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Garage Sale Finds

13 August 2014 4 Comments

A couple of weekends ago, I noticed a garage sale sign outside my local general store. The garage sale was that day, and just around the corner. How could I resist?!

Much to my delight, the people holding the garage sale were farmers. They had a lot of older “junk” farming equipment to give away, most of which they’d replaced with bigger/better/faster equipment over the years. I think they’d held onto the old stuff “just in case”, but were now taking the opportunity to clear out some space.

The first find was this awesome Tirfor T516 hand winch for $25. It’s a portable hoist that can be used to lift or pull loads up to 1.6 tons (or more if you use pulley blocks!). It came with a 20m wire rope that’s rated for 8 tons. The two levers on top are used to winch in either direction, so you can either raise or lower loads.

Tirfors are really popular with four-wheel drive clubs and emergency services, since they’re very portable and can handle fairly big loads.

I’ve wanted a hand winch for ages. They’re useful for all sorts of odd jobs around the property. This one is so much more serious than anything I’d looked at previously, and I got it for a much lower price. Yay!

Tirfor hand winch, 1.6 ton

While we’re talking about lifting and pulling things, I also picked up this chain block (I got everything in the photo for another $25). You pull on the smaller looped chain, and it pulls the larger chain through the block using a geared mechanism to give you mechanical advantage. This is the sort of thing you use to lift engines out of cars. I’m planning to build a trolley truck that will run along the steel girder in my garage, so I can lift and move stuff easily.

The medieval torture devices below the chain block in the photo are actually old fence pullers. You use them to tighten up wire fences. Interestingly, when I Googled how to use them, they turned out to be museum pieces! You can see the exhibits here and here.

Chain block and fence strainers

I got the fuel pump below for $5. It sits in the top of a 44-gallon drum, and you pump by turning the handle. I reckon it’ll be useful for storing and pumping water out of barrels, or maybe for dispensing large-batch comfrey tea from drums.

Hand pump for fuel drum

I didn’t take a photo, but I also got a fairly heavy-duty staple gun and a stanley knife for another $5, and a full-length sledge hammer for $5.

All up, I was extremely happy with my garage sale haul!

What’s the best bargain you’ve gotten at a garage sale?


  • Ari said:

    We have a very similar set of fence strainers sitting in the shed – they get used once a month on average (we’re very slow fencers) and are brilliant. My best find was a pair of hedge shears for $10. Top quality, so sharp! Beats the pants off our $40 hardware bought pair.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Ari: Cool! Older tools are often much better quality, and made from better steel. Sometimes all it takes is to replace a handle, sharpen a blade, or spray a bit of WD-40 to bring them back to full service.

  • Jeff said:

    Excellent bargains ! I like that hand winch. I got an cheap chinese one on ebay. I use it quite often around my yard, but really should have got better quality. I like the way yours winches down as well as up – very convenient.


  • Darren (author) said:

    Jeff: I was only going to buy something cheap too, as I didn’t want to spend too much for very infrequent use. I was very fortunate to find such a good quality used winch at such a great price! It pays to procrastinate :-).