With reference to buying via eBay.
One thing that comes with age is the ability to look retrospectively at changes in culture. Someone walking along the street tapping their palm and staring into it didn’t happen anywhere in the world two decades and less ago. I think you might find everyone stopped and staring at you. Today, almost everyone you meet will have been doing exactly that within ten minutes of you seeing them. That’s significant cultural shift and for all I know they could be looking on eBay for the same tool I am or you are.
There can be no doubt that eBay buying works and works well. It has changed the way we shop for tools and equipment and it looks as though this form of shopping is here to stay. Tools, secondhand, antiques and new, are cheaper today than ever before as a direct result of the worldwide-web and the ease with which we use eBay to buy and sell our stuff. That said, one bad buy can lead to false economy, so we must become eBay savvy and read and look at things thoroughly.
EBay sometimes cuts out the middleman of catalog companies as makers present their stock and we gain direct purchasing opportunities. EBay increases competition between those left in the ring and of course we can check out a dozen suppliers in a few minutes to determine who we want to buy from. Hand tools are indeed exchanged at an amazing rate. They cycle through hour by hour and we have choices we might never have had before. This then contrasts markedly with buying new only and, as most hardware shops no longer sell the kind of quality we once relied on them for, we turned to catalog companies that presented so many makers we were then left in a confused muddle wondering what we were buying and not knowing even if we really needed it. As a description of one maker’s product was then used to describe one made by another we decided to ask online from other [people and this too left us with more mere opinions rather than information from those who really use them. Thus, opinions and descriptions of the products lost their value and meaning and we learned then, as best we could, to then read between the lines to know if what was being said was so.
With eBay, it’s only through seller descriptions and photographs of the exact items that help us to make our final purchasing decisions. There are guides and reviews of sellers to help us in the process and we of course run the risk of being burned on a purchase. If our first and last purchase turned out to be bad, we are reluctant to try again, but in the years I have bought my tools on line there has only been one or two at most that I regretted, Some sellers have fallen shy of the mark, and many hundreds have been all good.
This past two weeks I have spent time buying things I needed for different situations with regard to tools. I needed 6 plough planes for the UK school. I wanted to use Record plough planes alongside Veritas plough planes. I bid on seven and won five. I watched for missing parts and looked for extra parts that I could retrofit if needed. I didn’t need long stems because we don’t use them but once every twenty years, and what can be used on wide boards works equally well on narrow ones. A few years ago I extolled the virtues of the Record 043. I was then paying £8-15 for one with all of the parts. This was just excellent value for money because they worked wonderfully well for so little and they were virtually indestructible too. AFter that blog they shot up to £40 per plane doe a few weeks, but now they have settled down again. Last week I did the same with the Record 044. This is a great tool too, and benefits from knurled-tweak adjustability, unlike the 043. I bid on 6 and acquired 5. This go around I paid £60 for the five planes including shipping. Taking a part from one to retrofit another, and I worked this out before purchasing, meant I would end up with 5 working model’s for an average price of £12. I paid well over a week’s wage for mine when I was 18 years old. Now then, you will have to work out what you want to spend because, just as when I did the blog on the wonderful #4 Stanley smoothing plane and the prices doubled and tripled for a couple of months, that’s what may well happen here. But even if it did, it would still be excellent value for money and you get lifetime plane that will last at least two hundred years.
What am I looking for?
Well, with this plane there is very little to go wrong. I have found several of these plough planes with full accoutrements including extra length bars and all 8 cutting irons from 1/8” to 9/16”. Even if they have none, these irons are easy to make with a hack saw, flat file and some 1/8” O1 steel flat stock from MSC (USA) Click here.
I have always loved these robust hand planes. They not only work well, they work in most any wood and they take almost zero skill to get the results that at least equal any machine router with fraction of the dangers and risks to the user or the work. In my case, these ploughs give pristine cuts every time I use them. I use them in oak