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Forum topic by Holbs posted 10-12-2013 05:48 PM 2830 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Holbs's profile


1878 posts in 2055 days

10-12-2013 05:48 PM

This relates only to auctions, not Craigslist nor eBay. I started off by visiting an auction on a whim over a year ago. It has since turned into some serious financial investment savings all around. For those starting out, or those in financial challenges (like me), auctions might be your answer.

types of auctions:
1.) local, must bid in person, no online bidding. a) lower number of competing bids (50 people present of which 0 or 2 would be interested in same item instead of 50 people interested in same item online). b) can inspect item c) 1000 auction items could take 4-5 hours of your Saturday time d) no shipping costs e) can bid on a heavy large sized item you can transport f) 3%-8% additional auction commission fee
2.) local, online auctions a) can inspect item b) no shipping costs c) can bid on heavy large sized items you can transport d) can pre-bid hours or days before with your maximum bid e) 15-20% additional internet commission fee, even if you pick up local f) more competing bids
3.) nation-wide auctions a) more selection by far b) one click easy method c) can pre-bid hours or days before with your maximum bid d) usually, 15-20% additional internet commission fee e) have to consider shipping pricing ($20-$100 on boxed items) f) caution: some do not even ship at all so read fine print g) more competing bids h) different time zones/ countries i) could be timed event, could be live event (webcam, sound, etc)
I have never put a bid on large machinery (lathe, drill press, table saw) that I could not drive to pick up. The shipping costs via USPS, FedEx, PakMail, etc would costs hundreds of dollars. I was quoted $500+ to ship a delta table saw from Georgia so I passed.

Items listed are not always accurate. Example: a lot was listed as “Japanese blades” while it was really $200 Japanese wood working hand saws which I promptly won the bid with $5.

Pictures do not tell the whole story. I bought my Reznor UDAP60 at a local online auction. I saw the picture online and went to inspect in person. It had scrapes and dust caked on it, as if it sat in a corner forgotten about or neglected. I won the bid for $70. Had HVAC friend come take a look. He informed me this $900 unit is brand new, unused (still had factory seals on it and the wiring has never been crimped). We tested that everything works.

You pray not everyone knows the value of a lot. This is where local auctions surpass online auctions. Some wood working items came up. 2xRockler wood screw clamps, Veritas items, Grizzly euro bench, Grizzly G0738 3speed air cleaner, Bosch 4100 with gravity stand. I bought all for $5 per lot, except the euro bench ($400 someone else won the bid) and Bosch 4100 (i already have 1, and it went for $200). No on bidded on the smaller items, but me. The air cleaner (i did win on $100 bid), rockler clamps, veritas router plane, veritas plug cutters, veritas angle cutters I won for under $120. At the different auction locally, bessey revo cabinet clamps came up. 48” x 8 of them. There were only 2 bidders: me and someone else. I stopped at $100 and he won. If he would not of been there, I would of won the lot with $40. argh.

Do your homework before the auction date. Pre-inspect if possible. Find out the retail / used price of a lot so you have a reference minimum / maximum bids. I make a list of lot #’s, the item, and it’s new retail or eBay dollar reference and make judgment calls in person. Decide if you will use the lot in the next 20 years. I have a squirrel cage fan out of a furnace I was planning to make a air cleaner. But then the Grizzly air cleaner came up. Seeing that it has remote control and 3 speeds and brand new in a box, I decided my maximum bid would be 50% off retail, instead of my usual 75% off retail. This is usually how I judge my maximum bids: 50% off retail or used if i REALLY want that item. 50%-99% off retail or used if i just want that item (such as #8 jointer plane for $10 or $50 for set of new crown cranked chisels, etc).

I seem to have a fascination with Keen Cutter hand tools. It is what my great grandfather used. I do not know the quality of their tools as compared to lee-neilson or such. In these instances, usually only online auctions would have these items. I have a bunch of Keen Cutter hand drills, bits, cabinet scrapers, etc. I considered bidding on a #3 Keen Cutter plane, but I guess 1/2 of LumberJocks were present and it went for $1000.

Take chances. I bought a Freud FT2200VCE 3-1/4HP variable speed plunge router for $50 at an online auction. I, of course, could not inspect in person and had to rely on pictures taken. Does the motor even work? Is something out of alignment or broken? Everything at any auction is “AS IS” and a no return policy (well, some do returns but not many). They sometimes plug stuff in to make sure it works, most of the time they do not bother. I won a LG large room air conditioner for $40. I was happy. Til I got it home and plugged it in. No freon so i was screwed.

One of my local in-person auctions has connections with the police department and MSC industrial tooling (their plant is here in northern Nevada). Many ‘tax exempt’ bikes & cars. And from MSC: $600 industrial circulation fans for $25, $300 dial calipers for $25, etc. If these machinist tools are 0.0001” off, they are rejected to be sold. So, off to auction they go (and for some items, into my garage).

Category of auctions:
1.) estate sales – this is where someone has passed on or is downsizing to move into a smaller place. Here, you will find all types of household and garage items. Many times, stuff from the garage is tossed in a box and simply labeled tools. Most of it is junk: 2cent sockets and screwdrivers. Or a hidden gold mine: new veritas router plane in box mixed in with kitchen sponges, drapery hooks, and a cell phone charger for $5.
2.) industrial – this is where a business is selling things off, or a general used machinery from the local region. The big boys with big wallets come out for these. Those $8000 CNC machines to small $50 drill presses to $1000 city buses to $500 powermatic66 table saws (i always wanted a city bus).
3.) store returns – these are the home depot or sears or insert store here returns. from patio umbrellas to mobile swamp coolers.
4.) general auctions – these are like gathering everything on craigslist for the week, and having an auction. Most will be consignments. From Doobie Brother LP albums in faded jacket covers to rockwell 6” jointers.

I’ll stop here. Local auction just called and said i won the grizzly scroll saw for $25. Gotta go pick it up :)

I’m sure there are others who can share their gloats, wins, losses, experiences, insights with auctions. Please, do share them. And if you goto your local auction, for the first time… just watch and learn that first trip. You will get to understand the speed, procedures, the competing bids etc without throwing your wallet away.

examples of items purchased at auctions:
new in box air conditioner for 20’x20’ area: $5
kuul aire mobile swamp coolers: $25 each (retail $200-$250 each)
reznor udap60 natural gas residential heater: $70 (retail $800-$1200)
veritas router plane: $5 (retail $200)
japanese hand saw set $5 (retail $200)
new grizzly air cleaner $100 (retail $199)
various measuring tools (squares, calipers, etc) $5 each. retail $50 – $300 each
chisels: cranked crown set $70 (retail $200), butt chisel set $50 (retail $?)
garage lights (4’ and 8’). $10 each retail $80
incra miter 1000se $5 retail $150+
incra LS positioner fence $20 retail $150+
freud FT2200VCE router $25 retail $250
various clamps
various work shop fans
wall mounted industrial fans $20 retail $350
5” casters $1 each (retail $25each)
incra ultra-rt fence $5
Grizzly dual cloth bag 3HP dust collection $250
rockwell 6” jointer $100
delta 10” drill press $50
Lervad work bench $200

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

16 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2701 days

#1 posted 10-12-2013 11:54 PM

I got a Delta Unisaw with a 52 inch Uni-fence for $180.

View Woodmaster1's profile


982 posts in 2613 days

#2 posted 10-13-2013 12:10 AM

I got a Rockwell lathe for 65.00. The same auction a delta contractor tablesaw looked great 85.00 and a 14”delta bandsaw 60.00. If I had the money at the time I would have bid on those as well.

View Holbs's profile


1878 posts in 2055 days

#3 posted 10-13-2013 07:11 AM

grandpa… did you get it locally? or did you get it shipped?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

546 posts in 2404 days

#4 posted 10-18-2013 02:13 PM

Holbs, how do you find local auctions? I’m in the Chicagoland area and have always been curious as I’m sure I can pick up some nice stuff for dirt cheap considering my locale.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2892 days

#5 posted 10-18-2013 02:39 PM

I agree with you. Auctions are a good way to buy machinery and equipment. My brother and I have been going to auctions for at least 40 years. We’ve had two woodworking plants over the years and have bought a lot of equipment, hardware, tooling, and raw material at auctions.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1929 days

#6 posted 10-18-2013 04:38 PM

My best auction get is the pristine Monarch 10ee metal lathe in my avatar. Not exactly cheap at $9500, but current replacement cost is $150,000 for a like machine new from Monarch. Some good luck on that one.

View Holbs's profile


1878 posts in 2055 days

#7 posted 10-18-2013 10:15 PM

unbob… that machine looks to belong in Willy Wonka factory it looks so pristine. or a dieselpunk gumball machine :) must of been fun to move it

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View Holbs's profile


1878 posts in 2055 days

#8 posted 10-18-2013 10:22 PM


google search chicago auctions. one such place

finding local auctions can be tricky because they do not have the funding to advertise or don’t bother. I have 4 locally here in Reno, NV. 2 are on auctionzip so can be easily found… the other 2 are in-person only (no online, no phone orders) and i found them by talking to auction folk from the other 2.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View Pimzedd's profile


606 posts in 4168 days

#9 posted 10-18-2013 11:41 PM

Bought my 1948 Craftsman bandsaw at an industry auction for $50 over 25 years ago. New tires and guides and it is still going strong.

Went to a consignment auction last winter. They had a lot of new or almost new Rigid equipment. Was interested in the table saw. It all went for over what is could be bought at HD. Some People !?

At the same auction there were some hand planes. One was weird looking. The bid went to $15 so I held up my hand, wasn’t going to let it go that cheap. Someone else did as well and the auctioneer got the other guy at $20 and me at $25. I got it. After some research, found it was a Stanley 48 Tongue and Groove Model 1. One very similar sold for $102 on ebay not long ago.

Bought an Incra Ultra jig for $25 last spring at an estate sale. It is setting on the floor of a small portable building. Knew what it was immediately but asked the guy what it was. He didn’t know. I said I’ll give you $30 and he said he would take $25. I said SOLD.

Went back the next day to look for the the strips that slide in for different setups. Found them on the floor being stepped on. Found a book but not the original manual that I really wanted.

At the same estate sale, I got a box of of Starrett hole saws and multiple arbors that day for $10 and an electric motor for $5 from the same guy.

I know what Holbs means by spending too much. I go to estate sales almost every weekend. Buy items for various hobbies that I know something about. Recently bought seven large scale plastic model aircraft for $10 ea., they go for around $80 each on ebay. Have just missed out on some good deals on RC airplane kits. Bought at base clarinet for $62, after $250 reconditioning, should sell for around $900 (son-in-law is a high school band director and helps with that).

I wish Holbs had not told you all the secrets. Wait!! I just did the same.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View Ebro's profile


158 posts in 1761 days

#10 posted 10-19-2013 12:48 PM

I’ve had a few really good auction deals this year. I bought a nearly complete 1966 Unisaw for $65. It’s missing a blade guard and I had to deal with a lot of surface rust but everything is in great working order.

At another auction I upgraded the old 30ish” Unisaw fence for a newer 52” Unifence for $75.

I won a 4’x8’x3” thick slab of laminated maple for $2. That will make a great workbench.

I ran into a huge lot of clamps. They auctioned them off by choice and I got 10 Bessey K-body clamps for $9 each. The rest of the 20 or so clamps were assorted pipe, F style bar and one handed Quick-Grip and Bessey clamps. I bought those for $100.

I bought a 5’x5’ maple-topped workbench for $20. It included 2 heavy duty metal vices.

I spent $220, overspending by my standards, for a Powermatic 8” model 50 jointer.

Radial Arm saw $20. Another lot of 30 assorted smaller clamps $15. 50# of boxed wood screws $5. A large box with 30 or so drawer glides $25….

I love auctions!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#11 posted 10-19-2013 01:08 PM

walker turner bandsaw, $100.

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

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3336 days

#12 posted 10-19-2013 01:23 PM

Invicta 18” x 60 ” wood lathe, $525
36” Yates American BS, $100
Grizzley Morticer, $120
Powermatic 20” planer, $200
146 wood clamps, Wetzler and Jorgensen, mostly, $230
5500 bd ft of KD Oak, Sapele, Cherry, $300
30’ x 8” stroke sander, $500

-- Rustfever, Central California

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3385 days

#13 posted 10-20-2013 01:24 PM

I got a vintage Delta 8” jointer at an auction for $100. If you buy a VFD or rotary phase converter, you can get some really, REALLY nice machines for cheap.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Holbs's profile


1878 posts in 2055 days

#14 posted 10-20-2013 03:59 PM

true, dave.
i see tons of 3phase machinery go for 1/2 or more than 1phase machinery at auctions.
when i get filthy rich and build a true workshop, i’ll pay the $15,000 to get 3phase supplied.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1929 days

#15 posted 10-20-2013 04:25 PM

Its getting much easier and less costly to deal with 3phase equipment. Most of my woodworking machines are 3phase, that I bought cheap. It does scare most folks away, good thing for us that are in the know, at least for now anyway.

These are the ultimate in phase converters, actually better then utility 3phase, but not really needed for regular non cnc woodworking machines. Around $3000 for a 10hp.

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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