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Succession Planning...what To Do With Our Home Shops/machine Skills

Discussion in 'ATLAS, CRAFTSMAN & AA' started by louosten, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. louosten

    louosten Active Member Active Member

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    I found this interesting topic on another internet forum (The Garage Journal) and coincidentally, had been pondering the future of my own situation:

    http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=321460&highlight=who's+lathes

    As we go about merrily collecting machine tools, and building our skills inventory, building home shops, and cultivating Old World skills, what will become of all this effort once we leave this earth, and continue to our just desserts?

    It worries me sometimes to hear Wifey announce that as soon as I leave, everything I have enjoyed over the years will end up on the curb, or to the eager drive-by for pennies on the dollar, should I be so foolish as to leave cherished machines & tools behind. And what about the skills...should we be actively trying to pass these on to younger generations, who at present aren't remotely interested in any of these activities?

    Sorry for the pause in machining activity, just wondering if any of you 'over 65 types' have considered these thoughts too.
     
  2. JPMacG

    JPMacG Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I told my son that I have made him executor and he will need to deal with about 5000 pounds of machine tools in the basement before the house can go on the market. He looked concerned. I don't know if his concern was for me or for the burden (literally) that he will inherit.

    I see the same concerns expressed in other hobbies - private aviation, radio control aircraft and ham radio. The world changes and with it, peoples interests change. I think these hobbies are dying a slow death and in another 30 years will be almost nonexistent. I think the same may be true for hobby machining.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
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  3. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I think the kids will keep my shop intact, or at the very least will keep the equipment. They grew up having machine tools available and they have no need to sell this place. Taxes and other expenses run about $400/month on this place, so that's pretty cheap rent for a well equipped shop. ;) #1 son has his own thing going in Colorado, so probably isn't a factor. #2 son is an accomplished machinist and has contributed greatly to equipping the shop, although he does not work in the trade. #3 son has his own auto repair shop but still comes over here to do things that he is not equipped for and he has also contributed to equipping the shop.

    #3 son is considering buying the property where his shop is at, so it could be that the equipment would be moved over there.

    I do suspect that they will get rid of a lot of my 45 year accumulation of miscellaneous stuff. Having a complete hardware store, industrial supply, and electrical supply on the shelf takes up a lot of room.:grin:
     
  4. jim18655

    jim18655 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Find someone you trust in each of your interests and ask them to help your family dispose of your equipment. My wife knows to contact my brother for help since we both have similar interests - ham radio, archery, machine shop, wood shop, and electronics. Also, tag all equipment you own. A friend of mine died and his brothers showed up and told his wife they came to get the tools that he borrowed from them. Luckily she told them to leave.
     
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  5. wrat

    wrat Active Member Active Member

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    You don't have to be >65 for this to be a concern. I run into this all the time and not even 60.

    We, as a people, have lost lots of skills. Not just the quaint colonial skills of days gone by like "hay stacking" (a genuine skill). We've lost remarkably recent technical skills.

    We can't build another Saturn V rocket. It's gone. The references are gone. It had to be thrown away as part of the Space Shuttle funding (that's Congress' doing). We can't build another B-52. And before someone says that we could build something just as good, I can assure you we cannot. We use computers, yes, instead of slide rules, yes, we use composites, yes, instead of metal, yes, but the very algorithms and equations that were once derived for specialized uses are simply gone. And no legal department would ever allow them to be resurrected.

    Worse yet, executives with accounting backgrounds run the plants and figure 30 years of experience in engineering is worth no more than an entry level new-hire engineer. After all, an engineer is an engineer.

    I know "20 year" machinists who have only run NC machines programmed by someone else and have never run a conventional mill/lathe. I've done both and sorry, it ain't the same. But to the executive, a machinist is a machinist.

    The pitiful fact is that on a long enough timeline, all of our machines are destined for the scrap pile. Sooner or later, even the most ordinary garage hobbyist will be using only CNC stuff; if only hand-me-downs from production like we do now. So when i'm gone, my machine tools will only be attractive for whatever potential they have in conversions or curious collectibles. Maybe someone will make a coffee table from my mill bed.


    Wrat
     
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  6. DaveInMi

    DaveInMi United States Active Member Active Member

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    I have had many fun filled Saturdays at auctions buying tools and equipment. I'll do my part to other's entertainment and have it all auctioned off. The grandkids who have done projects with me will get the proceeds so that they can buy anything they want at the auction. Maybe I can start their addictions to tools. chuckle chuckle
     
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  7. FOMOGO

    FOMOGO United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Succession Planning...what To Do With Our Home Shops/machine Skills ...
    Taking mine with me, You know hell is going to need a handyman. Mike
     
  8. brino

    brino Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    How big is your casket? ;)
    -brino
     
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  9. rwm

    rwm Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    This is a great topic. I am 54 with no kids. We have a Schnauzer, but she has no interest in machining. I have recently been thinking about this a lot. I'm glad to know I am not alone and to hear others thoughts. Somehow, someday I am going to make sure all my good stuff goes to a good home. I am hoping one of my nephews or nieces will get the creative bug!
    Robert
     
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  10. I have no kids either. Once I get too old to use my stuff I think I'll enjoy giving it away to someone who can use it.
    If I still have my marbles I might even get to teach them how it all goes together.
    Otherwise? Farm Auction :) and I can look down at people paying too much for all my stuff.

    I went to a farm auction the other day that was three generations of unfinished projects and some finished ones.
    I should have bought more.
    David
     
  11. wrat

    wrat Active Member Active Member

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    The Circle of Auctions.
     
  12. louosten

    louosten Active Member Active Member

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    Maybe those with the experience & time could be come Teaching Moderators on this or other forums?

    We are seeking experienced machinists to act as TEACHING MODERATORS.
    If you have the experience, and would be interested, please contact Nels or Tony.
     
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  13. The Liberal Arts Garage

    The Liberal Arts Garage United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Sold contents of shop, usual machine tools to friend who needed them for $ 8500,
    knew he needed them. Money good enough to get out of town. Next accumulation
    going to grandchildren, bit by bit. Hope to die and come out even. Please try to
    Move tools to give someone a trade, or at least, a Hobby. We all could use the Karma
    In our next go- around -----BLJHB.
     
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  14. Glenn Brooks

    Glenn Brooks H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have thought about helping out some deserving and motivated young person who seems interested in machining but can't afford to get into the trade, and arranging to have a mill and lathe, plus tooling, given to them gratis, when I can't use the equipment anymore. Maybe even before...

    I gave away a small wire feed welder a few years ago, to a high school kid across the street. Now he is an experienced welder and a superb metal craftsman. I like to think this little nudge moved him along a bit.

    Glenn
     
  15. FLguy

    FLguy H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I was told I had 6 to 12 months to live. I hated the idea of dieing on a cold glumy winters day in Minnesota so I donated all my machines and support tooling plus raw stock to a high school and moved to Florida to die. I had now family. Well that was almost 10 yrs. ago; I'm alive and plan on staying that way for a while longer and yet the shop that I have made over again has no place to go after I'm gone so the idea of helping some young person or donating again to a school are in mind.
     
  16. welderr

    welderr United States Iron Registered Member

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    I am dealing with this slowly from my Late father's collection of stuff, he got sick and was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and fought it for 11 months , but was strong and healthy and very active right up till he got sick. We didn't have time to deal with his equipment with everything going on with his treatment. He grew up dirt poor but worked hard and was very successful in business, but growing up poor he could never throw anything away that he might be able to use again. We just now have cleaned out his one 16,000 sq ft storage building from one of his businesses and it was filled with all the trimmings of an industrial mechanical contractor. My Brother is still in that business, and is keeping most of the HVAC stuff I was partners with him in the machining side of the business which was only part time. But I seemed to inherit the hording thing but am getting over it quickly after dealing with this mess, I have a small shop set up in my basement and will probably sell off all the bigger tooling if there is no work for it, unfortunately most of his customers are dying off now and the ones that are left seem more into replacing things than repairing them. I think I am only going to end up with smaller machines that can be broken down and removed in pieces so I can do it myself, we also did rigging but as I edge closer to retirement the big heavy work isn't nearly as appealing as it once was. I hope that I will recognize when I am older when the time comes to move all my stuff on to new owners because I have 2 girls and neither on has an interest in any of it. T J
     
  17. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    At 72 yrs and no children, I have given this some thought as well. A niece is the executor of our estate and has instructions to dispose of our material goods at her discretion , realizing that it imposes a burden on her. Smaller items can be sold or donated but the larger machines require some effort on the part of the executor. Bequeathing the machines to a local school is one option but I fear that they are probably better equipped than I am. Another may be to a charity running a training center. Unfortunately, I have only one nephew who might be remotely interested in taking over the collection. Leaving to an individual outside the family isn't my ideal as I would like to know that they would go to create some greater good rather than just being sold on eBay. I would hate to give/sell equipment prematurely only to find that I have a need later on.
     
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  18. Randall Marx

    Randall Marx United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Fear not, old-timers! (He said in a jesting manner) There are still some of us in a younger generation who would be THRILLED to learn from you and continue this hobby/way of life while using the tools and equipment of yore. I'm one of them, and am the first in my family to have any interest in machining. If anyone in a similar situation to what is described by many above is any kind of close to me, I would be eternally grateful to have you as a mentor and have the opportunity to purchase equipment when that time comes. I have no children (yet) and would likely do the same for a young'n from the next generation when that time comes.
    All is not lost!
     
  19. DaveInMi

    DaveInMi United States Active Member Active Member

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    Stop by if you ever get in the Straights area.
     
  20. louosten

    louosten Active Member Active Member

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    Way back, when jobs required 'mentors', and an eager individual being apprenticed to a master, it was an acceptable and coveted opportunity for a young person.
    I don't know much about the technical trades, but I remember when learning Ham Radio 40 years ago, that it was great to have an 'Elmer' to guide the way:

    http://www.arrl.org/elmer-award

    There's still hope for the young person of the present, and future, if we can separate them from their i-phones, androids, playstations, and the concept of instant gratification with no real time or effort expended.

    Lou O.
     
  21. Randall Marx

    Randall Marx United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    With that in mind, Lou, I don't even own a cell phone. That should make for an easy time separating me from it! :D
     
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  22. Randall Marx

    Randall Marx United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'll keep you in mind if I get anywhere that direction, Dave. Thank you for the invite!
     
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  23. vtcnc

    vtcnc H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I used to work on the local farms stacking hay as a kid. I remember having to switch stacking styles depending on the preferences of the farmer. If you stacked it differently then what the farmer "knew" was right, there was hell to pay.
     
  24. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    That worries me , I too have three daughters, a son in law who can't use a screwdriver . I mentored an autistic , but super high function in small engine repairs , engine and transmission rebuilds on mowers. This young man is a very good mechanic , going to higher training for Toyota now. He will be more then able to provide for himself . I am proud to have had him under foot at times . But he was happy to be here to get used engines and things to work on.
    His love of life is engines , I'd be more then proud if my family offer this young man my mechanic tools and small engine supplies. As for the machine shop we will see what comes along before I croak , who knows God may need me work out the joints in the streets of gold.
     
  25. dontrinko

    dontrinko United States Active Member Active Member

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    I am a hobby nut and 74 years old. I keep a list of my hobby stuff, approximate value, and best place to sell posted on the wall near my desk. My wife and one son know where it is and hopefully it will bring in some serious cash for my wife if i die 1st. don
     
  26. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Not specific to my tools but I saw somebody once who recommended writing a letter to your heirs. Telling them where all the important papers are, account numbers, instructions not covered in your will, things like that. It seems like a good idea to have all of that in one place. Now I believe I'll include my inventory list of tools and machines with it.
     
  27. Round in circles

    Round in circles United Kingdom Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm well on my way to being 67 have no family or relatives interested or capable of using my gear in an engineering manner .
    Through my 15 yr old daughters friends I've found one of the other dad's to be a rock solid quality guy ( Monty ) .
    He's 20 years younger then me & is a trained engineer but works as self employed with his team of seven guys as a floor covering , tiling & wall plastering specialist . He says he makes a heck of a lot more at it than playing at a lathe or milling machine .

    In a couple of days I'm to have ( hopefully ) a total left knee replacement . I'm one of those people who for numerous medical reasons are considered at a much higher risk from dying because of the operation or it's after effects etc it than normal .
    I'm booked in to a high care/dependency hospital bed for seven days , usually a normal person would be released on the third day in a standard ward after the operation.

    This morning I got talking with Monty & have arranged that if / when I pop my clogs he can have all my engineering equipment including benches & cabinets , lathe , multi mode welder, wood band saw , metal band saw & all my hand tools of which there are many good quality ones all for nothing . I can't take them with me & I don't want the shiitehawks & vultures picking over my gear anywhere near my home or my wife & kiddy .

    Alison my lass is in full agreement , so long as he leaves her one four drawer filing cabinet in the garage with a sensible e small " House " tool kit including one of the battery drills , one of the boxes of the 1 - 15 mm HSS twist drill & the box of 3 to 10 mm masonry drill bits & the 150 bar pressure washer .

    :D I've told him if he collects early in the next 20 years or so I'll come back & haunt him . :grin:
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  28. Tozguy

    Tozguy Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    This has been discussed with my wife a few times. I want to keep all my stuff until I die. Life is for the living! The idea of slowly selling it off and waiting in boredom to die doesn't work for me. My wife knows the plan and has time to prepare if I go first. My junk will be her problem in that case. And likewise I encourage my wife to spend on hobbies to enjoy life while she can. Her stuff will be my problem if she goes first. Our kids know what we have and are welcome to it when we are done.
    If someone took a genuine interest in learning from me I would be more than happy.
    But all the stuff I worked hard to earn and enjoy does not have to mean anything to anyone else. I don't care what happens to my lathe after I die. We write off hobby stuff when purchased as entertainment (except for the house).
     
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  29. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I bought a Stark 4S lathe from a man who was about 84 and living in a retirement community. He had used it to make wheel chair parts for his neighbors free of charge but now could no longer live there on his own. Still, he had kept doing something useful for longer than you might expect.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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  30. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yeah, my father-in-law didn't give me his Shopsmith system until about a month before he and my mother-in-law moved out to Air Force Village. He was 89 at the time.
     
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