Resale value for used Lie Nielsen tools

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by richgreer posted 09-18-2010 05:37 PM 9125 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

09-18-2010 05:37 PM

I’ve been monitoring (and not buying) the selling prices for used tools on e-bay for a while. I am consistently amazed at the selling prices for used Lie Nielsen tools. If the tool is in good condition (and it seems like almost all used Lie Nielsen tools are in good condition) they usually sell for about 90% of the current new price. Often they sell for 100% of the original new price when the tool was originally purchased.

Example – - No. 62 Low angle jack plane – - Current new price – $245, Original new price – $225, Current high bid on e-bay – $211.25 and there are still 5 hours to do. I expect it to go up further before the end of the auction. This is typical.

I don’t think there is another brand in any market that consistently holds its value like this.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

14 replies so far

View JuniorJoiner's profile


486 posts in 3434 days

#1 posted 09-18-2010 05:48 PM

bridge city

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Jon_Banquer's profile


69 posts in 2803 days

#2 posted 09-18-2010 06:21 PM

Hi Rich,

I thought I would share my recent experience in dealing with Lie Nielson:

I talked with a customer service person from Lie Nielson on the phone last week. When I called he was busy on the phone. 3 hours later he calls back after hours from Maine. He then spent over an hour on the phone with me talking about my application which is planing some maple long grain butcher block table tops I have that are filled with lots of dings from hammer blows on both the top and sides but otherwise in very good shape (no glue, or paint, etc. on them). He suggested I try and use a wet rag and steam iron to raise the dings so I have to plane less.

I started out by mentioning that I though I would need 3 of their planes to do the job. He felt I should start with the 14” Low Angle Jack plane and their toothed blade and he suggested a strategy for how to plain my maple butcher block tops. After roughing them out he felt if I was happy with the result then I should call back and order their 4 1/2 high angle smoothing plane used for finish planing. Bottom line is he talked me out of getting 3 planes and starting slowly. That says to me that he cares about the customer (me) and is very confident that I’ll like the first purchased plane and will come back for the finishing plane. He’s right because I don’t believe his kind of tech support is available from a low cost Chinese reseller because the profit in selling the plane is too low and they also don’t offer the kind of product range to sell me say 8 different types of planes which I may need eventually.

Bottom line in my mind is planing is challenging for a newbie and requires a decent skill set (sharpening, knowing where you want to go and how to get there, etc.) so I would rather pay for both the quality and the tech support. From what I can tell in my research there are much more expensive planes sold and obviously much cheaper ones sold. The L-N planes seem to hit what I would call a “sweet spot” price and quality wise and perhaps it’s for these reasons that they hold their value and are so desired by many.

At this point in my newbie woodworking career I would never consider a cheap plane with no or inferior tech support as my focus is almost solely on doing a quality job on these maple butcher block tops and not on saving dollars. If I had a very high planing skill level and years of experience using planes on different materials and different applications I might very well feel differently. For sure I can use crap equipment and worn our or poorly designed fixtures when machining because I’ve done it for so long and I know how to deal with the myriad of different problems that can and do arise.

I don’t see learning to plane correctly as a low skill pursuit. Hope my logic makes sense to you and to others reading.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10478 posts in 3423 days

#3 posted 09-18-2010 09:50 PM

I guess LN tools, like some others, are truly an investment. I have a few in my portfolio but, I ain’t selling.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View swirt's profile


2731 posts in 2966 days

#4 posted 09-19-2010 05:19 AM

I’ve often laughed to myself as I see them sell for close to or more than 100% of the what they could be purchased for new. If it were me, I’d never go that high, it would be better just to buy it new. Less risky that way. I suppose though that sales tax could be an equalizing issue. A $300 plane on ebay could save you $20 or so in taxes assuming shipping rates for ebay and or LN direct are comparable (depends on the ebay seller)

-- Galootish log blog,

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 3605 days

#5 posted 09-20-2010 02:21 AM

Some other brands that come to mind are Festool if taken care of and Veritas planes usually hold close to their original prices .

View poopiekat's profile


4354 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 09-20-2010 03:28 AM

Rich….I might have a possible explanation for this. I sometimes go to our local Lee Valley to drool over their high-end ‘Veritas’ planes, which are simply upscale Stanley designs, often cast in bronze. They are beautiful, but I often see them gawked at, and bought by people who never used a plane and I swear, by what I hear, they’re not even sure what the planes are for….except to look good on the mantel, to impress their equally oblivious friends. Eventually, they DO come down off the mantel, and get listed on eBay. And I continue to use my resurrected junker planes that I’ve brought back to usable condition. It’s us versus them, I guess, sort of like a whole different economy than the one I operate in. There IS the occaisional buy, however, like the Veritas equivalent of a Stanley #2. I’m sure that the Leigh-Neilsen phenomena is one and the same as the Lee Valley/ Veritas scenario I speak of. Come to think of it, the Veritas #2 was on backorder for a year, hmmmm….maybe they’re creating demand that way, and justifying their high prices. This may make ones on the used market go for artificially high prices maybe?

-- 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 TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3670 days

#7 posted 10-26-2010 08:22 AM

I thought there was a thread pointing out this ebay auction for a Lie-Nielsen Progressive Pitch Dovetail Saw. Maybe I ran across it myself??

There are 10 hours left and the price is $114.01. The saw sells for $135. For $20, why buy used? when you can have a new one guaranteed to be perfect in every way? I’m sure anyone who bought it would take good care of it, but who knows who handled it and what they did?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4087 days

#8 posted 10-26-2010 11:17 AM

JuniorJoiner is right. Bridge City tools actually increase in value… especially after a particular tool is discontinued. I guess they become collectors items. For their price, I don’t think I would actually use one… just put it on a shelf as a piece of art.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2775 days

#9 posted 10-26-2010 12:54 PM

I’ve only got one Bridge City item, an 18” centre finding rule bought discounted in
some sort of deal at Lee Valley. Use it all the time. Can’t aford the other stuff. I do have a fair collection of Veritas tools, and was checking the new catalogue the other day..
HOW DID I AFFORD THESE ? Ah, right, when LV introduces a new tool often they’re at a limmited time buy now lower price .

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

#10 posted 10-26-2010 05:43 PM

I’ve heard it said, and I assume it is true, that there is heavy demand for used high quality tools from our friends in Europe because on a used item they avoid the VAT. Perhaps someone from Europe on this board could confirm or correct this.

If true, that would explain why some Lie-Nielsen tools on ebay are selling for almost as much as we pay new here.

I know that I sold some high quality photography equipment a few years ago on e-bay and it all went to Europe.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#11 posted 10-26-2010 05:54 PM

LV and LN are somewhat unique in that sense when you consider larger manufacturing companies(Bridge City is a whole different ball game it seems as they are mostly one-offs sort of thing). Even festool doesn’t hold their value AS MUCH as LN and LV tools.

I see LV planes selling on eBay for most than NEW all the time. If/When I get a LV plane it most likely be new from LV direct.

Personally I haven’t seen anyone buying LN or LV planes to put on a mantle, I see them being used all the time, they are good quality tools that work real well – period. LV actually went a few yards beyond and actually introduced quite a bit of improvements into their planes and tools (veritas tools) that sets them apart from Stanley and others.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#12 posted 10-26-2010 06:11 PM

Good point Rich I know LN makes quality planes, has great service plus looking great makes a fine recipe for success. Unless I hit the lottery I don’t think I’ll be buying one soon since I probably have 40+ planes that do the job well after being tuned properly. But I sure understand why anyone would want one and that the resale is so high.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 3853 days

#13 posted 10-26-2010 06:58 PM

When I first started woodworking, I bought some cheap planes and used planes. My results were horrible—so much in fact that I thought hand tools were “stupid”. It wasn’t until I got a Veritas Block Plane and then a Jack Plane that experienced the real joy of working wood by hand. The reason for this was they largely worked great out of the box. In looking back at the old planes that I purchased, I now understand why I was having so many issues and what I could do to fix them. However, if someone were just getting started and wanted to know what to get, I would tell them to get a LN or LV plane just so they know what a good hand plane should feel like.

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3670 days

#14 posted 10-27-2010 04:42 AM

Jim, How many are backups and how many are for specfic purpose?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics