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Old Craftsman vise-Does your wife know what your tools are worth?

by Bluepine38
posted 11-03-2012 04:57 AM

27 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3226 days

#1 posted 11-03-2012 05:31 AM

I think there may be times when you will deal with a battle between the value of cost and the value of healing. I think there may be some widows and widowers who may not know the value of the items in question but, in some cases, there probably are some that just don’t care. Sometimes there is a purge after an emotional event and some would prefer not to haggle for months over the proper value of an item but mark it and let it all be gone. You might also deal with folks who are woodshop widows and widowers who always had to compete with that time and watching the lifelong competitor get hauled off at a discount might be necessary for some.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Tedstor's profile


1661 posts in 2750 days

#2 posted 11-03-2012 07:16 AM

I’ve dealt directly and/or closely with a few family estates recently. Our chosen objective was to sell everything as quickly as possible. Life insurance, real estate, and equities are the where the focus needs to be. Physical goods are actually a bit of a nuisance in the grand scheme of things. Any way you slice it, you’re only going to get 10-15% of an item’s retail value (on average) when you sell off the contents of a home. Rummage sales don’t attract big spenders. LOL.

To be honest, $10 for a vise like that is fairly appropriate at a yard sale. Pricing it at $40-50 might prevent it from selling, and then you’re stuck withi it.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2810 days

#3 posted 11-03-2012 11:47 AM

I too have thought upon this since I have enough tools, both for woodworking and metal working, that I feel I can do damn near anything. For me all my tools have been a hedge against when trouble strikes, the natural or political disaster. With the tools and machinery and my library I can do what needs be done, build it or fix it even make many new parts if necessary. But alas it seems that my sons (3) don’t see things that way. They don’t see the $$$$$ I have spent over the years to support us as independantly as possiable. They can do basic wodworking and carpentry some household repairs but that’s about it. When dad’s gone I have told them they will have to read all my books and notes so they can continue on or it’s all getting sold at a major loss, the loss of the cost of the tools and the loss of income that they can produce and the independance they represent. Sometimes I wish I had an apprentice.
P.S. That was a good buy though, keep looking for those deals their loss is your gain.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3402 days

#4 posted 11-03-2012 01:40 PM

When my best friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he asked me if I would help his wife take care of his shop since she didn’t have a clue as far as what all his tools were worth. After he died, she told me it was up to me to handle his shop and whatever I decided to sell the stuff for she would be fine with. That was one of the toughest positions I was ever put in before. ( except for being asked to make his Urn). I was honored to do both.

-- John @

View Don W's profile

Don W

18935 posts in 2685 days

#5 posted 11-03-2012 01:51 PM

Great topic Gus, and one I’ve had several conversations with my wife about. I’m 55 years old, and like you have been acquiring stuff for most of it. I spend a lot of my spare time searching for and restoring vintage relics, from tolls and machines to guns and antiques. My wife tells me to just relax and enjoy it, but when I’m gone, I don’t want the $5 Sargent I recently restored and has a value of something over $300 sold for $5 again.

I’m sure my oldest son will be happy to take care of the gun collection, but even though he’s a carpenter, I’m not sure he’s as excited about 300+ hand planes and other antique tools.

Since we’re thinking about this crap, maybe we’ve grown up more than we want to admit. One of the next things on my to-do list is start researching tool auction houses to see if they have a “if this happens in the future” plan.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2192 days

#6 posted 11-03-2012 02:09 PM

Chiming in with my opinion here… as both a tool junkie and as a wife.
Statistically, the chances are good that I’ll outlive my husband, as he is 8 years older than me. He’s in his 50s, I’m in my early 40s. A health crisis for me this past year and a bit however has forced me to think about this very topic from both perspectives. Hopefully we have many more decades before it’s an issue, but ya never know.

I also go to yard sales occasionally and I can tell you, there are two types of sales
1. The sale where the seller prices according to the value the item holds for them
2. The sale where the seller prices according to what someone might be willing to pay so as to get rid of the item.
When I arrive at a sale, as soon as I realize that it’s #1, I turn around and leave.

Personally, I know that if I’m the surviving spouse I probably wouldn’t make much money on my husband’s ‘stuff’ although it’s worth a lot to him. He has a lot of mountaineering gear, sports equipment, and memorabilia. Too much, if you ask me. (takes up too much room in the garage!) I would contact anyone I know who is involved in those things and ask them to come take what they want. They would value it far more than any stranger would. Then I would likely donate, or have a sale in the #2 category.

Not sure how it works from a male’s perspective, but whenever I buy a new tool, if my husband happens to ask how much it cost, I might, um, ah, mmmm, stretch the truth a bit toward the low end :) I’m sure none of you have EVER done that….... So if he lets my tools go for cheap if he outlives me, I guess I’d be to blame!

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18935 posts in 2685 days

#7 posted 11-03-2012 02:26 PM

Sandra, you echo what my wife says. But I have a different perspective. Many of my purchases I look at from an investment point of view. To many, that may be over thinking it, but if I can buy a tool at a low price, clean it up, enjoy it, and also make it part of a retirement plan or a way to sustain my family after I’m gone, why not?

Its really no different than a hobbiest stock broker, except stocks are easier to determine value and sell. So why don’t I just buy stocks, well, I can’t enjoy them now, and I’m not a very good stock broker, but I do know tools.

I’m not talking about the Stanley chisel I bought at Home Depot last week. I’m talking about the Stanley #1 I picked up at a flea market and is easily worth double or maybe even triple the $300 I paid for it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2192 days

#8 posted 11-03-2012 02:40 PM

I see your point Don, but it would only be a select few who would appreciate the time, love and effort you put into restoring the Stanley #1.

I like the idea of finding someone you know who WILL appreciate it and leaving your most valuable items to him/her. Hmmmm, maybe we should have a LJ section where we can bequeath items.

Not trying to be flippant, but after spending 5 days in palliative care last year (no other beds available in the hosp) the adage ‘you can’t take it with you’ has taken on a whole new meaning.

Hoping that all of us see enough years to put all our tools to good use, and that we may find someone younger and healthier than us who would be thrilled to get what we leave behind. At the end of the day, I think my husband would just want the garage to himself.

Funny that when we are younger and/or very healthy we don’t think about these things…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3031 days

#9 posted 11-03-2012 02:45 PM

My polarized view is that the death or pending death should NEVER enter the sales picture when selling equipment.

To many vultures out there who verbalize that they ”really want to help you out” only to low-ball the hell out of you, expecting to get everything on a whim because you are bent over backwards. I detest this type of bottom-feeder and have no use for them.

This is just my opinion, and my opinion only.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3805 days

#10 posted 11-03-2012 02:52 PM

No wife , so I guess it will be up to my sons to decide what my stuff is worth in the end.
Neither of them are into woodworking , so it will most likely go for far less than its worth.
I still have some items , unused, in their original packaging .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View oldretiredjim's profile


206 posts in 2502 days

#11 posted 11-03-2012 03:25 PM

I have given that a lot of thought. Neither of my kids would want or understand what I have. If I ever find someone who could use the stuff I would give it to them. The money is insignificant but If I could find a 30 yo struggling to get by who could use the stuff, that is where it would go. For free. My wife would agree and try to find a good recipient.

Same problem with my fishing equipment. It has 3 values – what I actually paid, what I “said” I paid, and what used stuff is really worth.

View clrcopy's profile


43 posts in 2209 days

#12 posted 11-03-2012 03:28 PM

I was amazed to see this post this morning. For some odd reason I was watching the news this morning and started thinking, I need to do a basic inventory of my tools, list what I paid, and what approx market value is at this time, and then date it, to possibly be updated later. If any of you have seen any of my posts, I lost all my tools in a divorce 5 years ago, and have recently been rebuilding. I’ve been very lucky with Facebook for sale groups and Craigslist. I’ve basically bought all the “big” tools for less than I spent on my Ridgid Table saw years ago. So, with that said I’ve found great deals, and if I should pass, I would hope my tools would either go to someone that would truly appreciate and use them, or generate at least some $$.

Recently a gentleman in my area “stopped” woodworking (never did find out why) but he had very high end equipment, larger cabinet saw, larger planer, drum sanders, etc. Some of these items had pricing on CL, and they were about half of what these tools go for new. I didn’t make it to the day of his “garage sale” but contacted him the following week to see if anything was left and I could come by to check them out. ALL of the big tools were gone, some minor batches of screws and various hand tools left, but nothing worth making the trip. He sold out in 4 hours. Wish I could have gone.

As I’ve heard before, the value of an item is what someone is willing to pay for it. Several of the tools I’ve bought off of CL, I didn’t even haggle, was excited to pay what they were asking because it was a great deal, I needed the tool and retail was MUCH higher. Again, what I was willing to pay ended up being the value. :) So I guess my point is, don’t undervalue your items, as there might be someone out there willing to pay, like I was.

-- Doug Rowan, am I working the wood or is the wood working me!

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2533 days

#13 posted 11-03-2012 03:47 PM

I have a list enclosed with my will of who gets whatand why, and an explanation of exactly what they are getting including its replacement value.

My step-son dont get my tools, he would have no fingers left about a weeklater…...
My daughter dont get my cooks knives for the same reason…...

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Tedstor's profile


1661 posts in 2750 days

#14 posted 11-03-2012 10:05 PM

I dunno guys. I have serious doubts that your loved ones will sell your tools for the same price you’d sell them for. Maybe your families are more patient than me and my family. But from the estates I’ve seen liquidated, the family keeps a few sentimental items, and the rest gets hastily purged. Any expectation that they’ll list everything on CL or ebay to fetch the highest possible price is…..well…...a high expectation. Nothing wrong with providing them with an idea of its value. But your Delta band saw will likely get listed for ”$150 obo”.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2802 days

#15 posted 11-03-2012 11:36 PM

very good topic…I took a job relo to Switzerland in 1997 and left the clean-up to the wife…new heavy duty extension ladder went for $10, sump pump with check valve went for $5…on and on and on…her stuff of course got moved because it had value.

if anybody uses Quicken, I think they have a “home inventory” module…with a laptop, an hour or so in the shop would be well spent (and even if you don’t plan on achieving room temp anytime soon, it would also be good if your shop ever goes “poof”).

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2403 days

#16 posted 11-04-2012 01:16 AM

If you have some items that have PARTICULARLY HIGH value …. that Stanley #1 for example … you need to document that. Otherwise, we have friends who will help her place a dollar amount with an item, BUT … it is MY wish (because I’m reasonably certain she won’t need the money unless something really catastrophic happens) that she GIVE away a lot of it to anyone who will USE it and not sell it … at least right away. My kids get first dibs (after my wife… she may want to keep some of it), but beyond that…. hey… if I’m gone, she can do whatever she wants with it. :)

I’ve already told her that a general rule for the bigger tools I purchased new (table saw, jointer, planer, etc) is that they typically START at about 50% of the new price if they’re in great condition.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2264 days

#17 posted 11-04-2012 01:35 AM

My wife knows that all my woodworking stuff goes to my best friend. In the highly unlikely event that I outlive him (he’s 8 years younger than me and in better shape), then she can sell it. My son is only 2 now. Should he show an interest as he gets older, then it’s all his.


View DocSavage45's profile


8685 posts in 2960 days

#18 posted 11-04-2012 06:31 PM

What’s it worth? I pick up some saws at the habitat for humanity store. Got a couple of old Diston’s. Cleaned them up and gave them some tlc. My father gave each of us kids some of his old hand tools. Neither my brother in law nor my brother had real interest. Tried to get the planes from my sister after he passed, “what planes?”

Have a brace and bits, hand saws, and a few other tools, but I dropped and broke one of the planes. Guess the value is in my memories?

Oh yeah, ever go to an “antiques store”? Guess they never watched “Antiques Roadshow” LOL !

Looked at my room full of “valuable papers” I don’t even want them, but we have a burn ban.

One man’s trash , another man’s treasure”.....( person= man)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View AlanBienlein's profile


159 posts in 2792 days

#19 posted 11-04-2012 07:02 PM

I actually never really thought about this but what will it matter any way as you can’t take it with you! Just enjoy and use them while your still able to.

I come to this conclusion as I was going to work one day and read a sign in front of a church I always go by. It basicly said “You never seen a hearse puliing a u-haul”.

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 4196 days

#20 posted 11-04-2012 07:23 PM

When I am gone the value of my tools have already been determined. When the farm gave me the opportunity to have a brand new woodshop to work in, I made the decision to donate all my tools to them. It will make it easier on my wife as she won’t have that to worry about. Besides it is also a good feeling to know that a small part of my woodworking career will live on when I go to that final workshop.

If you don’t have someone to inherit your tools, consider setting them up for donation to a organization that can use them. Use their value as a donation for tax purposes.

-- Guy Kroll

View MrRon's profile


4987 posts in 3361 days

#21 posted 11-04-2012 07:53 PM

When I stop by a garage sale, I look over everything on display. If it looks like they are just cleaning out the junk, like children’s toys and clothing, then I don’t expect much, but if there looks to be a “treasure” among the junk at a junk price, I grab it quick. But on the other hand when there is quite a bit of high value items displayed, prices will usually reflect “top dollar” wanted. That’s when I bargain. I’ve gotten some fantastic bargains at garage sales and if they are willing to part with it for the price they ask, or will accept, then it’s a fair and square deal. I’ve been to sales where the person will say,”I don’t know what it’s worth, so make me an offer”. My offer will reflect how much I think it’s worth and how much I am willing to pay. If you watch TV shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers, they always buy at the lowest possible price and that is because they intend to sell and make a profit. There is nothing wrong with this. Remember, you take a chance buying anything from a garage sale. There is no guarantee. Everything is “as is”.
Oh BTW, that vise looks like a great deal.

View patron's profile


13625 posts in 3458 days

#22 posted 11-04-2012 08:27 PM

i have been thinking on this for years now
at first i was going to give them
to some younger woodworker
then came to realize i would have to sell the house too
and include some serious money
for them to transport
and set up shop
and would have to have detailed write-ups for the quirks
and fixes/jigs for them all
or they might get abused while they are being learned about
(i have a lot of tools)

as i have decided to put my home and property in trust
for my niece and her husband (no woodworkers there)
as leaving it in a will would make them pay inheritance tax
and stert them on a hardship journey
just to own this place

as my own children don’t even talk to me (no woodworkers there either)
to keep all from ‘lawyering up’ and hassling in court
i suppose my only solution is to sell them myself
when i honestly can’t work with them anymore
and use that money to give to the kids
so they don’t hassle my niece
(my stepfather left $1 per his kids
so they could not contest his will)

i do agree with david craig
about some being jealous of our shops
and the time spent there even if only as a hobby

in my travels i have met some that have invested heavily in tools
as their situation changes over the years

and come to realize their spouses/children
are happy to have them ‘doing something’
but the investment in tools and shops
is something they personally don’t really need
beyond the happiness of their spouse /parent
and unless there is someone who truly needs/wants these tools
have no real need for them whatever their value
and the hassle of selling for a decent price
is just to much to deal with
after the loss of a loved one

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3031 days

#23 posted 11-05-2012 01:12 AM

”...I’ve already told her that a general rule for the bigger tools I purchased new (table saw, jointer, planer, etc) is that they typically START at about 50% of the new price if they’re in great condition….”

This makes me chuckle :-) This is the good ole’ wives tale that all buyers use,... regardless of the age of the equipment. It does not matter whether the ”bigger tool” is 2-3years old or 10-15years old or 15-20years old, ”’s worth fifty percent…”. All I can say is this wives tale/myth is just pure BS.

I went thru this a bit over a year ago, where an LJ insisted that he’d ”...never pay over 50%...” BECAUSE, and it was a big because, ”...because [he] could always get his money back when [he] sold it…” I won’t post his name, this time, but rest assured it happened.

In other words, it is ONLY 50% off for the NEW/FIRST buyer and then everyone else can get 100% back on their investment, all ‘cause THEY bought it “used.”

Yeah, sure… suck on THAT lollypop for awhile. The bottom-feeders don’t like hearing that one…

I’d sure like to see one of these folks sell their second-owner “used” purchased items for ”half of half” OR 25% of new since THEY bought it used as well,... or maybe for 1/8th or 12 1/2% of new price since they were the 3rd owner, OR, heaven forbid for 6 1/4% because they were the 4th owner of a 40-year old TS. After all, that would only be fair huh… LOL!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View MrRon's profile


4987 posts in 3361 days

#24 posted 11-05-2012 05:55 PM

You should dispose of your tools or anything for that matter for what you believe they are worth. Value has to be determined based on several factors; cost new, age, desirability to others, intrinsic value and condition. We all know that some things increase in value so I don’t go along with a 50% reduction across the board. One has to avoid the “distress” sale situation. That’s where the more unscrupleless will try to take advantage. If you can hold out for your asking price, do so until the right buyer comes along. After all, it’s you who knows the value of the item. Certainly there is some “wiggle” room for negotiating, but if someone offers you half of what you ask, he is trying to rip you off. Some of these are ripoff artists that make a business out of buying and selling at garage sales.
I seem to have gotten off the track.

View Grumpymike's profile


2289 posts in 2432 days

#25 posted 11-05-2012 06:47 PM

My wife and I have discussed this very thing, and as she is a retired bookkeeper, we did the spreadsheet thing listing the purchase price, market value, and a used price. Now she can use this as a guide and accept any reasonable offer.
As an example, I bought an advertised used table saw for $150 some 10 years ago; a fair price at the time. However, these saws are currently selling for $300 – $500 on the used market. That is why the three priceings.
Drill bits and screwdrivers are worth whatever you can get for them a buck a batch maybe, but good 14” band saw is worth about 1/2 to 3/4 of the new price at best.
You never know what C/L will bring … last may we listed a snow blower for best offer … the first guy there offered $50 more than we paid retail 2 years previous … My wife (bless her heart) told him that his bid was to high and he came down to the retail price.
Selling used tools is a crap shoot, and if you have collector tools like the Stanley #1 … you’d better let the wife know what it’s true value is … not an inflated pie in the sky price.
If you don’t have a list, it’s worth what ever the surivor can get for it with no regrets.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3031 days

#26 posted 11-05-2012 07:51 PM

@Ron and @Grumpy, you guys say it much more diplomatically than I do. Thank you. I just tend to openly show what I disdain in the most direct manner. Few will ever doubt what I think, for sure… ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3552 days

#27 posted 11-05-2012 08:07 PM

Ain’t that right Mike. :-)

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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