Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Power of the Pixel

People gripe that the vintage tools and
books I write about often go up in price after I post an entry. I
actually think the effect is mild and temporary, except in two cases:
Robert Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker” and the Stanley No. 47
Adjustable Bit Gauge. (No, I don’t have any extra. No, you can’t borrow
mine. Or see it. Neener.)

At Woodworking in America in October I
sang the praises of my favorite scraping tool: the Stanley No. 80. It
is dirt cheap, easy to set up and works well. During my lecture I joked
that the tool was so common that even I couldn’t affect its price.

And
then a dumb thing slipped out of my mouth. I told everyone in the
classroom (about 120 people) they had one week to buy all the No. 80s
they could get their hands on and that I would blog about the tool on
Oct. 11 (which I did).

We all had a good laugh.

Little did I know that blogger Aaron Marshall was listening.

He’s
done an analysis of the prices of No. 80s before and after the
conference. I’ll let you see his data (there are multiple charts) and
decide.

Visit Aaron Marshall’s The Garage Shop blog.

— Christopher Schwarz

17 thoughts on “The Power of the Pixel

  1. Rick Roberts

    Chris

    When are you going to do a difficult tool.
    You’re purported to be a "saw guy", why don’t you discuss the use of keyhole, compass, table (hand powered), joiner, and pad saws and see if you can move them off the "dime a dozen" scale?

    Although getting a 60% increase only moves them slightly over a buck, how about getting them up to the $20 range by discussing how useful they were since there are so many floating around.

    Good Luck,
    Rick

  2. Christopher Schwarz

    I don’t think that anyone anywhere could do anything to deplete the supply of No. 80s. When I go to antique fairs I always stumble on one or two. Same with miter boxes. I have four now. I only meant to buy one. They reproduce like rabbits.

    Chris

  3. www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnSLRJYtcJtXCB3mOvuO-94Ec4nHK2kpXQ

    Chris, you definitely are the woodworker’s version of the Pied Piper. As soon as your post on mitre boxes came up I got Mike Wenzloff to custom make me a saw to fit my antique mitre box. I must mention the excellent service delivered by Mike-he went looking for a mitre box in excellent condition, bought it, cleaned it up, and charged me only what he paid for it. I suppose it’s nice to have such power, but at least you have the courage to commit yourself to an opinion, so thank you.
    Paul Moldovanos

  4. Dave

    You better watch out or you’re going to be getting calls from the Federal Reserve asking you to talk up the real usefulness of the US Dollar in the global market. Only the Schwarz can save the US economy!!

  5. Mark Singleton

    There is definitely an effect. I think you are right that it is only temporary. I purchased a very nice Millers Falls Langdon Acme miter saw two months ago on Ebay for about thirty bucks and paid about that for shipping. I’d like to say I was clairvoyant and knew that they were going to be mentioned in FWW but it was just my dumb luck. Same luck that make me purchase a Stanley #80 Scraper years ago that I have yet to find a blade for….

  6. david brown

    I got very lucky and picked up a no47 depth gauge for $20 — about one week after I saw one go for $120 on eBay. I snagged a Veritas cabinet scraper on eBay for $30 a year or so ago. I sold my scraper planes after I got that baby. = )

    I’m going to hold out for a miter box until they come down in price — maybe sometime next year lol

  7. Lamar Bailey

    Well I had been looking at them and after your blog I decided to pull the trigger so it worked on me. Now when I get it I need to figure out how to set it up.

  8. John Cashman

    Some one should do an analysis of coping saws after Chris’ column on those. They are a lot more rare than Stanley 80s, and they went from a tool you could hardly give away to one you needed a mortgage on.

  9. Mike

    I just studied arbitrage in my MBA class but never thought I would see the term again. That was a great post I loved his chart!

    After reading your blog post I have been thinking about the #80 a lot but have not been looking. Now I have to ask, "when will the bubble burst?".

    Mike

  10. nikbrown.com

    How about router planes? Ever since your demo at WIA they went up in price about 30%. I was one of the masses hunting ebay for them.

    Lucky I found a Millers Falls #77 that seemed to be un affected by the temporary price bubble because it wasn’t a "stanley". 😀

  11. David

    Think how much you can supplement your income by cornering the market for a few months before each blog post and then selling, although you might not make any friends.

    Interesting that the prices for the old Stanley 80’s climbed up to comparable levels as a new veritas cabinet scrapper which I would assume is a more than capable tool.

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