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It’s yours for the taking: a big tool with a history. It could be your father’s Little Giant power hammer, a Smithy 3-in-1, a ShopSmith, or a friend’s forge that he can’t move with him. If you haven’t a lot of space in your shop — or if you’ll have to pay a shipping cost that nearly equals the cost of a new tool — a large, expensive tool can pose a real question in terms of what to do with it. If the tool has a real history the decision gets even more complicated.

Sorry for the “word problem” feel of the question, but say you’re in Buffalo, NY, and there’s a Smithy 3-in-1 or a ShopSmith (either of which retails at about $3,000 for the basic model) waiting for you somewhere like Salt Lake City or New Orleans. And the tool’s history includes a dozen stories that you can tell without even stopping to think hard. Shipping on either would run between $500 and $1,000 most likely.

What would you do if you didn’t really have room in your shop for it? Let us know in comments.

 

12 Responses to Reader Question: Big Tool Dilemma

  1. Nick Carter says:

    Either? I’d just sell them/donate them. Neither emotionally resonate with me.
    Now if it was a 1950’s South Bend lathe, or something along those lines? Definitely get a U-haul and drive it back.

  2. Old Coot says:

    Simple: Build a larger shop 😉

  3. Chuck says:

    Well. I don’t know about the Smithy, but I do know about ShopSmiths. The design of the shop smith allows the foot print to be shortened. When I ran out of room, I chopped about 14-15″ out of the way tubes on my Greenie. The only capacity I lost was in the drill press. However, I just switch to the horizontal drill function. Once I get a bigger shop, I’ll just buy the full sized tubes and be right back to normal. Or I can do one better than that! I’ll get another shop smith and use my shorty for the power attachments. The construction of the ShopSmith allows you to disassemble it into easy to manage parts(way tubes, power head, carriages, legs) for easier shipping.

    OR

    Sell it and buy a used one at your new place. You are the one who created those stories, not the tool.

    Take the price of a used one and subtract what you could get for yours. If it is less than the price of shipping, it is time to say goodbye. If not, you old buddy will be more than happy in your new place. You may actually make a buck if you would settle for a lesser model. My Model 500 is still useful for woodbutchering even though I would step over my dying mother for a 520…

  4. ShopMonger says:

    Tough to say with the emotional contact with the tool…….

    Tools shoudl be handed down gernation to generation…..

    Go rent a truck and get it your self………….

    Don’t make everything disposable. Our society does enough of that already.

  5. BC says:

    If it was one of my grandpa’s tools? I’d find a way to get it in a heartbeat. Lucky for me the ShopSmith is sitting about 4 blocks away in his garage, and I expect to throw it in the back of my truck and get it down the basement in my home shop this weekend!

  6. Nordmann says:

    I DO have my grandfather’s shop smith. I just packed lightly for a weekend trip home and stuffed the shopsmith in the back of the Cherokee.

    This is the current mark V has parts available it’s the old 10ER. It works great!!

  7. Cole Goldstein says:

    I have a shopsmith, and the thing is powerful, with the bandsaw attachment all you have to do is slap a bi-metal blade 10-14 tpi on it and it can cut very nicely through 14ga high carbon cold rolled steel sheet. We also use the table saw feature and with the adjustablity of the supports it is not difficult to rip 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ plywood.

  8. Zathrus says:

    The real issue is the “not enough space in the shop”, not the getting it shipped (and yes, you want to get it shipped. You’ll pay more for renting a truck + gas for that long of a drive; even if you fly one way).

    Really, unless you expect the shop space issue to be fixed sometime soon (either by moving or using this as an incentive to expand/build a bigger shop), then it’s probably better to sell them to someone else who can use them — otherwise they’re just sitting around gathering dust and taking up space you don’t have to spare in the first place.

    Yeah, that stinks, but so would having such fine tools rust away rather than being used by someone.

  9. PutnamEco says:

    Well there is always the living room., or that spare bedroom. Camouflage it, or call it modern art, or use it as a coffee table.

    The only time I ever use a shipper is if I, or someone I trust is doing the crating/palletizing. I’ve seen to much packing/shipping damage to trust some minimum wage packer with something I would like to receive in one piece. Failing that, make sure it is adequately insured.

    I’m with Nick Carter on the Smithy and Shopsmith, but for the “right” tool it would be worth it to me.

  10. MIG-ateur says:

    1) No thought involved.
    2) Go pick it up. (don’t trust shippers)
    3) Make the necessary room, whatever it takes!
    4) End of conversation

  11. Bigdaddio says:

    OK Gramps tools resonate with me. I hit 50 this year, I still have my gramps old hammer he gave me in the early 70’s. Get a truck and go get it!

  12. Michael Pendleton says:

    Yep, I drove from Dayton OH to Binghamton NY to get a forge and anvil from my (then) father in law. Not quite the same distance, but never mind not a “big enough” shop, I didn’t have a shop, period! I didn’t care, I hopped in my van and went and got it anyway.

    I also flew from Chicago to San Francisco so I could get a $1500 bicycle for free. Don’t regret that either! If it’s cool enough, then it’s worth the trip!

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