Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So I've been thinking about owner's marks. In my shop, it's mostly the older tools that have owner's marks, and the older the tool the more sophisticated the owner's marks tend to be.
I think some pictures might help me explain what I mean, so here's a sample series in reverse chronological order - newest first.
Yellow paint - not really a mark, but I suppose it does its job (in a very unaesthetic way):
A simple set of initials stamped into the cheek of a metal bodied bench plane:
Initials stamped into a saw handle - not exactly done neatly:
Carved initials, also in a saw handle - done by hand and I like the style given to the "L.A.L.":
Initials and last name done with a dedicated stamp - and S.C. RANDALL took the time to neatly align his stamp (I've got a few of his, and they are all stamped very neatly - he obviously cared:
Three stamps on a British Plane - T. TURNER (maker), T. ATKINSON an owner with a simple dedicated stamp, and J. LONGBOTTOM, most likely the earlier of the two owners judging by his much fancier stamp:
And finally, an adjustable sash plane made my T.J. M'MASTER & CO. and owned by J.A.V.C., with neatly stamped oversize initials, and C. FITZGORGE with fancy stamp:
On this one, I think that the J.A.V.C. stamp is the older of the two, as it seems Fitzgorge was purposefully avoiding over stamping by using the angles. Which is also interesting, as some owners seemed to be trying to annihilate the names of previous owners with almost violent over stamping.
One thing I am curious about is if anyone is marking their tools today. I have a branding iron that I use to mark my shop products and larger tools I make, but I have never made or used an owner's mark. It's a little funny that my initial reaction is not to "hurt" the antique tool by adding my mark to it, when it is the recorded history of owners that makes the tool so fascinating to me. Why shouldn't some future owner look at my mark and wonder who I was and what I might have made with that tool. I mean, all the owner marks on the tool where contemporary at one point in time.
I've been thinking about making an owner's mark stamp, but to be honest, I don't really have an idea on how to go about it. I'm not sure how to carve a tiny version of my name in some kind of metal stamp. Any ideas? Has anyone done this?