My Grandpa Died, Need some help with his tools


I don't think I've ever mentioned to the group that my Grandfather died about 1 year and a half ago. He fought a good fight but because he had diabetes, the doctors couldn't do much to help him with his congestive heart failure and kidney failure, apparently the medicines for each of those things make the other worse. So he decided to not get further treatment and go peacefully in his own home. The best and worst thing I ever did was stand next to that bed and watch him shake when the time came. Still have nightmares.
The reason its relevant to this group is because my Grandfather was the man who got me interested in woodworking. About 9 years ago, right after my wife and I got married and not having much money, he taught me how to re-finish a beat up bedroom set that I had. Same set that my son now sleeps on.
I'd show up on the weekends at 7:30 in the morning and he'd already be waiting impatiently with the garage doors up. Wasting work time and all. Every time I was there, he'd start the day the same way. He'd make some sort of dramatic pause and say "you'll have to excuse me while I put my flag up". He was a proud WWII vet. He'd raise the flag and then come back over to me and say "I guess I'm the only American on the block", looking up and down the street for signs of another flag. I've flown mine ever since.
We'd work the whole day, but it always went by so fast. Sometimes you just have a different conversation with your Grandfather when no one else is around. After finishing that project, we built Adirondack Chairs, then cabinets, finished a basement...I caught the bug, and ever since I haven't been happy on the weekends unless I'm covered in sawdust. Can you believe some people actually golf?
I guess I just wanted to thank him for what he did for me.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this now is that I have been summoned to go through his tools, decide what I would like to keep, and salvage the rest. My Grandmother wants me to find people who will use his stuff. I'm not exactly sure what I'll find, but I know I've been given Disson Saws, Stanely Planes, etc. He only bought good stuff.
My question/concern is how do I figure out how much this stuff is worth. Is there a good book I should get? Is there a good website? Of course, if I'll post the good stuff for the Neanders here, just looking for someone who will use them.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Chuck
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I'm sorry for your family's loss. My Grandfather, too, was a big part of my interest in woodworking. Has someone gone through the personal papers of your Grandad? Possibly he recorded his expenditures somewhere. HTH. Tom
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Great suggestion. Thanks Tom. I wouldn't have come up with that on my own.
Chuck
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On 02/02/2006 4:30 PM, Woodchuck34 wrote:

One indication of what you might get for them (as opposed to what they're worth :) is completed eBay auctions for the same items in similar condition.
You're a lucky person; I never had a grandfather; both of mine were gone before I was born. One struck by lightning and one in a logging accident. Hasn't ever kept me from spending a lot of time in the bush, however :-)
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Woodchuck34 wrote:

There's the traditional answer of "It's not worth anything; I'll do you a favor and take it off your hands for free, though...." :)
With that out of the way, I second the idea of looking at _completed_ eBay auctions for an idea of prices. That's the best place I've found for getting an idea of what people will really pay for things (which is often a bit different from what the price guides say!). Do look at a few different auctions, though; I've seen the exact same item in identical condition go for $28 one week and $8 the next.
Condolences on your grandfather's passing, too, and thanks for sharing the good memories.
- Brooks
--
The "bmoses-nospam" address is valid; no unmunging needed.

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wrote:

Quality (in woodworking tools) doesn't boost the price much, it's rarity that does it. A Stanley #1 or #2 is no better made than a #4, but the price is incomparable.
In a typical toolbox you find a whole pile of stuff that's sheer junk, a bunch that's useful (much of which you already have) and possibly the one rarity that in strict money terms is worth more than the rest put together. Take out what's useful to you first of all. Then if you're trying to put a pricetag on things, you really have to be careful because you're spotting a needle in a haystack.

www.supertool.com is always useful as a reference and the little pocket book from "The Old Tool Shop" in Marietta, Ohio is one of the few price guides that's affordable. Watch the auction prices too.
Mainly though it's the arcane knowledge that a #12 1/2 scraper is cheap and a #12 3/4 (practically the same gadget) is silly money in comparison. It's about _spotting_ the one that's "valuable", not getting the closest estimate on the actual price.
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wrote:

Keep them all. I guarantee you if you miss one, you'll need it the next day. I gave my son the tack-hammer that had belonged to my grandfather, an upholsterer. An antique dealer who saw it had a hard time letting go of it to hand it back to me. I still keep reaching for it. I gave my son-in-law the small drill press I'd bought at a farm auction thiry years ago. At the time I'd been told I'd payed too much, but I felt not. It had belonged to his grandfather, then his father. He didn't want it. I got it. It belongs to my S_I_L, and daughter, and will be passed down again, I hope. Sure, you might not use one or two, but why take the chance? They really don't make them like that any more.

Priceless. My son-in-law will get the rest in a very few years as well.
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Guess who wrote:

You are 1000% right. When my uncle passed away a few years back he left me his tools. Uncle Joe and I were very close, and I loved the man like a second father. I have upwards of 20 planes, LN and LV among them, but the old Sargent smoother that he left me is unquestionably my favorite. There isn't a time I use it that I don't think of him.
Glen
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There have already been some good suggestions. One other thing you might do is to try to locate a woodworking club in your area, and see if anyone there can give you hands-on advice.
My maternal grandfather was also an inspiration to me. He was a professional machinist who could make ANYTHING.
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I vote not to get rid of any of them. In honor of your Grandfather, make a display tool rack for them..... include a flag. You've already demonstrated their value....Memories!
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Sonny wrote:

He gave me an ice pick. Told me that any time you want to make a mark, use this instead. Everytime I pick up that thing, it reminds me of him. And I will end up keeping a bunch of stuff, but there are going to be things I just won't use and he would have rather seen them go to someone who will. You're right about the memories though.
Chuck
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Some of the stuff probably won't sell, so you might consider finding someone (son/daughter, niece/nephew, neighbour) who could use a plane, saw, and hammer, and some of your Grandfather's wisdom.
Perhaps the nicest way you could thank him would be to keep his knowledge alive. . Rob
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I agree with many of the other posters. Keep 'em all if it is physically possible. Box them up and put them in the attic if you have to. I inherited my Dad's tools when he died, and some of those tools he inherited from his Dad. I have not parted with any of them (granted, it was not dozens of boxes of things) since I've made room to either use or store them. Some have been carefully cleaned and waxed and are on display, some I use, and some still sit packed up in boxes. Eventually I'll sort these out. Some will go to my sons, some to friends, but all someplace they will be used.
My sympathies for the loss of your Grandfather, and I hope you continue to enjoy your memories of the time spent with him.
Regards, Roy

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Chuck,

would strongly recommend that you hold on to the tools for at least a year. I suspect that you will find that you will not want to get rid of any of them. As has been mentioned, the best way to honor your grandfather is to keep his memory alive by using the knowledge he passed on to you and other family members. If others of your family wish to liquidate the tools, I would recommend you have them read this discussion of the opinions being made by others here. If they still want to liquidate, I would recommend paying the family what you can determine the tools are worth by the methods mentioned in this discussion. I was fortunate to receive some of my grandfather's tools over thirty years ago and I have used them almost every day since. Just today I was using a screwdriver of his and thought of him. I will also point out that the tools of yesterday were made when quality mattered and you will likely not be able to replace them with comparable items in the future.
My condolences to you and your family in regards to your loss.
TMT
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You were lucky to know your grandfather and to have had that much quality time in the shop and in life. Someday the nightmares will fade and you will again dream of the peacefull times you shared or new ones your sleeping mind will invent.
Our postman stopped by last week, as his wife is in the same situation with her father. It was his wishes the tools AND the wood go to fellow woodworkers who would keep it, use it, and pass them down.
Perhaps in the next couple of weeks I will be summoned to the shrine of a long time woodworkers basement shop, and enjoy that of which I will use and need.
If you are looking for people who will need the tools, check around your elementary school your children go to, be surprised at the backgrounds people have.
Alan
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