Ponderings #10: Does how bad you want it affect the price?

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 02-02-2008 04:20 AM 1291 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Saws Aplenty Part 10 of Ponderings series Part 11: Fortunate for my Wife! »

So, I find myself looking at two different saws (yeah, I know what I wrote earlier, but that was a minimum…who wants just a minimum anyways?). I’m mostly checking out the dovetail saws and the rip saws on eBay. Guess what? The style dovetail saw I want? They seem to shoot up in price bigger than snot. I top bid $45? They go for $46. I don’t bid? They go for $30. What’s up with that?

However, I’m not despairing though. Every time I have gotten a setback, it’s been like room is being made for something else. My #4 turns out to need more work than I though? Yesterday I won a Norvell Shapleigh smoothing plane…looks like a #4 to me! So, with this in mind, I have to remember that these saws will find their way to me soon enough.

On a related note though, my wife wants to buy me a dovetail saw. I told her I prefer vintage saws over new, mostly due to price. “They can’t be that much. How much do they cost?” Well, I told her that they run about $130. Vintage it is then! (Why couldn’t I have said I wanted a Wenzloff & Sons dovetail saw? What’s wrong with me?). I’m very lucky. Jennifer and I have had plenty of rough patches. There were times when I didn’t think we’d make it. There were times when I hoped we wouldn’t make it. But here we are, and I’m starting to realize how fortunate I am to have her. While she’s not crazy about dropping hundreds of dollars on a single tool, and she’ll never be cool with a table saw (SawStop might be an exception though), she’s done nothing but been supportive of my hand tool habit.

In truth, she deserves a blog posting all her own!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

7 comments so far

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4650 days

#1 posted 02-02-2008 06:53 AM

The tool is only worth what you are willing to pay for it, TC.

I love eBay just as much as the next guy (buying and selling, actually…), but I do have a steadfast rule I always stick to when bidding on something. I figure out the maximum amount I’m willing to pay for an item and that is my bid. I don’t ever go back in and make a new bid. If someone outbids me, then they obviously wanted it more and I don’t ever feel like I lost out on anything.

Anymore, I think the best ways to find deals on eBay is by searching for the misspelled words. If you search for Lie-Nielsen, chances are you’re going to pull up items that have their bids already close to the actual value of the tool if you were to buy it straight from Tom himself (Tom Lie-Nielsen, that is). But occasionally you’ll come across a listing for a “Lei-Neilsen” or “Lie-Nielson” or some such thing. And you’ll find the price might be more reasonable (at least at first, anyway) because not as many people have found it per the misspelling of the name.

Or when I was in a big lignum vitae carver mallet phase (I have about nine of them… a sickness, really), I’d search for just “mallet” and take the time to go through all 300 listings, looking for that lignum carver mallet someone listed and they didn’t know what it was. Or I’d search just for “lignum”, counting on the fact that they might have misspelled “vitae”. Several times I found myself the only bidder.

Anyway, those are my eBay tips for the night.

-- Ethan,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4369 days

#2 posted 02-02-2008 07:27 AM

answer to pondering #10’s question


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 4307 days

#3 posted 02-02-2008 08:17 AM

I used to let my desires affect my prices but am learning not to do that. Like Red, I place a bid that is my max and wait for the end – I don’t rebid. I’ll also troll craigslist for deals, I bought a 14” Delta bandsaw last week for $200, it’s like new.

Patience is a game I don’t play very well, but I’m learning… I think that’s the key – Patience, Grasshopper… :-)

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4272 days

#4 posted 02-02-2008 01:27 PM

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t bid more and more and more. It’s just that, when I just had a passing interest in a Disston saw (I wanted one, but had a “eh, we’ll see” attitude), I snagged mine for $8.00. Meanwhile, the rip saws I’m seeing all seem to be in the $30 range by the time I see them. Hence, I don’t bid. Same thing with the dovetail saws.

It’s just funny how the price is low when I’m in a “take it or leave it” attitude, and it stay low. But when I really want something, it goes higher and higher…and on eBay! The people on the other side of the screen don’t KNOW how bad I want it! I think eBay sellers are just psychic…or psychotic…something like that. ;)

As for Craigslist, I’d love to be able to find anything on there. Unfortunately, they don’t have a section for my town (but DO have it for a couple of smaller towns 60+ miles away…WTF?) Oh well ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View oscar roth's profile

oscar roth

19 posts in 4251 days

#5 posted 02-02-2008 11:35 PM

I have found that if you just wait till it is real close to ending then place your bid, like within the last minute or two your odds are better at getting it at a low price.

-- Oscar in Missouri

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4291 days

#6 posted 02-02-2008 11:44 PM

Set up e-bay to e-mail you every day with your particular search. Try to kinda average what the saw is going for then start bidding on them at that price. Don’t go over. Sooner or later , you will win one.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4049 posts in 4540 days

#7 posted 02-03-2008 07:16 AM

I know people might think it’s cheating to use a auction sniping service, but I recommend it. Then you set your bid and don’t go back until you get the email that you were outbid or you have to pay up.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

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