Re: [MedievalSawdust] info on valuing tools?
- On Sat, August 7, 2010 8:27 pm, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart wrote:
> I've got a halfway descent monthly antique show near me that I sawMilord Baron: the "market" as represented by antique shows is the last
> a fair amount of tools at during my first visit.
> I'd like to pick up a few but I do not want to insult by offering too
> little and I do not want to get taken by an unscrupulous dealer...
> Anyone have a good suggestion for a general reference book to give me
> a feel of what the market supports in value?
place one should look for tools! Prices are greatly inflated there, by
collectors and by a tradition of "no bargains for outsiders".
Prices for insiders vary according to a whole bunch of trivial details, of
interest only to collectors. An insider can occasionally get a reasonable
deal on what collectors call a "user"--meaning a tool that's only good for
shop use. Even those prices run high by my standards.
There's not really a "market" for used tools in the usual sense of the
word, except for the hugely inflated antique market, where there are
indeed reference books, websites and grading standards. However, these
grading standards are not based on quality of the steel or performance,
but on rarity and cosmetics. From the point of view of someone who just
wants a good tool for good work, you definitely will _not_ get what you
Bargains come from people who are cleaning out their basement, or getting
rid of the stuff Grandpa couldn't take with him. People who don't know
"market" prices and often don't even know what the tool is for.
Occasionally, a dealer will be in this situation, if they don't know tools
and only handle a few of them. Restorers, of furniture, stoves and so on,
often find they have to buy a pallet of odds and ends at an estate auction
to get the chair or woodstove they actually want, and these people
sometimes have an interesting shelf or table of used tools at fair prices.
(I got my wonderful Champion forge blower for thirty bucks that way, from
a stove restorer who didn't even know what it was. She just knew she was
tired of stubbing her toe on the base of it.)
A "fair" price is hard to define under these conditions. Blacksmiths are
a special case--around here at least, smiths seem to have a tradition of
tool prices not antique prices, and something of a fair standard market
can be found at tailgate sales during blacksmithing events. For instance,
a blower like mine goes for 100-150 dollars, good anvils for 2-3 dollars
per pound, leg vises for 1-2 dollars a pound, and so on.
I don't know of any equivalent for woodworking tools, though I try to
apply the same principles when I happen to have some to sell. Personally
I very rarely buy tools new or at antique stores. Sooner than pay those
prices, I'll often make them up from scratch. You'd be surprised how
often this is doable, and how good the tools can turn out to be.
- --- In email@example.com, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
>I assume you are asking about getting tools to use (as opposed to display), in which case Ulfhedinn is 100% smack on.
> I've got a halfway descent monthly antique show near me that I saw
> a fair amount of tools at during my first visit.
I would recommend you find, contact and join your regional/local "Tool Collectors" http://www.oldtools.com/clubs.html
They are used to people that want to use old tools (as opposed to just display them)
- Ulfhedinn is correct.
But there are some oportunities.
You should first look up a new product price of the highest calliber. Lets say chisles. Be specific in your search online or in a store.
Beware of the cheep stuff and recognize it!
The highest quality may cost $100.00
A Good quality may cost $60
a servicable one may cost $25-30
a cheep one is $7.00 ( this one is only good for scraping cement since it will never hold an edge)
How you have done some home work. Even though Collectors pay way too mutch for most antique tools. It is hard to find contemporary equivellents in construction materials. Like using virgin steel.
look up that and see what happens to the price of your new tool. All of the sudden a long in the blade chisle selling at $20 is not too bad a deal. Especialy since it's eqiv. would cost over $60.
I have no idea what you are realy looking for, but what ever it is you are not likely to find a deal on the table with each tool carefully laied out. Lightly oiled to a nice sheen. Maybe velvet That would be so nice.
You would be better off looking for a box of rusty stuff to dig in.
If you don't have to ask "Hey HOW Much for this old thing?" Then you are probibly getting ripped off! LOL
A rule an old antique dealer told me. If you are going to do business with some one over and over. Pay what they ask for the first thing you buy. On the second make a low but reasonable offer. This way they know you are spending money and not just playing with them.
Last note; Tools are like collecting coins
If you know anything about the value of silver you will notice that a quarter made of silver is worth about $2.50 (est) and the very next year not made from solid silver is worth $0.50
In this very generic case the metal collector will pay far more than the coin collector on the first coin, and far less on the second coin.
You and the tool collector are at odds as a tool user. But there are times the user prevails.