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painful topic - when should we let our shops go?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
    .... My wife worries about what she is going to do with "all that stuff"....
    I told mine... whatever you do don't date a guy that wants it, or you'll never get rid of it!!!

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    • #17
      When I stop using my shop, it start thinking about liquidating. I’m 75 and still buying an occasional tool so I’m still on the upside of the hill.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
        I know that a lot of us are retirees. And we all get older. It gets harder and harder to lift that mill vise or 4-jaw chuck. One day, we'll die. It's going to happen to every one of us. I also know that a bunch of us HSMs have the attitude "let my descendants worry about it!"

        I don't. By the time I die I'd like my shop to look like two 2-car garages again - empty. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

        My wife and I had a deal. If she ever decided we were going to sell the house, I needed two full years to downsize before the move. As it happened, our 4 kids grew up and left, and she decided it was time. She gave me the official notice, and I had 2 years to sell pretty much everything. I sold my Bridgeport and a 15" Cincinnati lathe and a big Kaltenbach cold saw and an Alzmetall drill press and lots of smaller stuff. But when I looked at my shop you could barely tell anything was missing! I got overwhelmed and admitted to my wife that I was going to need help. Fortunately for me, she let me off the hook and decided we should stay here.

        I had a good friend who lived about a mile from me. He was a very savvy ex Boeing engineer and he had a two car garage STUFFED with machines and tools and supplies and partly completed projects. He died suddenly and his family contacted me and asked me to please help them get their garage back. I agreed and bought the entire contents of his shop and liquidated absolutely everything. It literally took me six months working at least half time. I sold his South Bend heavy 10, his Harig 6x12 surface grinder, his CNC Bridgeport, his drill press and his horizontal/vertical bandsaw, his air compressor, his heat treating oven, his surface plate and Biax scraper. And dozens (hundreds) of other items. It was a ton of work! The lesson I learned is that completely liquidating a home shop, especially one which has items collected over decades, is hard and stressful. I really don't want to put my family through that.

        My kids are both pretty handy. Sure, they'd take some of my tools. But I have four Kennedy stacks and a 16 foot workbench with 56 big drawers under it all full. They might take half a percent of that. Kids these days don't have big houses to put things in.

        So it's going to be up to me. I'm 68 and feel healthy and I can still lift my mill table and lathe chucks just fine. But that day is coming. My question is, how do I know when it gets here?

        Assuming I decline slowly and gracefully and don't drop dead suddenly, of course.

        metalmagpie
        So now that you prematurely sold those machines and now the boss decided to stay do you get the OK to replace what you sold ??

        JL...............

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Bob La Londe View Post
          When they find my cold dead body hunched over a machine.
          I like that attitude. reminds me of "Out of my cold dead hands"

          JL.................

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
            Many of us face the same problem. I am 77 and not getting any younger. And the garage/shop is packed. My wife worries about what she is going to do with "all that stuff". But I am not ready to just go to seed. And I may never be.

            So, where does that leave me?
            Enjoy it and don't count down.

            JL..................

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            • #21
              There is zero problem or issue in getting rid of a ton of stuff very, very quickly. The only problem is getting rid of it for max dollars quickly. So.....you want the cold comfort of a few shekels in your hand while you spend your last years staring at a sad, empty garage, with rakes and crap hanging from pegboard?....or do you want have and use the joyous treasure you've collected your whole life until the day keel over? I know what I'm doing
              in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                So now that you prematurely sold those machines and now the boss decided to stay
                You guys that have a "boss", geez, sorry for ya. Be a caveman, rule and make the decisions.

                semi joking, its partnership of course, but no way is my say a iota less than 50%. Something big like moving, a super majority (unanimous) vote required
                in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                  So now that you prematurely sold those machines and now the boss decided to stay do you get the OK to replace what you sold ??

                  JL...............
                  I replaced them long ago. Now more crammed than ever.

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                  • #24
                    I've spent a lifetime collecting some real nice stuff. No kids and no wife. Not how I wanted life to go, but it is what it is. I don't cry any more.

                    I decided to start documenting and writing the stories behind all the tools. Told my sister and brother that their kids are welcome to them when I go -- a couple of them are fixing to become engineers. There are some parts of the collection that should stay together, because they were my grandpas' or my dad's. Other parts should stay together because they just belong in sets. But eventually I'll have it all written down. There's a story behind every too, I guess that's why I love them so much.
                    25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post

                      I replaced them long ago. Now more crammed than ever.
                      Ha, good for you........refer to Mcgyvers post #22

                      JL..............

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                      • #26
                        My next door neighbor passed suddenly about 6 mos after he retired. His garage was the envy of the neighborhood. He had spent his life in industrial maintenance like me, and had all the toys. Made everything himself, including the house. A week after he passed, the kids showed up with a trailer and hauled it all off to the scrapper, Including the Bridgeport, a few generators, etc etc. Got a few grand out of the scrappers. His widow kept his main tool box, but she had her own tools also. It was the first time in 30 years that anyone had seen the back wall of the garage.

                        She told me later that it was nice to finally be able to bring all her gardening tools in. Gardening, crafting, and home improvement was really her thing,not mechanical.

                        Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
                        Many of us face the same problem. I am 77 and not getting any younger. And the garage/shop is packed. My wife worries about what she is going to do with "all that stuff". But I am not ready to just go to seed. And I may never be.

                        So, where does that leave me?
                        25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
                          I've spent a lifetime collecting some real nice stuff. No kids and no wife. Not how I wanted life to go, but it is what it is. I don't cry any more.

                          I decided to start documenting and writing the stories behind all the tools. Told my sister and brother that their kids are welcome to them when I go -- a couple of them are fixing to become engineers. There are some parts of the collection that should stay together, because they were my grandpas' or my dad's. Other parts should stay together because they just belong in sets. But eventually I'll have it all written down. There's a story behind every too, I guess that's why I love them so much.
                          I have a lot of my grandfathers tools. He was a machinist during the world wars. (Born around 1900 (he wasn't sure, but he thought a few years before)) A lot of them I just have, but from time to time I think it sure would be nice if I had... and bam there it is. Some stuff I don't even know what it is until I need it. A few months ago I was thinking it would be nice to have a small set of gage blocks in common fraction sizes. It would sure beat building a stack when I need to offset a part or a stop a simple fraction of an inch. Sure enough in those old tools I found a short set of fractional B gage blocks. Just five blocks from 1/16 to 1 inch made by Moore & Scheere Co in a little wooden box. I have used one of them atleast 8 or 9 times since I had that thought. Amazingly they still even ring together. I have a more complete import set that I can build stackups with, but I've used this set much more often the last few months.

                          I have a whole drawer full of calipers. They kind you set to a part and then machine a part until they fit. I figured I'd probably never use them, but watching a Mr Pete video the other day I realized they would be much faster for some sorts of repetitive work than actually stopping the machine and measuring. Lots of stuff like that. A couple test indicators. I figure some of the tools I use in all of that are around 100 years old. He didn't buy all his tools new starting out. He often picked up broken mics and repaired them too according to my Mom.
                          *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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                          • #28
                            I don’t know what has become of him, but this subject reminds me of “Old Tiffie” and his pre-arranged, pre-need hiring of a scrapper to “bin it all” upon his death or disability.

                            Better choice IMO than “die after 40 years of extreme hoarding”, but neither is ideal.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
                              I've spent a lifetime collecting some real nice stuff. No kids and no wife. Not how I wanted life to go, but it is what it is. I don't cry any more.

                              I decided to start documenting and writing the stories behind all the tools. Told my sister and brother that their kids are welcome to them when I go -- a couple of them are fixing to become engineers. There are some parts of the collection that should stay together, because they were my grandpas' or my dad's. Other parts should stay together because they just belong in sets. But eventually I'll have it all written down. There's a story behind every too, I guess that's why I love them so much.
                              Yes, this a thousand times over. It's not easy, but taking the time to document things, taking an inventory of things, makes it so much simpler for others to deal with. While making the inventory list include the person you would like to receive the item. Pass the list on to the person that will be in charge of settling the estate, or at least tell them where to find it, and you're golden. Guys with a shop and a wife can make her life less stressful too when she knows that when the time comes, dealing with "all that stuff in the basement" is only a phone call away.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post
                                There is zero problem or issue in getting rid of a ton of stuff very, very quickly. The only problem is getting rid of it for max dollars quickly. So.....you want the cold comfort of a few shekels in your hand while you spend your last years staring at a sad, empty garage, with rakes and crap hanging from pegboard?....or do you want have and use the joyous treasure you've collected your whole life until the day keel over? I know what I'm doing
                                exactly!

                                Hey MM : Give your wife my phone number, and I'll give yours' to mine. Whoever lives longer gets to clean out the other.
                                Last edited by lakeside53; 03-28-2021, 11:14 PM.

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