What to do with hoards of good parts that won't sell?

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rustedperfection

On Training Wheels
If there is a local bike co-op, I would donate the parts to them.
No such thing around here. Besides, I think she really needs to turn them into cash, she's got house to pay for now with only one SS check and he had no insurance or retirement pension
Like many old guys their things are their retirement. Its now become her retirement. A lot of us are in that same boat as we get old, with SS being moved up and retirement pensions going broke or being taken away, more and more guys who worked for a living are finding themselves having to buy and sell things on the side to stay afloat and keep their homes. His wife never worked, and he worked in small shops around town his whole life, probably not making more than minimum wage. His SS was only $800, which is what his widow will likely now have to live on. I'd venture to guess just the property taxes there are more than what she'll get in his SS.
What it may come down to is having it all just removed in a hurry to clear the place out for a quick sale so she don't loose it to taxes. Like most of the older folks here they bought these houses for cash after WWII, homes were cheap and GI loans got them a place for under $10k cash back then Most of these were kit home from various catalog stores, the most common are those like mine built by a local saw mill and lumber yard as a numbered kit. There were five models, and four variations of each model all 30x30ft or 40x20ft. That house is a 40x20 with an added two car attached garage with a short breezway that's been closed in. The basement runs under the breezeway now, he dug it out himself like a tunnel in the 60's both as a fallout shelter and to move the basement steps out of the house to save space. The basement door is down a set of concrete steps in the garage, which run along the back wall turning 90 degrees partway up to come up just inside the left garage wall. It works well, other wise all the stuff would have needed to be hauled though the house and out through the living room or kitchen. The barrels are too heavy to move full, they've been putting the freewheels in smaller buckets and carring those out to the garage and into a bunch of milk crates. Think how many Shimano 333 14-28 freewheels fit into an open top 55 gallon drum, then figure there's at least three barrels of them. Its actually fairly organized, there's just so much of it its hard to get at any one thing without moving ten other items. The key has been that if it needs to be moved, move it up and out to the garage.
We found a scrap book with pictures he took over the years of bikes he tore apart and rebuilt then sold. He' spend a week fixing up an old bike digging for the right part to make it right again, then turn around and sell it for $50. He'd have made better money scrapping then building bikes.
 

rustedperfection

On Training Wheels
I would go through the bins and just write down a list of what's there. Don't clean or start restoring or anything, just write down what you have. The list will tell you whether you have stuff that's really valuable. Most basic 5-speed stuff is not, but sometimes you get unusual parts that people need and lead to a little more money. This is also true of three speed stuff. Most of the common stuff is not high dollar, but sometimes you get something usual that is worth more. Have to know what's there though.

If they're not rusty and are just kind of dirty, it almost sounds like something you'd bring to the closest vintage bike show/swap. Buy the most basic seller's space offered, set up a table, put the better parts on the table, and spread out the lesser parts on a blanket or transparent bins at least. Offer a discount for people buying multiple items.

If that isn't an option, donation to the local bike co-op is also a possibility. Again, if it's just kind of dirty, no need to clean if donating.

The better stuff tends to come up on here or on eBay for sale. You'll need to work through your list and figure out what you have to determine if you're headed in this direction.
The nearest bike swap meet is Trexlertown about three hours away. With fuel close to $7 now, any money made would be spent in fuel.
I went to Trexlertown about 15 years ago with a buddy who owned bike shop then, I sort of got the impression that it wasn't the place for average bike parts.
I really don't think there's much in the way of high end collectibles just tons of good used parts that would be a shame to scrap.
The way i look at it, with the freewheels anyway, is if you need a working freewheel or even just some sprockets, one of those originals he saved has got to better than anything out of China you would find today.
The problem right now seems to be that with eBay looking dead slow, most of these parts are scrap yard bound, its likely the best money she'll see out of them all. Its sad seeing something someone worked so hard at all their life amount to absolutely nothing but a truck load of junk for the scrap heap.
I grabbed a few of the freewheels, broke them down and cleaned them up and the three I cleaned up look almost new.
It seems to be mostly a case of its only worth money when your looking to buy one, but in reverse its just scrap.

Age wise, there's likely nothing newer than the mid 80's. He adamantly avoided anything that had index shifting or a Shimano three speed hub.
He also had very few aluminum wheel bikes, he stuck to those with chrome steel rims. He liked chrome. He must of stripped a ton of bikes with white grips, and white Mesinger saddles, there's two dozen white saddles and four bags of used Hunt Wilde white grips. One barrel is full of 1/2 single speed chain, two are full of derailleur chains. Mostly HG and Sedis branded. I'm not sure where he was getting ball bearings from but I kept 7 one gallon pickle jars full of new ball bearings from Chicago Ball Bearing Company, box tops taped to the lids. I've seen the little bottles of steel ball bearings but not 40lb jars full. The basement has an old well pump pit, about 6ft deep in one corner, he apparently intended to fill it with old bearings and small parts, Its half filled with old bearings, broken relfelctors and bits of rusty chain. If he lasted another 60 or so years he may have succeded in filling it completely with junk parts.
 

Robert Troub

Wore out three sets of tires already!
No such thing around here. Besides, I think she really needs to turn them into cash, she's got house to pay for now with only one SS check and he had no insurance or retirement pension
Like many old guys their things are their retirement. Its now become her retirement. A lot of us are in that same boat as we get old, with SS being moved up and retirement pensions going broke or being taken away, more and more guys who worked for a living are finding themselves having to buy and sell things on the side to stay afloat and keep their homes. His wife never worked, and he worked in small shops around town his whole life, probably not making more than minimum wage. His SS was only $800, which is what his widow will likely now have to live on. I'd venture to guess just the property taxes there are more than what she'll get in his SS.
What it may come down to is having it all just removed in a hurry to clear the place out for a quick sale so she don't loose it to taxes. Like most of the older folks here they bought these houses for cash after WWII, homes were cheap and GI loans got them a place for under $10k cash back then Most of these were kit home from various catalog stores, the most common are those like mine built by a local saw mill and lumber yard as a numbered kit. There were five models, and four variations of each model all 30x30ft or 40x20ft. That house is a 40x20 with an added two car attached garage with a short breezway that's been closed in. The basement runs under the breezeway now, he dug it out himself like a tunnel in the 60's both as a fallout shelter and to move the basement steps out of the house to save space. The basement door is down a set of concrete steps in the garage, which run along the back wall turning 90 degrees partway up to come up just inside the left garage wall. It works well, other wise all the stuff would have needed to be hauled though the house and out through the living room or kitchen. The barrels are too heavy to move full, they've been putting the freewheels in smaller buckets and carring those out to the garage and into a bunch of milk crates. Think how many Shimano 333 14-28 freewheels fit into an open top 55 gallon drum, then figure there's at least three barrels of them. Its actually fairly organized, there's just so much of it its hard to get at any one thing without moving ten other items. The key has been that if it needs to be moved, move it up and out to the garage.
We found a scrap book with pictures he took over the years of bikes he tore apart and rebuilt then sold. He' spend a week fixing up an old bike digging for the right part to make it right again, then turn around and sell it for $50. He'd have made better money scrapping then building bikes.
Ok, there is no cash here.....scrap it.....
 

Archie Sturmer

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
As someone who has collected a ton of bikes and parts over his years, I find myself dealing with helping someone clean out bikes and parts.
As I go through boxes of parts the big question is what to do with parts that really don't bring enough to list or ship?
I wonder if all of the separate piles of piece parts make the stuff more difficult to get rid of.
Perhaps with your experience, (ton of bikes), you might help by re-assembling parts into complete bikes, that might be moved more quickly?
But that might be more than one actually volunteered for; (or maybe the question is about the excess which remains afterwards).

Don't worry about the cherry-pickers, if there are not any cherries.
 
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Robert Troub

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I wonder if all of the separate piles of piece parts make the stuff more difficult to get rid of.
Perhaps with your experience, (ton of bikes), you might help by re-assembling parts into complete bikes, that might be moved more quickly?
But that might be more than one actually volunteered for; (or maybe the question is about the excess which remains afterwards).

Don't worry about the cherry-pickers, if there are not any cherries.
 
Last edited:

rustedperfection

On Training Wheels
If there is a local bike co-op, I would donate the parts to them.
No such thing around here, never heard of one till I started reading here.
Recycling is a good thing. Not a sad ending for stuff that has no use.
The problem is that its all useful, I'd venture to guess 90% of all bikes use parts like these.
How many bikes from the late 60's on came with a 14-28 freewheel? I for one have owned dozens.
When one fails, the bike shop no longer has them, they don't carry parts at all now. Just bikes.
"Its broke, buy a new bike" is the only solution.
Online you find Chinese knockoff freewheels with no branding, all basically copies of the old Shimano freewheels.

Give them yo a metal working artist.
None that I know of around here, had a guy who wanted some frames once for some sculpture but he only wanted really clean Schwinn frames to build into some sort of archway in a park. He also had no cash. He told me he could see I wasn't using them so could he have them for free.
If he said $20 each he'd have left with them back then.
Scrap it...all of it......
Probably where its all headed, but its a shame to just junk perfectly good parts.
Let's see those white Mesinger saddles!
I'll get a few pics if remember later. They're all basically the common white vinyl cover over a sprung base, like was used on so many three speed bikes through the years. Basically an all white version of what was used on most Schwinn Suburbans, Speedsters, Breeze, etc. A stamped metal pan, thin pad and vinyl cover stretched over top. They weren't the most comfortable saddle for long rides but they weren't bad, and layer of 1/2 carpet padding to replace the thin foam they used when new does wonders for them.

I found a 5 gallon bucket of dogleg type early one piece cranks last night. Likely off balloon tire bikes from the 30's and 40's.
Also a full barrel of old, rat trap type pedals, all prewar but I pulled out a dozen or so and not a single matched pair. I guess that's what he meant when he wrote "Odd pedals" on the barrel. I counted 210 used, steel 80's flat MTB type handle bars all hanging from the floor joists above. Some painted, some chrome. five Lowenbrau beer cases full of clean used Wald stems. two milk crates full of unbranded used, zinc plated 24h Wald front hubs. An old metal kitchen trash can full of bags of reflector kits, the kind that came on early 70's Sears bikes. Each in a small sealed bag about 6x6" in size. One red, one yellow spoke reflector, and one white and one red round reflector. Some bags have $1.95 price tags on them. three full large coffee cans full of new Wald 6003 coaster brake straps. The one coffee can says Pantry Pride Supreme.
There's one drawer full of bags of new HG road chain, a wooden box from Plums with a bunch of cardboard tubes full of used spokes all sorted out for reuse.
There's a ft tall cabinet full of Sturmey archer hubs, all in bags loosely assembled that look like they have been taken apart, cleaned and lightly oiled and placed in bags. There are smaller parts cabinets full of SA parts both new and used.
I did find two full bags of pawl springs, a box of '248' HSA 111 Pawls and a box of HSA119 pawls. There is a case of two styles of shifters, one type with black plastic levers and covers, and one with chrome levers and clear covers. plus a stack of empty boxes flattened out on the shelf.
The SA stuff is all a good find and that all will go into my stuff. But I don't mess with road bikes or derailleur bikes much. To me all of that is unwanted items.
I do build the occasional 27" wheel three speed, mostly just Raleigh Sprites or Schwinn Suburbans. I will save a few pair of good 26' and 27" chrome wheels myself. I had her daughter list some of the chrome 27" Araya rims online, she listed them on some phone app for $50/pr. Those went fast all selling to two guys who came from Philly for them. They didn't want any of the aluminum rims but did buy 7 pair of used 26" Rigida Chrolux 'EA1' rims too. She didn't say how much she got for those. I wasn't around when they were over there looking. I don't think she let them in the basement, only the garage. I told her to take a pic of the freewheels and list them 5 for $5 and see what happens.
He must have had a thing for Eagle oil cans, so far I've found 37 of them all about the basement. All shapes and sizes, most are the long pointed drip type can. There's a lot of 24" new tires in boxes, mostly MTB and middle weight tires.
Once its all out of the basement and out in the light I'll start getting some pics, if can figure out how to get pictures off the camera I picked up at the fleamarket last week. It puts the pics on 3 1/2" floppy discs, but my computer don't have a slot for those.
 
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