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Thread: A Serendipitous Walk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    A Serendipitous Walk

    On Sunday, I was looking to go for a walk, I've been trying to walk at least 5Km a day. My wife decided to join me, and immediately decided that not only would we go for a walk, but we would take a route that went by a fruit and vegetable store a bit out of our way that has good selection and better prices. I was not really looking to go that direction, but it was a nice crisp sunny day, so what the hay, off we went. We got to the shop in question and they were closed, not yet open for the new year I guess. No a problem, we'll pick up the needed supplies at the regular store we shop at near our home.
    Just up the street from the closed shop I see a small dump truck pulled up in front of a small old shop of some kind. This area is not in our neighbourhood, so I had not idea what kind of shop it was. As I was walking by a guy came out and dumped a big box of stuff into the back of the truck, when I say stuff, I mean it was junk to him, but I saw tools!! HAND TOOLS...... JAPANESE HAND TOOLS!!!!

    I stopped so short I ran into myself, and went to the truck and took a peak. What caught my attention was some nice small hand planes, with no shame at all I started digging through the back of this truck, my wife started talking to the guy and his wife who were cleaning out the business. Turns out it was an old hardware store. The old guy and his wife were there too, they had to be in their 90's if they were a day, and they were closing down the business. Everything had to go, they had already had a going out of business sale, and most of the stuff had been sold off, but some of the planes etc were not bought, and they were being tossed into the back of a dump truck. I asked if it was OK to dig through the truck, while I was already handing down handfuls of treasure to my wife, and they said sure.

    I found some handsaw blades, no idea how many, a bunch of them taped together and a few 6mm wide groove or rabbit planes and old style Japanese pipe for smoking, these are really popular right now. I had this bag of stuff and was ready to make an offer on it when the guy told me that the shop keeper had some nice stuff that was NOT going in the trash inside and would I like a look..... would I....?

    He had a bunch of chisels some really cheap ones that I was not interested in but some very nice ones, only one very broad bench type chisel the rest were all big long pig sticker mortising or sash chisels, I'd call them. These are all brand new, never been used, never been sharpened, and never had their rings set. The total price stamped on the ends of the chisels was about 60,000 yen or about $690, the old shop owner suggested 30% off, I balked at that price, I really did not need these tools...... OK how about 30,000 yen he asked? I pointed to the bag of stuff, and said "Including that stuff" he shrugged and said "sure, why not". He was very pleased that I was a wood worker and that the tools would be used. There was a lot more stuff there, but the guy clearing out the place was going to go through it and then take the good stuff to a recycle shop who would buy it from him, for pennies on the dollar. I did not want to cut into his profit and I had already made out like a bandit, so I figured it was time to leave, besides, I would have to lug all this stuff home....

    An over view.
    They also threw in a chisel roll and a basic cavas tool bag with the shops name on it.

    Saw blades, some of these are the use and toss type blades, but most of them are good enough to be sharpened at least once. Honestly I should have sharp saws for a very long time to come, that is 18 blades in total, the blade packages say the price per blade, ten say 3300 yen each ($38) and eight say 1800 yen each ($21) that is retail and I'll bet those prices are at least ten years out of date. That goes for the chisels as well, the old shop owner said that most of the chisels were at least 10 or even 20 years old, recently he has not sold a lot of tools. He used to sharpen tools, even saws, but as he had gotten older his eyesight is not good enough anymore.

    Chisels, the four on the left are not for pounding, they are very thin and very well made!

    The bamboo pipes, these I'll sell to the L shop for 2000 yen each, we should be able to sell them for maybe 3000 yen each, so right there 16,000 yen of the 30,000 yen comes back to me, that then really makes this a wonderful deal!

    Also in this picture, a Japanese scraper plane, this is used for adjusting the dai, or the wooden part of a Japanese plane.

    It is brand new and had a price tag of 6000 yen ($69) on it. At the bottom you can see one of two rabbet or dado planes that have a nicker on it.

    The two rabbet or dado planes, these guys would go for at least 10,000 yen each ($115)

    bottom detail.

    Some chisel prices.

    The small grooving planes, these were listed at 4500 yen each ($52)

    If I add everything up, well, it comes to a lot, I added it up, 158,000 yen, or $1817 retail. I got it all for about 14,000 yen ($161) when you take away the money for the pipes, I'd say I got a killer deal. Now a lot of the tools are doubles, I don't really need four 6mm (1/4") grooving planes, and some of the chisels are doubles too, but hey, they will make good gifts, trading stock or I could sell them I guess.

    Yep, that was a Sunday walk that I'll not soon forget, oh, we also bought some onions on sale.

    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 01-07-2013 at 11:33 AM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Now that is a find of a lifetime, congrats on them Stu

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Bedford, NH
    Looks like you've been "overhauled"! What a stash!

    Where will you be spending time & will you have visiting rights?

    Well done indeed! You'll sleep well for nights to come.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
    As I age my memory fades .... and that's a load off my mind!

    "We Live In The Land Of The Free, Only Because Of The Brave"
    “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living."
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Wow. Fantastic. I knew walking was good for you.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    did you get a good price on the onions also?

    good score.
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wow! Nice haul Stu.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Wow, an exciting walk you had there. I think you should take your wife's lead more and vary your walking route more often. The paring chisel would interest me the most, but they all look very interesting, especially the rabbet planes. I think I will take my own advice and change up my own walks and see if I can have the same fortune.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Took me a minute as I've been doing way to much plumbing, but those pipes are cool, similar to what we {back in the day } called 'one hitters'

    Hows it feel to hit the jack-pot Mr Lucky?
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Oh man, some guys have all the luck What a great day
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    good find for sure stu.. i would have to go back for a second round..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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