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Wills and workshops

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Tony Martyr23/02/2014 11:47:24
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210 forum posts
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My workshop, like many of yours, contains tools, cabinets and machines built up from 1960 when I started my apprenticeship. I have no living relative or friend who has an interest in miniature engineering and, living in rural Shropshire, I know of no local model engineering club.

So how should I deal with the contents of my workshop (to my relations 'my stuff' in my Will?

I don't want it all to sit and rust or get casually misused; this sounds silly as I shall be past caring!

Are there recommended (honest) dealers who do this type of 'house clearance?

Years ago I took over the job of an area Engineer based in New Zealand. He had dropped dead unexpectedly and I had to travel from the UK to sort things out. I knew he had been a keen model engineer with a large workshop but I got there 2 days too late. His wife had sold the lot to a scrap merchant for almost nothing - I have never forgotten looking at that empty workshop.

Mike Teaman23/02/2014 12:03:46
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58 forum posts
I spent a few days a couple of years ago, clearing my father's "stuff". Most of it was given away to his friends, who my mother nicknamed "the borrowers". As they lived 200 miles from me, I couldn't take the big stuff home with me.

The removal van was full of household items and the "greasy stuff" was banned.

What I wouldn't give now for all the "stuff" that went.

My advice would be to dispose of it earlier rather than later so that it can be used by those who enjoy it rather than those who make profit from it.
Mike
jason udall23/02/2014 12:12:44
2031 forum posts
41 photos
I can think of only two ways to do this .and they split into pre and post

Pre..dispose of as you see fit while you can...down side..many but most of all you are deprived of "stuff" while living...


Post..appoint an executor ..who whould need to share your goals. And be suitably informed. . ( both technically and aware /willing to take on job..)..downside..some other poor soul gets the problem
John McNamara23/02/2014 12:15:02
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1336 forum posts
125 photos

Hi Tony

If the relatives don't want the stuff, hmm actually your treasured collection why not leave it to a men's shed or rather **LINK**
There are Lots of them.... **LINK**

At least you know your lifetime collection will continue to serve and help others.
Even honest, SIC dealers will only pay a fraction of the true worth.

Regards
john
I live in Australia We have many men's sheds also **LINK**

jason udall23/02/2014 12:16:38
2031 forum posts
41 photos
Maybe the best ( of course you would have considered this of possible)..donate to your local Club..sale for funds or as library etc...this is great if you have a club that you feel that way about. ...
Ady123/02/2014 12:17:41
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5063 forum posts
734 photos

I would think that leaving the entire contents of ones workshop to the nearest ME society would be the most sensible thing to do

All I ever get is blank stares when any relative sees my carefully acquired workshop

The cash value is irrelevant... yer deid

There's plenty of other monetary value items for them to squabble over

John Stevenson23/02/2014 12:51:46
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Speaking from current experience just don't worry, you won't be in a position to.

I'm currently sorting out my wife's belongings after she died suddenly in late January.

She was setting up a small shop for doing wooden boxes and trinket boxes and I'm currently sorting this out but whatever I do with this stuff sell, scrap or tip it, it will in no way affect her.

If you have anything you treasure and would like to go to someone, like a model then make it clear to them that it's theirs and document it. However not being morbid there comes a time you need to take stock and decide if you need all the clap trap that surrounds you.

I made this decision about a year ago when we were thinking of moving and realised we couldn't because of all the baggage we had around up and I stared to downsize. In the past year i have got rid of 7 machines, largish ones, Mind you bought two more new ones even larger laugh but the wake up call in January has hastened my resolve to only own what I need, not think I need.

Bazyle23/02/2014 13:28:06
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6295 forum posts
222 photos

I always think it sad to see items on ebay labelled 'don't know what this is' either from relatifve who never learnt about their family member's interests or worse a dealer who picked up a treasure trove and is too stupid or lazy to do any research.

One of the important things is to keep bits together that belong together but separate the bits that don't. Huge numbers of imortant ancilliaries go missing. For example a recent Chines lathe must be packaged with its chucks, steadies and (most likely missing) extra change wheels for metric but the collet set would be an extra.
Woefully few model engineers have the breadth of knowledge to identify or value half the odds and ends that are stashed in an old timer's workshop.

That reminds me I must do some more work on my special disposal file - Picture, full description, description line for ebay, actual value, value for tax, auction starting value, target value.

Ketan Swali23/02/2014 13:48:08
1416 forum posts
133 photos
Posted by Bazyle on 23/02/2014 13:28:06:

I always think it sad to see items on ebay labelled 'don't know what this is' either from relatifve who never learnt about their family member's interests or worse a dealer who picked up a treasure trove and is too stupid or lazy to do any research.

One of the important things is to keep bits together that belong together but separate the bits that don't. Huge numbers of imortant ancilliaries go missing. For example a recent Chines lathe must be packaged with its chucks, steadies and (most likely missing) extra change wheels for metric but the collet set would be an extra.
Woefully few model engineers have the breadth of knowledge to identify or value half the odds and ends that are stashed in an old timer's workshop.

That reminds me I must do some more work on my special disposal file - Picture, full description, description line for ebay, actual value, value for tax, auction starting value, target value.

When we used to do shows, some customers came along with cash, buy what they wanted, put the items in plain bag and say 'head office shmbo' will never know what i spent today, specially as i will enter the house through my garage where i will leave the bag with contents. So, the thing is, their partner would never know the value. So, after this person dies, what do you expect the partner to do?

Bazyl has the right idea, but how many practice this?. Every now and then I get a call from a relative of a person who has died, asking me what I think the value of a used lathe or mill or anything else left behind could be.

Ketan at ARC

Edited By Ketan Swali on 23/02/2014 13:52:30

John Stevenson23/02/2014 14:20:56
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Other side of this coin is the one who do declare it to the Interior Revenue and state things like when I pop off you will be set for life just to justify their expenses.

Result is down the line after Fred has popped his clog's and gone on the the Great Imperial / Metric argument in the sky his widow rings a friend of a friend and get in touch with someone to clear the workshop.

Now this is from experience I I used to get this quite a lot, not that I'm a dealer but things filter down and running the Homeworkshop.org.uk site doesn't help. In fact I refuse to even pay a visit any more - don't need the bits and certainly don't need the hassle.

So you get there [ 2 gallons of diesel ] have a look round at usually is basically junk, work out how many trips to the tip is needed, work out what will sell and take your time into the equation, you make a bid only to be told you are robbing her.

Truthfully, the last phone call I had was from a Widow who was trying to dispose of hubby priceless Bridgeport. an early step speed model, no extras, no DRO, no power feed.

She informs me that he paid £3,500 for it from a dealer and would like the same. I told her market prices were currently about £700 to £900 on a good day and remember if you are buying this to resell with a machine that size buying price needs to be virtually free. The phone call didn't end on a good note but hey I don't care.

Now if you are selling to someone who wants it the current price applies but that buyer won't want to clear the lot and do 3 tip runs with a 3 tonne van.

The value of the stuff is in the small tools but that takes time and effort to sort and list, time that somehow needs to be paid for. even if you are working times isn't free. Time is finite.

I am under no disillusions with the value of my stuff, in fact some is negative equity given it's size and location. The big CNC mill is probably worth £210 in scrap alone but it's going to take 2 guys all day, with lifting gear to get it out in pieces. So does it go for scrap whilst it's in bits or do you spend another day putting it al back together to get running and see if anyone wants a 3 tonne 440v CNC mill made in 1989 ?

Cornish Jack23/02/2014 14:59:21
1219 forum posts
171 photos

Interesting, this ... some parallels with my present position - workshops destroyed and contents spread beneath seawater, sludge and wreckage. The recoverable items - remarkably numerous, are now divided between temporary shed and various storage areas courtesy of local builder. My decision to radically downsize was helped by the incident and the surplus items are for disposal at whatever price they fetch. All of these workshop tools, bits, whatever, were bought originally for my pleasure. Having them around for (in some cases) 30+ years has amortised their value (to me) to scrap or zero ... they don't owe me (or my relatives), anything. If a dealer or anyone else is willing to make the effort to remove them and make value of them, monetary or otherwise, good luck to them - I've had my value out of them.

The lady in JS's encounter is not untypical - "I paid £xxx for this so it must still be worth that much" Well, maybe it is but the owner will have had that much pleasure from it during its time in use, so let someone else share the pleasure. As an example, one of the sheds held a very low mileage Honda 90 which I couldn't use any more - kick start and gammy leg. Possibly a couple of hundred to someone prepared to get it road ready but a young labourer in the builder's team is now the proud owner has made a marvellous job of it and can't stop grinning!!

One doesn't have to go the mercenary route but it may need a bit of a shock to the system to provide the impetus!

Rgds

Bill

NJH23/02/2014 15:36:15
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2314 forum posts
139 photos

Hmmm – I find this a strangely appropriate thread.

I’m currently in the process of sorting out the estate of my aunt – at 99 years the last of the bunch. I’m finding this an unexpectedly stressful process and it has led me to ponder on the task I might leave to my nearest and dearest when I, in turn, depart. Now my take is that, once I’m gone, what happens to my “stuff” doesn’t matter a jot to me. What does concern me however is the stress and aggravation that might be caused to my family in getting shot of my lifetimes collection of machines, tools, materials and “things that might come in useful one day”. I hope that I have a few years to go yet but my resolution, as soon as the current situation cools down, is to get rid of the “might be useful” and then consider if and how I should “downsize” the machines and rationalize the tools. I’ve always been attracted to the smaller side of modelling so maybe a more compact set-up will do.

John – my deepest sympathy to you. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with a tragedy like yours.

Regards

Norman

Oompa Lumpa23/02/2014 15:46:17
888 forum posts
36 photos

Well, this is my recent story.

I answered an advert that was offering a machine for sale. I arrived at the House (Alladins Cave) to have a look and see if it was "as described" (we have all been there). The machine was indeed exactly as the lady described it and we got chatting.

Turns out her elderly father had been an avid engineer but had suffered in the latter days of his life with ill health, but connected to the Internet. Now, I have discussed the story with a couple of my friends and frankly, if I had been the gentleman in question - I would have done the same. To all intents and purposes, he say at his computer and ordered stuff - "For when he got Better".

V-Blocks? How many did you want? Four sets still in their boxes, Drill Sets? Twelve months later and there are at LEAST thirty sets still there. Calipers? What would you like? Digital, analogue or Dial - What size did you want? Parallels? Four sets, boxed. I won't go on, this was a double garage so packed (on Industrial Shelving) you couldn't get in the place. Drill chucks? Still about forty lying about. Toolholders for the QCTP? I counted fifty and stopped. Times three though as there were three different toolholders. And lathe tools? Holy Moly!

You will have seen some of my posts trying to identify some of the stuff. There wasn't a lathe - there were five or six. With all the changewheels and everything all stored in the most unlikely places. And Changewheels Backplates Chucks and you name it for machinery the chap no longer owned. I have been going back and forth for six months now and finally we have ONE workbench cleared. There are three more to go. I am not receiving a penny for my efforts though I have kindly been given stuff I have not asked for. I am just hopeful that if anything happens to me someone will come along and help my family out.

I am also fortunate. My good lady knows what the stuff costs and in many instances - Ketan's kit from ARC for example - the price is on the label. And when I do buy stuff second hand I try not to take advantage. Though I will say that ebay is the exception and if I get it for a bargain - in my eyes - then it IS a bargain and the seller really should have tried harder. Though many older bits of kit, as John has pointed out, although expensive at time of purchase no longer are as desirable or as expensive so you cannot hope to attain what they were worth. It is what they will fetch now. I have however obtained some vintage kit that I covet and it is obviously valuable, but it sits on my desk because I think it is beautifully made.

This is a really tough one and having now gone through the whole experience I will certainly be planning ahead.

graham.

Gordon W23/02/2014 16:12:18
2011 forum posts

The one thing I do know is that whatever you might say in you will, when the time comes nobody will take a blind bit of notice. Unless maybe you have a good and tenacious executor.

fizzy23/02/2014 18:20:47
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1840 forum posts
120 photos

Seriously this has to be the most depressing thread I ever read on here!

OH CHUFF!23/02/2014 18:55:19
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15 forum posts
2 photos

I read in the paper last year an elderly gentleman had left his house and a plot of land to an animal charity. He stipulated in his will the land with trees and pond should be left for the benefit of wildlife. The charity sold the land to the developers the old chap had been rebuffing for years.

My father in law died recently so my wife is sorting out his estate (he left no will). This prompted her to ask about my tools, guns and vehicles. If I get any notice I will sell them all, if I don't I have told her who to call and roughly how much to expect (realistically). I have already made a will and update it when needed.

It is depressing to think about your own mortality but unless you want to leave behind a big mess that will upset those left, who will already be upset then getting organised is the way to go.

CHUFF

John Stevenson23/02/2014 19:13:23
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5068 forum posts
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Posted by NJH on 23/02/2014 15:36:15:. I hope that I have a few years to go yet but my resolution, as soon as the current situation cools down, is to get rid of the “might be useful” and then consider if and how I should “downsize” the machines and rationalize the tools. I’ve always been attracted to the smaller side of modelling so maybe a more compact set-up will do.

John – my deepest sympathy to you. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with a tragedy like yours.

Regards

Norman

Thank you Norman.

I had, still have to an extent in other sheds, the useful item syndrome.

However when I was having the Big Tidy Up ™ I realised that boxes on the back of the bench only ever had things added to them, never raked through for items.

So on the surmise that what you don't know doesn't hurt I closed my eyes and swiped everything off and into the skip.

Mow if I had sorted them i would have seen something, scrapped it and wanted it two days later. This way that never applied.

Did the same with a big cupboard in a corner, because of where it was, blocked in by a machine it had not been opened in 10 years and I had no idea what was in it.

Whole cupboard went down the scrapyard unopened.

martin perman23/02/2014 20:03:51
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2042 forum posts
86 photos

Gentlemen,

When my paternal grandfather died his wife told my Dad that the contents of the garage and workshop was for him, myself and my brother to sort and share so for several weekends we travelled to the house to split the spoils, one Saturday whilst we were enjoying a sandwich, my dads step mum came into the room with a shammy leather pouch and box and asked him what she should do with them, dad took them and opened the leather pouch and found himself looking at a Webley Officers Revolver and in the box the bullets, dad was off down the local police station as fast as he could get there, he was totally unaware they had even existed, he came back from the police station a much happier man laugh

My wife and I have only sorted our wills in the last eighteen months and they basically state who ever is left does what ever they wish and when that person dies it all goes to our daughter who is fully aware of what I have as she helps me take my stationary engines to rally's and she is also fully aware of their value.

Martin Perman

 

Edited By martin perman on 23/02/2014 20:17:14

Ray Lyons23/02/2014 21:15:41
200 forum posts
1 photos

What a depressing subject, it has made me think on this miserable Sunday evening. Now fast closing on the big 80, I think it is best to leave someone else to worry about it but aware of my experience with the scrappy, it would be nice to see a young engineer enjoy it rather than end up in some foreign scrap yard.

I recall about 30 years ago when shutting down a works, all the stores were auctioned off and were sold on the basis of rack contents. The day following the auction, I was passing the stores where a scrap man had two skips at the entrance, one for steel and the other for brass etc. Two guys were throwing boxes tools into the steel skip which included new lathe and milling cutters. To the scrappy, these were low value and he checked with a magnet to make sure he did not throw out "valuable" non ferrous scrap with the rubbish. That also was a depressing day.

John Stevenson23/02/2014 22:21:01
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5068 forum posts
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What is even more depressing is that sorting out on Ebay tonight getting prices because lets face it they set the prices now and ower Gerts beloved Wilcox and Gibbs overlocker was listed under the sold items for £5.50 and two bids.

Exact same machine in exact same cabinet. Laugh is though if he'd took the clutch motor off it, thrown the rest away he'd have made £30 for the motor........

it only goes to enforce what I wrote earlier as I'm sure she thought it was worth in the hundreds.

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