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Thread: Mothballing a shop

  1. #1

    Mothballing a shop

    Anyone here have experience with packing up and storing a shop for an indeterminate time? Iím not doing any woodworking currently, and have all my tools boxed for the most part. Weíve accepted an offer on our house, and had an offer accepted for a purchase. Iím not sure Iíll have a shop space any time soon. I have some big tools, like an old Unisaw, a decent Laguna bandsaw, 20Ē grizzly planer, etc etc. and a stupid amount of lumber. Thoughts, ideas, suggestions, stories welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Hey John, if by "indeterminate" you mean years, then i would strongly consider liquidating the entire lot. Used tools are commanding a premium at the moment, not to mention the cost to store them for years. If this is more likely a 6-12 month process, then others have suggested storage units, PODs, or friend's garages. If you do put things into storage, i dont know where you are, but i would go through the hassle of coating surfaces in cosmoline or similar antirust prevention. Not just waxing things.

  3. #3
    If you're sure you're going to get back into ww'ing, I would not sell them. The replacement cost will be multiples of what you paid, and if they are older models in good shape they just as good as a new one. It depends on what brands/kinds of machines.

    But to your question, it depends on the climate, but if rust is an issue, and you can get them moved into a climate controlled storage, that would be ideal.

  4. #4
    I'd sell anything I could. Keep the stuff you know will be hard to replace, sell the rest.

    I was in a similar spot, moved out thinking I'd have a shop in about 6 months. Two years later I've paid the storage unit company something like $3500-$4000 to keep all of my tools sitting for me. The entire process has been "Looks like just another couple months till the shop's ready" for the entire time. At this point I could've sold all of my old stuff and rebought most of it brand new and been out ahead. I'll never store tools like this again unless it's something truly difficult to replace. Most of what you've listed comes up pretty frequently for sale used, and if you're looking at 2+ years of storage you'll pay more to store it than the tools are worth!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert McMahan View Post
    I'd sell anything I could. Keep the stuff you know will be hard to replace, sell the rest.

    I was in a similar spot, moved out thinking I'd have a shop in about 6 months. Two years later I've paid the storage unit company something like $3500-$4000 to keep all of my tools sitting for me. The entire process has been "Looks like just another couple months till the shop's ready" for the entire time. At this point I could've sold all of my old stuff and rebought most of it brand new and been out ahead. I'll never store tools like this again unless it's something truly difficult to replace. Most of what you've listed comes up pretty frequently for sale used, and if you're looking at 2+ years of storage you'll pay more to store it than the tools are worth!
    This is exactly what i had in mind. Time slips by and what you thought was going to be X amount ends up being 2X amount. The OP sounds like he has a fantastic hobby setup, but to replace all those tools new at retail would be $10-12,000. Chances are he can sell all of his tools for $5,000 maybe--speculating, because i dont know models, age, etc. Factor in Bert's experience of paying $4,000 in storage costs, and the OP could almost replace everything with brand new tools under warranty. Or, search out used replacements for $5,000-6,000 and be ahead of the storage costs.

    I think about this for my own short term future, and its not worthwhile to move and store 'ubiquitous' tools like a unisaw, four post planer, 14" bandsaw. This stuff regularly comes up for sale on the used market just about everywhere, and its replacement cost isnt high enough to justify moving and storing. Now, if your 10" table saw was your father's, then its priceless and worth keeping. For me, i would sell my Oliver 232, 20" powermatic planer, 20" laguna bandsaw, and probably the Felder KF700. I would keep my 20" jointer and Martin T17. These last two items would take me a year or two to find again, and likely be expensive. For example, a similar but better version of my jointer, a 1998 Martin T54, just sold for like $18,000 at auction last week. Im into my slightly inferior machine for a fraction of that price, so its not something i can expect to ditch and easily pick up again in another locale.

  6. #6
    I appreciate the insights! Maybe I should have posted in the general forum. The most difficult thing to deal with is what to do with 4-5000 bf of lumber. I donít have anything that fantastic machine wise, so youíve helped me decide. Iíll probably keep my 14Ē delta bandsaw with cast iron base and sell the rest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Your location isn't shown but possibly you could unload some of that lumber to fellow Creekers...
    Regards,

    Kris

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    I was going to ask about the lumber. Among my power tools I have a pretty nice 12 inch RAS that I have gotten dialed in. The rest are just CL finds that could be easily replaced. I donít have Ďa lotí of 8/4 hardwood that has been seasoning inside my climate controlled house for two years, but what I do have would take two years to replace regardless of price.

    I also wonder if renting shop space to set up in might be an option. That would possibly be a bit more expensive than mere storage, but it might also allow the hobby to carry on in the interim.

    When I look at my machines I see not just purchase price but also setup time. Were I to move to the lower 48 I would be looking for a pretty good price on my RAS and my planer as I have a fair bit of time wrapped up in getting both dialed in. My jointer not so much and my dust collector would be pretty much free to a good home. I am not involved in his hobby to do machine setup. I can do it, but kinda like sharpening I like using sharp tools but I donít especially enjoy sharpening.

    same when buying used tools. I always take some kind of stock and a square with me. If the machine is dialed in it is worth a bit more to me than something that needs tuning. Hand planes and handsaws too really.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Indefinite time period and no recent activity would make me consider keeping the small stuff...hand tools, small electrics, measuring, etc., and maybe some "really special" pieces of wood and offloading the rest. It's going to cost money and/or space to store things and with being up in the air about for how long you might be away, it would be hard for me to justify that cost and space. Keeping the bandsaw makes sense as it's a very versatile tool when combined with the hand-held stuff for doing things for your new home. And you can probably generate some very nice cash for the larger tools and material. Those are my thoughts. Others may and do feel differently.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    It might depend on your age and how close you are to retirement.
    I had the exact issue that you are facing. My thinking was:
    while I was working I bought really nice high end equipment.
    Then I took several job transfers and stored all my stuff for 5 years in unheated storage at $100/month.
    I knew that once I retired I would never feel like spending the money to get back to where I was. Itís a mental thing with many retirees, you have the money but donít want to spend it. So for me keeping the equipment was the best way to assure I would still have a wood shop.
    But during those 5 years off of woodworking I bought some nice metal working equipment and put it into our lake home. And to be honest I likely could be just as happy continuing down the metal path, building motorcycle sidecars.
    I guess what Iím saying is, maybe your interests will change.
    The Plane Anarchist

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh Betsch View Post
    . And to be honest I likely could be just as happy continuing down the metal path, building motorcycle sidecars.
    interested in seeing pictures of any motorcycle sidecars you have built
    Quit riding a few years back as the old body said I could work or I could ride not both. Can't/won't retire so sidecars and bikes went away
    Ron

  12. #12
    Thanks again! Iíve got about ten weeks before we are out of this house. Iím going to sell the big machines. Maybe Iíll be able to upgrade if and when I have a shop again.

    Iím really dreading getting rid of lumber. Iíve got lots of premium domestic lumber. Lots of it has sentimental value to me. I hate to stick it in a random storage unit, but I might have to. Ugh.

    Iím in Indiana, fwiw. I used LPS 3 on my table saw top 15 years ago when I stored it. That worked well. Other than my Laguna, which I will sell, Iím not super attached to any tool.

    I still think about woodworking a lot. I hope to at least do some small stuff soon. Shaker boxes, shrink pots. Iíd carve spoons, but thatís too trendy.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Yea, the lumber can make for hard choices...I found it painful when I had to cull my own inventory prior to moving this past year. While a good chunk of what I got rid of was a lot of ordinary shorts and odd-ball stuff, I always found uses for that kind of thing. The massive reduction I managed with my turning stock was eye opening. So yea...if you can keep the stuff that's "most special", do that. Make three "virtual" or physical piles...the must keep, the would like to keep and the I can live without. Most of your energy is then with the middle group moving it either to keep or to not keep.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    . So yea...if you can keep the stuff that's "most special", do that. Make three "virtual" or physical piles...the must keep, the would like to keep and the I can live without. Most of your energy is then with the middle group moving it either to keep or to not keep.
    This is great advice that can be applied to many areas. I knew which were my "must keep" lumber as fast as I comprehended the words I read. Thanks.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by john jesseph View Post
    ...The most difficult thing to deal with is what to do with 4-5000 bf of lumber...
    Could you just stick it in a Conex container and have it stored somewhere for the time being? Then delivered to your new location later? On your machinery, I agree with others that unless you have anything really high-end, might be simpler to just sell now and re-buy when needed. Good luck with your project.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

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