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When to say quit?

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  • When to say quit?

    Have you ever put this hobby down and sold your equipment and then pick it up and start over again? Or have you just stepped away for sometime and then returned again?

    I am at a point in life that I should choose which activities I want and can engage in. Physically, the turning cranks, loosening clamps and turn wrenches yield more soreness than ever before. Getting old and falling apart isn’t for the faint hearted. How have you dealt with this?

    Chess anyone ;-)

  • #2
    I am beginning to have similar problems and the thought of selling all of my tools and reloading equipment crosses my mind. This would be a bad time because with the economy in the dump and so many people out of work I would never get out what I paid for a lot of what I have. I wait a couple of days until I am not sore and get back to another project!


    • #3
      Stepping away is a common thing for most of us, a different hobby takes our interest, time, space finances, health all play a role then a renewed interest when we see others work, so stay tuned to HSM.

      I am not one to sell my equipment, past experience seems always to produce regret.

      Perhaps some change of hobby is required, perhaps just a change in thinking to smaller work, longer wrenches, lighter loads anything but get away from it.


      • #4
        Hi Garry,
        If truth be told, I am feeling a bit like that nowadays, Moving &shifting heavy plant, has definately gone for good, As regards working heavy machinery, I do now also at my stage in life feel my age,

        Here is my take on the subject, About twenty odd years ago, i went through a period of physical illness, and "acted on impulse" by getting rid of a very fine large lathe i owned, I had listened to bad advice such as "you will never need that machine again etc etc" Bad move, Sit back think for a long time listen to your own heart, Go back into your shop now and again ,even if it is only to twiddle some knobs &play, Your machine sitting there is not eating food.

        As regards the shop environment, dont give up completely, If the day comes when you are no longer physically fit, Time to "Down size" Even if it is a little Sherline on a table with a similar little mill in the house in your own corner, whereyou can sit in warmth &comfort, and make more easily handled items

        From my own perspective the thought of not having my nice machines as part of my lifes landscape, would break my heart, Certainly i am not as active as before, but being in my shop, is a way of life, which has been with me for so long, i cannot envisage any other.

        As regards the loss of the big lathe ,I replaced it with a nice enough machine i still own, But somehow the other one was a fine machine with features which i can never have ever again!


        • #5

          I have reached the point where just watching a 30 year old hurts. Lathes have had power feeds almost from the beginning. Why not power your other machines. As we age we should also have more knowledge and ability to work smarter not work harder. More of my personal projects require that I take longer for thought and set up. I just finished making two 1 3/16 x 20 taps one right hand one left hand and a reamer for a special taper. The thought as to how these could be made with what I have to work with did not require physical strain and the fact that the new tools worked well is very satisfying. Work within your limitations and do not hurt yourself. Sharing ideas, making things, designing things keeps your mind and body active. Sitting around will lead to feeling worse not better.



          • #6
            A very timely discussion. I'm at the point where bench work is limited by arthritis in the hands & hips to not more than about three hours at a time, machine work usually to about four hours, but not together! Even with chemistry, that's about my limit for work without a several hour break to "recover". I've had to give up several types of work, like wood checkering...just can't do it any more. I'm in the shop every day, even if it's just to empty the dehumidifier and think about the next step in a project.

            David Kaiser
            “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
            ― Robert A. Heinlein


            • #7
              Guys... I realize that this thought is mostly a non starter...But think about having an "apprentice".....

              In my younger years, or when I have more time now, I would have loved nothing more than some old smart geezer like you guys letting use your tools and knowledge under your supervision to make stuff...Even if its mostly your stuff and some of mine.

              You would get your "shop" time in.. Have someone else do the manual labor, pass on your knowledge.. and get some of your projects done.

              This is how I started out with cuesticks.. I hung around some old guys shop, and over time I did more and more...


              • #8
                I haven't quite reached that point, but I have over the years changed hobbies. However, I have always kept most of the equipment and materials for those hobbies. I have all my old model railroad stuff packed away, my reloading equipment has been idle for years, but is still ready, my hunting gear hasn't been worn for many seasons but is hung up and stashed in a cool dry place, and so on. I have walked away from woodworking for a year at a time, but have gone back and done some things recently.

                I will probably never go back to using most of these things, but I don't need the money right now, and I feel better just knowing that I COULD shift gears again if I was so inclined. I suppose if I became wheelchair bound or incapacitated in some form, I might consider liquidating the shop. I might also consider it if the bottom dropped out and I got hungry. But for now, everything stays put.

                Besides, I like knowing that my daughter will pull her hair out getting ready for the eventual estate sale.



                • #9
                  My 2 cents.

                  Every time I sell something that I have had a long term intrest in I have regretted it. There is nothing wrong with taking a time out. I am limited in what I can do and I spend a lot more time thinking and planning. Every thing takes me ten times longer than it used to, but I can still get little projects completed. Being retired there is no urgency. Spend a lot of time in the Hospital and you come to regard any day at home as a good one even if you don't feel like going to the shop. It is still there when you do.
                  Byron Boucher
                  Burnet, TX


                  • #10
                    Great topic. I too was faced with that about 3 years ago when I had 3 disc removed & a cage put in my back. I can only stand for a few minutes, can't walk far, bend over far, on a 4 legged cane & have to strech out several times a day. In fact I have a Drs table in the hanger to strech out on. I was on a walker for 6 months & while I was a tornado destroyed my hanger, planes & equipment. I thought about selling it all, but I'm not a quitter, don't like TV, drive my wife nuts around the house so I do what I can, hire a helper to do what I can't & am setting up a nice shop. I enjoy life, learn something new everday & will quit the day they roll me in the hole. I buy most anything that lifts, rolls or carries. I'm somewhat of a pack rat & told my family when I die they're going to have the yardsale I've been looking for all my life. I'm LIVING till I die.
                    Don't quit if you still enjoy it, just do whatever it takes to still do it. Be thankful for what you can do & Live life with Gusto!
                    "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                    world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                    country, in easy stages."
                    ~ James Madison


                    • #11
                      Don't ignore the fundamentals, as I did.

                      Early this year, at the age of 67, I'd begun to accept a lot of impairment as a matter of growing old - arthritis of all my finger joints, muscle pains, occasional gout, and other stuff, too. I'd been wondering how much longer it would be before I didn't feel good enough to do my stuff. When I was finally able to pry myself out of a deep hole of denial (that alone took years) I dragged into the doc's office and 'fessed up to my symptoms. That was April 27 this year.

                      A month later I was in the O.R. - chest wide open with an amazing surgical team bypassing coronary arteries and fixing a bad leaky mitral valve.

                      Today, I'm back at work, almost full time, and feeling so much better each day, I think I have renewed my lease on life! I knew all along I could easily fall to a heart attack, the way Dad and Grandpa did, but I told myself that wasn't likely because my cholesterol numbers were always great and I never smoked. Hah! Just try to outrun genetics!

                      All that said (too much information, I suppose) I have, at times, made hobby and other creative activity changes, but the LAST thing I would do is sell tools! NO WAY! One way or another, I'll be making and fixing things until I can't move at all.

                      Same for work. At this stage in life, I could afford to retire without a change in the modest style of my life, but I think I'd shrivel up and die if I couldn't hang in my most favorite place of all with my pals, hundreds (thousands?) of whom are also customers. That's one advantage of suffering low income for forty years to practice a craft and run a business I truly love. Low stress is another.

                      I have to agree with the apprentice idea! Having not had kids myself, and with my brother's kids not having even the slightest interest in any kind of craft, I don't have family to pass along my skill set, as Dad did. SO, I do some teaching (Phoenix, twice a year at the guitar making school, and on the Internet) and I have a bevy of apprentices in the shop at work - some will move on to their own separate careers, and, I hope some will eventually take over Gryphon Stringed Instruments, which has inadvertently become a serious part of the local community.
                      Last edited by Frank Ford; 06-24-2011, 12:33 PM.

                      Frank Ford


                      • #12

                        I think you can't get it out of your blood. Most older fellas I know downsized.. Meaning smaller tools, smaller hobbies.. And slower. My eyesight is not as crisp as it once was. That is my current issue. Glasses just make the blurry closer. I chucked the old monitor a few years ago for a lcd.. perhaps?? And the other computer here is tied into my 40" flatscreen television.

                        Running my machine tools is not my hobby, I machine, paint, weld and shape metal for my other hobbies..

                        IS DOING THE WORK the hobby or the item you need the part for the hobby? Is it all just the way to keep the hands from being idle? A e-wheel and power hammer is just the means for a gas tank, or fender.. or patch panel.. or.. NOT THE POWER HAMMER. That's just silly, unless you have a musuem?? or a showroom?? (aww look at the shiny paint on that lathe, and the clean floor under it??)

                        Don't quit your hobby and lay down or the joy will be gone from your life and you will die. The year grampa could not have the garden he loved, he died.
                        Excuse me, I farted.


                        • #13
                          keep trucking

                          I hit the big 80 next year. Have had a heart valve replaced and sport a pacemaker. Sound serious but my small shop, 10K, Tom Senior mill, Sunnen hone ++++ is busy most days but if I can't pick it up I don't do it.

                          I'm trying to find some kid who might show an interest in my trade but no luck so far. I've been machining for 65 years so know just a little bit and I'm learning something new every day. I anticipate another 15 years playing with my toys (keeps me out of the kitchen.) Would still pick up a larger lathe if one went begging but then I might have to machine something I can't pick up. Keep trucking boys, you're only as old as you feel. Peter
                          The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


                          • #14
                            I've sold my equipment many times, started over many times. Never because I wanted to, but had to because was moving across the country, or needed the money.
                            One day when I am finally situated in one location, I will have a nice shop that will last the rest of my life.
                            I have never given up the hobby, and I always feel withdrawal from it.
                            Living in a flat with 4 other people in San Francisco, no place or room for a machine shop. Having access to my friends Smithy 1340 will have to suffice.


                            • #15
                              Have you thought about getting SMALLER equipment? Then,get into making smaller projects like model engines,etc.?

                              I still have full size stuff,and my milling vise is 115#. At 70 I can still handle it,but do have a lot of back,neck pain,and a bone spur in my right thumb that gets VERY painful.

                              My favorite machine is my Hardinge HLVH. It has very light controls,and nothing on it weighs much. The biggest chuck is a 6" 4 jaw. 90% of the time I'm using collets,anyway. And,it's a tall lathe that I can stand by without stooping over. Many lathes are way too low. My 16" is jacked up 4".