My first yard sale woodworking find

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 07-21-2012 08:07 PM 8477 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all, I went to 4 yard sales last weekend and didn’t find squat.

So today, my wife and I were coming back from the grocery store and we saw a sign near our house that said “Moving Sale – Furniture, Tools.” So we followed the signs to the sale and I looked around, really hoping to find a circular saw or a router. They said some other guy wiped them out of the tools, but they still had a couple of pipe clamps and he said I could have them both for 5 bucks. Sweet. The pipes on both are about 4 feet long.

The orange one says Pony on the side. The other is blank. I’m pretty excited about this find because the only other clamps I currently have are four 6” Irwin quick clamps and a few plastic spring clamps.

I also found some sandpaper (which I can use for scary sharp) and a 36” steel rule. I got those two things for a buck. They also gave me some scrap wood for free – a couple of 2’ by 2’ pieces of OSB and a few 2×3’s. When I built my 4’ by 4’ work table last month I couldn’t afford any plywood for the top, so my table has just been a frame so far, but this OSB will be great until I can get the top that I want.

Not too bad for 6 bucks, I think.

I’ll put pictures of the table and all my tools so far in the shop section soon.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

9 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


17912 posts in 3391 days

#1 posted 07-21-2012 09:02 PM

Thats a killer $6 haul … those pipe clamps will squeeze blood out of rock i tell ya.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2537 days

#2 posted 07-21-2012 09:21 PM

Chrisstef: Yeah, I’m pretty stoked because I’ve seen these clamps at the box stores for around $18 without the pipe. I got these with pipe and all for two-fifty each. That’s huge for someone, like me, who is trying to get started in woodworking and trying to operate on no budget. I’ll take your word on squeezing lifeblood out of an inanimate object, though ;)

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View chrisstef's profile


17912 posts in 3391 days

#3 posted 07-21-2012 09:29 PM

Theres plenty of us that can relate to a no budget workshop … theres a blog out here, and i cant remember the OP’s name, but he started with $20 and worked his way up buying, selling, and trading to afford a brand new unisaw.

Youll find some great ideas on getting free lumber and cheap tools around here. Tag sales and flea markets are great places if youre not scared of a lil rust and dirt. Of my 6 major tools only 2 were bought new.

Welcome to the gang Chris, nice to have ya.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 3178 days

#4 posted 07-21-2012 09:33 PM

Sounds like you had yourself a good day. Enjoy! The pipe cost more than $6!

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View NormG's profile


6435 posts in 3389 days

#5 posted 07-21-2012 11:11 PM

Great find, never ever can you have to many clamps, unless you ask my wife

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3273 days

#6 posted 07-23-2012 02:22 AM

My own best score was off our local Kijiji site. A guy was retiring to the sunny south and selling all the sruff from his farm shop. About all he had left was a bunch of pipe clamps, and being out of town and wanting to sell them as a single lot, he wasn’t getting any takers. I asked him what his rock bottom price would be, explaining that I was on a severely restricted budget due to medical troubles. He said they were packing for the move and everything had to be gone by that evening so if I was willing to pick them up ASAP he’d let the whole bunch go for fifty bucks. I admitted it was an excellent deal but that all I could lay my hands on in that short a time was thirty five. He said okay, so the wife fired up our PT Cruiser and off we went. The photo wasn’t very clear and had a lot of other stuff in it, so I had no idea how many clamps we were talking about, other than it was more than a half dozen. When we got there, he helped me load 12 six footer and 8 four footers, all good quality and well cared for. He said he had bought them in much similar circumstances in the early 70’s from another farmer in the area who was retiring. Thus, they were about 40 years old plus however long the previous owner had owned them. A total of 20 pipe clamps for $35 works out to a buck seventy five each! I ate beans for a week and savoured every mouthful.

The only tools I bought new were my electric hand tools, bought when I was still working before my medical problems started (router, drill, skill saw and such) plus my cheapo table saw and my tabletop drill press, both bought when I was working and both on half price “Boxing Day” (Dec 26th) sales. Everything else was second hand from Kijiji for the most part, and some excellent deals there too. My 4 foot bed lathe along with a starter set of gouges and motor cost me $60. My 4 inch jointer was $20 but it needs a set of blades. My most recent “bean dinner buy” was my radial arm saw. In great shape but without a stand or blade was a whopping $45.

Even materials can be had at bargain prices once in a while. Examples: I got six 30×60 sheets of 1/8” Baltic Birch ply for $3 each. I intend using them for drawer bottoms on smaller drawers. Got eight 17×96 sheets of 3/4 ply for $20 total.. The 3/4 had been used in packing crates and the guy who salvaged them had cut off the damaged areas and those with fasteners which explains the odd size. but at that price I wasn’t gonna complain. It works out to about 7.50 a 4×8 sheet if it was still in one piece.

If you’re willing to wait long enough and haunt the web sites, (and dicker like a sinner with St. Peter at the gates of Heaven) you can get some fantastic buys.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16124 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 07-23-2012 02:42 AM

excellent pipe clamp finds! Love those Ponys for sure. Congrats!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2537 days

#8 posted 07-23-2012 09:41 AM

BigTiny: I’ll keep at it and hopefully be able to pull off some finds like yours. I’ve never heard of kijiji. I googled it and EBay classifieds came up. I guess it’s similar to Craig’s list? I’ll have to check it out. Thanks.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2532 days

#9 posted 08-25-2012 02:42 PM

I saw that chrisstef mentioned the guy with $20 and working his way to a new unissw. Here is the link to his story. If you have time to read it I suggest you start from the beginning and read the whole thing. I thought it was great. Very inspiring. Here is his first entry. Have fun. Look forward to following your adventure.

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