Everyone loves to "get a deal" and one of the best ways is to find tools and equipment that is pre-owned. There is a plethora of used tools and equipment in the world and a small fraction of it comes to market in the form of garage sales, yard sales, flee markets, swap meets as well as the huge variety of on-line listings.
Buying used tools is really no different than purchasing new tools, except you will get no warranty and usually no return options. You either need to know what you are buying, and even then you still run the risk that what ever you buy will end up being unsuitable for your needs. Just one of the risks you run, so be careful on how much money you are willing to risk.
The more complicated the tool ...
... usually the higher the price and the higher the risk, but there are deals out there ... plenty of great deals for those willing to invest the time and effort to find them and in many cases to re-furbish the tool to bring it back to it's prime working condition.
Don't fall into the trap of purchasing used tools, just because they are a good deal, unless of course you are a collector, or you have a means of trading them or handing them off to newbie woodworkers, which is another great cause.
Used tools that are offered up for sale, come to market for a variety or reasons and there is nothing wrong with asking why a tool is for sale. Normally the seller is happy to tell you and it can give you some sort of an indication on the usage and condition the tool might be in.
A used tool does not mean it is a bad tool, indeed it could be a better quality tool than some new tools, but that is up to you figure out. When looking a used tools I only every look at brand names that I know, at least that way I have some <some> assurances that I may be able to get parts of I need them, and I should have some idea of the quality of the tool I am buying.
In the end, for me, half the enjoyment is going out, looking at tools and equipment is. On rare occasion I do find gems in all the tools I look at and I guess that is reason enough to keep up the search ...
Copyright - Colin Knecht