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Men in Shed's Shop - A tool lovers dream

A look at the wonderful Men in Shed's Shop on Paris Street.

Walking into the Men in Sheds pop-up shop, on Paris Street, is quite an experience if you love the rich colours of old worn wood and paint. It’s a world of precision tool making at its best, when the blade would last a life time and the handles would be polished by that lifetime of use. ‘The only one like it in the country’ they’ve been told.

 

Picture of Ray and Steve manning the Age UK Exeter Men in Sheds Shop

Ray Hood and Steve Rowe of Men in Sheds volunteer to man the shop, supporting the project that they love, and sell on these restored treasures to eager craftsmen and women, or complete novices wanting to tame the new garden they’re now custodian of. A young woman buys a hoe and some old secateurs, Ray and Steve make sure the blade has been sharpened before she leaves, warning it’s now sharp as she places it in her bag, and they wrap the ends of the hoe to make it safe.

 

Whilst I am chatting a lady purchases a bundle of beautiful old ‘yard sticks’, sort after for their patina, she returns after some time caught by the romance of some old meters – one clothed in a thick leather satchel and stamped with the P.O. of the post office. Big old and dramatic with their Ohms, Volts and Ampere dials and displays – a Steampunk's dream! She says they’re going to a very loving home.

Pictures of the old meters, one is a post office meter showing Ohms, the other just has Volts and Amperes

Another customer considers the longevity of the tools - ‘people just don’t sharpen them anymore…’ and Ray picks up two of the restored saws, showing the difference in sizes caused by the sharpening process. He buys, and then promises to return with the dusty tools that he no longer uses - ‘silly to keep them unused when someone else can have the joy of them’.

 

I walk around the rows of tools, from hammers and chisels to hoes, rakes, shovels and spades. There are drills, shears, pruners, spanners, dibbers, rollers, saws of many kinds and my favourites - the planes. Despite the amount on display they are always eager for more to refurbish and sell, not only at the shop, but at fetes and events. Watch out for them, they could be coming to a street or a green near you, and please, bring them your unloved tools for them to cherish back to life!

Rows of refurbished tools at Age UK Exeter's Men in Sheds' Shop

The Paris Street Shop is next to the Bus Station and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.

A pop-up stall will be at:

Silverton Street Market on Saturday 5 August

The Green Fair, Cathedral Green, Saturday 2 September.