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dp
09-15-2007, 09:14 PM
Just got back from there and have learned that after the Christmas holiday they will not be reopening. They're selling off everything in lots. Later they will reopen but won't have retail sales - lot purchase only. Expect to see most of it on Ebay. Damn shame. Didn't stop me from spending $100 US today.

Too_Many_Tools
09-15-2007, 10:26 PM
Just got back from there and have learned that after the Christmas holiday they will not be reopening. They're selling off everything in lots. Later they will reopen but won't have retail sales - lot purchase only. Expect to see most of it on Ebay. Damn shame. Didn't stop me from spending $100 US today.

I heard that too when I stopped in last month on business.

And the lots will be picked over junk while the good stuff is siphoned off.

End of an era.

TMT

aostling
09-15-2007, 11:47 PM
Just got back from there and have learned that after the Christmas holiday they will not be reopening.

Sad to hear this. For three years (1991-94) I worked two blocks from Boeing Surplus. I'd visit it on my lunchtime walks about twice a week. I suppose its demise is another consequence of outsourcing.

Too_Many_Tools
09-16-2007, 01:13 AM
Sad to hear this. For three years (1991-94) I worked two blocks from Boeing Surplus. I'd visit it on my lunchtime walks about twice a week. I suppose it's demise is another consequence of outsourcing.


And Ebay....

Or one should say Internet auctions that Ebay pioneered....which has lowered the cost of dealing with surplus merchandise. Why foot the cost of personnel and store overhead when you can cheaply liquidate your surplus via the Internet?

One can view this as a good thing where more people will now have access to Boeing surplus as it is auctioned on the Internet versus the locals who have had access to this incredible surplus trove for decades. Anyone who has visited Boeing surplus knows that the same old crowd shows up hours before opening to snipe the best items. Those days are over.

Over the years, the quantity and quality of Boeing surplus (and other major company surplus goods) have diminished as more and more manufacturing has been pushed offshore.

The irony is that the better surplus is now likely located in foreign countries and being bought and used by HSMers there.

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
09-16-2007, 01:20 AM
I should add that it is just a matter of time before most surplus materials and tools will be only accessible by Internet auctions. This is going to be a rude awakening for those who haunt the auction circuit for surplus machines to resell. Direct reselling from owner to buyer will cause resellers and used machinery dealers to be a thing of the past as they squeezed out. Many of the CNC machine centers that we buy now are directly off Internet auctions while in the past we brought through resellers.

TMT

dp
09-16-2007, 01:39 AM
It was mentioned that the Ebay vendors to watch are bidadoo and dovebid. There may be more but those are the handles the nameless lady gave me today. Supplies were way down, too, so it may be that they're already not stocking that warehouse in anticipation. I'm going back tomorrow and load up on reamers - can't have too many reamers if they're the right size.

Too_Many_Tools
09-16-2007, 02:05 AM
I would buy anything that catches your eye...this transition is not a temporary one...the mother lode is drying up.

While this applies to many companies, it specifically applies to Boeing...the good old days of bins overflowing with excellent values is coming to a close. Boeing has been making the painful transition to JIT and now with their offshoring most of their manufacturing for the upcoming Dreamliner almost any and all surplus will be located at their offshore manufacturing sites. Couple that with the transition to carbon fiber from aluminum and there will be little that will be surplused that the reseller or HSMer can use. We have already seen the closing of many of the surplus outlets that fed off Boeing's scraps and those who haunt Boeing surplus can attest to the slimmer pickings.

Another area where resellers are in for a big surprise is military surplus. With the winding down of the Iraqi War before us, the vast majority of the military equipment will not be coming back to the United States. Couple that with recent rule changes where excess military equipment is now to be destroyed instead of being resold through surplus channels, the supply of surplus machine tools and materials that is normally available will diminish.

TMT

Orrin
09-17-2007, 11:26 AM
Boeing isn't the only outfit that is shutting down its retail outlet. For the last fifteen years I've gotten most of my raw material from our local scrap recycler. I've scored, big time, on stuff that would be completely unaffordable to the ordinary home shop machinist, such as new 5" copper pipe with 0.250" wall thickness.

You can imagine my shock when I walked into the place the other day, expecting to find more treasure, only to find out that HQ's new policy is to deny access to their scrap bins, completely.

AFAIK, there has never been an injury or even a close call at this outfit. All the old hands know me and we've been on a first name basis for years; but, sadly an end has come to my treasure hunting.

Orrin

dp
09-17-2007, 12:19 PM
I think you will probably find that Chinese buyers are bulk purchasing everything sight unseen, and for the reasons you mention. It is very economical for the sellers to write one invoice and go to the bank than deal with walk-in bargain shoppers all day.

Ries
09-17-2007, 06:03 PM
I would be interested to know if thats true- I never saw a single chinese buyer at Boeing Surplus any time I was there- and though its true the Chinese do buy 200 or so new Haas CNC machines a month, along with quite a few high end european machines like Trumpf laser/punch machines, I am not aware of any significant chinese buying of 50 year old manual american machines.

They are the single largest importer of machine tools in the world, buying mostly mid to high range CNC machines- In 2006, the last year I can find info on, they imported around $5 Billion worth of machine tools.
I kinda doubt, however, much of that was old creaky machines painted Boeing Blue.

They do occasionally buy an entire steel mill, or other entire factory line, at 10% or so of replacement cost.

Boeing Surplus is the last of an era- the era of the US government, and its taxpayers, buying lots of stuff at very high prices, then selling it surplus for pennies. No sensible business does this, and the only reason Boeing and Lockheed and other defense manufacturers did was those cost plus contracts.

There is still a lot of manufacturing around Seattle, and even up in the country where I live, lots of small shops make parts for Boeing- its not all coming from offshore- the largest private employer in my County, Janicki, is up to something like 550 employees now, supplying Boeing among others- but they dont sell used tooling for a buck a pound. The small contract shops never wasted tools and equipment on the huge scale Boeing did. I knew quite a few people who worked for the "Lazy B" over the years, and stories about waste, featherbedding, and money being thrown around are common around here.

In the old days in Seattle, there were 8 or 10 great salvage yards, most actually better than Boeing Surplus- I really miss old Washington Liquidators, for example. And there used to be a good half dozen used machinery places too. Sistig, Hallidie, and many more. All gone.

Funnily enough, there is actually more manufacturing being done around here now than then- but in smaller shops, with a lot fewer employees. I would bet Nucor runs its Seattle Steel Mill with a quarter or fewer employees than when Paccar ran it. Paccar itself is highly automated, and builds those Kenworths very efficiently.

Real estate in Seattle is just way too expensive to justify filling it with junk, and waiting years for it to sell. The whole industrial area near the stadiums is now devoid of any of the old tool, steel, or machine shop supply places, and every year another couple of manufacturing or job shops move out, to be replaced by Yuppienomics.