Hey everybody! Hope your week is going well. We’re very close to wrapping up our built-in project. Next week we should have some solid updates for you. If you’re getting a little lost in the details, hang in there. We have a LOT more furniture builds planned over the coming months and while I can’t go too much into detail yet, I can promise you that we’ll be sharing some detailed how-to’s for all of those projects. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to add some carpentry skills to your DIY resume.
A couple of days ago, a blog-friend of ours, Whitney from Drab to Fab Design, posted about all the beautiful decor and furniture she picked up on Craigslist. That got me thinking. I should do a post on how to buy power tools on Craigslist and Ebay. Lord knows I’ve bought my share of tools from random people.
Here are some pointers that I try to follow…
1. Avoid buying tools that get heavily used by most people. If you’re going to buy a cordless drill that you want to keep for a good number of years, buy a new one. If you REALLY want to buy a used drill, then at least make sure it’s gently used and comes with multiple batteries and a charger. A beat up drill can burn out pretty easy. What other items are heavily used? Depends who you’re buying from. It would be helpful to ask how much action the tool has seen and you can generally get a sense of the material condition of a tool just by looking at it.
2. Tools that people rarely use can be bought for big savings. If you’re a DIYer you may be guilty of this yourself. You have a project that uses a specific tool that after you’ve used it once, you may never use it again. I actually did a whole post on the tools I rarely use. These are major “jackpot” items since the seller probably expects to take a hit on it compared to what was paid for it. Buying a tool for a specific task even if used can be cheaper than renting it if you need it for a few days or weeks. What kind of tools are these? Floor nailers, framing and roofing nailers, cement mixers, tile saws, post diggers, welders, jointers, planers, scaffolding, etc. The best part about buying single job tools is you can probably resell them again for at least what you paid for them or maybe more if you get a deal.
3. Look for sales from people who are moving or retiring. A few years ago I stopped by a sellers house to buy a jointer and ended up leaving with the jointer, a dust collection system and a spindle sander. Did I need the extra tools? For the price he wanted to get rid of them, definitely. Since he was moving, he didn’t want to hold out for extra cash from a buyer that may not happen.
4. Look at the new version of the item first. If you want to buy a used miter saw, for example, check out the latest model on the manufacturer’s website and try to get a used one that resembles it, especially if you don’t know how old the used item is. As I’m sure you’re aware, some sellers will try to get rid of a table saw they bought in the 90s. While it may be okay, it probably has way more use than you want. Stick with the recent models.
5. Make sure it works before you buy it. If it has a cord, plug it in. Seems like a no-brainer, but.. you know. Check the power cord for electrical tape. If it looks like the wiring has been repaired, you should probably skip it.
6. Make sure you can carry it. A lot of the larger power tools like table saws or band saws are deceptively heavy and oversized. Before you roll up to a purchase in your sedan, make sure you can put it in your car. You generally don’t want to goto a purchase alone anyway, so bring someone who can help you lift the parts. You should be able to find the tool’s weight and dimensions somewhere online so you know what you’re in for.
Most importantly, be careful! There are a ton of weirdos out there!!