The biggest downside to buying any type of used woodworking tools is the condition and not knowing exactly what the condition of the tool is in. Has the tool been abused or damaged in a way that you won't know until you start using it? For example, saw blade teeth might be worn down and that is not the only downside to worn out parts, because bearings, bushings, shafts - these are all things that need to be checked into before you purchase a used woodworking tool.
You have to use your own judgement on the condition of the tool pretty much on the spot. Who are you buying it from? If it comes from a cabinet shop, then the greatest probability is that it has been used to the maximum, but if it is in the garage of some person who barely used it, then it might be in almost new condition in spite of being decades old.
When you consider buying a used woodworking tool you should first find out what is the value of the tool? Look around online or in your area to get an idea of how much this particular woodworking tool is selling for in used condition. Also, it is important to know the cost of a new one - and you should be able to buy the used one at a considerably lower price.
And finally, what is your use going to be of the used woodworking tool? If you are only going to use it once, then you have to gauge whether or not the tool will hold together for that one use, but if you use that tool every single day on a work site, then you need to make sure you are buying something completely solid and ready to do the job. Often it is just better to buy new. However, there are certain woodworking tools that used to be made really well and you can't get that quality anymore. If you are looking for a well made, but vintage tool, then just be careful when making your purchase and be sure to look it over carefully and find out as much as you can about the previous owner before making a decision.
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