Buying Woodworking Tools is Becoming Stupid

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  • #417626
    C WhiteC White

    Had a look on ebay for router planes as I haven’t got any, bar the poor mans which can be a bit cumbersome. The prices are just going up and up, £100-£180 for a router in reasonable nic. It is so unaffordable. Have any of you got any suggestions?


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 116 total)
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    Dave RingDave Ring


    Forget about the overpriced Buy It Now stuff and concentrate on auctions. Bid through or similar.




    180 pounds for a used router plane? That’s insanity. You can buy a brand new Lie Nielsen router plane for less than that. You could in theory buy a brand new Veritas, but they are backordered until April of next year, so they’re sort of out of the picture for a while.

    The bottom line is that hand tools are popular again, a router plane is essential kit in that world, and the existing manufacturers can’t keep up with demand, which drives up prices. I imagine it’s going to get worse before it gets better, especially if Veritas is out of stock until April, that will continually apply pressure on Lie Nielsen (as the only manufacturer of full-sized router planes on planet Earth that has stock) and eBay/the secondary market.

    There is a company called Walker Moore that has been trying to produce a gorgeous new router plane based on the Preston, but even after almost 3 years of effort, they simply cannot get their act together. So no help there.

    There are a number of tutorials online (discussed in this forum previously, I believe) on how to DIY one, Derek from Oz has a sensible design on his site IIRC, and you could have a decent and functional router plane for comparatively little money going that route.

    Quangsheng seems to be regularly expanding their lineup; perhaps they will step into the space. Probably wouldn’t hurt to email them and make the suggestion 🙂

    Derek LongDerek Long


    The problem in part are Ebay trolls who list used tools by LN and LV at above-new prices and call them “vintage.” They don’t know what they are talking about, or are taking advantage, or both. “Collectible” old stock is outrageous because collectors are, incomprehensibly, paying higher prices for widely available tool stock.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    Greg JonesGreg Jones


    Lee Valley shows the large Veritas router plane out of stock until 12/29, and the medium router plane out of stock until 1/5/18. That’s from Lee Valley for the US market, so perhaps it is one of their distributors that is backordered until April?



    Lee Valley shows the large Veritas router plane out of stock until 12/29, and the medium router plane out of stock until 1/5/18. That’s from Lee Valley for the US market, so perhaps it is one of their distributors that is backordered until April?

    Now put one of their large router planes into your cart, and begin the check-out process as if you were going to buy it. It will update and show it backordered until April….at least, that’s what it did for me earlier today.

    Greg JonesGreg Jones


    Not here-still shows as in stock on December 29.



    Interesting! I wonder why it’s 4 months worse over here? Maybe I should get a PO Box in your neck of the woods…

    Tim DeMaraisTim DeMarais


    I ran into the same issue looking for a router plane on eBay back in August. Given the prices and questionable condition of what was out there at the time I decided to order a new one from Lee Valley in September. I did bid on a few Stanley #40 Scrub planes on eBay, but all of them went for more than I was willing to pay. I finally found one I was interested in. Since no one had bid on it I waited until just before bidding closed to put in an initial bid and got it without anyone else bidding on it.

    Julio T.Julio T.


    When I was looking for a router plane in reasonable condition in eBay, a few months ago, I was fed up of inflated prices, overpriced items, prohibitive shipping costs and auctions with highly suspicious bids. At last I decided to buy a new one from Veritas, since the price was very similar too many times.

    It was the same situation with the plough-plane. After about 10 auctions that ended with very high prices, I won one that ended at a reasonable price (51 pounds) with 20 pounds of shipping costs. Auction had started with 99 pence.

    It seems at if people interested in hand tools were a kind of new easy income source. It happens the same thing in flea markets, at least near where I live. You can find wooden planes almost completely destroyed, whithout blades, with severe cracks and damages, and when you ask for the price seller says “20 euro”. Something similar with metal planes, saws, braces or chisels. Sometimes you are luck, and find some item in good condition at a reasonable price, but this “hand-tools-new-boom” is becoming something incomprenhensible, at least when it comes to second-hand tools prices.

    David BDavid B


    I think I paid ~$100 for an old Stanley #71 1/2 on eBay. It is a very old model (totally flat base) and came with 1 cutter. I just searched ebay and it seems prices are still around those levels (though prices can fluctuate quite a bit at the end of auctions).

    Something else I have often done–depending on where you are accessing eBay…Normally I just go to and search for items (I am in the U.S.). However, I’ve found that sometimes going to will turn up more results for vintage hand tools and as long as the seller will ship internationally (most of them do), it can expand your potential selection meaningfully and maybe you’ll find a better deal.

    I’ll usually watch an item until about the last 5-10 minutes and then I’m on it like a hawk if I really want it. But you MUST be disciplined and be willing to let something go if the price is out of your range. Ebay is the enemy of impulse buys.

    Jim BraunJim Braun


    I purchased two used hand planes from Patrick Leach (; a Stanley No. 4 ($85) and 5 1/2 ($125). I asked for tools that were in good condition and pre 1960. The tools I received were as promised and ready to go after sharpening and the minimal setup that Paul does to all his hand planes. No rust, cracked totes, etc….

    You can email him or sign up for his monthly newsletter. The first purchase required payment in advance, the second he just sent and asked for payment upon receipt or return of the tool.

    No affiliation just an option for you all. I was frustrated with ebay.


    Monmouth County, New Jersey



    To bad you are in the Europe. I know where there are several of these things in antique stores for way less than that. But I have to agree with others here. before I would pay those stupid prices I’d buy a new one.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    C WhiteC White


    Thank you all for your inputs. I suppose the price hike was inevitable with the sort of new age of old school woodworking, shame that there’s always someone waiting to line their pockets. I wonder if a dedicated page on here to selling and buying tools would be a good idea? might be worth suggesting to the admins.
    thankfully, somebody on here has reached out to me that has some for sale. I’ll post here again to show what comes of it

    Dylan WheatleyDylan Wheatley


    jim bode and pat leach are good sources for used woodworking tools. their prices aren’t as low as ebay was, but you’ll be getting a decent tool for the money.

    Justin MasoneJustin Masone


    I travel frequently with my job (bulk of the east coast US) and stop in every antique store / flea market I pass by…and I hadn’t seen a single router plane in the 6 months or so I had been searching for one. I’m pretty damn good at tracking down hard-to-find items, and I’ve found every other tool you would need (and at bargain prices–recently picked up a pre-war #4 for $10), but nary a router ANYWHERE. I finally threw in the towel and sprung for a LN…love the tool but every time I use it I’m reminded of my failure. A few weeks back I was passing through Pittsboro, NC, and stopped in the tool store at Roy Underhill’s school. The place is truly impressive, hundreds of bench planes, boxes and shelves full of chisels, spokeshaves, etc, but only one lonely router plane, a 71 in poor condition, going for $95. I spoke with Ed who runs the place, and he was equally lamenting the absurd prices being asked for the routers these days and how hard they are to come by. Part of the problem is every router has “Stanley 71” (or the equivalent) cast right into it, so it’s incredibly easy for anyone who finds one to do a quick Google search and realize they can charge a premium for it, which is further compounded by the next person who’s selling one, cue the vicious cycle.


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