Friday, September 25, 2009
The Lie-Nielsen Time Machine
It's funny what happens when you can't sleep. I have a netbook on my nightstand, and when I can't sleep I check a couple woodworking forums, e-mail. When I'm bored with that (and I haven't fallen back asleep watching old episodes of The Woodwright's Shop) I grab a magazine from the lower shelf and read it again for the umpteenth time. Last night it was a Fine Woodworking from 1997. One forum thread was discussing a sale on Lie-Nielsen tools at a local Woodcraft. The topic turned to the price of Lie-Nielsen tools and how they've gone up drastically in the last year. So when I saw the above ad in the 1997 magazine I thought I'd do a little research and see just how much they've gone up in the past 12 years. The #4 in the above ad is priced at $225. Accounting for inflation (I used this calculator), this plane should fetch about $302 in 2009 dollars. The plane, in iron, is in fact less than this today. It sells for an even $300. But I was really shocked when I saw a similar ad (from 1998) for the L-N adjustable mouth block plane. Price was $150. With inflation, today's price should be $198. The plane sells today for $165. I like a good deal as much as the next guy, and using these two of L-N's most popular planes, a good deal they are indeed, since both planes have gone down in price over the years.
And it isn't just Lie-Nielsen. On the next page was an ad for (now defunct) Bridgewood Machinery. I bought a PBS-440W in 2006 (brand new, from Wilke, before the Bridgewood name was discontinued) for the exact same price as listed in this 1997 ad. No inflation calculator needed for that one.
I also did a comparison with a Grizzly shaper. The shaper (same model number G1026) from a 1991 magazine ad was $850. Today's price is $925.