I didn't realize a new top was so expensive. Mike's Tools lists for
$579.... plus whatever S&H to your area.
Consider this option, maybe:
Since you'll go watch the bidding and even with a defected top, set a
limit of (say) $200, bid up to that amount and no more. Don't respond
to (accept) the auctioneer's opening asking amount, especially if it's
unreasonable high. If someone does accept the opening asking amount,
then just play it by ear. That initial bidder is most likely an
impulse buyer. By not responding to the auctioneer's opening asking
amount, he'll be forced to lower the starting asking amount. If no
bidders respond immediately to the auctioneer's initial asking, a
bidder may announce (offer) his own starting bid, usually much lower
than the auctioneer's initial asking. You don't have to accept the
auctioneer's initial asking amount. He simply wants to start as high
as he can. The idea is for the smart bidder to control the bidding,
not the auctioneer. Don't exceed your spending limit. Don't get
excited and become an impulse buyer.
Prior to the saw bidding, observe bidding on other items. This will
give a idea of what kind of crowd is bidding, i.e., knowledgeable
bidders or impulse buyers, and how much money they are willing to
spend (is their spending/bidding reasonable to the value of items or
are they spending too much for items). Take note of a bidder who
flashes his money or talks money, prior to bidding... don't get into a
bidding war with this type of impulse buyer/braggart. Again, set your
spending limit and don't exceed that limit.
Thank you. Your suggestion is darn close to what I had in mind.
I confess that I'm not the best auction bidder. Sometimes I forget and
feel like I'm in some sort of competition--which it is, but of course
you know that the goal is not to win the competition at any cost! I've
won a few I should have let go of... You proffered good advice!
If the scratches aren't very deep, perhaps you could have a local company
mill the top. That would restore your flat top, at the risk of a couple
pounds of iron.
I've got no idea how much it would cost, it may be only marginally
cheaper than replacing it.
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.
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