LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Any tips for moving a woodshop?

11021 Views 30 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  caaColorado
So we are about to move - any tips with regards packing/moving my workshop up?
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Take a look at the wood whisperer episode when he had to move his shop… there are some great tips Marc presented.
Will do - thanks.
Pack small boxes because they get very heavy very fast. Good luck.
I've moved shops a couple of times. Man, what a pain! You don't realize just how much stuff you've got until moving time comes along.

Clean everything really well when packing. If you have an air hose, blow out the dust from the portable tools like routers, sanders, etc. as well as from the machines. Do that after you've cleaned and packed all the hand tools and accessories. They'll all look like brand new tools when you unpack. Use all your shop rags to wrap things like chisels, planes, anything with sharp edges, to prevent them from getting nicked.

Cast iron can start to rust pretty quickly. You might want to coat any unpainted cast iron or steel surfaces on machinery with some kind or protectant, maybe Bloxygen or even a thin coat of WD40. I think you can get protective aper that has a mild adhesive you can stick to the unprotected surfaces. My machines sat in an attached garage for a few weeks while I was having shop space built and they looked like they had been sitting outside in the junk yard for years. Took forever to get the rust off.

You can use stretch plastic wrap, the kind that comes on spools, to wrap several boards together. Just don't let the weight get too great. Smaller chunks you might want to donate to a school or woodworking club unless they're really special pieces. Plywood, MDF, etc. probably isn't worth trying to move. You'll be getting more anyway so why bother.

If you're using a moving company, they won't accept anything flammable or any opened containers. It's probably better to take all your opened cans of paint, solvents, finishes, etc to a recycler and get all new when you're settled. You don't want something to catch fire, whether it's a moving van or the truck you volunteered your friend to use. Or even yours, for that matter.

One last warning. If you accumulate a bunch of oily rags from cleaning things, don't let it pile up. They can spontaneously combust. Spread them out to dry individually or put in a fireproof contaner with a tight lid.

Good luck and best wishes with the move.
See less See more
WHEELS. The world is all about wheels.JBAA.
I feel for you…....
I move my stuff across CANADA 3 years ago. 2500 miles, 2 trips in a cargo trailer.
My first trip, trailer weighed in at 7500 lbs. Second trip tried to load lighter, hit the scales 8200 lbs.
I hada dodge 1/2 ton truck pulling it with small engine. WHOOPS. NOW I HAVE NEW TRANSMISSION AS WELL.
Sold some of the "things I didn't think I really needed" OUCH. Gave them away is more like it !
I used mostly plastic totes. Totes stacked well, made the most use of limited space I had. Cardboard boxes break, fall apart, get wet, etc. etc.
Thanks for the tips guys. I am so looking forward to all that packing :|

I packed my router bits in foam rubber(left over from a chair). I also built a storage cabinet for all my hand tools and screws etc. We then found it was almost too heavy for two of these big farm boys to lift. LOL I think I'll take the hinge off and make two cabinets.
I moved my shop from Wisconsin to Maine and back again. No moving the shop isn't fun, but setting up the new shop is a pretty cool experience, a chance to learn from the past and improve on it. I had mover move me out and I moved myself back, so here's my advice for what its worth.

1. I bought a whole bunch of cheeper plastic tool boxes, not the tiny ones but the good sized models. These worked well to pack a lot of tools in. They're only so big so you can keep the weight down, and they have handles. I filled a few with the boxes of screws, angle brackets and hinges that seem to accumulate.

2. I bought a couple of good sized plastic totes (like the rubbermaid kind) the long ones worked best, longer hand saws, long clamps, and a lot of the soft stuff, rags and brushes and such. buy several of the same size because they stack nice.

3. I disassembled everything I could when it came to my big power tools, that way handles didn't get broken bent or anything. I took cranks off the table saw, handles off the drill press, the table off of the band saw, everything that stuck out even a little and could get bent from falling over or being dropped, if I could get it off I did. I got them as close as possible to the way I originally bought them. I put all the small parts in tool boxes as well.

4. then I bought a few rolls of the saran wrap on a stick stuff, I can't think of a proper name right now, sorry, but it's the thin clear plastic on a roll, it only sticks to itself, but I used it to wrap up all the power cords on the big tools, to wrap the drawers closed on my tool cabinet, After I coated tables with some wd 40 I wrapped them in that too to trap down the oil.

the last thing is you may have to accept that something is going to get hurt, it's a big possibility but we've moved a lot and never without a casualty, When the movers took me out to Maine they dinged my table saw fence pretty good and bent over one of the channels that is used to secure jigs to it. No big deal I fixed it but it was frustrating. On and if movers are moving you, make sure you check over your inventory really well before they go. The guys hid the cast iron wings for my table saw somewhere in the truck, (the stupid driver wouldn't let me look in the back myself or I would have found them…) and I caught that they were missing just minutes before he was going to pull away. We filled out the paper work for the company to buy some new ones to replace those they lost. and a week later we got a call from the driver, glory be the wings were in the truck. The company shipped them to me, but by the time I got them who knows what they had been through, I spent a couple hours scrubbing the coat of rust off of them before I reattached them.

any rate, good luck my friend, and don't forget what I said at the beginning about how the best part is getting to make the decisions when you are setting up a new shop. That's the best part.

See less See more
My worst nightmare…...........moving the shop.

My only advice is to really grease those tools, the drive shafts, everything, trunion gears, worm gears, pulleys etc., Tools that hit "dewpoint" rust really quickly.
Having completed a move from NH to TN last fall, here are my recommendations.

1. Use zip ties to bundle equipment cords together so they don't get pulled loose. Movers tend to grab the most convenient item to lift, push or pull something.
2. Remove any exterior items from equipment so avoid having it destroyed. The movers pulled my joiner on the mobile base using the arm with the switch and bent-broke it. I also had damage to the face of the table saw fence.
3. Make sure all the small items for a given piece of equipment are in one place. I'm still looking for accessories that got placed somewhere other than the dedicated box or drawer.
4. Plastic tote bins are great. Pack like items in smaller ones, smaller ones in larger ones and zip tie everything closed.
5. Make sure all loose knobs, bolts, etc. are removed or tightened so they don't come loose in transit.
6. Dispose of all liquids as they may leak and destroy other goods. While this can be expensive, it is probably cheaper than repairing damaged items.
7. Take any wood with you. I'm sure it is cheaper to move it than replace it. The same is true of non-liquid consumables.

Even if you do all these things, you will loose something or damage something so be ready to replace or repair it.
See less See more
Like Chris said go over to the woodwhisperer, he resently moved his shop.
He made some videos of smart ways to pack up tools and move all his machines.
Heres the video.
Hope this is helpful.
I hate moving and hope I never have to move my shop.
Thanks again for the tips - it's not a big move distance wise and I do get to move from a one to a two car garage :) So wish me luck!
My only suggestion is to let someone else (mover) move the heavy stuff. It isnt worth wrecking your back or getting a hernia trying to lift it. I am talking from experience :)
careful with the tall machinery (drill press/bandsaw/etc) - I had my drill press tip over and fall on me during a move - not a pretty sight, and left some nasty bruises (luckily just that and not broken bones). I'll second Wayne - pay movers to deal with the heavy stuff, and focus on the smaller things.

since this is not a far move - consider doing smaller runs with your car, and take it easy (as much as a move can be easy…)

good luck, and looking forward to some pictures
Do you already have access to the new place? Preparation is always key to success. If you can, plan the layout in the new place and that should help with your packing. My move was only 65 miles, but I was lucky I had the new place a month before I actually moved the shop so I could install shelves and benches prior to the move. First moved in the large equipment, then the smaller stuff and finally the wood.

I tended to pack each area of the old shop in groups to make finding things as easy as possible and that tended to make setting up the new place much easier too. Just make sure to label the boxes on all sides and the top.

Remember lift with the knees and not the back! or better yet, invite your fellow lumber jocks over for a moving party :)
My shop's about to go into storage for a while as we move from Colorado to Virginia and then buy a new house. There are some great tips here and I'm thankful I have them to learn from. And fortunately, the movers are being paid to pack and load/unload us. That said, I may still do some of the packing (planes, chisels, smaller fragile items that I really care about) myself.
We just moved, I skimmed the forum and hope I am not repeated what someone else has already said.

We have a number of large peices rangeing from 350 to 600 lbs. About 5 heavy pieces. I latched onto a harbor frieght 2 ton crane, it worked like a charm. Forget using 6 guys for that 600 lb sander, just get a crane. Not real sure if you have anything of substantial weight but if you do, the crane idea is great! Harbor frieght sells it for a fair price, we picked up out crane for 80.00 off of CL though.
Get a pod. Low deck so you don't need an entire crew of men to pick up your heavy tools. You have a month to load/unload it.

Machinery and houshold furniture don't ride well together. Its worth every penny for your sanity and your back.
Maybe epoxy paint your new shop/garage floor while it's still empty
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.