Lending and Borrowing of Tools???

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Forum topic by CryptKeeper posted 06-21-2010 10:53 PM 7408 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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132 posts in 2369 days

06-21-2010 10:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lending borrowing tools neighbors

I had a very unpleasant conversation with one of my neighbors this weekend and I just want to see where others LJer’s stand on lending and borrowing tools.

I have only known Robert for about 6 months and he came over to my house with a list of tools he wanted to borrow to put in some closet shelving. (Circular saw, drill, drill bits, level.)

I politely explained that I do not lend out my tools but I would be happy to come over and give him a hand. At this point, his tone changed and he said I DON”T need a hand I just need to use your tools. I apologized and told him that I was sorry but I wouldn’t be lending him my tools.

Robert begins to mutter something under his breath to the effect of “are you afraid I’m going steal your stuff and I can afford buy anything you have.”

Now, I’m just plain irritated and give him my dad’s two rules.

Rule #1: Never borrow a tool you can’t afford to replace.
Rule #2: If you can afford to replace it you have no reason to borrow it in the first place.

The one time I broke this rule I borrowed a chainsaw from my brother-in-in law and the first time I pulled the rope the sprocket stripped and rope broke. It cost me $50 to fix a chainsaw never used and I still had to buy one.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve gone to a buddy’s shop and used his drum sander and he has come over and used my shop to build a Christmas present for his wife. I think this type of “borrowing” is a little different than someone showing up at your door with a shopping list – not to mention I’ve known Steve for over 20 years.

Where do you stand? Do you loan your tools out? Do you borrow tools?

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

49 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 2562 days

#1 posted 06-21-2010 11:07 PM

I have used that same argument with someone at a job, another contractor. It wasn’t even a “tool” per se, he was going to the dump with a trailor and wanted to use my blue tarp (40×20) that I use to protect floors from drywall mud, and paint. I told him no, that that tarp wasn’t purchased to be wind whipped up against construction debris at 60 mph. He said if there was any damage, he’d buy me a new one. I said “the Home Depot is on the way to the dump”.

Does that answer your question? (I know, it’s not really a question, is it?)

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View hairy's profile


2377 posts in 2951 days

#2 posted 06-21-2010 11:07 PM

In my line of work, special tools are the norm. Borrowing / loaning tools and helping others / asking for help is a part of the job, we’re not flat rate.

If I needed to borrow a tool a second time, I bought it.

In your case, I would have played it the way you did.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View jusfine's profile


2405 posts in 2345 days

#3 posted 06-21-2010 11:10 PM

I like your dad’s rules.

I have lent smaller tools to my brother, and a few others I trust (without any incident), but certainly don’t make it a habit.

On your last point, about going to a buddy’s shop and using his tools, I would comfortable with it as well if there was an exchange as you indicate.

But I can tell you from experience that when a neighbour and a co-worker called to ask me if “we” could thickness a few pieces of oak, and I agreed, he brought in 10 pieces of 15/16ths x 9” wide x 10’ long and wanted them taken down to 5/8”.
It was a very long hour for me jointing and thickness planing when I envisioned 15 minutes, so one should be careful with that side of it too!

Obviously the “we” turned into me…

On the other hand, a friend and I trade bobcat attachments which are substantially more money than some shop tools, but we both know how they operate and can afford to replace them if required. We have made purchases knowing that we will share them, so that is almost a different thing entirely.

You made the right choice, in my opinion.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2753 days

#4 posted 06-21-2010 11:10 PM

Loaning out tools to fellow woodworkers/friends you know and trust is quite different than loaning to a neighbor you hardly know. I sure wouldn’t.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3241 days

#5 posted 06-21-2010 11:26 PM

I “loan” my hand tools out all the time- to my sons. The only trouble is the tools never seem to make it back to my shop so I end up either trying to remember to get them back when I visit the grandkids or simply using this as an excuse (which is what usually happens) to buy new ones.

I think your offer to help was more than fair.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 06-21-2010 11:27 PM

I have one person I lend tools too and only one besides my kids. I lent a sawzall to a neighbour a couple years ago and he said he only needed it for a couple hours. After a week I went to his house to ask for it back ,he wasn’t home but my sawzall was, Laying in his front yard in a foot long grass after 3 days of heavy rain. I took it home cleaned it and it still worked. I never heard from again about it. either he thought someone had stolen it or just didn’t care all together.

-- Custom furniture

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3343 days

#7 posted 06-21-2010 11:29 PM

I have a further rule. Don’t loan out a tool that you don’t want to replace at your own cost ot cannot get along without. This whole approach, i.e. not loaning tools is tough especially when you like to help people. I also like to use my tools and if I need one because it is ‘out on loan’ or because it came back unusable it limits my range of helpfulness and enjoument of my hobby. I do as you described don’t loan but offer to bring my tool and help.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3110 days

#8 posted 06-21-2010 11:31 PM

I don’t and never wood to many horror stories we all spend all our hard earned wages on our tools and for some idiot to ruin them NO NO NO NO sorry for my rant


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2651 days

#9 posted 06-21-2010 11:34 PM

My neighbors don’t ask to borrow my tools… The ones that are handy enough with tools not to be dangerous with them, already have them, the ones that don’t have tools have no inclination toward using them. (They have a contractor on speed dial…)

I am sorry your neighbor got bent out of shape… But the concern for me wouldn’t be if they didn’t come back… (I have all my serial #s, and I KNOW where the neighbor lives…), my concern would be them doing something stupid, removing a finger or a hand and then suing ME for loaning him the tools to hurt himself with…

Get a 10 page liability waiver, and insist he sign a copy for EACH tool he wants to borrow. That should stop that nonsense right there…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2369 days

#10 posted 06-21-2010 11:38 PM

You know I hadn’t even considered the potential liability especially, after that table saw lawsuit.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 2562 days

#11 posted 06-21-2010 11:41 PM

As a carpenter, the one thing that people generally ask to use at a job site is my hammer. I usually tell them, sure, I’m a carpenter, why would I need a hammer?

Kind of a cruel trick, but I have a 20 oz. Estwing that is just perfect for me in most situations (nail set or 16p driving) and I’ve got an older one that I broke the shaft underneath the rubber grip. If I can, I give them that one (you can’t tell it’s broke by looking) and wait until they use it.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View DanCo's profile


66 posts in 2317 days

#12 posted 06-21-2010 11:46 PM

I only loan my tools to my Dad or my Brother. Even then I still feel uneasy. I usually offer to help someone out or they can work in the shop with me watching. Although the last one may be changed. Just last night a neighbor came in and wanted to use my planer and band saw. I now have to get new blades for the planer because of an unseen nail (he was shocked I asked for him to help with the cost). Then went over to my band saw, decided he needed more tension and my rubber on my tire has to be replaced. I don’t think anyone will use my tools again unless its dad or my bro.

-- Daniel

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 2563 days

#13 posted 06-21-2010 11:47 PM

For most tools I keep loaner versions around for my neighbors to borrow. If they know what they’re doing they can use the primary, but doesn’t stop me from getting night sweats.

View canadianchips's profile


2307 posts in 2416 days

#14 posted 06-21-2010 11:55 PM

You did the right thing. If he had the money to buy anything you have, let him go buy it. Buy two and let others borrow from him !
A one liner that works is : Yes you can borrow it if you leave your right testicle as a deposit ! (For our lady LJ an ovary could be a deposit as well.)
I do not borrow my tools.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View JJohnston's profile


1614 posts in 2710 days

#15 posted 06-21-2010 11:57 PM

“Buy two and let others borrow from him !”


-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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