Everyone needs a hobby, whether it's a penchant for mountain biking that helps take your mind off a difficult day doing electronic circuit design or a knitting club that provides hats and mittens to underprivileged kids. Collecting is one hobby that easily fits into many different lifestyles. You can devote as much or as little time to is as you have available. If you're interested in being a collector but can't think of what you would like to collect, consider some of the more unusual categories, such as vintage tools.
Collecting vintage tools is the perfect hobby for men, especially older ones who tend to sprout phrases like "they don't make 'em like they used to!" Most men are naturally drawn toward tools and tend to randomly buy front auto plate adjusters and belt sanders, seemingly for no reason. If you know a guy like this, starting him out as a legitimate collector with a few pieces and a lot of information might be the perfect gift for the man who has everything.
Of course, you don't have to be a man to appreciate tools. Tools are functional, pragmatic, and in the case of vintage tools - well made. Anyone who appreciates design and function will have respect for a vintage tool collection. The best part about collecting vintage tools is that old window weights, cable cutter tools and ball peen hammers don't usually come with a hefty price tag unless you're chasing a rare item owned by someone who knows its value. Tools are designed to last, so even hard-used items will be fit to display after a little cleaning.
You can start your collection anywhere. There are many types of tools - planers, routers, hammers, plows, chisels, levels, measuring tools, wrenches, surveyor's equipment, saws, and specialty tools for artistic tasks like woodworking. There's so much out there that if you're a Toronto architect, you might want to focus on one area, like old architect trade tools, rather than adopting a broader approach. Antique tools tend to be elegant and well made, so they're versatile. They can be displayed as decorations or used in projects or both.
For serious collectors, internet forums and classifieds offer a platform from which to buy, sell and trade. They scour eBay regularly for deals and visit popular trading sites like www.vintagetools.net and www.dowdstools.com to chat and trade with friends. You can also look around for deals at home. Attend estate sales for older people who may have bought the tools when they were new and keep your eye open for likely looking garage and yard sales. You never know whose grandfather used to do equestrian in London, Ontario and had a collection of old farming tools.