I’ve always been interested in making things from wood since my teens in the early 80s, but I thought anything with a power cord was best, Makita has a lot of my money! Trundling through life I go back to power tools now and then to make something. Now, I’m by no means a great carpenter but I love it none the less.
Then this xmas break I stumbled on Paul Sellers YouTube’s while researching an old Stanley #4 1/2 plane, then Masterclass and now the forum, wow what a watershed. The idea of collecting hand tools as well as learning to use them is growing strong in this Apprentice Woodworking Jedi!
So onto EBay to see if I can get a few hand tools…..WHAT?! $200, $300 for a record #405, $200+ for a Stanley #50, $200+ for a #71 router. Is it just me or is this stuff crazy expensive? I’ve yet to win an eBay auction due to prices always being above my Autobid.
Do people here go looking for hand tools in other places? Curious to know how we are all collecting the Paul Sellers essentials?
- This topic was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Paul.
Try on UK Ebay and have tools shipped over. The prices you are quoting are really high. I bought a perfectly usable #4 plane a few weeks ago for just over 10 USD. 71 routers are just going for silly money, I don’t know why people are paying so much. A traditional style wooden router is easy to make and works just fine.
eBay exists for convenience. Somebody has tracked down a tool for you to buy and presents it at a price commensurate with market prices. You pay for one click convenience, not just the tool you are after. It is lazy shopping. Laziness is exploited.
And auto bidding is stupid and the laziest method of all. It pits two or more auto bidders against each other to get max price for the seller early in the bid process. Instead, wait until just before the sale closes to bid. Often The auto bid process doesn’t react fast. Bidding this way means you will miss tools, but eventually you will get one. Just be realistic about what you are willing to pay. Nobody will give up a 71 for $30 ( though I did get one for $45). Try bidding on a tool that needs rehab when two or three really cherry tools are on the market at the same time. The auto bidding will be on the shiny tool.
If you expect bargains, you have to do the legwork. Try estate sales, flea markets (car boot sales) , private sales and Craig’s list or their equivalents. Be dogged check often, and be willing to bargain and walk away. Even try scrap yards. You will take longer to gather your kit and do a lot of legwork, but you might find vendors along the way who can help you hunt down what you are looking for. You also get fewer surprises if you can check casting and gauge condition in person.
You may also want the seller to remove and keep the handle and knobs if they are rosewood. I have heard of antique tools being seized when being imported because rosewood is on the CITES list for endangered woods.Anonymous9 January 2020 at 9:23 pm #644014
The prices you quoted are pretty high. I’ve been able to get really good deals (at least compared to those) by bidding on restoration projects.
Restoring bench planes, chisels, and saws oneself can be fun, and is much more cost-effective than buying someone else’s restoration.
Edit: You’ll still go broke, but you’ll have a lot more tools when you do!
Admittedly these high prices were for the Stanley 71 router (holy grail of routers) and the record 405s. But even so a Stanley no4 plane that needs restoration are still fetching $100+ with postage here in Oz.
You can get cheaper but it’ll have a broken tote, or poor sole or worn iron.
You can get new planes like the lunar for $250 so I suppose a good secondhand Stanley is worth $100.
I’ll keep looking 🙂
I live in Canada and also looked on eBay. I bought 2 Stanely 71 router planes, 8 moulding planes, A Stanely 45 with all original cutters and a couple spoke shaves for 360 Canadian. I don’t bother on bidding, I make an offer try to buy a couple things off each seller to sweeten the deal.
Another option is to make the tools yourself. You can size them to your particular needs, and there is a lot more cachet if you pass them down a generation or two.
It is perfectly possible to make a router plane using a ground allen key, a wing nut and a ring bolt. (See attached picture, which works just as well in wood as my 71.)
Poor man’s rebate plane uses an old chisel.
Wooden spoke shave project shows a simple way to change the hardness of a piece of steel to allow you to modify it using a charcoal barbecue.
Plane components for wooden planes are also available in multiple locations, and designs, videos etc are also available in multiple locations.
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@Colin – A good alternative for sure, but part of me wants to get the Stanley 71 for its collector value – its part of the lure of this hobby for me; to treat it like a collectors hobby as well as a wood working hobby.
I purchased a record 405 plane yesterday, so am looking forward to getting that. I’m keeping the price from my wife, so don’t ask how much!! :))
- This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Paul.
Paul, You are correct, part of it is about collecting. I’ve bought a few new tools but most of what I have are from junk stores or flea markets. I found a Stanley 4 1/2 with serrated soul a while back. It looked like it had never been used. Got it for $8. I can imagine shipping puts a lot of tools out of reach in the land down under. If you know someone who does a lot of international travel you might piggyback a few tools in their luggage. I’ve done that across states here in the US. One of my friends brought a molding plane back form LA in his suitcase. Another brought a plow plane back from Ga in the saddlebag of his motorcycle.
I just did a search for “woodworking hand tools in Australia” and found a lot of resources. Check that out!
Welcome to a new hobby! I think most of us get the “collector” bug when we get started. I did. And it cost me some money. Now I find that I only use a few of the tools, and the rest sit in the tool chest. I still pick up a few tools here and there, just to scratch my itch to have something to refurbish, but I don’t go crazy.
I don’t know what the market is like in AU, but why not see if there are some local groups that might help you get set up? There are often people upgrading, or getting out of the hobby that might be able to hook you up for nominal cost.
Thanks sandy, that search got me looking in different places.
I’ve noticed that a lot of planes are real Frankensteins, I’m scratching my head on a no 4 type 15 on eBay that seems to have an older frog and younger lever cap than the sole?? But I suppose that’s the fun of becoming a collector of these tools, to weed out the good from the bad.
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