a note about today’s tool-selling on this blog

a quick note about me selling tools for Jennie Alexander. 
Thanks to all who responded & even those who visited the site. I am sorry it’s such a whirlwind – the 6 planes got snatched up in something like 20 minutes. I know that means lots of folks who wanted them didn’t even get a chance. So let’s figure it out. I chose the first-come, first-served because it’s so simple from here. But, all around, there ain’t no graceful way, as Rusty Schweikart once said about zero-gravity defecation.

here’s two comments from tonight:

“That went too fast. Do you have a couple hundred more you can sell?

That’s the only way I am going to get a crack at a Peter Follansbee plane…lol”

There are more planes, and other tools. Not sure what, or how many. Someone asked about hatchets. Don’t hold your breath. And these are Jennie Alexander planes/tools, not PF examples…


“Yeah, I agree with Eric. First come first served is a win for those who can sit in front of the computer and refresh all day. When I did a ‘free stuff’ post on my website, I took note of all interested parties, assigned them a number, and used a random number generator to ‘pick a winner’. I know it’s more work for you, but it would give some other folks a fair shot at owning some fabulous tools. Just food for thought.”

I watch a couple of tool-dealing sites, Patrick Leach’s monthly list, and Josh Clark’s Hyperkitten list. Both sell to the first-responder. I have missed things there, it’s easy to do. As one comment said, for those of us who don’t sit in front of the computer all day – we have no shot. That’s me for sure.

My goals are basic. JA has a lot of tools. I have a lot of readers. I figure selling these now gets the $$ into JA’s pocket ( I get a small share, which mostly covers my time here & w boxing, etc…) and saves me the hassle of dealing with it when Jennie is but a memory. If I wait, then it’s U-Haul time, with a storage unit too. and I’ll end up selling most of them. I intentionally priced them at reasonable rates, I thought. I watch some tools on the web. Mostly I thought about what I would pay for a tool like this or that…

What about an auction? Would you folks be up for that? JA suggested it & I declined, thinking it’s more work for me. But maybe it will work. In the end, if selling the tools becomes too cumbersome, I have to bow out. It will only work for me if it’s easy, I have little time to dedicate to this endeavor.

Let us know if an auction is something worth looking at. Not Ebay…just here on the blog. We could set up time limits & see what happens. In the end, I want to be able to get these tools out to folks who can appreciate them, without alienating too many readers. It would be fine if I were a tool dealer, then I could justify spending the time to really get it right…but I’m more of a bird-watcher who tinkers in joinery, and is trying to run a dedicated yard sale here on the blog.  
comments, please.


21 thoughts on “a note about today’s tool-selling on this blog

  1. Seems that an auction would just favor those with deep pockets. Perhaps a two tool maximum so people buy only what they really want or need.

    Or, just leave it as is. Enough days with sales, and everyone will eventually get a fair shake.

  2. an auction would be nice, though I can see your comments section getting blown up by it. In the end, there are always more tools, good tools, elsewhere on the net, and hiding in people’s collections. Jennie Alexander is one of my woodworking idols and I would love to have a useful tool of hers to add to my collection! But you get what you can, when you find it!

    Point is: keep it as is. People now know this is a place they can find some nice tools. So they’ll be back more often, and maybe snatch a deal.

  3. Peter,
    Your respect for Jennie, the tools, us and woodworking is enough. However you move the energy of her tools forward through time is alright with me.
    I enjoy seeing these tools and their impressions of work done. Whether I hold them in my hands or not is not important.
    PS We have Red Cross Bills here in Humboldt County

  4. I can see the point about an auction just driving the prices out of reach for some. I’d try announcing a time, evenings or a weekend, say, when you are going to post a new set along with a brief summary of what will be there. That should help folks who would like something, but can’t be checking up all day for when a new post arrives.

  5. Thanks for your notes so far. I did mention on Thursday that I would be posting planes for sale on Friday. Maybe the mention was too buried, but it was there.

    I am leery of an auction, and a good reason is that driving up the prices will turn many off. Cash flow is always a concern in my house, and I’m sure in others too.

    so far, I am inclined towards leaving it as it is. I’ll keep watching here to see if we get more comments. Otherwise, next Friday it’s some rabbet planes. I think there’s about 8 or 9 of them.

  6. I think that doing a bigger announcement a day or two out would help, as well as waiting to post until an evening or weekend as suggested by bawrytr says above. Perhaps a quick, singular post that only announces the upcoming sale post.

  7. Hi Peter,

    I agree with most of the posters here, I’d leave it as is and just advertise a day or two ahead. I was on the road when word came out yesterday and got the emailed thread on my BB, but couldn’t get to a computer soon enough. :-( That’s okay, I’ll live, and as others said, there are always more tools! I do think trying to auctionize it would become a major hassle for you. I did, also, like the “raffle” idea, though again, that becomes more of a hassle for you.

    Best of luck with this issue, and I sure am glad I signed up for the email notifications of new posts!


  8. Hi Peter,
    First off, I admire you and thank you for taking on the project of helping Jennie Alexander disperse her tools. I also want to emphasize that however you decide to proceed, you will do it the right way.

    Having said that, I want to raise some points that run contrary to the general tone of the other comments here.

    The dispersal of a woodworker’s tools is a momentous thing. In some cultures (subcultures?) there are traditions and rituals surrounding it. I think Jim Kingshott described the English guilds holding auctions of tools after the death of a worker. The purpose of the auction was not to buy tools at bargain prices, but to help support the worker’s survivors, usually a widow with no trade of her own. With that in mind, everybody bid high – – low bids were considered very bad form.

    Obviously, Jennie is still alive, but from the way you describe the situation, these sales aren’t simply to make room, but rather to help support a woodworker who is approaching the end of her time as a woodworker. I don’t know anything about Jennie’s situation other than what you’ve said here on your blog, and what she says on her website, so perhaps I’m making a completely wrong guess about how pressing the financial needs are.

    So here’s my two cents: you can’t make things perfectly fair for everybody, so get the best deal you can for Jennie. There are plenty of other marketplaces where tools can be found at bargain prices. Let the bargain hunters among us look for their bargains elsewhere – – I guarantee they will find them, and be happy. And let those of us who can afford to, pay premium prices for the privilege of contributing to the comfort of a woodworker who has made the world a better place for all of us.

    Jim Dillon

    ps) sorry if this post is a duplicate; I think I accidentally deleted my first try but maybe I didn’t?

  9. Peter, as other’s have said, an auction benefits those with the ability to pay any price, the people you have always focused on (it seems to me) are users who benefit from fair prices. Please keep it as is. People will always miss out of tools, whether it be on-line, at the flea market at a tool show etc. Just the way it is, I’ve missed out on plenty of tools, but as a wise man told me once, there are always more out there.

  10. Peter,
    My wife does giveaways on her blog and the best way she has found to do it and minimize drama is to give people a set amount of time to comment on her blog if they are interested. At the prescribed cutoff time she then generates a random number and the person who is that number comment gets the item. It seems to give everyone a fair chance. Hope this helps and keep up the great work.


  11. What a graciois host you are … luck plays such a huge (perhaps unfortunate) role in life. I remeber being told as a kid that the altruistic definition of fair is, “… each, according to their needs.” Well, life just aint fair, it’s’ hard get a helmut … or better yet as some dead English Lord once put it, “Short, brutish, and unpleasant.”

    You’re doing a bang up job Follansbee, we’re lucky to have you, your time and deliberations, and for that matter, even a chance at possessing the tools. It’s a privlidge you provide us: nobody ‘s entitled to anything.

    Do what’s easiest for you … we should all count ourselves lucky that you even consider such measures!


  12. Quite agree with the above about an auction being a headache for nearly all and gratitude for your efforts. The prices are reasonable, and while the odds are slim, it’s better than zero probability. Life is disappointing and good.

  13. Peter, don’t worry so much, just make it easy on yourself. Continue with what you are doing what you know you can manage time for.
    We all know you have a busy life, two young children, wife, work, teaching, writing.

    I like tools a lot but I also know the real value of your blog to myself is when you spend time making things and showing us how you do that. Running an auction will take away from that time. You found something that is working for selling the tools so stick with it and don’t fret yourself silly over being fair to everyone as that is not even possible.

  14. I say first come first serve works best. I find it funny that people get all worked up about this. If someone had a garage sale would you complain that they sold things before you even had a chance to buy them? You certainly wouldn’t be happy if you were the first one there but they refused to sell it to you because not everyone had a chance to see it. Somewhere along the way we seem to have started believing we are entitled to things that aren’t ours. Yes it would be great to be able to purchace one of these tools, but the point is to sell the tool. If it is that important to you, sit infront of your computer and hit refresh, otherwise sit back and take your chances.

    Thank you for offering the tools up for sale here. Don’t let a few grumpy people ruin a good thing.

  15. To Everyone:
    The tool disposal discussion is interesting.
    A few comments.
    Please tone down the boneyard references.
    I started buying tools at pawn shops in 1960.
    The investment has not been burdensome.
    I am grateful that Follansbee is spending his valuable time, effort and expertise to spread the tools around at reasonable prices.
    His blog is certainly the most suitable venue.
    I suggest that we all accept whatever course Peter feels will be most convenient for him.
    Thanks for your interest.
    Wood is wonderful!


  16. Just EBAY it! That’s the only fair way, and easy too. The whiners about price need to wake up in the real world. Lottery? unfair as it rewards the lucky. First come first serve? unfair as it rewards the lucky. Highest bidder? unfair because it rewards the rich. that’s life people. Just because YOU didn’t get it, you scream “UNFAIR!” I’m pretty poor but I don’t whine because I can’t afford something. EBAY!

  17. Peter, if it turns out to be too much to handle maybe you could work out some sort of consignment deal with Josh at HyperKitten or Patrick Leach. They are already set up to deal with this kind of thing. It would be a shame not to work out a way to distribute these tools to folks who would use and care for them.

    One other thing, the prices for the last batch were very low compared with similar items I see elsewhere (e.g. HyperKitten, Supertool, SydnasSloot). I suspect that was least a contributing factor in how rapidly they sold. I literally ran to my computer to try to get hold of a Jennie Alexander plane at a bargain price! You should at least consider bumping up the prices a bit.

    Thanks for all of your efforts making these wonderful tools available! Thanks also for the really great perspective you bring to working by hand – although I have to admit I’m not a huge bird fan. Any animal that routinely poops on my car is very low on my list.


  18. Another contrarian here.

    Ebay’s more work than it’s worth, but a one-day auction on the blog actually benefits two groups: those with deep pockets… And Jennie.

    Sure, there will be belly achers in the crowd, but auction- for-benefit means the cash goes to a good and worthwhile cause. It’s true that those who are more able to offer their appreciation will walk away with the tools, with all respect to Jennie’s modesty, that appreciation goes to a good cause.

    Is it more fair to offer modest prices to whoever gets here fastest, or to let people compete to see who can help Jennie the most?

    Not my call, really. I’m just here to stir the pot, and try to clarify the point of the tool sale…

    Maybe I’m just being heavy handed… I’ve seen too many retiring tool collections get picked over by the crows. I’m sure whoever finds the package on their doorstep will be happy and appreciative either way.

    Respect to all, and grateful to be working with wood.

  19. I’d love to own a JA tool, especially with the money going to her.

    That said: I don’t need one, and you’ve got other work to do.

    If any change, perhaps auction a small portion of the tools?

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