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The impossible question, when do you start to get rid of your machines?

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
If you want be reassured,look at some of the guys who cart around giant diesel (and steam) engines to shows.....you need a truck /lowboy setup for 40 odd tons gross,preferably a mobile crane too,and a lot of these guys are around 80 years old....A while back I went to Reg Schusters(age 95) clearing sale ....the Foden steam truck went for $350ks,a Marshall roller made into a showmans engine went for $250ks,...cheapest thing there ,was a 1920s Indian Scout went for $35ks.........didnt buy anything,thats for sure.
 

dkmc

Diamond
macgyver;3692429 I am having a hard time thinking of anyone younger than me to pass any of what I have on to. I am isolated in my shop by myself and I don't get around to other work places to notice anyone and there isn't anything local that I know of to draw this type of person said:
Let us know how that goes. Things 'round here, with 'stuff' in the water,I'm not sure how that could work out. I don't get around either., Isolated as well. Truth be known, if the 'right' guy (or gal) came 'round with the 'right' attitude, I'd be inclined to hand off some of the duty of ownership.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
I had posed a similar question here a few years back yet not worded as well which is quite clear in the quality of responses here. I ended up selling off about 1/3 of my machines I had been gathering for use in retirement and or other interests that it seems time wasn't going th be there. We gave away truckloads of new/good stuff that we had as a result of one time having a dozen employees we no longer have. We filled several 30 yard and countless 3 yard dumpsters with new to very usable stuff, at the end there was one dumpster with so much tooling in it we had to ust the forklift to help the garbage truck lift it so it could be dumped. Finally we got it down to where we could fit what was 7000 sf of machines and toold into 1800sf at the new location. Some of the things that are gone I miss most every week, like my Wysong 5' press brake, other stuff like the antique tools decorating my office seem like such a distant memory they don't matter. At this point we have downsized the shop to a more managable size for the two of us, we have left enough work behind that once we get caught up we can quit working every day, hopefully by this time next year we can spend more time on hobbies than work. I have thought for years it would be great to have someone younger and interested come by and take over but I can only think of one along the way with the aptitude, however he did not have any control over his attitude and temper. he is spending some time in the clink. Assuming I kick off first she should call in an auctioneer, if we go at the same time the dog pound can have the auction. It seems odd to me that there is not a bunch of young folks out there activly seeking out guys like us with fully functional shops and trying to wiggle their way in but playing on smart phones while being paid to stay home is more fun.
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
Thank you, I enjoy the interesting opinions.

As I stated I did do some thinning out, more will come later. What I did get rid of was such a relief. Yesterday I was talking to one of my old tool buddies, he is a bit older, has a fantastic shop, and is moving a few things around take room for an elevator so he can access the shop from the floors above. We were talking about the quantities of tooling and materials that have crept into the shop over the years. One thing we agreed on was, if it is commonly available stuff and you get rid of it, later only to need it again. Just buy it again. Some things are easily replaceable.
 

Dr. Hillbilly

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Location
Oregonia, Ohio
I am envious of you guys! I have been looking forward to retirement so that I can finally build the shop I always wanted. So I am 66 and just now acquiring the tools and machines you guys are getting rid of! My kids owe me, and they are OK with pitching it all when I go. But I will try to document the things that should not get melted down.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
I have never sold iron when the price of scrap was low.... Machines Ive scrapped ,Ive got something like at least half what I paid for them,and it doesnt seem so bad .Some I get twice what I paid for them ,not adjusted for inflation ,of course.
 

James H Clark

Stainless
Joined
May 11, 2011
Location
southern in.
Im only 23, but reading this thread terrifies me. :eek:

Blough, don't panic. I'm almost 80 and am still making a few chips when I want to. But still, I understand where most of these guys are at. The good news for you is that you still have about a half century before you need to start thinking about these things. Enjoy the time you have. May it be long and prosperous.

JH
 

Dr. Hillbilly

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Location
Oregonia, Ohio
Dr Hillbilly ,the bad news....its large engineering shop size size stuff does'nt sell.....anything hobby size is in considerable demand.

Your assumption that I am "normal" is ill founded. I have a machine weighing 18,000 lb. on the way...
I have a few acres, a tractor, and a backhoe, so if no one wants the stuff with I go my son can just dig a hole and drag the machines into it.
 

macgyver

Stainless
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Location
Pittsburg, KS
I had posed a similar question here a few years back yet not worded as well which is quite clear in the quality of responses here. .

Kustomizer, I think I remember your thread, the one asking about who to pass your knowledge and shop to? I think you were in a tough spot. I bet that there are a handful of people that would have been very interested in taking over/buying you out. There are alot of things that keeps it from happening of course. One is that the few that would want to are likely no where near you (or another similar situation) and although they might be willing, they may not know about it and they may be tied to their current locale.

I think part of it too is that someone like me in my position in life is too chicken to consider taking on a successful business like yours. I guess my scope of thought it too small, the thought of owing the amounts that some people do give me the willies. I am of course assuming cost of something that would be worth buying would be high. I am not trying to build an empire and it shows. A friend of mine bought out a successful local automation company with a partner. Not sure what the sales are, but there are app 20 people working there. The amount of overhead it takes to run that scares me. That right there might be the reason most people don't really consider trying to buy out a retiring owner, stakes seem too high. Talking with my friend I know that most times he is just along for the ride, can't jump off or slow down because the machine has to eat.

I think the selling of a business and these machines/stuff we have been talking about follow the same path of thinking, you have to find the right buyer/recipient and the market is very small especially if you are not active in the community. Thinking about it, I need to spend some time finding out what and who is in my area again. I am out of touch and that is not helping. I just found out there is a good sized machine shop in my town that has been open a couple years now, didn't even know about it til recently.

Now back to surplus machines; anyone need a big turret lathe? :)
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
I imagine a lot of guys are doing as I am and winding things down a notch or two, there is an ol' guy in town here that has been trying to retire for several years but his customers wont let him as they have no where else to go. I have turned away enough good paying regulat work to keeep a 6 man team working full time and will soon chase off some more. I would be willing to bet there are a few in your neighborhood as well, we don't want to chase off work but we don't want to do it either.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
The impossible jump in manufacturing is from 5-10 employees ,everyone needing some supervision to a profitable self sustaining enterprise where the owner can be a man of leisure,and need do no more than attend monthly meetings and maybe read a weekly report from the general manager......The hands on business is impossible to sell ,the enterprise is easy to sell,because it fits investor templates..........The only business I have ever managed to sell was a truck fleet each truck with work at a brickworks.....At the time ,the handshake work agreement was worth $100,000 each truck......About 10 years later the brickworks (Boral) effectively folded up the agreements and cut rates ,and they became worthless.
 

dundeeshopnut

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Maybe not exactly the topic, but very related. Anyone else look around their shop and "take inventory" of all the tools they have that were given/traded or bought outright from friends and acquaintances who are now gone? Especially those of us here who prefer stuff built back when people took pride in their products, the list can be quite scary. Friggin sad when you think about it. I suppose the upside is to remember fondly the connection or friendship you had when you reach for the switch or tool in the drawer. I guess I brought this up as I learned yesterday that my longtime friend who helped get me started in machining has a brain tumor. Outlook is not good.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Maybe not exactly the topic, but very related. Anyone else look around their shop and "take inventory" of all the tools they have that were given/traded or bought outright from friends and acquaintances who are now gone?

It reminds me that I need to ring some of my friends and remind *them* that it's time to return some tools I've loaned out, actually...

PDW
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
As Dunndees has pointed out, our shops or room housing our collections are often reminders of friends since gone. I was younger than most of my friends, as I age, they have died. When I look around the room that holds my antique tool collection I see Don's, Bob's Ron's, Karl's and so many other past friends best tools from their collections. It makes me think "who dies with the most (best) stuff wins" is not so true.
 

duckfarmer27

Stainless
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Location
Upstate NY
Anyone else look around their shop and "take inventory" of all the tools they have that were given/traded or bought outright from friends and acquaintances who are now gone? Especially those of us here who prefer stuff built back when people took pride in their products, the list can be quite scary. /QUOTE]

Dundee -

Many times when I pick up a particular tool I remember who owned it previously - and have to smile. Have a few from neighbors who were a lot older than me - in one case a real old man when I was a kid. Some from my father and a couple from further back in the family, grandfather and before. Then there are tools from a contemporary who died too young - bought from his widow. My buddy who does work at my place and I always comment when we use a 'Ron' tool - my buddy has a car Ron was about 30% restored when he died, my buddy finished it.

My grandson is 12 and I have noticed that he will now sometimes ask me - who owned that tool? Particularly if it was family. So I guess it must register.

Dale
 

Adair Orr

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 11, 2006
Location
Seattle
I don't know that my story will add much to this conversation, but the subject is one I struggle with. My father's collection is antique machinery of all kinds, mostly large stationary steam, gas and diesel engines. He has always had more skill at acquiring than at storing or restoring. His stuff is everywhere. Some reside at engine shows across the country, much of it fills various storage facilities closer to home. There is no real theme or focus to what he has acquired. He's had sufficient means to do as he pleases, but he's never made the effort to house his collection in any stable way. I'm trying to take inventory of what is where, what pieces go with what, which items are of value and to whom. As an architect I've offered design services to put up a building or to do space planning in order to identify and consolidate and display the things he so cherishes. He's never taken me up on it and he goes blank when I talk about it. The cost of what I consider inaction will someday be great. My brothers and I will sort things out because we're grateful for all he has provided. We respect his passion for machines but none of us can afford to do what he does; moving big machines around endlessly. In short, his machines are already homeless and there will come a time where we have to act fast to get them into the right hands. A pole building along the way would have been a valuable thing. It would give us a place to stage his collection and hang on to some of it. My father is a talented showman, an energetic educator. He has always focused on getting antique machinery out in front of the public. I do wish he would step back and distill; look at what he has and identify the significance of the collection. If there was space to do it I'd be working on a restoration project with him, but the rented roofs are maxed out and the tarps are breaking down. When the tragic day comes I hope I have a better plan for triage than I do at the moment.
 








 
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