Loaning Tools: What’s Your Take?

Ryan's advice about loaning tools? Borrowers to pony up when they pick up.
Ryan's advice about loaning tools? Borrowers should pony up when they pick it up.

A big sawdusty thanks to all of you who left comments about the recent blog post “Got Rules for Your Tools?”. I think we woodworkers are a pretty organized, attention-to-details sort of bunch. So it came as no surprise that you folks would have some rules to live by in your shop. Still waiting to hear from some of you that don’t choose to keep the place spotless. Maybe us neatniks are missing something…

Aside from being a kick to read, your “rules” also had me nodding yes. No goofing off. Keep wet beverages off the table saw. Wear your shoes in the shop. Keep things sorted. Goggles on or you’re gone.

Yep. Check. Agreed. (Guess there’s some shop teacher genes in many of us.)

But, I’ve just got to call attention to a topic raised by Ryan, in his response:

If you’d like to borrow one of my tools, that’s okay. Just leave a deposit of 2x the replacement value of the tool on the workbench. Half of your deposit will be refunded upon return of the tool. The other half will be used to buy a new one because chances are you’ve broken it, dulled it, rusted it, bent it or worn it beyond repair.

Aside from having a good laugh about this rule (and it’s a gutsy one at that, Ryan!) here’s the issue: Loaning tools.

LOANING2Do you let those prized tools out of the shop and into a buddy’s trunk, or do you keep your stuff on a short leash? How do you deal with the awkward matter of asking for the borrowed tools back—especially if your saw or biscuit joiner takes a longer leave of absence than you’d expected?

I’ve been in these situations before. I once loaned a post-hole digger out for so long I forgot that I even owned it. A nail gun spent about a half year moonlighting on a friend’s big remodel, but it came back in great shape—not everything borrowed is doomed.

Should we take Ryan’s advice and put some terms to those loaned tools? Or, should we continue to be generous friends (and really cheap rental centers)? Maybe you’ve got a war story to tell about a tool that went to hell and back, all for the sake of a friendly loan.

Do tell.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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