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How Do I Choose the Best Used Woodworking Tools?

A power sander, which is used for woodworking.
When woodworking, a miter saw is ideal for making precise crosscuts.
A jointer, which is used in woodworking.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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One way to get your own woodworking shop outfitted without breaking the bank is to buy used woodworking tools, but you will need to do some planning beforehand to ensure you get the tools you need and you buy tools that will last a reasonably long time. Make a list of the types of used woodworking tools you will need to complete the projects you intend to undertake, and think about the amount of space you have in your wood shop for storing the tools. Power tools can take up quite a bit of space, so bear this in mind when choosing the tools.

If you are purchasing used woodworking tools with motors and moving parts, you will need to do a thorough inspection of each unit as well as a trial run to ensure the unit works properly. Inspect plugs for damage or wear, and take note of how easy or difficult it is to get the tool started. Listen for unusual sounds and take note of any vibrations that are out of the ordinary. While these will not necessarily prevent you from buying an excessively worn tool, they are good indicators of a problem with the machine that you can use to avoid a bad purchase. Try to buy tools from well known manufacturers so you can ensure that you will be able to get replacement parts if necessary.

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Be sure to ask the seller about any existing warranties or return policies. Private sellers will generally not offer return policies, so you will have to take extra care to examine the tools before purchase. Some used woodworking tools purchased from dealers will come with return policies; make sure to examine such policies to find out what conditions will warrant a valid return.

Research the common costs of the tools you are considering purchasing. This will give you a better understanding of what a fair price is for the used tools you intend to buy. Think carefully about the condition of the tool in relation to the retail price to figure out if it will be a worthwhile purchase for you.

Used woodworking tools that are not powered may be a bit easier to inspect. Hand tools should also be inspected for excessive wear and rust. If you are buying a set of used woodworking tools, make sure all the necessary tools are included with the set and no accessories are missing. Cutting tools should be considered carefully, especially those that do not feature replaceable blades. Once some tools become pitted or warn, they are no longer useful and will not be worth purchasing.

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