Hello. I've come accross a Stanley 112 scraper plane and a stanley 79 side
rebate plane. Both planes are well used, but in good condition. Any
feedback on the value of these planes? Also, any general tips on how to
restore old planes to increase the sale value would be greatly appreciated.
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 04:23:42 GMT, "Michael Billings"
Prices of #112s have just taken a dive, now that Veritas are making a
The #112 is a useful plane, spoilt by some design problems and some
appalling build quality. Mine is an uncollectable junker, bought as
"user only grade" and I think it's still the most expensive Stanley
I've ever bought. I also hate it, and may replace it with a Veritas.
I used to think I'd just bought a "Friday afternoon" model, but I've
seen a lot like this - bad and non-square machining on the pivots..
It's not a common plane, so the collector price is starting to get
interesting. $150, more for the type 1. Although the Lie-Nielsen is
better, it's expensive and there was still a trade in the old planes
to get an affordable user.
The #79 is pretty common and goes for around $50 round here. More for
the old more decorative version. Some people reckon they're a useful
plane, but I've never had much call for them myself. It's not really a
side rebate plane (too big) more of an edge plane (for people who
can't hold a bench or block plane square).
Restoration does nothing to improve the value of a collector. Bad
restoration, or even just excessive good restoration, can reduce it.
Users are generally restored by the people who want to use them.
If you've a boxful of tired common planes (maybe #5s or #18 blocks)
that you're trying to restore and then sell on as commonplace, but
highly useful user planes, then you might want to restore them.
There's a definite trade here in ready-to-run users where the old
manufacture is just better than the modern stuff.
Electrolysis is the way to shift rust.
Paint stripper shifts paint spills (and destroys collectible old
japanning). It also either shows cracks, or allows buyers to see
there's no cracking. I'll buy a #10 in any state, but I'll pay more
for one that I can see isn't broken than I would for some tar-crusted
Don't mess with the plating.
Welding is for experts. I collect broken planes, just to practice it.
Old woodwork generally wears well, but the post war lacquered
beechwood handles have a hard lacquer that flakes badly and is
unpleasant to use. I strip these (scraper and wire wool) and refinish.
I don't bother re-staining them for myself, but would do for sale (if
there's any market for beechwood age).
Sharpen the irons if you must, but don't worry about honing them.
Irons are a personal thing. Mirror polish Sweethearts though - show
If you're a high-street shop (like Bristol Designs), then things
change. You might have a walk-in trade of newbies who know just enough
to want an old plane, but not enough to want to do their own
restoration. For that trade it's maybe worth restoring the users a bit
Here's part of an old posting of mine (rec.antiques) with some advice
on eBay selling for the best price. Heed the advice on photographs
Broken tools are still valuable, particularly for planes. There's a
good trade in spare parts for swapping around.
Packagaing is valuable, even if tired.
Appraisal is essential, because of the large numbers of low-end tools
and the high prices of seemingly undistinguished models. There are
several on-line catalogues and dating flowcharts, and rather fewer
Just for the omnipresent Stanley planes, we have:
This should give some idea of the detail needed to identify a tool,
and some idea of what drives the market.
For the rarer makers, the communities, and the dealers, do a little
searching of your own.
The on-line woodworking community (unlike rec.antiques) is also
generally good at discussing and appriasing potentially rare items,
just from their interest and benevolent nature. Don't abuse it
though, and do at least _some_ filtering beforehand.
For any on-line examination, whether it's appraisal or eBay, you'll
need photographs and a description. These are very rarely well-done,
and it's a good way to lose value on an auction sale. The rules are
simple and pretty obvious, but rarely observed.
Photographs should be adequately large and in focus. If you need small
thumbnails, link to a larger copy too.
It's better to have too many, and too large, photographs than too few.
Bandwidth is available to most people these days, so don't worry about
conserving it unduly. If in doubt, photograph all sides and
underneath, even the boring bits.
Photograph and describe any damage. This is especially true of rust
pits, cracked castings and shrunken timber.
If there are accessories, or a box, then have at least one photo that
shows them together. If you're lucky enough to have preserved that
extra blade clamp or widget, then capitalise on it when you sell.
Don't throw away odd bits from the bottom of the toolbox either - you
might not recognise it, but your buyer might know that it's a rare
(easily lost) accessory to another tool.
Edges and working surfaces are crucial, and are worth photographing in
detail. It's not usually that important if edges are damaged or worn,
for after all, these were working tools and designed to be
re-sharpened. It's worth noting the amount of metal left for
re-shapening, especially for plane irons (blades). Important working
surfaces often include flat uninteresting parts like the sole of a
plane. If it's boringly pristine, then give us a photo of it - that's
a good selling point and should improve the price.
For moulding planes especially, make sure you photograph them cleanly
and end-on, so as to show the shape of the moulding. Indicate their
sizes too, either by measuring or by photographing alongside a
commonplace scale item. A soft drinks can or CD in a case is one of
the world's most standardised items. You can use dollar bills too,
but don't expect American buyers to know how big a pound or euro note
Owner's stamps are generally uninteresting and worthless. Maker's
stamps can be crucial to a valuation. Even mundane things like patent
dates, the shape of a handle, or how a maker's logo is framed can be
crucial dating features:
Best place to trade low and mid-range old tools is often eBay,
particularly US eBay. It's a good low-margin market to shift the
bulk, and the number of buyers means that items are rarely undersold.
It's even a good market for disposing of high-end collectible tools,
so long as you place a sensible reserve in case you don't get a good
Tool markets are a minefield. You're going to be haggling with experts
who know exactly what things are worth, far better than you do. You
might sell, bu tbe prepared beforehand with a good idea of what you're
Selling at flea markets and garage sales is either a thankless task
for shifting rubbish, or a time to be scammed for letting your prizes
away for a dollar. They're a buyer's market for tools, not a
Don't attempt any restoration. Never attempt to sharpen anything.
You can do huge damage unless you're skilled, and the value of an
unrestored rarity is little different from a good condition example.
The attributes that boost the price of a good collectible plane aren't
generally hidden by it being in poor or unrestored condition. For the
"user" market, most collectors would rather restore their own anyway,
especially for sharpening.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Go for it. I got the Veritas last week, and immediately used it on some QS
sycamore (American type) and red oak.
Out of the box it works better than some planes that are tuned.
"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same
function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of
things." Sir Winston Churchill
Dang Andy, that's a heck of a post!
The only other thought that I can add is I do believe for a user that
sharpening it to a scary sharp edge and honed back can increase the value.
There are numerous people who like the thought of using a plane, but don't
have one, etc that would appreciate not having to figure out how to sharpen
it. It's surprising the number of weekend warriors that are wanna be master
craftsman. Plus that "count your nose hair" shininess looks cool.
Oh yeah, one more thought. You can buy Japanning paint and repaint it.
I've never used it, but there was a thread on it last week with a link to a
company in NY(?) where you can buy the paint. DON'T do this on a collector,
but maybe on a user it would make the plane look more usable to a layman.
My opinion, there are two ways to make money buying & reselling planes. One
is to get a great bargain when buying and then resell at the true value.
The other is to buy at it's true value, then add value and resell. For a
collector plane you can't add value. For a user plane there isn't much you
can do except make it more usable (sharpen the plane, general cleaning).
But basically do what Andy said.
Larry C in Auburn, WA
"Andy Dingley" < email@example.com> wrote in message
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 14:33:43 GMT, "Larry C in Auburn, WA"
I cheated - 2/3rd of that is a re-post of something I wrote months
back. I'm just fed up of looking for moulding planes on eBay where
the seller didn't think to take a photo from the end so you could see
what profile they cut !
Sat here and wasted good shed time for most of the morning, waiting
for the damned phone to ring. Might as well type while I'm waiting.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
What an excellent, comprehensive response! Covers just about everything, and I
wouldn't disagree with a thing (and yes, I really am a woodworker!) Okay, maybe
one thing- I like my 112. A Hock blade made a great improvement (kept the old
one- a 'Sweetheart'- of course) but maybe I just got lucky. Please, take the
advice on (not) restoring seriously!
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