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

Riverlandrobo

Plastic
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
When do you get rid of your machines

Hello all, clearly I am in some kind of a mood here. I don’t know that I expect to find the answer but it is just to start the discussion. Lately I have been looking around my shop and thinking about getting rid of stuff. It is all small and I really don’t need the space or even the money which of course I could find a good use for. There is no pressing need to do this which makes me think it is a good time to think about it.

Here is a brief run down on my situation, I just turned 63, I have been collecting tools and machinery to use for over 40 years, many of you know I have good taste in nice tools. It has been said I don’t buy rust. My shop is where I make my living, it is about 500sf. It is very nice, not cluttered and decorated well. I have seen a lot of the old guys in their last years stressing over their stuff. I don’t want that to be me. I think of my friend the late Ed Battison.

Now I’m not even thinking about giving up my shop or it’s capabilities. What I’m thinking of getting rid of is all the stuff I never use, the stuff squirreled away in case maybe I might need that. Or something that was just so cool I wanted one, got it but never used it.

I’ll just give some examples so you can understand better my quandary. Rivett lathes, which I was and am a fan of, hence my name on the PM. I have a early #4 and a late 608-5c that are in fine condition, they are not mounted on bases nor have drives. Basically they are eye candy. They have been in this state for over 20 years. Clearly if I wanted to set them up or really needed them I would have. I simply have very little desire to fix up machinery anymore and haven’t in a long time. As I get older I have even less interest. Now I also have all kinds of drives for these (in the attic of the garage) and almost every accessory Rivett ever made. That is super cool stuff but most of it has never even been mounted on a lathe let alone used. I clearly don’t need this stuff, I have fun owning it but there is no one who cares for me to even share it with. There are even NOS lead screws and boxes of parts. I do have and would keep my “user” Rivett, it is a early 608 with the change gears removed, kind of ugly but it is the one I like.

The truth is I must face the fact I only have so many years left, now hopefully that might be 30 but after over 40 years playing in my shop I must admit I’m loosing interest. Will it come back? If I get rid of stuff can I always buy other cool things? Maybe it would make it exciting again? I mean I hardly ever buy anything because I pretty well have anything I wanted. No, by no means do I have the coolest most well equipped shop, but it is a shop I’m happy with and can do what I want in. I don’t really need more things.

In thinking of getting rid of rare good things some of the thoughts that go through my mind are. It will be less work for the estates trustees to deal with whenever that time may come. Btw, I have no kids. It would get near impossiable to find tools and accessories out in the market for the next owners to play with. It will lessen the “oh my god what am I going to do with all this when I’m old?” Question that perks up when I look at it.

So I guess the question is when is it time to start thinning stuff. It is good stuff, not junk. Also another example is I have a machineshop supply trade catalog collection. I’m referring to the 1920s to 1950s, a lot of nice hardbound dealer catalogs some with great color illustrations. Truth is I haven’t even opened the cabinet that houses these in nearly 10 years because there has been a sofa in front of it. I must not miss looking at them so why do I need to own them? Yes, they are cool with great info, but do I need that?

My interests have changed to much older stuff, 17th and 18th centuries and that stuff along with the good catalogs and rare machinist tools I fully attend to keep.

So what are your thoughts? I know most of us here on the PM are all about getting stuff, not getting rid of stuff.

How bad will I miss it?

Thanks

My youngest daughter was in my shop and she said dad what are you going to do with all your stuff when you die?? I said....I've already got that figured out...she said OH??....I Said yup...I'm going to be Cremated...then the biggest Excavator ever is going to dig a massive hole over there....pointing outside , and my urn . Will be placed in the bottom, and the biggest bulldozer a D-11 Caterpillar is going to push all of my machines into that hole on top of me.....then Like an Egyptian pharaoh I can machine metal in the After Life when I'm covered up.....OH DAD!! She Said......LOL. I'm 65 I tell my friends, i enjoy using my tools and my shop and i might die while Running one of my machines hopefully not Rotating in one of them!!!...Let's face it i live one day at a time, i enjoy using my Stuff, i help people fix their Stuff, my Life still has a purpose, maybe that will change in 20 years or So and I'm not going to sit around and worry about it and i could be gone Tomorrow what ya going to do About it Anyways?? I Rescued some of my machines from the Scrap Yard, I bought a few from a shop that the owner came down with Alzheimers and it made me sick seeing the caretakers throwing Shelves of new tools into metal dumpsters to get Tonnage!!! I bought what I needed and then some but I couldn't Rescue it all...it bothered me to the point of telling an older friend who is 80 years old when we were going thru the owners office and nice collection of measuring tools that it was like going thru his dresser in his bedroom....all this man's personal collections of 50 years....he Looked at me and said...WHY SOMEDAY SOMEONE WILL BE GOING THRU YOUR STUFF TOO...that hit me like a pail of cold Water......then I didnt feel so bad...its true and we all know it....I'm just hoping to be able to in the future if I can be able to find good homes for my wonderful collection of machinery to someone who has the same passion as I have for them....I know in my heart if the previous owner could see his machines in my shop all cleaned up and Running today he would Approve with a big Smile.....Hopefully the Excavator, Dozer and Cremation Will hold off for A While Longer!!!!
 

rudolf

Cast Iron
Joined
May 11, 2007
Location
ann arbor, mi
I approached this issue in a number of years ago after I spent 6 months dealing with the things my mom had collected. She died with out a Will or a Trust. I as a kid I had watched the same scenario play out with my grandmother and my moms siblings. I purposed that I would do my best not to leave the world with such a mess. I began the process with some basic premises.

1. I wouldn't have any children so children would not be relied on to carry out anything.

2. I am the only person in the world that values the various junk I have collected in this life.

3. I could die at any moment therefore the plan had to be functional both instantly and in the long term.

4. Some friends might be interested in some of the junk that I have collected and they should come take whatever they want free of charge.


I set up an estate plan consisting of a Trust and and International Will. The International Will covers me in the event that I die in a country other than my home country.

UNIDROIT - Succession

The Trust pays the trustee to carry out the plan. The plan:

1. My body gets donated to the University or disposed of as cheaply as possible if I die too far from the University to get it to the donation acceptance point.

2. Friends come take anything from the junk collection they want.

3. After the friends are done the the binder that contains the Trust and other documentation has a list of 3 auctioneers that I know and trust. The trustee contacts those auctioneers and sets up an auction for everything else I own.

4. All of my worthless possessions are put on the open market via auction and the open market instantaneously determines the value of the junk collection.

5. The trustee throws party with open bar to announce my death to people that knew me complete with a podium for anyone say anything they need to say about me.

6. Cash from the auction of all my possessions is distributed to the beneficiaries of the Trust. The idea being everyone knows what to do with cash.


That said my collection of junk ebbs and flows as I live. The market will determine the worth and redistribution of the junk collection when the time arrives and perhaps some others will get lucky as I have in this life by getting some awesome deals from an old codgers estate :).
 

Fal Grunt

Titanium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Location
Medina OH
Rudolf, that’s a tough spot to put your friends in!

They have to choose between junk or beer. . . The more junk they take, the less beer money there will be.

This would require careful consideration!!!
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
The junk I have collected does have value .....last weeks effort was $1800 direct deposit to the scrap account.Eases the pain of scrapping collectables when you are getting $350 a ton for it.......But I still get all the guys saying save this,must save that.......they cant take it ,the one guy who does have stuff ,has hundreds of tons on a double house block .....if the council ever gets onto him ,he s a goner....And sooner or later ,they will.
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
Rudolf, Good plan, mine is very similar but with donations to museums included. It is important that the trustees get paid and paid well.

Thanks for sharing it.
 

hope

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Location
mebane n.c.
My grandfather walked through his shop and told me that one day it would be mine. He said that when he left he did not want anything weighing him down. He was 85 when he died.
Down through the years the things he left me have been such a great help to me. I have used them so much. I did not thro anything away. Many of the things I did not know what they were and did not know how to use them. As time went on I would see that this was used a particular way or fit on a machine to do a type of job as my understanding would grow in the machine trade. His measuring tools were invaluable to me and I would use them on a second job to help support my family. The things that were left for me for some reason makes me feel like that I am a steward to continue the memory and legacy of my family. I have my great grandfathers anvil and some tools and hammers and my great great great grandfathers shotgun and so on it goes.
Down through the years I have gathered machine tools which I use to make parts for customers. Some date back to the 1800s and go through the seventies. I wish that my grandfather could come and see mu shop. There are so many things that I want to ask him.
I have retired from machining for a company. They called me a toolroom machinist. I am now 66.
I use my shop to supplement my income and enjoy using the old machines.
I too am wondering what to do with my shop when that time comes.
This is a hard thing for me because none of my children seem to be remotely interested.
 

johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
Not quite a year ago all but a little unmentionable mill went away as planned for so long. What was not anticipated was the normal left overs - infinite crap laying on the floor still remains to be addressed. Maybe if we ever get a non ninety day I will make a start. :ack2:
 

JoeE.

Titanium
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Location
Kansas
I've discovered what seems to be the perfect way to disperse our collected tools and machinery that no family member has an interest in. Online auctions. (not ebay)

A good friend of mine had a stroke, lost his mind and was put in a nursing home. He passed away a year ago.
No will or nothing. Didn't have much cash or anything of value, but had a complete automotive machine shop that he earned a living in for 50 years. Lathes, Mills, press brake, and automotive and electronic stuff out the wazoo. Buildings full of this stuff. I mean FULL... Bachelor, no kids or anything...was just getting by all these years doing odds and ends machine work, transmission repair, engine block boring, and he was GOOD at it. Was 75 years old.
Anyhow, his brother was tasked, by his other siblings, with "getting rid of the stuff and share the money with us." Brother lived in town here, siblings all hours away, and never came to visit. They knew not what my friend had, and didn't desire any of it.
His brother said "fuck it, they don't want to help.. I ain't doing shit." But, he did go over there and claim things that he was interested in and secured the place to keep thieves out... Other than that, nothing happened at my friends shop.
Well, fast forward 10 months, and THIS brother dies!!!
What to do?
That left this brothers widow... she knows absolutely nothing about what was over there or what to do with it.
She got ahold of one of her husbands friends and got him involved.
That guy got ahold of an auctioneer who does online-only auctions.
They don't try to sell everything at once, they parcel it out in like 200 item "auctions". They take multiple photos, put in a description, and post it to their website. You get to view the stuff online for a few days, then they let possible bidders come view the stuff in person the day before the auction bidding ends. Bidders can call to ask questions

Then, day after the auction, you can drop by and pay up and collect your stuff.

This same auctioneer did another friend of mine's estate that way. He'd had no will, but did have kids. They got ahold of this online auctioneer guy, too. They've had 5 auctions spread out over a year and a half, and have successfully cleaned out his place, and it, too, was LOADED with antiques and collectibles. They did very well, monetarily, and they got to do it in a relaxed and easy to control manner.

In person auctions have their place, but I think the online platform is making big inroads. You don't have to scurry around trying to get items spread out on the ground or tables and make it viewable to a throng of people, you get to methodically photograph and document each thing and, in turn, the bidders get to take their time viewing things and bidding. I believe this auctioneer will either have his group come do the picture taking and descriptions for the online catalog, or you can do it yourself, not sure. Either way is good. If you're selling your own stuff, you can be as detailed in the description as you like.
This auctioneers online auctions really took off during the trumprona pandemic... and they've never looked back.
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
Since I started this thread I have been tasked to deal with a friends shop, I knew him for over 40 years and we collected and used antique and nice tools together. The show was about 3,000 SF with 3 tons of good collectable hand tools. Everything was either new or in excellent condition, nothing rusty at all. This has been sent to auctions, sold to dealers, etc. We decided not to use ebay. The machines are all gone, they went the first week to friends. I am working on a sale of 100s of Starrett tools and may do something with machine shop tooling later this year.

What I have learned is this is a major task and has caused me to rethink my own plans. I was also involved in this https://www.practicalmachinist.com/forum/threads/a-gift-of-a-rivett-lathe.406189/ which I think will become more popular in the future.
 

JoeE.

Titanium
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Location
Kansas
I forgot to ask what percentage this auctioneer is charging the seller when I went to pick up my winnings today. I can still find out. I asked about it a year ago, and I was thinking it was something like 6%... and maybe less on high value items. Don't quote me on it.
He doesn't charge buyers any tax or any other fees... what you bid is what you write the check for, which is kind of refreshing.
Not sure how far out his reach actually draws people in from, but as sparse as in-person crowds have been at auctions around here lately, I'd say he's doing pretty well just selling online.
Another thing.... what they are having this auctioneer sell are the everyday, ordinary items that aren't the big, high dollar (so far) items.
My friend has some really desirable things... Chrysler Hemi engines, a nice hemi powered 66 Dodge 1 ton with a built in welding machine....race cars... lots of specialized automotive machines, and, like I said, lathes and mills and other large machine tools.
Those, I think, the sister in law has decided to let the more well known "Purple Wave Auctions" sell those things. They have a country wide audience...
It will all be on line... getting lots of bids that wouldn't materialize had it been an in person event....
 
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4GSR

Diamond
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Location
Victoria, Texas, USA
Not quite a year ago all but a little unmentionable mill went away as planned for so long. What was not anticipated was the normal left overs - infinite crap laying on the floor still remains to be addressed. Maybe if we ever get a non ninety day I will make a start. :ack2:
Can I come and rummage thru your leftovers?😁
 

dundeeshopnut

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Damm, this is a depressing thread for this 52 year old. Although I suppose you more senior gents selling your equipment allows a younger generation to acquire quality machines that don't need a full blown resurrection in lieu of buying recycled $#itboxes that ressemble a tool/machine from crapland.
 

macgyver

Stainless
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Location
Pittsburg, KS
Since I last posted I have not made as much progress as I had hoped, business has been very busy and while that should make it an even higher priority, it just made me go home when I was done for the day vs organizing etc. I did send 4 machines down the road this past year.
Anyway, I picked up a new to me machine 2 months ago and it has spurred me to activity again. It needed a place to go so that has forced me to get more savage than my collectors heart would like. I have new homes for 4 more machines, just need to get them picked up or I may even deliver. Just put a plan in place to get rid of 2 more basket case machines sooner than later. It doesn't seem like I am making any progress until I look back on it.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
I've moved on a shaper, planer and surface grinder in the last 12 months. A lathe is next on the list.

Unfortunately I also acquired a bigger surface grinder and a DS&G lathe so the nett machine outflow isn't that high...

Still, it's a start and I'm down to one 'project' machine.

PDW
 








 
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