A question about "old" Starrett and Mitutoyo tools
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  1. #1
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    Default A question about "old" Starrett and Mitutoyo tools

    I am not a professional machinist but slowly getting into it (currently restoring a 1912ish Pratt and Whitney lathe).
    I've been _slowly_ amassing tools as I can find them for good prices. Today I saw an ad for a machinist toolbox full of tools for $300. I've been trying to do some googling and research to figure out if it's a good value but I figured posting here might be more beneficial based on all the expertise I've experienced here.

    Here is the entire ad:


















    "Various machinist tools. Starrett depth gauge, Helios caliper, mitutoyo caliper. Also have 2 Starrett micrometers, 1 Lufkin and 1 large Brown and Sharpe micrometer. Radius gauges and a few other tools along with the Kennedy toolbox. $300"

    I have been texting with the seller, it sounds like they are not his tools originally. He said he thinks they belonged to someone who "designed landing gear."

    I'm sorry if this is the wrong section, I'm hoping someone here can help me figure out if this is a "go buy that TONIGHT!" Type of deal or a "you should pass that up" kind of deal (or anything in between).

    Any advice?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by pillageTHENburn; 05-17-2018 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Adding pictures...

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    Much depends on what's in the box and the condition. As a point of reference, i bough out an old machinists tools from his family for $250. This included micrometers, dial indicators, v blocks, parallels machinist square, surface guage, shaper/planer guages etc. I also found a box full of drills. reamers, calipers and other stuff for $140. In both of these collections, i had to do significant clean up so don't forget to account for the cost of evapo-rust and your time.

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  4. #3
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    Thank you!
    I uploaded the pictures, things look pretty good from the pictures but I haven't seen them in person yet.
    I certainly don't "need" any of this quite yet but if it's a good deal then I'm ready to jump on it. This type of thing doesn't seem to turn up that often around here so I just don't know...

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pillageTHENburn View Post
    Thank you!
    I uploaded the pictures, things look pretty good from the pictures but I haven't seen them in person yet.
    I certainly don't "need" any of this quite yet but if it's a good deal then I'm ready to jump on it. This type of thing doesn't seem to turn up that often around here so I just don't know...
    I bought a similar box for a similar price years ago. What it comes down to is do you think you'll need that stuff at any point in the future, and is it worth the $300 today to have it when you need it? Keep in mind that any of those individual pieces might cost $50-100.. and you might not need them right now but it'll suck to pay full price when you do (not to mention the lost time).

    I figure buying large lots like that isn't about the value of the individual pieces but more the value of having an old timer's go-to tools on hand for whatever comes up.

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    Seems like there is enough there to justify the price...........again, it is all about location. I see machinist stuff turn up around here (rarely) with higher asking prices,

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    I say go for it if it’s local (no shipping) you’ll get $100 worth of fun just going through all the tools!

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    I don't see you getting hurt at that price. There is hopefully room for negotiation just because most prices are negotiable.
    Bryan

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    The Kennedy toolbox is long in the tooth. The mics look to be in very good condition (depth mic too). The Starrett centering type telescoping ID gages aren’t my preferred style but they are the heaviest anybody ever built. The Starrett 20 leaf radius gage set (I’ve never seen before???).

    The rest of the stuff looks to be well before cheap imports (especially the SPI surface roughness gage).

    And the angle gage’s (leafs in the red plastic folder) I’ve never seen before, but it sure looks cool.

    Assuming there’s some dividers along with the calipers (1 pretty good/rare Starrett) in the box & maybe some scales, you could do worse for a starter kit.

    Good luck,
    Matt

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    The angle gauges are new to me also. I had/have the radius gauges and the " Rubert " gauges.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    As to age, older S is better if not crapped out - made better

    For instance - tee handle tap wrench by S bought new in 1964 is far better at ability to actually hold tap concentric to center in tee handle than same thing bought new in 1987

    Fit and finish fairly shouts at you - the older actually being engraved and the newer being crudely roll stamped

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    What I see in the box is a good deal at $300, but you could offer $200. Not yard-sale prices, but less than half of new prices for similar modern, but not fine old Starrett, tools. If you do not buy it, you will wish you had

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    Looks like a good set to start out with, not a terrible price but always try to go lower if you can, the old vernier calipers are good, take a bit more practice to read them, I personally prefer the dial type (I like mitutoyo) but I started out using those. Machinist tools are all over the map, sometimes you can get them for free and sometimes people think they’re made of solid gold coated in diamonds, keeping an eye out at swap meets and garage sales will get you a lot of good deals, estate sales can get you loaded up real quick if you find the right one and get there early. I also make it a habit to ask at a garage sale if they have any old tools, sometimes you’ll get an “oh yeah I’ve got my grandads old tool box back here” and you may get a good deal.

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    I just saw the pics. One thing i failed to mention is post #2 which was hinted at in post #4, it's very rewarding to look at these old tools and think about the men that made and used them. Many of the parallels, v blocks etc that i've picked up in my scrounging have been shop made with the maker's initials stamped into them. I have a small set of machinist parallel clamps with the maker's (or may just owner's?) initials and date stamped into them. It's from 1927. I often wonder what that man was like and if he gave a second thought to the prospect of his tools being cared for and used 90 years later. You don't get that from a big box store or an on-line catalogue.

    And by the way, i would do like others have suggested and offer $200 and see what the owner says. Sometimes they just want to see their stuff appreciated, cared for and used.

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    The tools all look to be in good condition. I use vernier calipers like that all the time rather than a dial type because a dial can jump a tooth. Many of the instruments are satin chromed, making them easier to read. If I had that set for sale for $300 and you offered me $200, I would be so insulted that you would shortly find your ass bouncing down Marshall Ave. The seller has put a fair price on them. If you want them, pay it.

    Bill

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    How does a guy tell the older telescoping Starrett bore gauges from newer? Without both era's in your hand that is.

    L7

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    I look at such deals like this, - find the new prices** for the stuff you want, and decide how good the deal is from there.

    ** P.S. which will usually scare the crap out of you

    P.P.S. you will often find stuff that's no longer made, but exceedingly valuable to us old school machinists.

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    Rather than possibly insulting the seller with an offer, I have with cash in wallet and decided I wanted the item even at full price ask, "what is the least you would take in cash, right now for the ----?" Pay up, thank the person, shake hands, load and leave.

    Almost always I get some off, occasionally quite a bit off.

    A used furniture dealer friend told me many years ago, "always let the seller make the price, refuse if it is more that what you are willing to pay, but if the seller made the price, it is harder for him to say 'you gypped me'". Of course there are some people who if given a million dollars, would complain that it was not in the right denominations.

    Paul


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