These days investing in premium tools might have less financial risk than the stock market.
Just about every week I get an e-mail or phone call from a reader asking me if they think that premium handplanes from Veritas, Lie-Nielsen and Clifton are worth the extra expense. I think they are worth the money, and I always tell the person the following:
“If you don’t like them, you can always sell them on eBay and get most of your money back.”
This morning I decided to run some numbers to determine if I’m full of poo. So I checked the price of 36 recent eBay transactions for Lie-Nielsen tools. It was mostly planes, but the list included a couple sets of chisels, a saw and a screwdriver.
Here are some typical prices:
– The Lie-Nielsen No. 164 low-angle smoothing plane. Retail: $265. eBay: $235.
– Large Shoulder Plane. Retail: $250. eBay: $220.02.
– Lie-Nielsen No. 4-1/2 Bench Plane. Retail: $325. eBay: $250.
There were a few surprises on my list.
A couple sellers actually made money. A rabbeting block plane and a chisel set sold for more than the retail price. That can be caused by bidders fueled by testosterone or by other factors (including the fact the buyer could be in another country).
On the whole, the Lie-Nielsen tools sold for an average of 16 percent less than the full retail price. If you averaged out all the transactions, the average Lie-Nielsen tool sold for $38 less than the retail price.
So there you have it. My collection of Lie-Nielsens is doing better than my 401(k).
– Christopher Schwarz