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Disposal of workshop contents

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JonBerk02/09/2019 16:05:05
17 forum posts
1 photos

A friend has an elderly friend who owns a metal fabrication business. The owner has retired and wishes to dispose of the contents of the workshop. The workshop contents are in good condition and is good quality commercial equipment that includes a substantial lathe, a mill, bench grinder, polishing machine, rotary tables, dividing heads, numerous drills and milling cutters in roll cabinets, pipe benders, motoliner, hydraulic press. The majority of the equipment is imperial.

Disposing via e-bay or similar is not really an option as the owner is not computer literate.

My suggestion would be to approach the workshop clearance companies that advertise in MEW and elsewhere, but I have no experience of them.

Has anybody used any of these companies and with what results?



Eric Lougheed 102/09/2019 16:23:29
1 forum posts

I only contacted one, when closing my workshop. Only interested in top flight machines that could be sold on for big bucks, was my impression. But who can blame them, they're in it to make a living!

Eric L

SteveW02/09/2019 16:40:41
114 forum posts
10 photos

You may be surprised by ‘clearance prices’. If there is any desire to raise significant funds from the sale then splitting up and selling at auction (not necessarily eBay) is really the best way. The owner will get what they are ‘worth’ less commission.

Guy Lamb02/09/2019 17:50:48
80 forum posts

A 'dispersal sale' organised and advertised by a local auction house may be a route worth considering. Typically engineering firms,farms, small manufacturing concerns and the like have the auction at the business premises - the vendee being responsible for the removal of his purchases in a given time period. Your friend could expect to pay between 15% to 20% for the auctioneers services. If advertised properly a fair 'used market price' could be achieved for most of the equipment I would imagine.


Oldiron02/09/2019 18:49:19
379 forum posts
22 photos

When a friend had to retire and sell off his engineering/machining business in Leicestershire 3 years ago because of ill health he used an auction company specialising in that type of business. The machinery comprised of CNC lathes and mills. Manual lathes/mills. Forktruck/cranes etc. Grinding/welding equipment and all the other accoutrements collected over a 40 year career. They came in and "lotted" all the machines and large items and materials into groups and listed it all online. He had to make sure every thing was cleaned and in advertised condition. The auction was all online only although there was a viewing day at the unit. Everything sold that was put up for auction and the prices seemed fair to him. He had to get everything disconnected from the mains supply after viewing and the buyers were responsible for removing whatever they bought via the auction from the unit. In the 3 days after the auction the unit was cleared cleaned and closed up. He did decide to keep a good percentage of all the hand tools and small tooling such as cutters, measuring equipment etc beforehand. We have been listing many of those items on Ebay for the last 3 years and it is selling little by little but it is a very slow job. He now realises that he kept far too many items "just in case" Good luck with the disposal.

duncan webster02/09/2019 23:52:33
2420 forum posts
39 photos

Where is this stuff? people on the forum might be interested

Robert Atkinson 203/09/2019 07:15:11
546 forum posts
21 photos

The best option as suggested by Guy is an auction sale. A clearance firm or dealer will pay rock bottom prices. With on-line bidding an auction gets good coverage these days and many items go to end users who will pay more than the dealers who were the traditional buyers at auction. I've bought but never sold with them, but Peaker pattinson seen to be very good. see **LINK**

Look at some of their sales and then call them for advice. Probably best to put it in one of their collective sales. If looking to clear everything be sensible with starting bids i.e. low and do put a reserve unless he knows for sure he can get the reserve elsewhere for a quick sale. Big advantage of auctions for the seller is no comeback, warranty etc, everything is sold as is. You deal with the auction house not lots of individuals. It's worth batching up small items, you would be surprised what a box of bit and bobs, off-cuts etc. will go for.

Don't forget to post the auction details on here.

Robert G8RPI.

Andrew Evans03/09/2019 07:52:40
287 forum posts
1 photos

I would have thought if your friend wants to get the most money - which makes sense if he is retiring - he should list on eBay. As he isn't computer literate maybe a relation or friend can help, or just pay someone he knows some money to help photograph and list the items.

Stueeee03/09/2019 13:27:45
44 forum posts
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 03/09/2019 07:15:11:

The best option as suggested by Guy is an auction sale. A clearance firm or dealer will pay rock bottom prices.


Certainly true in my limited experience. Following a workshop re-organisation I got to hear of several years ago,

I picked up a well tooled Colchester Bantam 1600 for my brother which had not had a great deal of use. -The dealers offer on this machine? £150

A fully tooled Elliot Victoria universal mill -this even had the compound dividing head and changewheels -The dealers offer on this -"no real demand for these, but I can take it off your hands". At that time I couldn't have accommodated a 60" table machine or I would have definitely bought this one for my own workshop.

The fact that the machinery was at an educational establishment where there may not have been an appreciation of machine tool values by the management may have been reason, but certainly not a justification, of these derisory offers from the dealer concerned who was advertising similar machinery with pricing quite some way into 4 figures at the time.

IMO, definitely worth going to an auction house if there's a reasonable amount of stuff in the workshop. I've bought stuff via Peaker Pattinson auctions in the past, they seemed to be a professional outfit -usual disclaimer applies.

Edited By Stueeee on 03/09/2019 13:38:31

Nigel McBurney 103/09/2019 14:09:51
660 forum posts
3 photos

If you use an auctioneer,just be careful as there are a lot of light fingered people about these days,particularly on viewing days.get a couple of friends to keep an eye on things as well as yourself.Thieving also happens on the collection of goods after the sale and following days.

Adam Phillips03/09/2019 15:19:25
47 forum posts

Have you not thought of maybe selling as an already setup business. Just a thought

thaiguzzi03/09/2019 15:41:52
647 forum posts
131 photos
Posted by duncan webster on 02/09/2019 23:52:33:

Where is this stuff? people on the forum might be interested


Keep it in the family....

old Al03/09/2019 16:45:48
155 forum posts

I used a machine purchasing company once. they offered £10 for a nearly new british made bench drill. a few years ago, not many. I cant remember what the offered for the Boxford lathes, they were hardly used, im pretty sure it was less than £100 each.

It all comes down to how bothered you are to get rid of the stuff and how much you want/need the money

Best of luck

John Paton 103/09/2019 23:03:48
230 forum posts
6 photos

A properly organised and advertised auction 'on the premises' certainly produces results if there are sufficient interesting items to attract 'end user' bidders rather than dealers - I have seen well used items fetch more than they can be bought for (trade) new and have come back from several auctions empty handed as the prices were so high.

Conversely the items can fetch next to nothing in an inappropriate local auction. A couple of years back a friend and I were the only bidders at one such and each picked up really high quality grinders ( a woodworking whetstone and a tool and cutter grinder) each for a maiden bid of fiver and each worth nearer £200. I was waiting for a second bid on the tool and cutter grinder but it never came. Both worked without fault.

not done it yet04/09/2019 07:44:32
4149 forum posts
15 photos
Posted by thaiguzzi on 03/09/2019 15:41:52:
Posted by duncan webster on 02/09/2019 23:52:33:

Where is this stuff? people on the forum might be interested


Keep it in the family....

With no member profile it makes it a little difficult to determine, but trawling through earlier posts it would appear the poster is in reasonable travelling of several model engineering exhibition sites. That may well place him in the very rough area of Oxfordshire or surrounding counties?

Now where the machines might be is anyone’s guess. ‘A friend with an elderly friend’ of the poster might even be in another country!

JonBerk04/09/2019 22:47:24
17 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks for all the responses.

I've no experience of 'commercial' auction houses. They appear to be worth investigating further as I understand the owner is not in the best of health.

As to where they are, suffice to say they are many miles from me. If they were nearer I might have offered practical help.

Thanks again


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