John McAlevey replies: eBay? Sometimes. But the problem is the machine you want may be in Kansas or Michigan and shipping it to you makes it less of a good deal. I check Craig’s List and often see some really good deals. Don’t just check your own state. Check all New England states and/or however far you are willing to travel.
Then there are the local dealers. Boshco in Massachusetts. Woodshop Machines in Bow, NH and my favorites Plaza Machinery and Woodshop Specialties in Vermont. Woodshop Specialties specializes in rebuilt classic Powermatic machines.
There are also the want advertisers and you can put a nice shop together over the course of a few months by reading “Uncle Henry’s.”
Dave Emerson replies: Used machinery just doesn’t seem to be available like it was. Maybe if you are a classified ad junkie or into Craig List.
Joe Barry replies: First know what you want or need – not always the same thing! Then know what you are looking at. There are some old tools out there that are best used as boat anchors due to safety or usability issues. Then look at price for new and used tools at auctions and on eBay.
That way you know what is a fair market price. Unfortunately there are a number of school shops and even professional shops being liquidated. Regrettably, there are also a lot of us old farts kicking the bucket and our families have no use for our “junk” and just need to clear the house for sale. Keep your ear to the ground and be ready to show up with cash, a truck, and some friends.
Before you buy that great deal, think twice. I passed up on a great antique 36˝ bandsaw last year because my barn floor wouldn’t support the weight and I would have had to cut a hole in the loft floor above to accommodate the upper wheel. But, boy, it would have been sweet!