Renting out time on your big power tools

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Forum topic by siavosh posted 450 days ago 1107 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View siavosh's profile


271 posts in 506 days

450 days ago

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

45 posts in 605 days

#1 posted 449 days ago

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,

View helluvawreck's profile


15627 posts in 1501 days

#2 posted 449 days ago

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

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View TheDane's profile


3743 posts in 2298 days

#3 posted 449 days ago

+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


472 posts in 1396 days

#4 posted 449 days ago

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


4843 posts in 1212 days

#5 posted 449 days ago
“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


175 posts in 1221 days

#6 posted 449 days ago

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 1933 days

#7 posted 449 days ago

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

1253 posts in 583 days

#8 posted 447 days ago

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


271 posts in 506 days

#9 posted 447 days ago

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 and follow 100's of woodworking blogs

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1525 posts in 869 days

#10 posted 447 days ago

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

View ayryq's profile


70 posts in 826 days

#11 posted 445 days ago

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


1752 posts in 1199 days

#12 posted 445 days ago

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


254 posts in 1868 days

#13 posted 445 days ago

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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