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

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Forum topic by Bluepine38 posted 11-03-2012 04:57 AM 9186 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3379 posts in 3319 days

11-03-2012 04:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: vise humor question

Here is a picture of my newest purchase

I went to a rummage sale listing tools on Craigslist and found this vise laying on the floor marked $10.00, so I
grabbed it and paid the man standing there. He said “Is this an offer?”, I showed him the price tag and said
“No, I am buying it.” He got a funny look on his face and said, my mother must have priced it, but since
that is what it is marked, you can have it for that price. It was a fairly nice house and garage, with no
shortage of money indicated, so I did not think I was cheating anyone out of money they needed. I took
the vise and left. It is an old Craftsman wood vise with a self releasing nut that allows for easy opening and
closing. The father had died and they were closing out the estate. It got me to thinking on they way
home that I am not as young as I once was and when the wife got home, I talked to her about the dollar
value of my tools and the vise. Her reply was that when I died, she would probably sell that same vise for
$10 and value my other tools accordingly, since she did not think she would really need the money once
she sold the house that we have been fixing up as our investment property for the last few years. So I
guess I will have to get in touch with the kids and make sure they know what I have for tools and that
they will have to speak up if they want them. My guns are all spoken for and will be passed out over the
years as I no longer use them, but the tools I guess will hopefully make some young woodworker trying
to start woodworking on a budget very happy. The tools have paid for themselves in work done on the
house and making presents, so I guess that is fair.

Values differ greatly between people. My wife is a musician, and knows what her drums and guitars are
worth, but my toys as I call them, since I have so much fun with them do not mean that much to her, and
are not that big an investment. Now that rebuilt 327 engine with the Muncie 4 speed and the new 400
cfm Holley that was setting in the back of the same garage at only $1500 is a different story and I am going
to have to sleep on that for a while, since the car to put it in will cost a little bit also. Damn, I guess I am
never going to grow up.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

27 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3342 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


1678 posts in 2867 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 2927 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 3519 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

19034 posts in 2801 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 2309 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

19034 posts in 2801 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 2309 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 3148 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


11830 posts in 3922 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 2619 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 2326 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 2650 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


1678 posts in 2867 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 2918 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”).

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