A RETIRED cabinet maker has sold part of his collection of antique woodwork tools for £145,000.

David Russell put the first 240 items of his 1,500 piece collection under the hammer at a Leicestershire auctioneers at the weekend.

The former Kendal apprentice joiner sold one vintage gun-metal Norris plane for £13,500.

“I was over the moon about the auction,” he said.

“My book with photographs and descriptions of many of the items sold must also have given the bidding a good boost.

"It was quite tense and emotional to watch it all happen.”

Mr Russell has spent four decades seeking out antique carving and planing pieces.

His interest in trade tools was inspired by the beauty of a Norris woodwork plane, owned by his boss Bill Whitehead, at a cabinet workshop, in Kendal.

“I had almost an irresistible urge to pick up and handle it whenever I saw it,” he said.

“This tool caught my imagination, it was the very peak of quality.”

His own collection began when, at an antiques market in Charnock Richard near Chorley, he bought his own Norris Smoother for £5.

Mr Russell’s portfolio of designs expanded to include pre-historic implements, items dating from 200AD and 19th Century pieces sculpted with snakes, monsters, cherubs and naked ladies.

“When I served my apprenticeship as a joiner in Kendal, all those years ago, I would never have thought that seeing a few beautiful planes in the workshop at the time would turn me into such a keen collector,” he said.

“It has been a wonderful life’s passion but I feel the time has come to put the collection up for sale.

"This will, I hope, kindle new interest among collectors and craftsmen.”

Last year Mr Russell, who now lives in France, published a book about his collection which contained 935 illustrations and 1,556 entries.

Antique Woodworking Tools Their Craftsmanship from Earliest Times to the Twentieth Century is already regarded as a ‘bible’ in the field and will be stocked at the Victoria & Albert Museum.