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Forum topic by Druid posted 09-25-2014 03:29 AM 1998 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1769 posts in 2822 days

09-25-2014 03:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools borrow library lend skills workshops

I just found out about the start-up of a concept that I feel is a marvelous idea. I’m wondering about how well this will work, and I will be very surprised if we don’t hear about similar “Tool Libraries” coming to life around the world. One aspect that really impresses me is the willingness of the organizers to assist people who do not have the funds to purchase or rent their own tools.
What am I talking about? Take a look at . . .

There is also a local writeup at . . .

Now I’m interested in hearing what our LJ members think about this idea?

Have a great day,

NOTE:- When I posted this topic, my intention was to let people know about something that I felt was a positive initiative. I am sadly amazed at the level of negative responses, so I’ll watch for a few more days before I decide whether or not to remove this topic.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

26 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 09-25-2014 03:36 AM

They’re getting off the ground in some communities.

I think the prudent tendency is to focus more on
stuff like garden tools. It seems to me that if
something like a planer were lent, it would come
back with stripped gears and wrecked blades.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3068 days

#2 posted 09-25-2014 04:04 AM

I was thinking the same thing, maintenance and repairs will probably kill them. Great idea though.

View Druid's profile


1769 posts in 2822 days

#3 posted 09-25-2014 04:11 AM

I’m quite sure that all of us would have the same worries (I would), but I hope that part of the normal procedure would be that the borrower would have to participate (successfully) in one of the appropriate instructional workshops before the tool is taken out.
I’m also thinking along the lines of woodworking groups starting a mini version for their own membership. There would be potential problems, but also many positive benefits.

Food for thought.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 09-25-2014 04:46 AM

Being the Pessimist I am, I would figure that the benefits would be out weighed by the problems.
Although, HD and other stores already rent many tools in some areas and it seems to work for them.
There is also the construction tool/machine rentals.. that tend to do well.
What I would like to see is a work shop that you can rent space/tool time at. Kind of like the mechanics bay rental, Rent A Bay.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#5 posted 09-25-2014 05:47 AM

I wish them the best. 45 yrs experience with tools used by other in shops and rentals leads me to believe the tools will be misused and abused. The condition of a lot of tools and equipment I have rented over the years leaves a lot to be desired. I would hope the members view the tools as their own and take care of them.

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

View cax's profile


12 posts in 1367 days

#6 posted 09-25-2014 05:49 AM

That’s good, it would come
back with stripped gears and wrecked blades.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1747 days

#7 posted 09-25-2014 06:40 AM

I worked at a rental place in high school and one of the big expenses was liability insurance, the other (aside from the initial tool purchase) was the maintenance. The more complicated something was, the more frequently it seemed to get messed up. Sometimes pretty bad; like when a guy got a sod cutter tangled up in a old buried root ball basket. I think the concept is great, but the bean counters better do their homework if they plan on making any money.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#8 posted 09-25-2014 08:44 AM

I like the idealistic concept, but I just can’t see this working for the reasons stated above. I have had bad experiences almost every time I’ve loaned out tools to folks I know and I can only imagine what it would be like to lend them to strangers. It makes me wonder if the people starting this up know much about tools themselves.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BJODay's profile


526 posts in 1970 days

#9 posted 09-25-2014 10:58 AM

Wonderful idea,
My dad ran a rental store while I was growing up. We all had to work at the family store. Like Bigblockyeti stated, liability is a big expense.

Maintenance was time consuming when the tools and machines were used properly. Maintenance was expensive when tools were misused. Automotive tools were prone to theft.

We had one client who rented a carpet vacuum cleaner and proceeded to vacuum up dog feces. Another who rented an electric chain saw and cut through his shoe and sock stopping just before cutting his toes.

I think shop tool lending may be possible if kept on site. Small hand tool lending off site could work. I can imagine it working best for garden tools, demolition tools, roofing tools. Things that may be needed for a single use or short duration which makes purchasing unattractive.


View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 1447 days

#10 posted 09-25-2014 01:13 PM

I read somewhere on here, I believe, there was a fella asking some questions about planing, and come to find out, right in his community, there was a woodworking shop that was open to the public. I don’t remember if he mentioned what the cost was to use the facilities, or not, but, he did say the shop had several wood working tools available to use for those that didn’t own them. Even in that situation, it would appear to me there would have to be “moderaters” of some sort to mind the equipment to teach folks how to use it properly & safely, just to prevent constant expensive maintenance. Having been around equipment & tools all my life, I’ve come to learn the hard way, by not loaning my tools out, even to family, & ” best” friends, I have lost several dollars worth of tools that way, & the expense of repair or tool replacement is cheaper that an enemy at bay! My shop policy is if ya want to use my tools, it stays in my shop, where I can see what you’re doin’ with it! You want to tear up tools, buy your own!!!

-- Sawdust703

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2893 days

#11 posted 09-25-2014 02:12 PM

Based on my experiences of loaning out tools to good friends, neighbors, and relatives this ain’t going to work to well. I quit loaning out tools a good while back.

“Hey, Charles, can I borrow a drill?”

“I suppose so, Bob. BTW, did you ever bring that sledge hammer back?”

“I think so. What about the drill? Can I borrow it?”

“OK, Bob. But you better bring it back soon. While you’re at it see if you can find the sledge hammer because I don’t have it.”

“Uh oh, Bob, I can’t find the drill either. Now, who borrowed that? Let me see. Oh, I remember it was Tom your next door neighbor.

“Bob, how about going over to Tom’s house and tell him that I want to borrow my drill back so I can loan it to you.”

While Bob goes to Tom’s to see if he can get the drill to bring it back to me so I can loan it to him I grab me a piece of scrap plywood that was just right for a sign. And I wrote on it in bright red letters,


and I hung it up on the shop wall. If Bob or Tom ever bring back the drill or sledge hammer I’ll be sure to point the sign out to them.

BTW, the names have been changed to protect the guilty. ;-|

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#12 posted 09-25-2014 02:13 PM

Interesting. Like others have mentioned, I wonder about liability and maintenance.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jmartel's profile


7956 posts in 2177 days

#13 posted 09-25-2014 02:26 PM

Several concepts like that have already been done before. I know there’s a few public tool libraries here in the Seattle area, though they are for more homeowner grade tools (Circular saw, drill, lawn tools, etc.)

In regards to renting working space, that has already been done as well. There’s a few woodworking studios that I know of around me, however it is prohibitively expensive. If you only want a small cubby, no bench, and unlimited use of the power tools for a month, it ends up being about $400/month.

There are other places that have metal working space rentouts as well.

I don’t think any of them are particularly successful. Some are probably able to keep their doors open, but that’s about it.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1548 days

#14 posted 09-25-2014 03:20 PM

I’m sorry to see negativity about this idea. When Ben Franklin and his friends set up the first lending library, it was met with great enthusiasm and participation. People took care to be responsible borrowers. Has the nature of people decayed so precipitously ? If so, I’m sad to see it.

Besides, it seems like taking a hefty deposit or holding a credit card charge, like rental concerns do, would head off most damage or, at least, go far to repair it. This could be a valuable public service.

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2893 days

#15 posted 09-25-2014 04:58 PM

I’m sorry to see how many people there are that don’t return tools after borrowing them or sometimes returning them after they have been abused. The last tool that I loaned out cost $299.00 plus sales tax. I had used it only once. That was way back in March when he borrowed it. I’m an easy going guy. Too easy going and that’s the problem. It’s really hard to say NO. But that’s what I say now because I can’t afford it anymore since I’m retired. I’m not just basing this on my experiences alone. I know a lot of people who work with tools and they’ve had similar experiences. I’m still friends with the guy that borrowed that last tool and he’ll probably bring it back some day. But I ain’t going to take it back. I’m just going to shame him by telling him that since he’s had it so long he might as well just keep it. I’m going to need it pretty soon since the winter ain’t far away and I’m just going to buy me another one and chalk it up to experience. However, what that sign says is now my policy.

Anyways, I’m not trying to cause any problems. Mainly just venting off on a problem that shouldn’t be occurring as often as it does.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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