Cash or check only. Closed Sunday and some Mondays. 330-600-9445.
Hulls Cove Tool Barn Bar Harbor, Maine
Liberty Tool Liberty, Maine
Please feel free to add any of your favorite locations or add your input in the comments below.