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Thread: My one and only used-tool purchase sight-unseen?

  1. #1
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    My one and only used-tool purchase sight-unseen?

    I was on another forum… a Patreon forum, as I’ve realized I should pay for all this knowledge from places like SawmillCreek and some YT knowledge providers. I saw a Stanley #4 29(?) smoother from early’60s… for $40 + freight.

    Well, got it today, first thing I saw was bad pitting on the sole. Tonight I took it down and lapped it a bit. There’s been so much rust at some point, and possibly an errant file, maybe, that the throat was slightly oval in the middle. In addition, there’s so much metal missing it’s like a toothless old mouth on a wooden nutcracker. There isn’t enough metal to file it and lap it.

    Anyone got a Tokamak grinder? That’s what it would take. On a serious note, I guess I can make a scrub out of it. Or sell parts. The rest of it looks good. Just that sole looks like it sat on a wet sponge for a decade.


    Tokamak = fusion = addition of metal…. 🤣

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear about your bum deal.

    Have you or can you contact the seller?

    Many years ago one of my posts was on what to look for when purchasing tools online. Sadly it is impossible to cover everything and some sellers are clever at intentional deception.

    The Neanderthal wisdom/FAQs has a lot to offer > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?103805 < Scroll down to section 7 and click on > Planes and a Few Things to Look For < for a lot of things to not buy. ebay has changed a lot since this was posted so have prices.

    Do Patreon forums allow feedback?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Sorry to hear about your bum deal.

    Have you or can you contact the seller?

    Many years ago one of my posts was on what to look for when purchasing tools online. Sadly it is impossible to cover everything and some sellers are clever at intentional deception.

    The Neanderthal wisdom/FAQs has a lot to offer > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?103805 < Scroll down to section 7 and click on > Planes and a Few Things to Look For < for a lot of things to not buy. ebay has changed a lot since this was posted so have prices.

    Do Patreon forums allow feedback?

    jtk
    I will read through this. Thank you. I did contact the seller and he offered 1/2 refund. That makes me wonder if we just have differing levels of quality definition. In which case, he’s totally legitimate in his description. I’ve learned an important lesson here, and will learn more from your link.

    I think I can salvage it as a scrub plane, so it’s not like it’s scrap iron. It just stung a bit… &55.50 bits. 😊

    I did not take his offer. I didn’t harangue him… just pointed out his description was lacking. Hopefully we both came away better for the experience.

  4. #4
    You can consider the pitting as irregular shaped antifriction pockets.

    Early in my anti rust campaign, I picked up a '49 #4 . By the time I finished, I thought a LV #4 was a heck of a good deal !

  5. #5
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    One of the things on my shopping list yesterday was some 'cleaning vinegar.' It is a bit stronger (6%) than vinegar for salad dressing and is a decent mild acid for removing rust from cast iron.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    fwiw there's also 75% vinegar available

    Amazon.com: 75% Pure Vinegar - Concentrated Industrial Grade 32oz: Health & Personal Care


    I've not tried it on rusty tools though
    Maryland

  7. #7
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    Meryl,

    I have been burned a small number of times buying stuff on the auction site, and even at flea markets, etc. In the case of the flea market fiasco, I was in a hurry and didn't look over a plane with adequate care, partially because the better half was getting very impatient. In the case of stuff from the auction site, it was also cases of getting a "super price," as time was quickly running out.

    Now I always ask the seller if the screws are frozen up, etc., if the item has much corrosion. Also, if it is not possible to look the entire item over carefully, all sides, etc., due to inadequate pictures, fuzzy pictures, inadequate lighting, etc., I pass on the item.

    Fortunately, in those "I messed up" cases, I was able to find parts that were not too expensive or to be able to finally make repairs such as getting rusted in screws out, etc. So in most of those cases I still ended up with a very usable tool....However, the headaches, wasted time, and added costs of the parts, etc., were such that I came to the conclusion that unless I can be ABSOLUTLY CERTAIN of the condition of the item I don't buy.

    Now, however, the price of replacement parts on the auction site have gotten so out of hand that it is WAY CHEAPER to pay more for a tool that is OK to begin with. Also, I am old enough now that I will no longer buy a bargain price tool if I have to spend a lot of extra rehab time. Pay $20 more and save yourself 10 extra hours of rehab work.

    When I was young and had a lot more time than money, getting the tool for a bargain price was worth lots of rehab time, otherwise I would have to do without the tool. I still look for bargains, but the time for rehab is also a big factor now.

    For what it's worth, from past posts of experiences something like yours or auction site purchases, and the resulting discussion of those experience, folks have said that they think almost all of us who buy used and vintage tools have made the same type of mistake in one way or another. We've all learned the same way, so chalk it up to experience and a relatively cheap good lesson, so don't beat yourself up too badly.

    I do hope it will make a good scrub plane. I also have a plane or two that are not quite as good as I would have liked, and they are also now in the process of becoming scrub planes. So, I am in the same boat as you. For what it's worth, I need the scrub planes, they are good tools to have, and I don't consider them as a loss.

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 06-12-2021 at 3:13 PM. Reason: is

  8. #8
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    Stew makes some great points. My experiences on eBay have, for the most part, been good. Lots of reasons for that. Fuzzy photos - pass. Limited descriptions - pass. Excessive shipping cost - pass. More than one negative rating - probably pass. Impulse buying or bidding frenzy - never; I always preestablish a limit on what I’m willing to pay for something - no exceptions. I prefer in-person (Craigslist, estate sales, etc.) transactions or buying used stuff from fellow Creekers. But oftentimes the only option is eBay. With eBay’s buyer protection plan, you have some recourse if you get burned, as long as you can show that the seller misrepresented the item.

    Now that companies like Lie Nielsen and Lee Valley are beginning to gradually increase production, I expect the mind-blowing prices for used tools to drop significantly. Hopefully by August or September things will return to a semblance of normalcy.

  9. #9
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    These are good responses, and these last 2 help with perspective. Thank you all. This is one supportive community!

    And I gotta shout out to the tech support… these folks blew all the doors off if my expectations. Thank you for the help. I was able to get back in and running again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Soaper View Post
    fwiw there's also 75% vinegar available

    Amazon.com: 75% Pure Vinegar - Concentrated Industrial Grade 32oz: Health & Personal Care


    I've not tried it on rusty tools though
    Thanks for that. Ordered some.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post
    Meryl,

    For what it's worth, I need the scrub planes, they are good tools to have, and I don't consider them as a loss.

    Regards,

    Stew
    This was a long and good post, thank you. I’m not experienced enough to say it WILL be a good scrub. I think it will, and as a person who salvages old wood, I’d rather bang up a #4 blade than a 16” trio of planer blades on buried surprises.

  12. #12
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    Bummer. And your plan for use as a scrub is sound-I use a #3 that was 'cheap' but not fit for smoothing. After adding a radius to the (somewhat pitted) iron, I have not considered 'upgrading' to a true scrub.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  13. #13
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    There's always a bit of risk when buying online and not seen...Can be frustrating
    Jerry

  14. #14
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    I’d like to update this thread. Kind of a made-for-tv ending.

    I did contact the buyer, expressed my disappointment, shared a couple of photos. We talked about it a bit, and he was heading to a meet in a few days. I asked him to watch for a second iron so I can just make one a scrub profile and the other as a rough-work smoother as I restore my way through my house. I also asked him to watch for a 78 fence… I bought a decent one on CL but no fence. Said to just give me a smokin’ good deal but lose no money.

    Well, he’s mailing me a 5 1/4 and a full, complete 78, both in really good condition, $65 delivered. He asked if that was smokin’ enough. I was stunned. He went over and above. He assured me that he was right side up and happy with the resolution, too.

    How awesome is that?!!!

  15. #15
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    Hooray for a happy ending! Glad to hear the seller stepped up. Will look forward to your progress on the restoration.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

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