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How to value old tools

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Forum topic by alwyslpy posted 12-13-2016 03:51 AM 1165 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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alwyslpy

6 posts in 1336 days


12-13-2016 03:51 AM

Hello everyone! I”m just getting into woodworking. I probably won’t start until February since I’m still in school but I’ve been doing a lot of research and watching youtube videos. I also want to start looking for deals on tools because boy…they sure do get expensive.

I saw this post. Before heading out I was hoping to get some tips on how to value the tools specifically hand planers as I def cannot afford a planer.

Thanks in advance.

Billy


20 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16807 posts in 3424 days


#1 posted 12-13-2016 05:04 AM

Billy, lots of discussion on hand plane value here on LJs and via complete auction listings of ebay. What brands/types specifically might you be interested in?

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

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ClutteredShop

38 posts in 1358 days


#2 posted 12-13-2016 05:32 AM

You pose a difficult question because it is a complex subject. With old tools, value is not just a question of functionality, but also of value as antiques. And antique value is not just whatever the traffic will bear, it can also be esthetic and sentimental. Hand tools like bit braces, crosscut saws, planes, etc. are still being manufactured, but often they are more expensive and of lower quality than old tools, though the old tool may require some fixing up. What I find surprising is that a newly manufactured egg-beater style drill will actually cost more than a low-end electric drill.

If your interest in old tools is long-term, I would suggest going to many, many flea markets and garage sales, and be prepared to pass up twenty instances of an item as too expensive or two beat up before you buy one. If budget is important to you, learn various restoration skills, such as de-rusting, drilling, tapping, and riveting, making new wooden parts, gluing cracked wooden parts, repainting, etc.

I would not recommend E-bay because you are competing with too many other shoppers. The way you get really good deals is by waiting in you small local market for a vendor who doesn’t know how much the tool could fetch in the big world of E-bay. Your local Craig’s List is a better bet because you are more likely to find an undervalued tool and the number of people hunting for it will be smaller.

Good luck, be patient, and have fun!

-- Cluttered Shop

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wildman692

17 posts in 1345 days


#3 posted 12-13-2016 10:41 AM

A tool is worth whatever you are prepared to pay for it and that will depend not just on cash available but your need to have, not to be confused with want. Tool collectors are infected from birth with the want and must have bug, not easy to avoid as you will soon find out.

-- Roger working to save the wildlife.

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Tim

3859 posts in 2767 days


#4 posted 12-13-2016 02:48 PM

You can trade in your time for better deals if you live in an area that has a lot of old tools in people’s basements and workshops that they sell off in estate or garage sales, etc. estatesales.net is a good resource to find estate sales, craigslist can also work well, but in most of the areas with lots of old tools, winter is not the right season.

You can also buy from old tool dealers like Josh Clark at Hyperkitten, etc, but they sell tools typically in good condition for most or all of their full value, so you’re saving time and aggravation and lowering your risk of getting a lemon from eBay, but spending a little more.

A number of LJ’s sell vintage tools as well, and you can often get a better deal and get a tool you know will be in workable shape. Some will even tune them up into excellent working order for you. Post in the trade and swap forum for what you want to buy and you’ll probably get several offers. Or since you’ve already posted here, just be specific about what you want and people can offer here.

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alwyslpy

6 posts in 1336 days


#5 posted 12-13-2016 02:59 PM

Good morning,

Thank you for the guidance. I agree full heartily. From what I understand thus far, I believe my biggest issue is milling wood. As much as I want a planner and jointer I can’t afford it, nor am I willing to take that huge of a plunge. Hence the reason I feel I do “need” a few good hand planners.

I meant to post this ad I found:
https://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/tls/5859770511.html

It’s a bit of a drive from where I am at, but I hoping I can find a cheap way to get started. I’m also watching this gentlemen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psoD4mMsiDQ&t=1236s . He has a whole section about restoring old planers.

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Tim

3859 posts in 2767 days


#6 posted 12-13-2016 03:34 PM

That craigslist ad looks like a good one. From the post at least, it seems like they would treat you fairly.

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ClutteredShop

38 posts in 1358 days


#7 posted 12-13-2016 04:43 PM

If you think you need a planer because you will be working with rough-cut lumber, be sure to familiarize yourself with the scrub plane. This tool does a great job and does it surprisingly quickly. I have only very seldom seen used scrub planes for sale, but you can quickly make one from and el-cheapo smoothing plane of the size of the Stanely #3. The type I mean does not have the usual frog adjustment, but just has a cap iron that wedges against a cross brace and is tightened by a hand-turned screw. If you want more details I can show some pictures.

In fact, with a scrub plane you can address various parts of a board independently, which lets you do something that is very difficult with a power planer: You can take wind (twist) out of a board by individually planing away high corners. With a planer the board just feeds through, following the twist, so you get a board that is nice and smooth, but still twisted and unusable for something like a table top or cabinet frame, where flatness matters.

Over the years there have been several cases where I thought I had to have some expensive piece of equipment that I couldn’t afford, only later to find out that there was a perfectly workable old-fashioned way of doing the job. Many people have been brainwashed into thinking they need the latest, sexiest, most expensive gimmicky tool. There are probably people who think they can’t put a screw in without a power driver with batteries and a charger, etc. that way ten pounds and cost thirty-plus dollars.

By the way, if you ask for “hand planers” people may either not know what you are talking about, or will realize you are not an expert and may try to take advantage of you. A “planer” (one “n”) is a power machine, a “plane” is a non-powered hand tool. Both or used for surfacing wood.

-- Cluttered Shop

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alwyslpy

6 posts in 1336 days


#8 posted 12-13-2016 06:28 PM

Thank you Cluttered shop. That was a great read. Gives me a lot to think about and research. I also appreciate the correction. I realize I can’t even call myself a novice yet, but no need to sound like one too… haha.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

1413 posts in 1782 days


#9 posted 12-14-2016 08:50 PM

You will also need a larger plane for jointing. To save money you will be able to find a #6 cheaper than a #8

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4453 days


#10 posted 12-14-2016 09:04 PM

write the guy and tell him you want to use hand
planes and need a jack and a smoother. If he
quotes you over $50 for the pair he may be
unreasonable. Jacks are #5, smoothers are #4.

Some people say a jointer does everything a
jack does better and an old Bailey style jointer
is a $50-$80 plane, depending on condition.

View alwyslpy's profile

alwyslpy

6 posts in 1336 days


#11 posted 12-14-2016 09:05 PM

I ended up picking up these four for $195. I didn’t bargain with him and took the first price. The gentlemen Craig had been collecting for 35 years. He doesn’t do much woodwork, but simply enjoyed the history. He had a lot of super cool stuff..and I mean A LOT.

A Stanley 6, 4 1/2, 40 1/2 scrub, and a 118 block

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alwyslpy

6 posts in 1336 days


#12 posted 12-14-2016 09:07 PM

Everything was in good condition IMO. A bit of rust here and there but no pitting. I don’t feel like I will have any issue restoring to working condition.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19652 posts in 3373 days


#13 posted 12-14-2016 09:21 PM

$195 for a Stanley 6, 4 1/2, 40 1/2 scrub, and a 118 block is actually a really good price.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View UpstateNYdude's profile

UpstateNYdude

947 posts in 2789 days


#14 posted 12-14-2016 09:26 PM

Just my opinion, but sell the scrub plane and find a cheap no. 5 and camber the blade much better plane all around than the 40 1/2 and because the 40 1/2 goes for so much you should have money left over to buy something else like some sharpening equipment or stones.

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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UpstateNYdude

947 posts in 2789 days


#15 posted 12-14-2016 09:30 PM



write the guy and tell him you want to use hand
planes and need a jack and a smoother. If he
quotes you over $50 for the pair he may be
unreasonable. Jacks are #5, smoothers are #4.

Some people say a jointer does everything a
jack does better and an old Bailey style jointer
is a $50-$80 plane, depending on condition.

- Loren

I want to know where you live, because for planes that are ready to go and in good condition they’ll be at least twice that price. $25 for jack or smoother is finding them rusty and beat up at a garage sale, not ready to be used.

The time, effort and money that goes into restoring a plane back to usable condition needs to be weighed in the price, unless your planning to put your own time, money and effort into cleaning it up (which you should if your new, but read up first).

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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