Sharing shop equipment

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Forum topic by jimswoodshop posted 07-24-2010 03:24 PM 2466 views 0 times favorited 73 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jimswoodshop's profile


19 posts in 2915 days

07-24-2010 03:24 PM

I have a nice well equiped shop that i have built up over the last 15 years. the tools are all professional size and quailty. I feel this is the shop I will never out grow or have to replace for the rest of my life or the next 50 years whichever comes first. I have a few friends that ask to borrow the shop from time to time. They are good well intended people that have basic knowledge of tool usage and woodworking skills. They try and respect the tools in the shop but they are rough on them and dont understand maintence care and proper use. I want to be the good friend and share what I have. I have tried working with them and showed then how to cut joint and process the rough lumber and talked with them about wiping down the tools after any moisture has been on the metals and othe tips to keep these tools working in top shape for years to come. My question to you is how do you handle this situation in your shop. Thanks Jim

-- Will work for Wood

73 replies so far

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4005 days

#1 posted 07-24-2010 03:37 PM

As therapy go out in your shop and set sweating glasses of ice water on all your equipment and just leave it. You’d be surprised how tough the stuff is and how it’s rather silly to worry over actually causing it any meaningful harm. Friends…now those are different.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

4931 posts in 3960 days

#2 posted 07-24-2010 03:56 PM

Ain’t gonna happen in my shop.


View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2985 days

#3 posted 07-24-2010 04:09 PM

I know most LJ’ers are against sharing tools. It’s extremely reasonable of them to do so, as well.

Part of my job, is sharing tools. I run the machine shop at our sci/tech centre and the equipment is available to people to use. Part of my rule for using any of it is “If you wish to use my tools, you will use them as I tell you to”. you are allowed to use the tools when I am present, or when I have given you explicit permission to use a tool at any time. You do not get to jump right into all of the tools, no matter what experience you claim to have prior. Every machine has quirks, and I want to make sure you know all of them for a machine before you use them.

Granted, it’s a bit different when it’s friends coming in expecting to use your stuff. Though I do encounter an awful lot of friends who feel it’s silly that I impose the same rules on them. Rules are rules, everybody gets to suffer equally in my shop.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 07-24-2010 04:10 PM

I look at it this way, you are generous to allow these friends the use of your shop. You have spent a lot of time and money in machinery and setup of the shop. I have two sons that like to come into my shop and build things from scraps. I have given them some of their own tools to work with, but they do occasionally need to use the machines and other tools. I only allow this, when I am there to supervise and I expect them to treat the tool the same way that I would. If they wish to be allowed to use the tools, then these are the rules to live by. If they aren’t willing follow those rules, then they don’t get to use the tools. I would suggest the same approach. Anyone that will not respect you enough to be careful with these “expensive” tools that you have invested in, doesn’t deserve the right to have access. It is good of you to be willing to share and help others. There is a responsibility on their part to be allowed that privilege.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3318 days

#5 posted 07-24-2010 05:41 PM

Noone (I think) has mention LIABILITY in this thread yet. NOONE uses tool in my shop except, primarily for tihs very reason. Someone loses a finger, your screwed.

Sorry for the bad language.

Just plop down that Liabilty issue down in front of your friends and make a momument of it. Let no amount of “ah, we’re friends, I’d never do that to ya” sway your thinking.

It’s an easy, and very safe, “out” of letting people use your tools.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#6 posted 07-24-2010 06:04 PM

If you want a good excuse to say “no”, Milo’s option is perfect. Other than that, the only choice I see is to continue doing what you are doing….. instruct them in the proper use and care of the tools, and grit your teeth when they mess up.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View vicrider's profile


179 posts in 2898 days

#7 posted 07-24-2010 06:20 PM

In my experience, the liability issue is top priority. I will let friends borrow screwdrivers and wrenches, but when it comes to the finger-eating machines, no way. I wouldn’t want to lose what little I have just to do someone a favor. Of course, I have been known to blow a day or two or more doing it for them.

I have found that if you address the issue up front and with explanations, real friends won’t be offended.


-- vicrider

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3285 days

#8 posted 07-24-2010 07:00 PM

In a perfect world, people would actually respect the property of others. Unfornunately we don’t live in a perfect world. I have replaced too many tools over the years that I loaned to “friends” because they either never returned them or desroyed them. I still will loan my shop or tools to a select few, but as time goes on, I am very reluctant to do so.

In my production shop, I have always had to “share” with others. Of course, they work for me. I am amazed how little most of them care about keeping up with, or taking care of my tools. I can’t buy really good hand tools there because of that.

I built my home shop to get away from that. It is nice to always be able to find what I need—when I need it.
I didn’t start out so cynical, but being abused has a way of messing with your attitude.


View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2983 days

#9 posted 07-24-2010 07:08 PM

Lets see you said you have a nice shop, or was it you had a nice shop. With the exception of kids I don’t allow the use of my shop. With kids I’m teaching them something and their time is limited at that. As for friends I don’t loan out my shop. To one or two I may borrow out a tool but thats a different subject. The shop is my domain and there I rule the world. I invite who I want into my shop to visit, and who I don’t want in my shop.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3675 days

#10 posted 07-24-2010 07:13 PM

I have to agree with Miles125, the stuff is tough. I would take it on a case by case basis. I would accomodate “good” friends, but not those who are fair weather friends.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4005 days

#11 posted 07-24-2010 07:39 PM

I can’t imagine anyone on their death bed saying “I wish i’d been more persnickety about keeping my fleeting stuff in perfect order and insisted more that my friends not screw it up”. I’m just saying….

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3662 days

#12 posted 07-24-2010 09:25 PM

NOBODY borrows my tools or uses my shop. I’ll offer to help them do the job (so I am using my own tools) or just do it for them.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4087 days

#13 posted 07-25-2010 01:45 AM

I have a group that comes to my house. They are all experienced. They can use any tool.
I have a friend with an even better shop and when I go there I can use any tool.
Something breaks we all get in on the fix.
I have never had a power tool wear out because I let a friend use it.
I do not, as a general rule, let a power tool leave the shop.
But, my friends take care, are careful, and it is good to have someone back you up every now and then.

Works for us.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3720 days

#14 posted 07-25-2010 02:35 AM

My shop, my tools. Period. I hate to be a back-side about it, but everyone knows the deal. My shop helps me make money, and I can’t afford to be without a tool due to someone making a mistake. There is also a liability in having other in my shop. I can’t pay for their medical bills if something were to happen. My friends and neighbors all know my stance on this subject and they all respect it, due to the fact that the rule applies to everyone. No exceptions.

-- christopheralan

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3464 days

#15 posted 07-25-2010 02:54 AM

Just had a buddy see my shop the other day and bring up the topic of working up some boards there. I got a real uneasy feeling and wondered how I was going to handle it if he followed up with actually bringing out some boards.
I think this particular guy will replace anything he damages but it opens the precedent of, “he used the shop, why can’t I.”
Thanks for getting me thinking.
Milo and others, thanks for bringing up LIABILITY. As much as I hate the thought of having insurance companies and lawyers affect how I decide what to do with my tools it is reality. Money talks!
Later, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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