Tooling up with estate sales-How to equip your hand-tool shop for pennies on the dollar

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Blog series by Brad updated 04-20-2015 07:25 PM 5 parts 12476 reads 15 comments total

Part 1: Estate sales

04-10-2015 06:51 PM by Brad | 8 comments »

When I first started in woodworking my biggest challenge was putting together a tool kit comprehensive enough to build something. And while the “minimum” tools necessary for a kit would depend to some extent on the types of things you’re building, there is a basic assemblage for most projects. And while I’ve turned to eBay, Craig’s List, antique shops, garage sales and flea markets to buy good tools, I’ve had great financial success with estate sales. Estate Sale BenefitsThe biggest benef...

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Part 2: Tips #1-#6

04-12-2015 03:47 PM by Brad | 5 comments »

Tip #1: Optimize your time by scouting out good possibilitiesI primarily go to estate sales listed on I also scour Craig’s List for tool-laden estate and garage sales. If you were to plot my estate sale finds on a map you would notice some commonalities. The good tools came from older, blue-collar neighborhoods. Picture in your mind the areas in your city where older woodworkers might have situated themselves. Yes, there have been an estate sale or two located i...

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Part 3: Tips #7-#9

04-17-2015 02:49 PM by Brad | 2 comments »

Tip #7: Inspect each item.I know that sounds silly. “Of course I’ll inspect it,” you’re thinking. Yeah well, in the heat of the moment, when you think you’ve found a gem, and your heart is pumping, the birds are singing and you are SO in LOVE with that tool, well, it’s easy to overlook that one detail that renders a tool useless. And the last thing you need is to spend money on a tool that is unserviceable. Not only is that money that could have gone to ano...

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Part 4: Tip #10

04-19-2015 03:49 PM by Brad | 0 comments »

Tip #10: Don’t leave before fishing out the good deals.In my experience, my competitors usually go right to the tools. Remember the estate sale I showed up to only to be greeted by the guy with 10 handsaws in his box? That deflated me a little. But I resolved to continue looking around. Come to discover that the 10-saw man left the Jorgenson clamps and forstner bits untouched. At $4.00 each the clamps were a good deal. At the same price the 1” and 2” forstner bits, respectively, were a steal....

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Part 5: Last bonus tip

04-20-2015 07:25 PM by Brad | 0 comments »

In this last installment, I talk about other treasures to enrich your life. Bonus Tip #11: Look for other stuff too.Once you’ve made two rounds in the tool-rich areas (garage, basement, outside shed), take a moment to just look around. Seek out items congruent with your hobbies and interests. Are you a gamer? Collector of tobacco tins? Want to spruce up your bar area with vintage liquor/beer signs, mugs and glasses? Estate sales are an economical way to do just that. For instance, I enj...

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