The impossible question, when do you start to get rid of your machines? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    I am much younger than most of the machine tools collectors from what I have seen. I am only in my mid 30s. However, no one knows how long they really have until it is time for a dirt nap. I don't see much of the younger generation interested in things like old machine tools. In 100 or so years much of the old machine tools will likely be scrapped. I may even shove all my machinery in a shipping container someday and bury it as a time capsule. Better than in the hands of a generation that will likely scrap whats left.

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    Rivett, I noticed you started the thread by mentioning Ed Battison. I started a new thread on this one but in watching American Pickers it looks like Ed did it right and found a younger guy to pass the torch to. It was quite a collection and it looked like the new guy is basically trying to pick up where Ed left off.

    As for the original quesiton of when to start getting rid of things, I think unless you can't live near your shop and have to move to a home the correct answer is never. I always wonder why guys care so much about what happens to their stuff when they go. I think as long as the good stuff doesn't wind up in the dumpster it just becomes a simple question of whether the person who inherits it tries to maximize their return and get top dollar or whether they give it away at a cheap price to someone who hopefully will appreciate it or at least resell it to the next guy who enjoys it. Heck I bet there will always be a Cabin Fever auctioneer or the likes in the future.

    Over the years whenever this conversation comes up there tend to be a lot of guys who want to see their stuff turned into top dollar before they go. I never have understood that mentality. As far as I am concerned I would be far happier keeping my tools till the day I die then let the family figure out the rest.

    Over the course of my collecting I came across a number of fire sales where the family saw the stuff as a bunch of heavy junk blocking the sale of a $400K house and those who inherited it just wanted it gone. To this I couldn't have been happier to I help out in the clean out. I would leave feeling like I won the lottery then resell the duplicates and enjoy essentially getting a bunch of stuff for not a lot of money.

    As far as I am concerned I hope my children will appreciate my stuff when I go and that there will be someone in the family or a friend to carry the torch, but if that's not the case, my children who inherit it will have to make a choice to they want top dollar or want it gone fast? If they want to get rid of it fast I am sure a hand full of people resembling the younger versions of me will swoop in and get a great deal and the cycle will be continued for another generation with most of my stuff. That doesn't sound to me to be such a bad thing!

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  4. #43
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    Actually the caretaker of Ed's collection is looking for someome to take the collection on. I posted the article in the thread you start about the American Pickers.

    One section from the article...
    "For years, the small group has been looking for a bigger museum to take on Battison’s collection to display to the public and give it the attention it deserves. They don’t want to give it away piecemeal and they’re not looking for the highest bidder.

    “We want to keep the collection together,” Boeri said. “We don’t have the experience to start something from scratch.”

    And the trustees are also getting older and starting to grow worried about what will happen to the museum — and Battison’s legacy — in the future.

    “Eventually it’s got to go someplace,” Boeri said.

    So far, they haven’t had any takers."

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  6. #44
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    A friend who is an avid collector of militariana etc. told me this story: I've worked for years and spent a lot of money on my collection. Then the doc says I should begin to set my house in order. Thanksgiving dinner was around the corner so I got to thinking that I should talk to the kids about my health and estate. So, as we were gathered around the table I told them of the diagnosis and that they should begin to think about dividing the estate. I put some post-it-notes on the table and told them that after dinner they should put their names somewhere on the items they were interested in.

    The oldest boy looked at the others and they give him a dumb look back so he turned to me and said "Pop, we sorta knew that you weren't looking too good and we got to talking about your collections. We don't want any of it and decided that after you are gone we would just order a dumpster and haul everything out."

    Pop tapped his chest and continued "you know I almost had the big one. I've worked all my life on something really valuable to me and it is worthless to my kids."
    Carl

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  8. #45
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    My brother had a neighbor who grew up during The Depression. He his dad and brother built and sailed a boat in the Mackinaw race during the Depression, nothing else to do. Got to be in his eighties and knew his time was well, coming, no health issues but knew his physical limitations were creeping in so he bought a boat so he could start salmon fishing on Lake Michigan. His kids and Grand kids were furious he was spending all of their oops his money. Well when you have a boat you need a tow vehicle so he bought a new van. GRRRRR kids are now REALLY PISSED. So he's showing my brother the van and my brother asks him if he got it under coated. He says "HELL NO, when God damned free loaders get it I want it to be a rust piece of junk." Enjoy life everyday. I'm in my late fifties and have been to to many wakes in the past three years than I care to count.

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  10. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncFireman View Post
    I am much younger than most of the machine tools collectors from what I have seen. I am only in my mid 30s. However, no one knows how long they really have until it is time for a dirt nap. I don't see much of the younger generation interested in things like old machine tools. In 100 or so years much of the old machine tools will likely be scrapped. I may even shove all my machinery in a shipping container someday and bury it as a time capsule. Better than in the hands of a generation that will likely scrap whats left.
    Interesting you talk of a time capsule-a lot of my things from a previous "sort out"are in a bunker in Calgary! Since replaced with more items that needed saving!

  11. #47
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    Interesting you talk of a time capsule-a lot of my things from a previous "sort out"are in a bunker in Calgary! Since replaced with more items that needed saving!
    That's good. They'll need them to rebuild civilization after the next world war.

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    I’m 46 and been to enough estate sales to say, keep what you use regularly and sell the rest. Sell the important unobtainium stuff to someone who knows what it is and will appreciate it. If not, there’s a good chance it will be sold for scrap or to someone that will let it rust away in a shed or outside under a tarp.

    The whole idea of mentoring a kid to take over is a nice dream. I know 4 guys in their early 80’s that own multiple 50-100k sq. Ft buildings loaded with work. Not one of them can get their children to take over the family business. When they go, the kids get rich and a whole lot of people are out of a job.

    I ended up with most of my dad’s stuff when he tipped over a couple years ago. Last fall, Grandma said to get it all out of her garage because she’s 86. I didn’t want any of it (construction stuff) but it’s all sitting in my garage now. I’m having a yard sale this spring. What doesn’t sell.....gets tossed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobby Shop View Post
    I didn’t want any of it (construction stuff) but it’s all sitting in my garage now. I’m having a yard sale this spring. What doesn’t sell.....gets tossed.
    See if there's a technical school or Habitat for Humanity in your area that would accept the remaining tools/materials as a charitable donation. You get a tax write-off, the donee gets a benefit.

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    Im only 23, but reading this thread terrifies me.

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    I'm in my early 40's and have been accumulating bench lathe and mill parts for 10 years or so. We live in the city, and don't own a home, so I've tried not to purchase anything I can't reasonably move either by myself or with the help of one friend.

    At this point I have drawers full of cross slides and milling attachments, steady rests etc... I'm still fascinated by the different features competing companies utilized in their parts and when and how they developed over time.

    I use my Hardinge Cataract 5C lathe all the time and amassing the many pieces/accessories in their well used condition got me interested in rebuilding them. I took Richard King's scraping class and have been slowly bringing the pieces I can see a use for back into tolerance. This has been very rewarding but put into perspective the work it would take to rebuild EVERYTHING. Not possible, or practical.

    At one time I would buy most anything reasonably priced that would fit within the "bench lathe" umbrella. Now I am more picky-

    My 2 "jobs" are running the Fabrication shop for a University and maintaining a solo business making custom acoustic guitars. I use the vintage machines for the guitar work and they are sized very well for that. We have modern machines and a large budget at the school shop but we've still been buying older machines to dedicate to single tasks for the model making work and it has been a great opportunity to involve students who may not otherwise have access to that kind of work (design, not engineering students). A few have immediately understood the value and taken on projects of their own. We are currently adapting a well used Derbyshire micromill into a precision cutoff tool for piano wire and hollow tubing. Fun stuff

    I still look at every available listing for tools of that vintage but have become much more discriminating in what i buy. I feel good about that and my wife appreciates it too I do have some slightly bigger machines stored that I have long term plans to scrape in and put into use. A well worn 608 5C machine is on that list, as is a nice Ames bench mill. That stuff is not that hard to find around here (Boston area)

    In some ways I am glad our space is so limited. I'm scared to think what I might have gotten myself into if we had a big barn or something similar.

    And I am just as bad or worse with exotic wood- That at least, though, will likely all get used eventually in the guitars. And is much easier to resell than old worn machine tools, no matter how beautiful they are.

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    I'm 80 this year (hopefully) and my wife could well use the two rooms of machinery and work benches, she is telling me this quite often nowadays. Our kids have no interest in the stuff.
    Luckily I know two or three youngsters (35 to 55 yrs old) all of them machinitis sufferers, one of them has promised to help her get rid of the more special (i.e. heavy) things. What he doesnt know yet is there is a very special bonus which she will reveal to him when the time comes - just to keep him focussed!

    Thanks, rivett, for bringing up this unpleasant subject. All one can do is laugh - and prepare.
    fusker

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    Fusker, I tried to send you a private message but your mail box on the PM is full. I get to Denmark often, where are you? Maybe we could get together for a beer?

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    I am 76 and have a pretty decent hobby shop. Here is my plan for my shop tools.

    I have two grandsons that have shown an interest in my shop machines. And a third boy that is a maybe. So I am looking for starter? machines to get them started and cement their interest in machining. One developed an interest in gunsmithing while in the army. I found an older lathe for him. Another is into working on cars and trucks. Hopefully when the time comes to distribute my shop, they will be able to appreciate a better class of machines, and take my machines.

    In the meantime I search for equipment to get them started and "set the hook".

    John

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  24. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Fusker, I tried to send you a private message but your mail box on the PM is full. I get to Denmark often, where are you? Maybe we could get together for a beer?
    You're welcome indeed. Its not far from Elsinore (Helsingør). Seems I finally managed to empty my mailbox, so go ahead, please.
    fusker

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    After my heart attack on Boxing Day my daughter (an engineer and musician) told me that I'm not allowed to die until (1) I've sorted out my workshop, and (2) she's got a big enough house to take my piano. So it looks as though I shall be around for a while yet.

    George

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  27. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by elysianfield View Post
    "This leaves a big burden for the heirs of the estate which is not fair, especially when half of the stuff ends up in a dumpster."

    A huge burden to the heirs? Oh, excuse me for dying and leaving you something of value that you cannot figure how to capitalize upon. Will it take effort? Perhaps a few phone calls and interacting with the unwashed who respond to Craigslist ads?

    I am 72+, have a 6000sf shop full of machine tools, all working and tooled, and am unimpressed with the potential angst of my unworthy heirs and assigns bitching about having to apply themselves to see whatever wealth it will entail.
    Lol, well said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blough View Post
    Im only 23, but reading this thread terrifies me.
    why? You thought you would live forever?

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    Is all the Rivett stuff you've squirreled away really bringing you any happiness? It's your junk, but wouldn't it be better to see it get used to bring some other lathes that have missing parts brought back to life (now instead of later)?

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    Reggie, well said.

    That is something that is on my mind too. I feel a little greedy or like a hoarder because I do have a bunch of Rivett stuff that could help others.

    I have come to conclusion it is time to get rid of stuff and lighten my load. This will start to happen later this year when I have the time to devote to it.

    Thank you all for having such a great conversation on this topic.

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