Hand Tool Finds #2: My First Estate Sale

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 03-22-2014 05:14 PM 2667 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: An Old Plane with a Story Part 2 of Hand Tool Finds series no next part

Last night, when I checked the forums I couldn’t help noticing this one posted by poopiekat about a mega batch of woodworking tools at an estate sale in Tucson. Well since Green Valley is just south of Tucson I made up my mind to go.

I don’t do the garage / estate sale circuit and have no idea how it works so I looked at the outing as an adventure that would be worth the time even if I came up empty. I called the company that was running the sale and found that they handed out numbers at 6:00 AM and the the doors opened at 8:00. I got up at 4:00 ( if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right) and was at the sale venue at about 5:05. There were about a half dozen cars there but no one lined up at the door the way they do in Green Valley so I just sat and waited for a half hour to see when the lineup would start.

Then I learned something about these events that I didn’t know. I saw a fellow drive up and walk up to the door of the house and leave something so I got out of the car and asked him about the way these sales operate. He said that people arrive early and leave an item on the step in order behind any items already there and go back to their cars. ...... Oops, didn’t know that so I put down a golf tee from my pocket and returned to my car.

At about ten to six people started to gather near the door so I went up and met the early birds. The guy who had the little bucket at the head of the line got there from Phoenix at 11:30 last night and slept in his car. There were about six other guys, all there for the tools. My golf tee was 9th or 10th. At six o’clock the organizer showed up and handed out numbers, I got #16, not bad but the person who got #20 got almost an hour more sleep than I did.

After going off for some coffee and breakfast I returned and the gates opened at 8:00 and an orderly file, by number were allowed in. I went straight to the tools and to the wooden molding planes I had seen in the photos. I glanced over to where I had seen the round sided Bedrock near them and saw that it was gone.

I know little about the value of these hand tools but there were several there who knew a lot and the consensus was that most of these tools would go after 11:00 when the prices came down. There were good deals but there were a lot of planes at eBay prices and not at all cleaned up.

I only bought things that I would like to play with and based my choices on what their value was to me so I may have got some great deals or I may not have but here’s what I did manage to squirrel away for $46.

Was it worth it ? As an adventure and a learning experience …... priceless, wouldn’t have missed it for the world. As time well spent acquiring tools at great savings …. I think not so much, but at least I have a steel combination square now in my Green Valley shop and I can retire the aluminium one from HF that I’ve never really trusted as square.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

22 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3767 days

#1 posted 03-22-2014 05:19 PM

Looks like a good haul. Sounds like the experience was worth while. I’m not too keen or the whoke garage sale thing either…I’ve been to one more than you though so maybe I’ve started down that slippery slope:-) I did get a tathe for next to nothing so maybe I need to change my mind about those sales :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View MrFid's profile


878 posts in 1959 days

#2 posted 03-22-2014 05:27 PM

Thanks for posting. I saw that original ad as well, and was wishing that I was closer to Arizona. For many reasons, chief among them that my thermometer registered 25F this morning. Glad you got there, and thanks for the story.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3632 days

#3 posted 03-22-2014 05:42 PM

Seems like a great bargain for $46 If that’s a Stanly combo square I would say it’sworth almost twice that by it’s self.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View truenorth's profile


17 posts in 1702 days

#4 posted 03-22-2014 05:49 PM

I almost always read ever post you write. They are always very informative…but beyond that they are entertaining. I wish I could write like that! The pacing, the way you “set thw scene, and give the back story without boring. Usually it can go either way on forms. But i think you are a fantasic poster!

-- Canada - True North Strong and Free

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10153 posts in 4107 days

#5 posted 03-22-2014 06:25 PM

Looks like you did very well for only $46!

In just the metal tools, I think you did very well… I don’t have a clue about the wooden planes (for moldings, etc. Hard to say w/o knowing)

Roy Underhill would have gone BANNAS at that Sale!

You were lucky to have been so close to it!

Glad you had fun!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3389 days

#6 posted 03-22-2014 06:35 PM

Looks like some nice tools you got there Paul. Like you said, it is a little adventure too, and that is priceless. Next time you will be better prepared to get first choices, but I think you did well anyway. Live and learn!

I got my blade clamps done today. They came out great thanks to your picasa web album where you showed how you made them. You are the man!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3363 days

#7 posted 03-22-2014 06:48 PM

That trip sounds like a fun experience Paul. You never know when a good tool find will happen but if don’t look it most certainly won’t happen.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#8 posted 03-22-2014 06:55 PM

it looks good to me, and as you said, just the going and doing was well worth it, glad you had a good time, and maybe you caught a nap…;)

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Don W's profile

Don W

18791 posts in 2622 days

#9 posted 03-22-2014 07:36 PM

It looks like you did pretty well for $46. It sounds like a good day. To bad the others were so over priced.

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

View gbear's profile


513 posts in 4154 days

#10 posted 03-22-2014 08:46 PM

I think you did great. I have some wooden planes just like those. When I’ve seen them on line they are asking in the $40 dollar range for each. It looks like you paid about $5 each…heck of a haul!!!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View poopiekat's profile


4364 posts in 3789 days

#11 posted 03-22-2014 09:04 PM

Thanks, Paul!
I am ever grateful that you attended the show, and was able to scare up a few excellent bargains!
Thanks, too, for your excellent reporting skills!

Posting that announcement yesterday, I was afraid that it would bomb, but I was really impressed by all the terrific replies.

Hey, from my days in Tucson, circa 1974-1977, we all referred to Green Valley as “Wrinkle City”...

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2853 days

#12 posted 03-22-2014 10:30 PM

We like to call it “God’s waiting room” but we are just kids here. I’m only 64 and there are 80 year olds here who moved here to be closer to their parents. BTW all those people who lived here then are, still here.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View tinnman65's profile


1358 posts in 3469 days

#13 posted 03-22-2014 11:28 PM

Looks like a good deal to me. My wife and I would do auctions years ago, well before I did any woodworking. I remember seeing those old wood planes and now I wish I would have been buying them up. I will say even when we didn’t get anything at the auctions we still had a good time. The problem with auctions is sometime people get in a bidding frenzy and bid items up well over there value but there are deals to be had. I’m guessing this won’t be your last estate sale sale :)

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Boxguy's profile


2703 posts in 2322 days

#14 posted 03-23-2014 12:33 AM

Paul, perhaps the best of life is about the stories we can tell later and not the money we spent or saved now. The real value of the tools is the story that they will always bring to mind when you see them or use them. May they always bring you a memory and a smile. Thanks for sharing.

-- Big Al in IN

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2722 days

#15 posted 03-23-2014 12:45 AM

Interesting adventure Paul .
Would have been interesting to see what a woodworker had accumulated over the years and may get some insight into the projects he had built .
I like old tools and have received some from friends over the years and find that they have a different feel to them when I use them compared to new tools .
You did well picking up these tools at the price you paid and will be a good addition to your collection that seems to be growing and your Shopsmith will soon start to feel neglected .LOL

Take care and keep your eyes open for more of these goodies .


-- Kiefer

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