Tools and tool troubles. #2: Buying used tools at auction

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Blog entry by Roz posted 12-02-2009 06:55 AM 2962 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Plainer problems. Part 2 of Tools and tool troubles. series Part 3: Clamp storage ideas.....have any? »


I got a call the other day from my brother-in-law the auctioneer. He ask if I was interested in a couple of sanding tables. Knowing nothing about them I said sure I’ll give you 100.00 a piece for them. So they went through the sale and I got them both. I passed one along to another LJ who lives in my area and we split the expense. They came from a large cabinet company that went out of business. The bad news is that there were several nice tools that went very cheap the week before which I did not hear about. Things I really would like such as a drum sander, cabinet makers sliding table saw, lathe etc. So my point is, in this economy, check bank sales and auctions for tools you might want. You can find big savings. These tables sale new for around $1800.00 each. They are used but work fine. Sure there are risk, buying the way I did but I could have tested them before the sale too.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

12 comments so far

View yarydoc's profile


417 posts in 4152 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 07:21 AM

Nice table. Everything we own is used after we buy it.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

View hunter71's profile


3544 posts in 4194 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 01:22 PM

I love auctions and many of my tools have come from private sales. Like last week when we went to a local trade day. Got there early while many were still unloading. There was a B&D 1 3/4 HP plunge router like new. I grabbed it up and the owner said $5. Looked new, was about new. Runs perfect. Next week a bench top drill press…$20.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4829 days

#3 posted 12-02-2009 02:06 PM

Roz, that is a nice addition to your shop. This is an addition that I would like to have in my shop. You got a great buy on it and too bad about missing out on the other tools. I have picked up a few tools at auctions and have seen other auctions where the particpants get caught up in “auction fever” and spend more than the item is worth.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 4275 days

#4 posted 12-02-2009 02:27 PM

Aside from from your shiny captures which we enjoyed…wonderful job, let’s see more!

However, let’s get this straight…your wonderful brother-in-law, who was the sale’s official auctioneer did not give you a heads up on the sale?

We would kick our brother-in-law in the arse, and we find it amazing that you would even admit to such a slight.

Although one never knows what one finds on LJ!

Indeed amazing .

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4128 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 07:39 PM

great find. Great advice

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4794 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 07:42 PM

Well, PineInTheAsh,(witty name!),
My brother-in-law shows up on auction day and does his thing. He doesn’t often see the stuff before hand. Even if he did I doubt he would really know what he was looking at. To quote him,”there are two types of trees, pine trees and oak trees”. That pretty well sums up the extent of his woodworking knowledge.

Scott, I know just what you mean, I have seen it and fear doing it myself, on anything I am not sure of the value of.

These sales often sale hand power tools in large boxes called lots. I missed some really good buys on routers, drills, etc. I bet this is going on all over the country with the ecomomy being slow.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4294 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 07:45 PM

Glad for your find on a great deal. Auctions can be a great place to buy tools especially in this economy.

A few words of caution based on my experience.

1. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war. You may win, only to find you overpaid.
I have seen clamps and such go for more than new prices. Know what something is worth before you bid. Small items seem to be the worst, but I’ve also been shocked at the bidding on even table saws. I have been amazed in the past at what some will pay.

2. Unless your shop has 3 phase power, make sure the equipment you’re bidding on has single phase. I’ve seen several guys think they got a heck of a deal, only to find they couldn’t use it. We recently got a single phase motor for a 35 year old Powermatic to replace a 3 phase that a customer owns. It came to over $500 with no labor.That’s not always the case, this had to come from Powermatic. Some replacement motors are standard—just know your stuff.
I have 3 phase and have gotten some incredible deals at auctions because it limits the bidders.


View rustfever's profile


799 posts in 4317 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 11:06 PM

I have found auctions to be an excellent souce of low-priced tools. I always look for the proffessional shop liquidations. I can usually buy excellent industrial tools for 10 to 20 cent on the dollar, [based upon current new cost].

Of course, I have three phase power. The three phase power issue eliminates most home hobbiest. Most commercial/industrial facilities will ony purchase new or near new and only the major items, such as the 47” triple headed drum sander that require 50 hp/3ph. Therefore, I am frequently one of the only bidders on some item.

But, before i attend the auction, I know the new cost and once there, I carefully check the tool/equipment condition.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4794 days

#9 posted 12-03-2009 04:59 AM

Good advice on bidding. I too have 3 phase power in my shop. I also try to check new prices on items before the auction. If I don’t get the chance then I make my offer very low. I have seen all sorts of things sell for more than a new item would. It is easy to be caught up in the bidding fever.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View jd3020's profile


13 posts in 4144 days

#10 posted 12-03-2009 06:29 AM

Hey and I’m the lucky guy that got the other sanding table! Thanks again, Roz! David

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4794 days

#11 posted 12-13-2009 06:46 AM

My pleasure David, glad I could help.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View mikethetermite's profile


602 posts in 4273 days

#12 posted 01-04-2010 08:06 AM

My table saw, scroll saw, floor drill press, 5’X5’ bench with a wood vice on each corner, and a few other items have helped round out my shop. All were bought at an Indianapolis public school auction. Of course look the items over before bidding. Remember all items are “as is”. High schools and Jr. High schools mostly use high-end equipment.

Sorry I was late putting my 2 cents worth in.


-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

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