Tough Decision

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richlife

New User
Rich
So what do you do with a well-equipped shop when your "woodworking" is minimal?

I haven't participated here much in the past couple of years -- mostly because my physical health has been impaired and my resulting desire for woodworking diminished. I've been recently trying to renew my interest/activity, but to be honest, I've been slacking.

Much of the past two years, I've had to deal with severe knee problems, two surgeries with rehab and recovery. Probably others have had similar issues, but the effect for me was to diminish my shop time -- and interest. Now I've finally gotten around to trying to sell my large supply of excellent 4/4 hardwoods ( https://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/showthread.php?t=63150 ) which drives me to thinking (again) about whether I should start reducing my shop. For more than 5 years now, most of my woodworking (when I even use the shop) has been carving. A complete shop is a convenience at times, but I have to wonder whether to simply dispose of most of my tools or just keep them. I've noticed that folks selling tools are not getting (or asking) for much return, so there's not a lot of money to be made. But surely someone would get more use than I am at this point...

Like most woodworkers, I think, my shop is also somewhat of a refuge. It's comforting to be surrounded by the tools needed to do almost anything woodworking related. At times I walk out and just sit for a bit. I wonder if this is just me or maybe others have similar thoughts.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I have been in the same boat, severe allergic reaction to medicine ten years ago makes me swell and hurt most of the time, hard to work more than an hour at the time, have to rest several hours between any serious efforts. But I keep trying to make things because it the only thing that gives me joy. My kids are grown and off doing their own thing, wife has health issues of her own and can't or won't get out much except to work with her dogs.

I have seriously thought about selling everything and just buying a nice strato-lounger.

But, being able to go down to my little shop, flip on the lights, listen to some music, make something useful or pretty, selling or giving to someone who appreciates it, even teaching someone else to make things is the best feeling I can have.

I had a friend who loved to make things, when they sold the big house and moved to a smaller place with less to care for his wife insisted he give up the tools. Took about three years till he was gone.

I think for some people making is an addiction like any hard core drug you can think of without the harmful side effects.
However, withdrawal can be just as severe.
 

nn4jw

New User
Jim
Health issues, our own and our family's, do take a toll. My wife has been sick for 2-1/2 years and while she's beating it I just haven't really felt like spending a lot of time in the shop during her battle. Now my left knee is acting up and I don't get around like I used to either.

I'm not ready to sell off the shop yet. LOML is getting better. Maybe the knee will get taken care of. Maybe I'll get back to enjoying the shop. Lot's of maybes. For sure if I sell off stuff I won't then turn around and replace it if I do want to get back to doing stuff. So, for now it will just sit there just in case.

But, after a certain point we all have to decide what do do with all our stuff. Do our kids want any of it? Do we try to sell it? Give it away? Do nothing?
 
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richlife

New User
Rich
Thanks for the good, thoughtful and thought-provoking replies. It really is a bigger question than simply "selling".

My casual "just sit for a bit" comment probably strikes right to the core. And quite frankly, it addresses more than just the shop. "Part 2" of this whole situation is the aspect of selling the whole place and moving to a place less demanding. But, as ya'll indicated, less demanding also means less of all that we care about. The impact on life expectancy is probable and hard to judge. Our shop and our homes have a tremendous amount of influence on our state of mind. If we give these things up (for whatever reasons), the effect may be larger than anticipated and being able to "replace" what we give up may be very difficult -- for many reasons.
 

Charlie

Charlie
Corporate Member
Rich,
I have been to your shop and you have a great setup. I would leave everything as is. It's not costing you anything. If you want to spend time in the shop, it's available. If not, so be it.

I usually spend 6-8 hours a day in my shop. Then there are times I don't go in for several days. But I can't imagine it not being there when I want it.
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
When I think about selling something that I haven't used in a long time my husband usually says, "it don't eat nothing, and will cost more to replace!" :)
 

Tom from Clayton

tom
Corporate Member
I have to admit that a lot of the time I spend in the shop is simply "pottin" around and accomplishing very little. Arthritis and age do creep up on but i still enjoy just being in the shop, rearranging, sharpening, fiddle farting around with the occasional project and just enjoying the time.
 

Jim M.

Woody
Corporate Member
Rich,
I can remember my Grandfather standing or sitting in his shop for hours on end just pondering life. One day he told my to come take all his tools as he hadn't made anything for years; I told him to hold on too them as I didn't have a place to use them. The truth of the matter was I couldn't bare taking away the one place and things that gave him solace. He was out there the day before he past, it was a year before I could bring myself to go and dismantle it. Some tools have more value than just money.
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
A person needs something to look forward to. If you look forward to an empty shop, sell 'em.

I haven't done much woodworking either recently, mostly due to family activities - but every time I go out to the shop its out there waiting quietly for me to pick up again...

-Mark
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Keep the shop as-is. The amount of money you'll get back just isn't enough, and you'll be double miserable if at some point in the future you have the urge again and lack the required tools.
Selling lumber - no problem. Every woodworker hoards lumber anyway until they accumulate 2FP[SUP]*[/SUP], and thinning the supply will not impact any future work.




*1 FP = the amount of lumber FredP can process into furniture in one year, working 8 hours a day, 365 days/ year. Approximately 40,000 bd. ft.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Whatever you do, don't become sedentary. That's a sure way to jump into the fast lane labeled "decline".

I don't have a lot of tools in a dedicated shop but I have some fundamental tools and have been woodworking for about 12 years. I'll be 70 in about 1 month, have had vascular leg surgery, and elective open heart surgery (3 bypasses) within the last 2 years. I'm not as spry as I once was but consider myself to be in pretty good health and don't sit around watching grass grow. I'm thankful to be as well as I am despite the assorted aches and pains!
 

MikeH

Mike
Corporate Member
I would keep the shop unless you just need to room. Going out and sitting with your tools is something I've done on more than one occasion.
 

richlife

New User
Rich
Rich,
I have been to your shop and you have a great setup. I would leave everything as is. It's not costing you anything. If you want to spend time in the shop, it's available. If not, so be it.

I usually spend 6-8 hours a day in my shop. Then there are times I don't go in for several days. But I can't imagine it not being there when I want it.

Wow, you folks really know how to be convincing! :wsmile: Starting with my own doubts and adding in all these truly helpful comments, there is just no way I can or will consider eliminating this place that has provided so much joy, comfort and solace over so many years. It may be that I will never get back to using it as intensely as I once did, but it shelters so much of the core of my being that these thoughts you have awoken of possibly not having it are really overwhelming. :no: Thank you all -- profoundly! :eusa_danc

Charlie. Your final sentence sort of says it all, doesn't it?

It was quite a while back that you and Bas and others were here and your post sent me back through my pictures to see just what changes to the shop that I have made since. That next year, I added an extension to the deck (doubled the size) and built new set of steps off the other side. Other minor changes and some major tool upgrades also make the whole space mostly better. I say "mostly" because I have near crowded myself out of my small space. If anything, I "should" expand, though that isn't likely.

Here's some pics of those outdoor improvements starting with the look at the time of the 2010 Shop Crawl.

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  • Deck Extension.jpg
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  • Back Stairs.jpg
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