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I Forge Iron

Finding Tools Cheap! One of my ways....


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I locate Pawn Shops that are close enough to drive to...then I call around and ask if they sell online...ebay mainly.

I tend to get the tools really cheap, and am able to get them over others because I can avoid shipping charges by picking up locally...

If they have a free shipping, offer a lower price buy it now....do a local pick up....They usually are interested in avoiding ebay fees...so they might just let you go pick up without ebay middle man..

Yard sale and swapmeets are good too.... But Pawn shops tend to have a good selection

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If price is your primary driver you need to hit the spots where fish are but other fishermen are not.  

I find thrift/antique/pawn shopping tends to yield items that are almost as high priced as new production equivalents, or the items available on eBay.... You might save shipping, but are going to have to pay sales tax instead... plus time and gas getting there and back.  Most of the sellers in these venues that don't sell on eBay are setting prices based on sold/closed item data from eBay so I don't find a lot of great deals looking for any blacksmith or traditional carpentry tools in these venues.  These guys and gals make a living knowing how to buy cheap and sell items for the maximum return, you have to get pretty lucky to find a significantly better deal than eBay at any of them in my experience.

Craigslist is hit and miss, you might get lucky and find someone clearing out a barn/shop/garage that sets a price without doing enough research, but you best be in the car with cash in hand ASAP so another buyer doesn't grab an item before you get there.  The Craigslist notification apps that let savy buyers/resellers tag specific search terms like anvil/blacksmith/forge/vise so they get an immediate notification when such an item is listed make it hard to get deals there unless you are REALLY fast and have a flexible schedule.  One tip on Craigslist, if you want a post vise, search for "vice"... surprising how many times I've gotten hits that have been languishing for days/weeks without a buyer just because of a simple spelling error... I've bird dogged 4 nice leg vises in the last year under $50  for other smiths just watching for this common misspelling.

Garage sales and flea/junk markets seem to yield the best prices, but the assortments are pretty random there's a lot of luck + time + gas involved in finding what you want AND getting a great price.  

Farm/estate auctions can be a good source as well, but the time commitment is potentially a full day for the item you want and pricing can get out of hand fast.

My personal favorite - local/regional online auction web sites - it's far easier to sift through a bunch of auction listings across a specific geographical area via a computer screen vs driving all over.  Since the audience is regional (smaller), the sites are less well known, and listings/descriptions can be hit and miss, prices tend to be more reasonable (though don't forget the 10% buyers fees these services usually include).  

Otherwise I think the Thomas Powers technique applies to pretty much any old/specialized tool you are after...  get out and let people know what you are looking for... friends, families, associates...  It really works but it requires patience and actually having a network of people that you are in good-graces with.  

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Yuppie Jr - I also use the vise "vice" trick.  One of my favorites.  Got a 5 1/2" post "vice" this way.  In portland for $100 that's a steal.  

Also lookup EDGETA - Early Days Gas Engine and Tractor Association.  They have all kinds of local branches that host swap meets.  These are the types of things that antique shops and pickers are connected into so they can actually turn a profit in their shops.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Here, in the "Mid Atlantic" region, there's a weekly newspaper called "Lancaster Farming".

It's classified adds are a favorite of the Amish community.

Lots of hand tools there.


PS: ... The paper is also available "on line".


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