The market for rare and antique tools may seem like a niche sector but it is, in fact, a collecting area which generates international interest.

Woodworking tools have a particularly broad following with buyers seeking out the finest and rarest planes, chisels, braces, rules and carving tools. Some collectors look for particular makers like Norris, Stanley or Stewart Spiers while others focus on specific types of tool or examples representing the various historical developments in this area.

Some items, such as especially well preserved and finely crafted 17th and 18th century tools, are sought after as much for their decorative quality as for their historical function.


Farm tools help social enterprise to grow

14 August 2023

Antiques furniture dealer Philip Crosthwaite’s popular monthly antiques fair in Norwich will feature Richard Goddard, who sells antique vintage tools for a worthy social cause.


Great buy if you happen to be a tool nut

19 October 2020

MADAM – There is absolutely nothing that is not collected by some bloke, in some shed, somewhere.


Obituary: David R Russell, the tool collector extraordinaire

23 April 2018

David R Russell, a colossus among collectors of antique woodworking tools, has died aged 82.


Steeplejack ladders prove a hit at sell-out Fred Dibnah auction in Bolton

20 March 2018

Crowds descended on Bolton at the weekend to see the sell-out auction of the property of steeplejack and TV personality Fred Dibnah.


Carpenter’s tool store is chest the thing for unusual purchases

05 March 2018

Outselling much of the sort of furniture its owner could have worked on, an 18th century carpenter’s oak tool chest on stand was among the pleasant surprises for vendors at the opening sale of the year at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (21% buyer’s premium).

Needle in a haystack

Searching not required: ‘Needle in a haystack’ is offered at Birmingham NEC’s ‘Antiques for Everyone’ fair

15 November 2017

Among the artworks, furniture and collectables on offer at the upcoming Antiques for Everyone Fair is an object which could be considered the needle found in the proverbial haystack.

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The pick of the saleroom

26 February 2014

This ice pick belonged to the explorer James W. Dell who accompanied Scott on his first effort to reach the South Pole in 1901-04, serving as an able seaman aboard the ‘Discovery’.


Tools of trade as works of art

02 November 2012

A year after offering the first spectacular array of woodworking tools from the collection of David R. Russell, David Stanley Auctions of Osgathorpe included the third instalment from this prolific source at their most recent sale.


Fresh Norris woodworking tool interest is plane to see

22 May 2012

David Stanley Auctions offered the second part of the collection of woodworking tools formed by David R. Russell, renowned for the rarest and finest Norris planes.


Surgeon’s tools from Revolutionary War emerge at Massachusetts sale

05 September 2011

THE amputation tools used by a surgeon on the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) will appear at auction in October.

Three-day lathe show in London

02 June 2008

THIS week sees a three-day celebration of the art of the lathe organised by the Worshipful Company of Turners.


Woodworker receives a £16,000 rebate

07 August 2006

In June 1941 an 18-year-old apprentice cabinetmaker, L.F. Gillet of Stratford-on-Avon, won first prize in the prestigious Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers annual competition. The prize was a dovetailed steel and rosewood rebating mitre the ASW had specially commissioned from the Norris factory.


A well-travelled gift to a friend

13 October 2004

THE chronicles of Captain Cook and his perils on the high seas of the South Pacific, possess a mixture of action, adventure, discovery, science and romance that is enough to capture the most hardened imagination.



07 July 2004

PICTURED right is a 2ft 1in (64cm) Jacobean amputation saw made by Robert Hobbs that is appearing at a sale at the Cedars Hotel in Stowmarket, Suffolk on July 30.

Restorer’s dream sale

27 April 2004

THIS Saturday (May 1) Thomson Roddick & Medcalf will be selling the entire stock-in-trade of Edinburgh restorer and cabinetmaker William Trist at its Esbank saleroom.

Plane dealing lures US bids

27 August 2002

Americans being a major force in the arcane world of tool collecting,Tony Murland and Mike Hancock feared the US recession would hit their July 27 specialist Tool Shop Auctions, 10% buyer’s premium) at Needham Market.