Buying and selling vintage tools online is difficult. Unless you have the right pictures at the right angles, you'll have no idea what to expect. When it comes to older tools, often they've been sitting in garages or barns for a time, they've been manhandled, forgotten, and abused. All of that can be difficult to condense into a description to sell online, so it can be helpful to come up with a 'grading scale' to use for these old tools. Things that have been better kept are worth more, but keep in mind that we are not collectors asking collector prices. We use these tools on a near-daily basis and teach all of our students to do the same, and our pricing is heavily based on usability. We won't sell a tool that we don't believe can be used.
Below you will find the Fine Tool Journal's classification system. We try to abide by it.
|New||Totally||Metal - 100% Wood - As mfg'd||None||None||Metal - no rust Wood - surface smooth, edges sharp||"+" indicates original pkg|
|Fine||Totally||Metal - 90-100% Wood - 80% original or old finish||Minimal||None||Metal - trace of rust, some dark patina o.k. Wood - surface smooth, edges slightly rounded||Makers marks, if present, clear and easily legible|
|Good+||Yes - may need tuning||Metal - 75-90% Well patinated appearance||Normal||Minor or none||Metal - light rust Wood - minor surface stress, edges good||A few dings and/or scratches are o.k.|
|Good||Yes - may need serious tuning||Metal - 50-75% Wood - pleasing patination, may have some stains||Normal to moderate||Minor, but correct||Metal - light rust, some minor pitting Wood - minor chips, shrinkage cracks||This category represents average, as found condition|
|Good-||Probably||Metal - 30-50% Wood - some patination; staining or discoloration prominent. Refinished||Moderate to heavy||Correct||Metal - moderate rust, moderate pitting Wood - warping, chips, minor splitting||This category definitely indicates a problem, although the general integrity is o.k.|
|Fair||Probably not||Metal - 0-30% Wood - extreme discoloration, poor refinishing||Excessive||Major, improper or missing parts||Metal - moderate to heavy rust, serious pitting Wood - warped, split, large chunks out, major cracks||Normally not suitable to add to a collection, may be good for parts|
|Poor||No||n/a||Excessive||Damaged, missing major parts||Metal - heavy rust, major pitting Wood - rot, rough surface, glued splits||Only useful for parts or raw materials for the repair of better condition tools.|