There are many craftsmen and hobbyist’s who don’t really get what we do here, probably down to lack of research into how the used tool market has changed or because of lack of experience of relatively new woodworkers.
Whilst we appreciate there are many online trying to explain how to maintain tools, it’s highly recognisable how limited and often inexperienced some making YouTube tutorials are in their approach to tool restoration.
There seems to be three camps with tool restoration, those who are prepared to work on the tools over a series of days with highly edited videos which is unrealistic to many users, those who are experienced and help with maintenance and others who know enough to be dangerous.
Where tools like planes are concerned you will recognise how they usually choose the smallest of bench planes for example to restore and the difference between those and a larger planes is significant when it comes to effort. Saw Sharpening tutorials are often basic in their set up and the approach is usually maintenance based on relatively well maintained saws rather than the full effort needed to bring most old saws up to standard.
Old tools can easily be cleaned and in many cases this is all that’s needed however buying them from someone without knowledge of what they are and how they work is a gamble and why some dealers are often the best bet. We all know how important attention to detail is to each craft and selling tools is no different and used tool dealers all have different standards in this regard.
The fact that so many modern tool companies today produce tools for the masses which often lack quality materials or lack the correct precision and attention to detail to be serve serious craftsmen well. There are also new brands who over develop tools for the premium market which by the way also have flaws that they haven’t figured out for themselves. The new tool market has lost many of the skills that the old toolmakers once possessed and many inexperienced users won’t understand what they are buying or how certain tools will improve their work standards & efficiency.
I’ve said in previous blogs that when buying vintage tools that have just been cleaned or not is completely different from buying a properly refurbished tool. People can expect to spend several hours on some vintage tools which often have issues that can’t be fixed without good original replacement parts. Paying top prices for these unrefurbished tools no matter how shiny they are makes little sense unless the person buying them really thinks their time is completely free and really prefers fixing tools themselves rather than using those tools for what they are intended to do. Maintenance and caring for those tools is important but buying a one that is not refurbished properly puts the user at a disadvantage and often the issues it had with performance are still there.
Worn tools certainly makes the job harder! No-one would use a blunt saw or chisel and how well you sharpen them has an impact on their performance and with woodworking planes there are many other factors that come into play that will reduce their performance resulting in more work from other tools such as cabinet scrapers and sanding to get to the desired finish.
Attention to detail is important in what you do, this should be reflected in the tools you buy and those who understand that importance. So when you are looking online and trying to understand why there are price differences please be sure of what is included in the price. It’s not always something you can visibly see on an image and rolling back the years of wear is something that is very important when buying used tools.
True tool refurbishment requires much more effort and equipment than many are prepared to undertake or invest in and many prices for used tools out there should reflect this.
With fresh eye’s you might just now see who are being a little disingenuous with their potential customers pricing.