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Confessions of an Antique Hand Tool Junkie

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 12-03-2010 05:55 PM 1328 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


12-03-2010 05:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor

No, wait, I’m a junkie for antique hand tools, not an antique junkie of hand tools!! Ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way….
I just need to air my britches about a few things. On eBay, I’m sick of reading text for hand planes where the ‘dealer’ who presents himself to be the absolute authority on old stuff, proclaims his unfamiliarity with an often distressed plane or other tool. Sometimes, there will be a pic of a horribly rusted relic, missing the cutter and cap-iron. Then, the seller tries to cover himself from responsibility by stating that you must ask all questions before bidding!! This is really dishonest. Yeah, I know, caveat emptor! But how many people have been snookered? There has to be a modicum of implicit trust! By the way, does the use of the word “Vintage” EVER provided the incentive to bid?? I’m sick of hearing that word, unless perhaps if used by an 80-yr-old. And now I’m seeing a lot of planes listed with a dollar or 2 starting bid, with a flat shipping rate of over a hundred dollars!!! This might not be considered a scam, you’ll probably get your item if you’re top bidder, but the Vendor clearly is trying to subvert the fees to eBay based on final bid price. They ought to be reported. By the way, dammit, it’s PLANE! not plain, planers, shavers, scrapers or any other goofy name. A wood-soled plane, or transitional plane, is NOT a ‘block’ plane. Are the words ”great gift for the woodworker in the family” ever necessary? Go figure!
Then, there are the online classified ads. I’m sure I’m not the only one who rolls his eyes at the sight of this sentence: “If interested, please call xxx-xxxx! Ummm…is there any need for that qualification? Are these advertisers getting calls from people who are NOT really all that interested? LOL.
What kind of stuff like this gets your goat? I really wanna know!

-- 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!!


15 replies so far

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Dan

3543 posts in 1576 days


#1 posted 12-03-2010 06:40 PM

I think your letting too much get to you… You cant expect that the millions of people who sell on ebay all over the world all know what it is that they are selling. Since ebay became big and known by pretty much everyone, people take any little piece of junk they have and put it on there. Expecting everyone to have the correct name and info is expecting a bit much. Thats part of the gamble to buying an auction item. You don’t always know every detail of what you are getting. Bid at your own risk… That is part of the reason I like to stay clear from Ebay.

I think Ebay has become way to big and its become hard to find GOOD deals on there. Its also flooded with ebay stores selling stuff for FAR more then what it would ever go for on an auction. I do agree with you on the shipping. You always have to look close. 10 years ago when I got stuff on ebay the shipping was never an issue, it was always around the same price for items. Now you got sellers trying to make their profits by selling something for a few bucks then charging a few extra dollars for shipping. I don’t think its unfair for them to do that but its annoying and another reason I don’t use ebay that much.

Ebay has also slowly taken the fun out of collecting items. When I first found out about ebay it was smaller and new to people. It was amazing and fun that I was able to find items that I couldn’t find in any local store or collector shop. It got big though and made it too easy to find things. Kind of took the fun out of hunting for those hard to find items..

I have gone back to the old ways and find myself searching small garage sales, thrift stores, pawn shops and flea markets for the things I collect. You can find the stuff a lot cheaper then on ebay and your not dealing with all those ebay things…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1679 days


#2 posted 12-03-2010 06:49 PM

I never buy anything from E-Bay, to me its more of a rip off with the varying shipping charges plus the bid. I also don’t express interest on Craiglist without a pic of the item interested in.
Words like antique, rare, vintage etc. are just someones ploy to suck you in. I prefer words like manufactured in the USA, Manufactured on (date of choice) or patten date.
Lets face it a well use tool in good shape has more zing to it than slightly used, generally meaning a piece of junk. I guess its like the old saying goes let the buyer beware.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


#3 posted 12-03-2010 07:47 PM

Dan,...ummm no, it is not unreasonable to expect people to know what it is that they’re selling. And, implicitly, they apparently seem to know the high-end price guide value of an item when they post the starting bid! So how does that happen? I think of the Stanley #2 plane on eBay recently that the seller claimed to have no knowledge of what it was… but the starting price was $150, and the reserve was $250!!! This for a plane that had cracks around the mouth, and other serious deficiencies! From an eBay seller who claimed to have no expertise in tools. And yes, eBay specifically investigates EVERY complaint of excessive shipping charges, which are done to circumvent the assessed fees charged to the seller. For the same reason you’ve ‘gone back to the old ways’ of scrounging things you collect, is the very same challenge I enjoy by shopping on eBay as well as garage sales and flea markets. I’m not letting it get to me, as you remarked. The more frustrating the experience is, the less I spend, because I’d be broke if there was great deals on every corner! Even at yard sales, sometimes people try to cover their lack of knowledge by slapping a ridiculously high price on things which they’ve got no clue of the value of.

-- 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!!

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Dan

3543 posts in 1576 days


#4 posted 12-03-2010 08:44 PM

I follow what you are saying and I do agree to some degree. However people are free to charge what ever they want for that item. I do get the frustration but its their item and they should be able to charge what ever price they choose.

I will disagree yet again about knowing what item it is that they are selling. Let me run this example by you. So lets say someone is renting a house and move out and leave behind a bunch of stuff that they didn’t feel was worth packing and moving with them. Landlord is cleaning the house and sees that they left a box of old tools in the basement. Landlord knows NOTHING about the tools but he does know that old antique items like that can sometimes be worth something. Landlord is too busy to do a full fledged research of each item so maybe he just gets an idea of what they are and checks to see what they are currently going for on ebay. I am talking a quick search here. The landlord takes an hour to list the items and call it good. How is he to know all the detailed information that a collector would?

Why I disagree with you is mainly because Ebay is not a store, its a public forum for people to sell stuff. It would be different if you were going to an antique store and they were selling the planes like that. Going to a specific store you would expect them to know what they are selling and expect them to have a fair price. With Ebay you don’t know if you are buying the plane from a collector, a fellow woodworker or an 80 year old women who is selling her recently deceased husbands tools. I think your expecting fair prices and fair descriptions like you would if you were walking into a store. Does that make sense?

Also remember, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


#5 posted 12-03-2010 08:52 PM

I’m sorry if anyone got their shorts in a knot over this. Sheesh.

-- 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!!

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Chip

1904 posts in 2788 days


#6 posted 12-03-2010 09:03 PM

I agree with Dan. It’s an online flea market and hardly worth slicing and dicing description verbiage or having a stroke over ineptitude on the sellers part. Do you go to garage sales and unleash a verbal barrage on people when they are selling things that Uncle Milton left them and they have no idea what it is? No, you either buy it or walk back to the car. You must have a lot of time on your hands poop.

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

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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


#7 posted 12-03-2010 09:08 PM

Didn’t mean to make you blow a fuse over this, Chip! Sheesh again!

-- 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!!

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TheDane

3879 posts in 2359 days


#8 posted 12-03-2010 09:13 PM

The one I liked recently was an eBay item that the seller described as being ”... in minty condition.”

What the heck is minty?

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1770 days


#9 posted 12-03-2010 09:26 PM

I’m an e-bay buyer and I have purchased several older tools, including planes, on e-bay. I agree with what poopiekat says but I probably don’t feel quite as intense about it as he does.

E-bay should only be used by people who really know what they are doing and really know the product they are trying to buy. There are many unscrupulous sellers out there and there are also a lot of dumb buyers. I’ve seen buyers making bids that were totally out of line with the value of the product they are trying to buy.

For every 100 items I look at, I probably only bid on one or less and of those items I bid on I probably only end up buying 1 out of every 5.

However, every once in a while you get a great deal.

One of my theories on e-bay purchasing – - People over bid if the item is clean and shiny and under bid on the items that could be clean and shiny with a little TLC.

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

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swirt

1948 posts in 1668 days


#10 posted 12-03-2010 09:34 PM

I love it when they use the wrong name for the tool. Hopefully the name they use is so wrong that the people that are really looking for that tool will never see it, and I will be able to get it with less competition.

I would love to find a nice L-N plane described as a “Leslie Neilson scrapy cutter”. That would suit me just fine. :))

It makes me laugh when most non tool specialist list their wooden planes as either “block planes” (because it is made from a block of wood) or “molding planes” because they saw some other wooden planes called that.

Some people know what they have, and some people don’t. It is no different than some antique consignment shops I frequent. In one shop there is a booth that only has old tools. He knows his tools and prices them accurately. Two booths over, someone had a couple of poor quality planes (stamped metal frogs, plastic handles…) and the price was ridiculous. As I was walking away, shaking my head, I realized what the person selling the crappy planes did. He went over and looked at the tool dealers booth and found a plane that looked the same size and shape as theirs and then priced it $3 less. The problem is, the plane they looked at was a pristine Bedrock 604 and theirs was NOT, but they had no idea.

As far as the “ask all questions before the sale” I think sellers use that to avoid people getting buyers remorse and trying to weasel out buying the item they won. For example, the description or photo will indicate a crack in a tote, then after they win the auction they will ask something like “does the crack go all the way through?” and when the answer is “YES” they say oh never mind I don’t want it.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


#11 posted 12-03-2010 09:36 PM

Good point, Jerry! Yes, for sure the whole eBay thing is quite subjective, and this topic was posted as a light-hearted overview of the potential minefield that is eBay. Hmmm, though I haven’t sold anything on eBay recently, I’ve been buying lots of stuff. I was the sole bidder on some, I quote, “Fread Drill-Heads”.... yup, you read that right. for my Paypal purchase of $8, I got a 30-piece display unit of genuine, new Freud router bits never opened, never used. The guy took forever to ship them, but I got ‘em! Ditto the genuine “Stalny plain” which was a #7, for $15!! Yahoo! And a brand new set of Recrod #43 cutters, again misspelled! Just for giggles, try misspelling your favorite brand names and do an eBay search! I do my keyword search like everyone else does, but that’s not how the less-obvious bargains come up. Jerry, the line I’m amused with most is “In great condition considering the year”!! Though I speak of these things with a smile on my face these things do happen. I saw an Eager Beaver MCculloch chainsaw at a yard sale, looking brand new. The woman said her husband wanted to get rid of it because the motor wouldn’t start, and that she’d take NO LESS THAN $5 for it. The pull knob on the starter was gone, and the rope got pulled inside by the recoil unit. In 2 minutes I had it running. I always pay what the sellers ‘figure it to be worth’, so my conscience is clear. I have often suggested to people that they do their research before letting a treasure get taken out of their hands.

-- 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!!

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TheDane

3879 posts in 2359 days


#12 posted 12-03-2010 09:40 PM

Rich—IMNTBHO, a lot of the bidding on eBay is driven by emotion amongst buyers who have no idea what the real value of the item may be. That is why some of the bids get so far out of sight.

If I see something I might be interested in, I first determine what the maximum is that I am willing to pay for it.

I then sit in the weeds and wait, occasionally checking the history. If someone passes what I had determined I would buy, I forget about it.

On auctions that I have ‘won’, I typically win on my first and only bid … I don’t get into upping the bid as the close draws near because that is where I think it is easy to let emotion take over and make a mistake.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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poopiekat

3685 posts in 2430 days


#13 posted 12-03-2010 09:48 PM

Thanks, swirt, rich GregN and Jerry for your comments! eBay truly is a good place to shop, though it takes a lot of expertise and a bit of patience to get the good stuff. And the shipping cost is not that bad, when I consider that if I take my 3/4 Ton Ram Van out on a Saturday yard sale safari, I’ll easily blow through most of an $80 tank of gas. It’s the fear of missing something that prevents me from staying home. swirt: A Leslie Nielson scrapy cutter? LOL…Must be for twisted wood! May the man rest in Peace.

-- 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!!

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TheDane

3879 posts in 2359 days


#14 posted 12-04-2010 01:09 AM

CharlieL: I’m surprised they are not making them in China!

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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Brit

5236 posts in 1538 days


#15 posted 12-05-2010 12:24 AM

@Swirt – I’m still laughing at “Leslie Neilson scrapy cutter”.

Anyhow, I’ve decided that I’m not going anywhere near eBay. I wouldn’t stand a chance with you lot sitting in the weeds waiting as Gerry puts it.

Then again, maybe I’ll get lucky if I search for Ferretass. LOL

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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