Yeah Don, many years ago I found a German-made scissor sharpener with the guides and everything lying in the middle of the road. I use that grinder now, for sharpening my HSS bits. It has a white stone on one side and a whet wheel on the other side. Makes for a really keen edge.
I have found the usual wrenches and sockets. My cousin, a retired truck driver is always finding things. Once he found a chain binder, another time he found a nice wide tie down strap, but the best item was a 3/4 drive impact wrench. It's one of those expensive super heavy duty units. The best part is he gave them to me. So needless to say I'm happy.
I once found a nice Huntsman Welding Hood and a pair of welding gloves. Another time I found a pair of insulated coveralls, brand new but covered in cow crap. Too big for me so I gave them to my brother in law.
So far a NAPA led work light rechargeable type. Works better than a new one I bought from another maker. Just had to replace the on/off switch in the base and find the right charger. Use it all the time.
Last week I was driving home from a meeting in another town in the Northern part of the state. I decided to take a " shortcut " which involved about 11 miles of dirt road. I was cruising along and something caught my eye in the trees so I turned around to see what it was. Lo & behold there is 16' fiberglass ski boat sitting in the dirt. Apparently it had been stolen, stripped and left for dead. 100 miles from any water so it was surprising to see it out there in the woods. There she still sits.
I was on my way to Dallas some years back, when a heater hose blew. Where i stoped the car there was a slip joint pair of pliers by the right front tire. I used them to bypass the heater core and resume my trip. I also found a heavy cast iorn stanley level on the highway, Although the vials were broke the boddy survived. Any one know where I can get replacement vials??
Does one's driveway count as a road? My shop is 30 miles from the house. One day several years ago I pulled into the driveway and saw some sort of odd-shaped black plastic case sitting right in the middle of the driveway. Turned out to be a newish Craftsman 18" chainsaw. I figure someone must have parked in my driveway and done some work in an adjacent lot, and pulled out with it sitting on the tailgate. I'm still using that saw.
Driveway counts. I have a Craftsman chainsaw that I found sitting out for the trashman over 10 years ago. Replaced the fuel lines and I've used it many times since.
As far as replacement level vials I've used the ones from McMaster Carr to replace some over the years. http://www.mcmaster.com/#vial-levels/=lgv5lr
I found a piece of 5/8'' hot rolled plate laying on the berm of the road. It is 6" by 48" Not rusty. Last autumn I found a like-new 5 gal Eagle metal safety gas can with the attached funnel laying partially covered with leaves about 6 feet off the road in the woods.
Although not strictly a roadside find, my best unexpected yard sale find was someone whose father was a machinist and long gone. The person didn't have much of interest at the yard sale, but he mentioned his father's tools when we were talking and then took me down to his cellar to see them. I bought a bunch of stuff at almost give away prices. e.g. an Interapid DTI for either $15 or $20, I forget now. The tools had been stored in a damp basement and many had a light coat of rust. I was hesitant to pay a whole lot for many of them since I didn't know how the rust would affect the accuracy of some things. In the end I made out pretty well.
I found a large set of snap-on snap ring pliers a few years back, internal and externals. They were laying right in the middle of the road on the entrance ramp to the highway. There had to be a dozen pairs of all different types. Not those universal POS with the interchangeable tips, these are all high quality Snap-on snap ring pliers. Gotta be worth $100 new.
-Not sure if this counts since it's not a tool but, I was walking through a forest preserve and someone dumped a bunch of cut-up steel hollow telephone pole sections each about 4' long and 3/8" wall. They were big tapered tubes. Had to walk 1/8 mile each way but I brought all home. 10 of e'm! Carried two at a time. LOL. Ranger stopped me and started to hassle me but after explaining, he went along.
1/4" drive snap on socket set in the box in a parking lot. My son found a five gallon pail full of Aloris QCTP stuff in New York. I think he got $600 buck for it on E-bay. Didn't need it then, but I do now. Oh well.
Mine was a King-Seeley Jointer (i.e. Craftsman).
Surface rust and a motor that was filled with wood chips.
The motor had grease filled rope packing (20s?)
Cleaned out the wood chips and the motor fired up fine, the second time.
Cleaned the rust and she works great!
I found a Milwaukee right angle hole shooter(similar in size to a sawzall) still in its case with large bits. Some sawdust/particles in case so looked to be a plumber's. The case was surprisingly not smashed. It was just around a corner so it appeared to have slid off the back of a vehicle and landed flat on its bottom.
Being in a smallish town, I felt guilty that i didn't attempt to find its owner and subsequently(much later) gave it away to someone who needed it.
I have returned tools that I've found if they were marked with a owner. I found a 24" aluminum pipe wrench a few years ago. It was marked as belonging to a local Co-Op so I turned it in to them. They said it had been missing for over 5 years.
Several years ago I was taking the dog for a springtime walk in the mountains. I found a Cornwell 3/8" ratchet (upper right in photo) sticking out of a snow pile. Later that same day I was driving down the street and I found a cheap Ace Hardware 3/8" socket set over a 1/4 block length of road. I'd never found a ratchet before, and I find 2 in the same day.
I've also found a monkey wrench, several screwdrivers, and a few vise grips.
I know guys this will take a lot of believing, Some forty years ago, I was in a train heading from Inverness to near Inverurie direction in Scotland, Sitting watching the scenery go by , I ended up doing a double take, Way out in the country sitting right slap bang in the middle of a field, Wait for it guys -- A lathe! I nudged wife in the ribs, & said, "We have just passed a lathe sitting in the middle of that field" I still remember the strange look she gave me,
I sometimes wonder yet how an old lathe about i would say 6" centre height ended up there, The only thing i can think on was the farmer in a little farmer further along possibly was dragging it home by 4 legged horse power, a bit at a time
I certainly did not mention it to my doctor when i returned home lest he thought my job had got to me big time , & i ended up being detained in a psychiatric hospital
One of lifes little puzzles i will never fathom out
Found a fairly new 25'- 1/2" log chain along side of the road. Last week I noticed something in the road ahead on a wide curve. Several cars in front of me ran over it as they drove by. It was an American flag. Don't know how long it was there but I almost got killed when I stopped and retrieved it. Brushed it off and it now hangs in my shop as a reminder of the "patriots" that passed this jewel up. My wife found a new Christmas tree several years ago in the retail box. She pulled it out of the road, waited an hour and threw it in the truck. She even contacted the store that it was shipped to to see if they knew what was going on. They said just to keep it. We still have that tree up at Christmas.
Since driveway finds count last summer I found a Craftsman floor model drill press, a 6" Craftsman jointer and a 10" cast iron Craftsman table saw setting at the end of a driveway marked free a block from my parents house. There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of them and they were all good old USA machines from the 1970's. Turned out the owner was moving and just wanted them to go away quick!
Not on the road side, but I'd been in my house for about two years, when I had to go crawling underneath to fix a tub leak. I found a huge Wiss upholstery scissors, nice sheet metal shear, a big pipe wrench, and an old brass steam whistle. The tools weren't even that rusted.