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Thread: Rebuilding power tools philosophy

  1. #1
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    Rebuilding power tools philosophy

    I am starting to change philosophies on rebuilding power tools that won't be kept forever. After seeing how low Matt had to resell his Unisaw he took hours and hours to rebuild, it doesn't seem worth it to disassemble every part, clean, and paint them when potential buyers won't even bid high enough to cover the cost of the paint, let alone the time. Guess my philosophy hence forward will be to put in new bearings, consumable parts, lubricate, and give a lick and a promise.

  2. #2
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    I think a lot of it is due to the economy .. and I don't expect it will improve much for at least 4 years.
    FINISHING : NO ART & VERY LITTLE SCIENCE ... just a learned skill that requires a bit of practice and patience ... anyone can learn it.

  3. #3
    I agree, 5 years ago there would have been a line out the door to see an old beat up rusty Unisaw listed for $1100. Nowadays I have seen ads sit for weeks at half that.

    -Brian

  4. #4
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    Doing it for pure economic reason probably doesn’t make sense but I think a lot of folks like to mess with stuff mechanical/electrical for the fun of it.

  5. #5
    Generally, people who put a premium on shiny, near perfect, unworn things will just buy new. Once you have decided to buy used, you've decided to trade off condition for price. You have plenty of fellas who do what Matt did to his saw with cars, knowing that they will be selling at a loss when they decide on the next project. I would rather put that creativity, effort and time into my woodworking.

  6. #6
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    I did OK on it because I got it at a bargain price, got most of the pieces I needed at a bargain price, and was able to sell the original motor and fence. I didn't make money, but I don't think I lost money either. And regardless that wasn't my goal when I bought it--pretty much bought it on a whim because it was cheap and I wanted a project. I had a week of lunch times and evenings and a snowy weekend tied up in it work wise and that was fun for me. It ended up being a nicer saw than I had at the time so I kept it and sold my older Unisaw. Even then I was considering a Sawstop.

    As we discussed in PM's, I also think the bottom has fallen out of the used TS market in particular. I can't tell you how many people PM'd or emailed me to ask how I like my new Sawstop because that's what they are looking at.

    I'll probably do it again too if I stumble across the right machine.


  7. #7
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    You may not make money in buying/selling used machines but I guess you'd loose less than buying new and selling later (I myself have never lost money buying/selling used).

    Matt: so how do you like your Sawstop?
    Now that you say this, I am thinking of getting a poll to see how many people who bought a new tablesaw in the last 4-5 years have bought Sawstop vs other brands...

  8. #8
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    Nope, It's not worth it and I doubt it ever was if your looking to make a profit, even when the economy was in full bloom. Guys wanting used machinery generally speaking are buying for two main reasons. 1) b/c it's cheaper than new. And/or 2), b/c you can get a better quality machine used for the same or less than you can get a new machine. So looking at that mindset who's going to want to pay a premium for a machine that someone rebuilt from the ground up polishing every nut and bolt?

    My philosophy on buying used, which most of my shop is, is to unload it, blow out most of the dust, and if things check out wire it up and put it to work. I replace bearings when they need it and only fix things that need fixing. I have machines in my shop, (primarily industrial), that I bought used and I've continued to use year after year without so much as replacing a v-belt. This goes against the philosophies of many of the 'ARN' guys, but it's served me well so far. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty cool some of the restorations guys do. I just wouldn't ever do it with any intent on selling it afterwards. If I'm putting that kind of time into a machine it's then a labor of love and is going to stick around

    good luck,
    JeffD

  9. #9
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    I buy cheap, usually hopeless cases because my ego tells me I can bring the dead back to life. I play with them a while, enjoying the fruits of my labors as a reward and then sell it and begin the process over, usually having traded up for a slightly better hopeless case. It can be as addictive as woodworking itself, and in the end really costs but a pittance yet you learn so much about what makes a quality tool. There’s nothing like doing a failure analysis on a 60 year old saw to teach you what works best in the long run and what’s just a manufacturers shortcut to getting the thing shipped out the door.

    Funny thing is, the same strategy applies equally as well to my woodworking skills; doing furniture repair and restoration in my early years was a college that no one hosts, yet under the hood you discover masterful touches of craftsmanship that you incorporate into your own bag of tricks and techniques that work for you, to be called upon to solve a seemingly unsolvable design problem because you know, somehow, it can be done.

    - Beachside Hank
    Improvise, adapt, overcome; the essence of true craftsmanship.

  10. #10
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    Just my opinion, I think the specter of making money in this hobby ruins it for me. I do this to escape from real life, so I couldn't care less if a restored tool makes me money when I sell it because the pleasure of having a restored tool to use is where I put the value in the equation. Pretty sure my old Oliver band saw that I put pretty good bucks into is worth no more to somebody else than what I paid originally, but it is to me.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Riddle View Post
    I am starting to change philosophies on rebuilding power tools that won't be kept forever.
    Which is key to the whole idea. If you're going to keep them, it's worth it.
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and laxative on the same night.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    Just my opinion, I think the specter of making money in this hobby ruins it for me. I do this to escape from real life, so I couldn't care less if a restored tool makes me money when I sell it because the pleasure of having a restored tool to use is where I put the value in the equation. Pretty sure my old Oliver band saw that I put pretty good bucks into is worth no more to somebody else than what I paid originally, but it is to me.
    Steve
    Absolutely agree!
    I'm getting ready to do like Hank. I'm bought an older used 16" Jointer ( http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...6-quot-Jointer ). I won't even attempt to restore to a pristine condition, just get it to working safely and properly. If I can't get it that state, I'll use for an assembly bench, or a tablesaw out feed table, and still be ahead.( But I'm pretty sure I can get it up and rolling. )

    Another factor is location.
    Matt's Unisaw was beautiful. In the Northeast he probably would have got closer to what he was asking for. It was leaps and bounds nicer than a lot of the stuff that show up on Craigslist back here.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 02-21-2013 at 4:18 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  13. #13
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    If somebody can make money restoring power tools, more power to them. I have restored a half dozen tools. I bought them thinking I would have them forever. I ended up selling my MBF RAS because I found a GWI and a Unisaw because I wanted a riving knife. Both I took a loss on not counting getting nothing for my countless hours of labor. I try to not let it bote me too much. The restore process is a nice break from wood and I always like to take stuff apart to see how it works.

  14. #14
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    For some of us our shop is our "Man Cave" and our vintage machines are just part of the decor.

  15. #15
    The technology of power tools continues to advance, albeit slowly. Most people will want tools with the new technology which depresses the price of the older tools without that technology. In table saws, the significant new technology is riving knives and flesh sensing technology. If you old saw does not have that, it's going to be less desirable, unless someone just wants it for an antique collection.

    The problem with rebuilding anything - a tool, a car, whatever - is that when you're finished what you wind up with is an old product.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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