My last post was about finding stuff by the side of the road. Apparently I'm not the only one who ever had that experience. But I have also had some very good experiences mucking through flea markets and second hand sales.
Once I found a beautiful antique brass sight level complete with a wooden tripod with a cast iron platform for the level to mount on and a fitted oak case. Total cost: twenty bucks. I used that level to shoot the footing forms for many a house.
Another time I came across a box full of mechanic’s tools. Not much use for woodworking but great for fixing machines. The sign on the box said $.25 each. There were a lot of tools in that box and I did not want to muck through them right then and there, so I asked the guy what he wanted for the whole box. "Twenty bucks" he said. I never whipped out a twenty faster!
When I got home, I dumped the box out and put together several excellent sets of sockets … 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" complete with ratchets, extensions, cranks, breaker bars, the works. Plus a set of open end wrenches, box ends, combinations and a ton of other items like feeler gauges, pulley pullers, battery tools and screwdrivers. All top quality stuff.
After I was done putting my set together, there was still a ton of tools left so I dumped it all back in the box and passed it along to a friend. He cherry picked a set almost as complete as the one I ended up with and then he gave the rest to another guy. I think that must have been the best twenty bucks I ever spent!