Renting out time on your big power tools

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Forum topic by siavosh posted 06-07-2013 07:20 AM 1810 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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674 posts in 2111 days

06-07-2013 07:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tool share question trade

Hi folks, as a beginning apartment woodworker I’ve run into the challenge of starting on the “cheap” and access to certain big tools, namely planers, jointers, table saws, drill presses etc. I’m also aware that there are folks who have these tools but use them irregularly and wouldn’t mind earning some side money to further fund their hobby.

If this idea seems interesting to you, please reply back with 1) if you’re a potential lender or borrower 2) tools in question 3) your city


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13 replies so far

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

110 posts in 2210 days

#1 posted 06-07-2013 12:53 PM

I think that this is a great idea. Similar projects in the tool sharing area have started up all over the country focusing mostly on gardening and small power tools, mostly with a tool library and membership, but the private rental of machine time is great as well.

I could use a 20-24” wide planer from time to time as well as a wide belt sander.

I have just started collecting the big tools for my new shop and recently picked up a 12’ long bed Oliver lathe with a 20-24” swing (depending on spacer blocks), but it won’t be setup until late this year. I was thinking about renting it out from time to time as it can turn a 108” long by 20” log or anything smaller. Certainly, there are turners that would want to turn the occasional long piece.

I also have a 16” American jointer that could also be available for use late this year. My new shop is under construction and I have the tools in temporary storage until then.

I am in New Paltz, NY.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3107 days

#2 posted 06-07-2013 01:00 PM

IMHO, to rent out time on any woodworking machine would be a tremendous personal liability risk. If the renter were to get hurt it could wreck the finances of the renter.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View TheDane's profile


5576 posts in 3903 days

#3 posted 06-07-2013 01:03 PM

+1 for Charles comment … I wouldn’t go near it.

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

View Planeman40's profile


1331 posts in 3001 days

#4 posted 06-07-2013 01:06 PM

The problem, as I see it, is liability. In this litigious world you are just setting yourself up for the possibility of a a big lawsuit. I am even edgy about letting my best friends use my big power tools. I do the cutting myself. I have always wondered about a woodworking “club” renting space and setting up tools to use with everyone buying a position in the group. I would consult carefully with a good lawyer before doing this, though.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2817 days

#5 posted 06-07-2013 01:19 PM
“Few reasons why you want to come to our woodworking shop to learn:
Our facility is fitted to up to date power tools and safety equipment;
Attending our school will not require you to get transcripts and pushed out from oversized classes,
Our program budget is never cut by the State! We are privately owned!
We have multiple instructors who teaches different area in woodworking ( we have more than a 1 instructor/ 1 perspective in teaching.”

There’s another one on Craigslist that rents out a shop as well. Can’t seem to find it though. Maybe there’s something like that around your neck of the woods. If not, you’ll have to start one, or find a cabinet shop and see if you can work something out.

Good luck. .

View mikema's profile


180 posts in 2826 days

#6 posted 06-07-2013 01:36 PM

I would never rent out time on my machines just because of all the liability associated to it. There are more and more legitimate business starting up where you can buy shop time on machines. They have proper legal documentation and insurance to protect themselves, where most individuals would not.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog:

View TexCoats's profile


21 posts in 3538 days

#7 posted 06-07-2013 01:38 PM

If you need to ‘rent a tool’, in some city there are ‘Hacker spaces’ and most have some power tools and lots of other good stuff available. Check out – they are not exclusive to woodworking, but there is that component too.

Also check out any local wood working groups. Some have ‘club houses’ or ‘sheds’ ( There are also commercial tool rentals or commercial maker spaces like

My son is in Boston and uses the that has tools for wood, metal, and spaces for working and storage at pretty reasonable rates.

-- A strange game. The only winning move is not to play -- Joshua in War Games

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2189 days

#8 posted 06-09-2013 06:30 PM

I love the Idea.

1- Theft – It would be a great opportunity for a thief to do a little pre-shopping.
2- Accountability – blades, knives, machine maintenance, and large sandpaper are costly
3 – Liability – I like my home I wouldn’t want to lose it on a lawsuit.

It is terrible when the world is so hard to trust. I have no problem helping out other people. I have a friend who is restoring a house and wants to use 1X poplar to trim it out. I hooked him up with the mill I use. He has no planer, jointer , or shop space. I told him we would bring it over and mill it up here since I have a 20” planer, pm66, and a 6” jointer. He was grateful. Since I have the machines I am more than willing to share the wealth. I see it as money in the carma bank. hopefully I will see those investments down the road.

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2111 days

#9 posted 06-09-2013 08:47 PM

Thanks everyone for the replies. I agree that the liability issue would be one of the primary deal breakers for any sort of arrangement like this, particularly among strangers. After taking a couple local classes on woodworking and the huge concern regarding safety and safety-training when there’s a spinning wheel of death involved, everyone gets very serious. The only work around that I imagine might work is someone not necessarily renting out their big equipment, but offering their service like a mill. Not sure if the owners would be interested in that, or if there’s still liability concerns like “you messed up my $500 slab of walnut, you owe me!”

Local shops like tech shop and other member based workspaces might be the only viable (though pricy) option.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4231 posts in 2474 days

#10 posted 06-09-2013 10:51 PM

I would NEVER rent time in my shop to ANYONE. You are welcome to come watch me work on your stuff, but don’t ask to borrow anything. I have lost thousands of dollars in borrowed tools that were never returned or returned broken. There is a reason (or several) these “rent-a-shops” are not more prolific.

That’s one of the things about woodworking. Ingenuity. You don’t usually need big expensive tools to get the job done. Think again about all the outstanding woodworking marvels of the world that were done even before electricity!


-- Dan Krager, Olney IL Now there's a face that would stop a clock! And seriously mess with small watches.

View ayryq's profile


94 posts in 2432 days

#11 posted 06-11-2013 05:54 PM

I used to live near a Woodcraft store that had a shop you could “rent” time in. Not sure if they all do that, though.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2804 days

#12 posted 06-12-2013 01:04 AM

The woodcraft nearest to me has a club shop upstairs that you can rent time in. I’ve looked around the shop, but haven’t worked there yet since I’ve got enough of the tools that I need to do the work I need to do on my house.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View SouthpawCA's profile


272 posts in 3473 days

#13 posted 06-12-2013 03:25 AM

I see you live in San Francisco. There is a woodworkers club in the East Bay called Diablo Woodworkers. If you take their classes Woodworking 1 & 2 which are skill and safety classes you can then sign up for their house and garden class which is basically an open shop. But don’t just stop at the first 2 classes. They offer many skill builder classes. They also have an excellent woodworkers club.

-- Don

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