Ray Hackbarth..... what are they worth

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Hello everyone, 

I’m very new to forums and have a question.  What are my leather tools worth? They are all R.Hackbarth stainless steel and I have 162 of them. Thank you in advance 

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If they are the older versions with the longer shaft, they are about 40 bucks each.


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Post on redit i have copied that may be of interest from a B Geister

I've been meaning to write this review for a while, now's as good a time as any. When it comes to stamps for tooling leather, pretty much everyone is familiar with two names: Tandy and Barry King. It hasn't always been that way. Before I dive into a review of these stamps, here's a quick bit of history.

Before Tandy was Tandy, the tools that would become Craftools were made by RBS. RBS was a collaboration between Lou Roth (who would later acquire the Craftool Co. from Dick McGahen), Ellis Barnes (who would make tool for Craftool for many years before acquiring Gomph Hackbarth from Ray Hackbarth) and Al Stohlman (yes, that Al Stohlman). Each would go on to leave their mark on leatherworking history. For now, though, I'm going to focus on Ray Hackbarth and Ellis Barnes.

Ray Hackbarth was a toolmaker from Phoenix, AZ who was one of the first makers to use stainless steel for leather stamps. His business was eventually purchased by Ellis Barnes who began doing business under the Gomph Hackbarth name in Elfrida, AZ until his death until 2009. The current owner of Gomph Hackbarth is Ellis Barnes' longtime apprentice Lonnie Height. Lonnie makes his stamps in the Hackbarth machine shop using a variety of lathes, mills, files, and other hand tools.

While it's not well-known (Lonnie has a minimal web presence, no online ordering, a confounding catalog, and only accepts phone orders), Hackbarth tools are still being made and the quality is excellent. Over the course of our last conversation, Lonnie mentioned that he's selling an "introductory" tool set designed for someone that wants to get into tooling with quality tools without paying the cost associated with stainless. I'm often asked for recommendations for a beginner's set, so I purchased a 1018 set for evaluation.

The $145 set consists of the following tools in good medium-format sizes:

  • smooth bevelers in 3/16", 1/4", and 3/8"

  • 6 hole straight bargrounder

  • round and half round grounder

  • pear shader

  • thumbprint

  • 3/4" veiner

  • 3/8" camouflage tool

  • small lined and unlined seeder

  • 1/4" oval seeder

  • 1/4" mule track tool

  • 1/4" border stamp


  • Incredibly clean impressions

  • Medium knurl gives an excellent grip

  • Great value at less than $10 per stamp


  • Stamps are shorter than other makes, can be a little difficult for large hands

  • 1018 mild steel is less corrosion resistant than stainless

  • Ordering can be difficult, usually a wait to get a set

I'm very impressed with the quality of the impressions and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone-- if you look closely at the impression sheet, you'll see that every tool leaves a clean, crisp impression with good, even lines and depth.

For the money, it's a no brainer. You get 15 high quality tools for less than $10 each. A set of similar Craftool stamps runs $90-150 depending on pricing tier. The same tools priced individually from Barry King list at $400. The same exact stamps from Hackbarth in stainless list at $450.

If you want to get into tooling or you've got some tools but you're looking to expand, this set has all the stamps that you need to get started short of a flower center and an undershot beveler.

To buy a set, call Hackbarth Tools at 520-642-3891 -- he only takes phone orders, but does accept credit cards and PayPal.

Just FYI-- I'm not receiving any compensation for this review and don't have any financial interest in Hackbarth Tools.

Original file 


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