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Forum topic by CoolHanMatt posted 11-21-2015 04:02 AM 867 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 338 days

11-21-2015 04:02 AM

Guy, 1st post thanks for having me on the forum.

General woodworker and hobbiest. My hobby is new hobbies and I like to do things the right (hard) way. Woodworking is one of my main hobbies and I enjoy the craftsmanship of traditional woodworking using nothing but wedge and edge! ;)

Ok my question:
Wondering if anyone has worked out a general “Rule of Thumb” on what percentage to pay for used equipment. I realize there are a lot of variables but in general I’d think there’d be some intrinsic depreciation on normally used equipment.

My estimate would be 33% of Retail Too High? Too Low

Thanks again

16 replies so far

View Julian's profile


1010 posts in 2110 days

#1 posted 11-21-2015 04:15 AM

My rule: 50% of new price and it goes up from there depending on condition and how badly I want the equipment.

-- Julian

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


4028 posts in 1618 days

#2 posted 11-21-2015 04:39 AM

Not possible – too many variables. And how do you go about determining the ‘retail’ price of a piece of machinery that was made 60 years ago?


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7697 posts in 1799 days

#3 posted 11-21-2015 05:10 AM

There is no rule of thumb. I bought a 1958 bandsaw that originally retailed for $35, that’s $288 in 2015 dollars (supposedly). I paid $35. Did I overpay or underpay? A new 9” bandsaw would cost me $120, half that retail is $60. So considering that, did I underpay? BTW I sold that saw for $75. I have some old machines that would sell for 20x their original retail price. Different machines sell for different rates in different locales. Around here quality used drill presses sell like they are made of unobtainium, people often offer higher than asking prices just so you’ll hold it until they can get there. I’ve called on machines 3 minutes after they were posted only to be told it was already sold. So what does 50% mean in that situation? You’d be a lifelong drill press shopper, spending all your time looking instead of woodworking. In some places, Delta table saws are rare and will sell for more than here where they are relatively common. You need to know what things sell for in your area and more importantly, what is it’s value to you. Do you want your hobby to be shopping or woodworking?


View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 11-21-2015 05:59 PM

On the older tools it totally depends on what you are looking at and what kind of shape it’s in. Some older tools are better than the new ones.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2052 days

#5 posted 11-21-2015 06:16 PM

General rule of thumb is 50% of new price provided any wear is commensurate with its age.

Especially old machines have to be appraised on a case by case basis.

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1026 days

#6 posted 11-21-2015 06:21 PM

My general rule is price comparison. I look at all the prices and qualities of the tool on CL and Ebay and use the best deal prices as a guide.

View CoolHanMatt's profile


9 posts in 338 days

#7 posted 11-22-2015 12:18 AM

Thanks for all the feedback fellas.

I think for the sake of this discussion we can throw out then antique and vintage tools and just keep it simple. I totally agree that many old tools are preferable to todays makes. I was trying to buy an Oliver band saw about this time last year and ended up missing out. I tried to talk a divorced wife off of her $1500 price down to like 7-800 for what could have easily been a $4000-5000 saw.

Lets just keep it plain maybe a 3 year old chop saw. That has been used but was high quality to being with. Maybe a Makita or Milwaukee Dealt. This is for example only.

About the 50% that some people mentioned. I can see paying 50% but I’m not ready to call it a rule of thumb because I honestly can’t see paying more than 50%. So I think for me 50% would be the max!

View Planeman40's profile


788 posts in 2180 days

#8 posted 11-22-2015 07:08 PM

My rule of thumb is 50% of the new price for a machine or tool in very good condition. As the condition of the tool or machine goes down, so does the price. But as someone said above, you factor in how bad you want it and how may are available.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View BikerDad's profile


284 posts in 3020 days

#9 posted 11-25-2015 07:18 PM

As said, there’s a lot of variables. If you plan on paying 50% of STREET retail (not MSRP, although they are the same for Festool) for a very good condition, less than 3 years old Festool Kapex, you’re going to be smoking some green weed long before you get to drink the Green Kool-Aid. Conversely, for a decent non-abused professional grade contractor’s SCMS, you COULD find one for 50%, perhaps even 30%, but you’ll find one for 60% almost any day of the week.

Give it a year and you’ll be able to pick up used, sometimes well used, jobsite saws for 25% all day long for a couple of years as medium to larger contractors replace their jobsite saws with the upcoming Bosch model. Why would they do that? Simple. The potential and actual liability cost of the older, less safe saws will mean that replacing an otherwise perfectly good saw will make sense to the bottom line.

In short, “it depends”. I’ve acquired 4 bandsaws in my life. The first one I sorta overpaid for, it was a Jet 14” Delta clone that also handled metal. I spent $100 on it, which was probably 15% of the cost of a new one. The problem was, it had a crack in the column, so I couldn’t put a riser on it, nor could I sell it in good conscience. So I used it until I moved, and then donated it. My second was almost a steal. It’s was a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Delta Delta clone (i.e. one of their Chinese models) that I picked up at Lowe’s for $125 (vs $500) when they were closing them out in order to bring in the same tool labeled as a Porter-Cable. So, “it depends”.

The keys to getting the best deal when purchasing used equipment are twofold: a) not NEED it RIGHT NOW. b) have the funds available to jump on a good deal when it comes along.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

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Rick M.

7697 posts in 1799 days

#10 posted 11-25-2015 07:37 PM

I agree BikerDad. My wife thinks I’m an impulsive buyer but I tell that no, I just make up my mind ahead of time what I want exactly and what I will pay then when I find it I pounce.


View bonesbr549's profile


1137 posts in 2486 days

#11 posted 11-25-2015 11:10 PM

As others have said thats to generic. For example Festool, holds it value and you can get your money back used. I know I’ve done it. Sawstop saws. They hold their value and rarely even come up. Old American Iron you can get for a song. I bought a Norfield 18” planer that is still made and costs aroun 15k new. I paid 1500 for it. Lie-Nielsen planes will go for near retail.

Grizzly it depends. I sold my 10 year old 10” TS for 800 used and I paid 1200 for it new.

I sold my 10” old sears crapsmman RAS for….. well ok I gave it away to get it out of my shop.

You can see it really depends.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 571 days

#12 posted 11-26-2015 12:29 AM

As said here b4, I do CL every day across my state and watch prices some things hardley ever show up, Mortisers, so they go for about 2/3 of new price, ShopSmiths a fraction.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View AlaskaGuy's profile


2392 posts in 1728 days

#13 posted 11-26-2015 03:43 AM

I’m with it depends crowd. It’s what a buyer and seller can agree on. In less it a real piece of junk a 33% insult will get you an invite to leave my sale.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#14 posted 11-26-2015 03:54 AM

50% is good for some tools but others that are in high demand you may only get a 10% discount off of the new price other Items like radial arm saws you can get for far less than 50% off the new price ,because there’s little demand for them since a big percentage of people now buy sliding compound saws instead.

-- Custom furniture

View OldGuysRule's profile


130 posts in 392 days

#15 posted 11-26-2015 09:53 AM

Oh wow, what a loaded question. I don’t go out looking for used tools but, I do fall over them from time to time. I was in a resale store awhile back and tripped over the leg of a old belt / disc sander. After lifting up some other junk to see what the leg was attached to I made them an offer. Next thing I know I’m loading it up. $40! The motor ran and the bearings felt smooth so why not. I’m in the middle of giving it a face lift and building some of the parts it was missing. But so far it’s looking pretty good. It’s an old Craftsman 6”x48” with a 9” disc. It might have been a foolish buy with all that was missing but I’m having fun building what it’s missing. I’m getting to use some of my metal working skills. I was thinking about writing a blog about it and showing the process of the rebuild. It might help someone else needing to rebuild something.

So to me price is subject to wants, needs, condition and ability to make repairs or build parts that cannot be found. I always find the best deals when I not looking!

-- Rod P.........OLD GUY......Learning new things!

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