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  • The Other End

    I have read, and sometimes participated in, this forum now for several years. I always enjoy reading the posts although sometimes I don't agree exactly with the viewpoint. There have been many discussions about how to set up a machine shop; how to find good machines; how to load and transport them; and all of the many facets which must be considered when setting up a shop. Whether it be a hobby shop or a full-fledged shop to serve the public.
    But I don't see many posts about the other end of the process --- about how to close down and sell out a shop. And that part of the process is just as important as the beginning, although sometimes more painful.
    I have attended Cabin Fever for over 10 years and am always interested in the auctions. I have sometimes even bought things at the auction (which my wife usually wonders about!) but there is a poignancy to seeing there, a 9" South Bend lathe, or a carefully maintained Bridgeport mill, and you can see from the condition of the machines that they were once treasured and appreciated.
    I have now reached that Other End. I am getting to the point in my professional life, largely because of my eyesight, where the quality of workmanship is deteriorating and I am thinking now of selling my shop and its machinery.
    I have had a good run. My first exposure to a welding machine and an engine lathe came not long after WWII ended. I still have 10 fingers (a couple of them look a little funny!) and it is just time.
    I know that there are others who are experiencing this and I wonder --- how do you deal with it? Maybe there is someone who knows some method for taking machinery with us! I cannot imagine Heaven without an HVL or a Bridgeport!

  • #2
    I told my wife that if/when something happens to me to call a local auction service and have them sell everything in my shop.

    Brian
    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

    THINK HARDER

    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

    Comment


    • #3
      My instructions to my wife will be to allow my neighbor to have what he wants, then sell the rest through whatever means is easiest on her. None of my equipment is fancy nor expensive except in the aggregate. Yeah, I have tooling that must have cost thousands, but there is no real market for a garage full of old imported machine tools.

      I'm not worried about giving any of the stuff to my kids; I got into machining long after they moved out.
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.

      Comment


      • #4
        Depends on your situation, i.e. if you already know someone you want to leave your shop to.
        Otherwise (which is where I'm at) Brian's way is the direction I intend to go. I have no kids, little family and no friends. Certainly nobody I already know who I figure would be a "good steward" of my machines. Nobody has interest nor knowhow for it. I have advised those tasked with the disposition of my possessions when that time comes to just have an auction, be done with it and let the chips fall where they may. If I reach the point where I want it gone before I am, then I may sell a few things off via craigslist or the like, then have an auction myself for the remainder. This decision will be the result of feeling like I won't likely use the stuff anymore and I could either use the freed up space for something else or just not having to look at the clutter anymore. One thing is for sure for me - I'm not too awfully sentimental about my tools & machines anymore (I kind of used to be) and every year I become less and less attached to any of it.

        I figure there's nobody on the planet who has my specific interests or needs regarding my particular, specific collection tools, so ultimately the best thing is for all of it to be scattered to the winds so several parties can benefit by either hoarding or using it.

        Comment


        • #5
          My wife is already worried about all that "stuff" in the garage (shop). I haven't finished setting up the shop yet, but I plan to photograph all areas and tooling. Then I plan to create a paper album for her with the various tools and supplies shown by their location. I plan to state what goes with what and provide perhaps the amount I paid for it and what I think it may be worth. I will suggest that she post here on this BB to give the guys here first choice and suggest a low price to you guys. Then, her choice, local ads, auction company, E-bay, or whatever.

          That's my plan. I hope I can complete it.
          Paul A.
          SE Texas

          Make it fit.
          You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

          Comment


          • #6
            This subject has come up before, and all of the above is basically the full gamut of answers.

            1) The wife/kids/trusted neighbor just calls an auction company to get rid of the lot, lock, stock and barrel.

            2) The wife/kids sell everything as a lot, usually at a discount.

            3) The wife/kids sell everything piecemeal, which usually leads to getting the best price per machine, but they wind up stuck with tons of leftover debris- scrap material, hand tools, workbenches- that have to be garage-saled or thrown away at the end.

            Whipping up a list of what is, where-is, and what-goes-with really only helps with the last one, and is a waste of time for the first two. Even just a what-goes-with list is a waste of time for the auction guys, since a lot of them will intentionally separate parts- like extra chucks away from the lathes, mill vises away from the mills, etc.- specifically to force bidders to bid on additional lots, to drive up the overall take from the auction.

            Lists like that also require regular upkeep, and if given an "estimated value" of each machine, can go obsolete in short order. Speaking locally, a few years ago, demand was such that any machine tool posted on Craigslist had about a 3-hour lifespan before the ad came down. Now there's stuff on there that's been listed for half a year without moving. If the wife goes by the list and won't dicker or budge, she may be stuck with the machines.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

            Comment


            • #7
              This ties in with another thread, it is something we, or our family must face one day.

              I have accumulated my "stuff" over the course of many years and moved it twice by myself. I no longer have the ability or the desire to move it a third time, nor do I have the desire or time to sell it piecemeal. My things will be offered to my children first, what remains will go to a local auction house who will come and drag it all to their facility for auction.
              Jim H.

              Comment


              • #8
                I do believe that if one of our members passes on there should be an exception to the "no sales allowed" rule.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 1-800miner View Post
                  I do believe that if one of our members passes on there should be an exception to the "no sales allowed" rule.
                  -Is it too early to call "dibs!" on John Stevenson's shop?

                  Doc.
                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I heard the Old Tiffie inherits that shop

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've told my wife to call the local trade high school when I'm gone. Tell them they can have it all BUT they have to take it ALL. Anything they don't want, they can dispose of as they see fit.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Randolph View Post
                        I have read, and sometimes participated in, this forum now for several years. I always enjoy reading the posts although sometimes I don't agree exactly with the viewpoint. There have been many discussions about how to set up a machine shop; how to find good machines; how to load and transport them; and all of the many facets which must be considered when setting up a shop. Whether it be a hobby shop or a full-fledged shop to serve the public.
                        But I don't see many posts about the other end of the process --- about how to close down and sell out a shop. And that part of the process is just as important as the beginning, although sometimes more painful.
                        I have attended Cabin Fever for over 10 years and am always interested in the auctions. I have sometimes even bought things at the auction (which my wife usually wonders about!) but there is a poignancy to seeing there, a 9" South Bend lathe, or a carefully maintained Bridgeport mill, and you can see from the condition of the machines that they were once treasured and appreciated.
                        I have now reached that Other End. I am getting to the point in my professional life, largely because of my eyesight, where the quality of workmanship is deteriorating and I am thinking now of selling my shop and its machinery.
                        I have had a good run. My first exposure to a welding machine and an engine lathe came not long after WWII ended. I still have 10 fingers (a couple of them look a little funny!) and it is just time.
                        I know that there are others who are experiencing this and I wonder --- how do you deal with it? Maybe there is someone who knows some method for taking machinery with us! I cannot imagine Heaven without an HVL or a Bridgeport!
                        I'm a few years younger than you and I know that day will be coming. Hopefully it will be far enough in the future I can let things go peacefully. In my case disposal of the machinery will not be a problem. Well actually there might be the small problem of prying my cold dead hands off of them. Other than that there are several other much younger shop owners in the area that all love old iron. If they're not interested there are still plenty of hobbyists that will be waiting in line drooling for the day one of us old timers calls it quits.

                        The nice thing about selling or giving things to these guys is you know the iron will be saved from the scrappers for at least another generation. I'm the second or third owner of most of the machines in my shop. Even those I purchased new in the 1970's are considered antiques by today's standards. To me the history of the machines is almost as important as the machines themselves.

                        The oldest is a 1916 lathe my wife's grandfather made a living with for over 40 years It was given to him as a retirement present by his employer. Other machines that date from the forties came from a local ordinance manufacturer and carry the approval of the war standards board. Still others from the 50's came from my former employer when the shops shut down. I worked with some of the guys that knew them when they were new, and made many a part on them. The "newest" machines came from a local high school. A couple sat languishing in storage for many years before the school district finally decided to find them a new home.

                        There are many stories that go along with the old iron. Most of them tell of the skill and pride in workmanship of one or more generations that precede us. While I may not be as skilled as my predecessors in operating the machines I do love to use them. I can listen all day long to the unique sounds of each machine and think back to when they were considered a vital part of our economy. I'm a believer in heavy industry, hopefully there will again come a time when dirty hands from hard work will be worn as a badge of pride and accomplishment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think Paul A's list is at least a good effort at keeping things in line even if an auction house deliberately splits things. So often 3 jaw chucks come up on ebay without the outside jaws then some know nothing garage trader tries to sell jaws divorced from their chuck, or parts out the top and bottom halves of a topslide separately.
                          There are many significant optional extras that are way out of production and rare, but also rarely identifiable by the novice / hack. I picked up a handle to my mill, unique to that design, no other bids, never seen a repeat and it so easily could have been binned. Opportunities can be lost, not for the quick buck but for preservation or completion of a machine.
                          In our club it is common for the main items, lathe etc to be sold for the widow and the small bits to be given to the club to benefit club funds. Otherwise some rat trader will give bottom price for the larger stuff, clear the rest " to help her out" and make an easy thousand on the small stuff.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                            -Is it too early to call "dibs!" on John Stevenson's shop?

                            Doc.
                            I just want his toolchest, empty is fine.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think I'd rather give it away. The auction house makes it easy on our family, but those guys are often sleaze balls and the big thing is it fails to account for the value of the collection. What I mean by that is if you added up the market value of everything I have, you couldn't replicate it tomorrow even with 2x the cash. Its taken 25 years of hunting, searching, watching classifieds, making, networking and reconditioning - there is huge value, albeit difficult or impossible to monetize, in that. Giving it away preserves that value to who ever you give it to.....with the promise to pay for forward. The wrinkle in the plan is there may not be young with enough space for a dozen lathes, 5 mills, all kinds of grinders, every kind of welding, microscopes, electronics, watchmaking, 23 tool boxes and it goes on and on and on
                              Last edited by Mcgyver; 12-26-2016, 05:27 PM.
                              in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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