Strangers in the Shop

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by pete79 posted 04-23-2011 12:56 PM 2420 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pete79's profile


154 posts in 4021 days

04-23-2011 12:56 PM

I just thought of this yesterday and can’t get it out of my head. I sold a tool on craigslist to a stranger who is a carpenter by trade. To coordinate the deal, as many people would, I had him come to my house. When he arrived, I took him out to my shop to show him the tool and also to shoot the breeze about woodworking (I don’t get to do that too often, so I took the opportunity).

Afterward, I got this sinking feeling about how I’ve now let a complete stranger basically inventory everything I have in my detached garage, and how easy it would be for someone to help themselves one evening. I don’t know if this is a lesson learned, or just a vent to help with the sinking feeling that I had a lapse in judgment. I don’t intend this to be a drawn out discussion on securing our workshops, but I am curious how other people handle these situations.

-- Life is a one lap race.

47 replies so far

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3788 days

#1 posted 04-23-2011 01:28 PM

I feel the same way as do you.

And right next to our shop is all our tack room.

I have learned not to take folks into the shop, unless they are local and already know pretty much what would be out there. But, it’s often hard to resist showing the shop and what’s going on in there.

But, even then, you are taking your chances.

We discussed this several times, and have decided to keep a good video inventory along with an accurate listing of anything valued over 25 bucks…............ for insurance purposes.

Also, we have a closed circuit camera system in all three buildings and have plenty of signs saying “Smile”.

It’s too bad this is even a topic to worry about, but unfortunately, it is a legit and all too often concern.

Most folks are honest, but I know for as fact (in my gut) that I have had a couple of characters out here that were really just casing the place.

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3519 days

#2 posted 04-23-2011 01:32 PM

I guess that I tend not to worry too much about this (worry gives you wrinkles and at my age I’ve got enough of those already) but then, I grew up in an era and an area where nobody even locked their doors. Heck, my folks never locked the house even when we went on vacation. I realize that times have changed but in spite of all he horror stories on the nightly news, I think that for the most part if you don’t live in the inter city that you and your property are reasonably safe.

If you steal from me, what I have lost is replacable but what you have lost is gone forever.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4838 days

#3 posted 04-23-2011 01:55 PM

I hear ya..I always get a little nervous when I sell something on Craigslist. I had a ladder rack for a full size pickup listed for over a year..and someone finally called on it. I usually would meet people at the local supermarket parking lot but I didn’t feel like hauling all the parts out and then down to the store just for him to say he didn’t want it, so I let him come to my house. I only let him in to my shed, but my shed is chock full of goodies like my Cub Cadet lawn tractor. When he showed up he was driving in a broken down pickup, and he was dressed like he lived in the truck. He bought the rack and paid me and was gone in 15 minutes, but i remember having the same feeling you did…but nothing ever happened. I also have purchased allot of my shop machinery off of Craigslist, and everyone I bought from never hesitated to walk me right through their homes or welcome me into their shops.


View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3864 days

#4 posted 04-23-2011 02:48 PM

Don’t feel to bad about letting your eagerness to share your passion override your sense to maintain a level of security. Think of it as a lesson learned from experience. Your not the only one to have done this. I remember making the same mistake when I was young and selling guns. I was fortunate that it was a cop that came to my apartment at the time. He was the one that brought this to my attention and told be to consider it a lesson learned about letting your guard down when selling items. I know sometimes its not easy to take and item to a local common location, that being the case keep it in the yard next time. That way your property can’t be so easily inventoried for theft. Bet you don’t do that again. LOL

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3747 days

#5 posted 04-23-2011 03:15 PM

This is why I don’t sell on craig’s list. It just isn’t worth it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 4063 days

#6 posted 04-23-2011 03:33 PM

Hey Pete don’t feel alone. I’ve been having the same debate with myself. I’ve got 2 jointers that I never use and have thought of listing them on craigslist but I’m very leery of letting strangers in my shop. At some point you have to trust others but also trust your instincts and a gun displayed in plain site may be a deterrent.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3519 days

#7 posted 04-23-2011 04:02 PM

Whew, based on the responces so far, it appears that I am way too trusting. That said, I would rather be too trusting than have to spend my time and energy worrying about what might happen.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Maddhatter's profile


127 posts in 4458 days

#8 posted 04-23-2011 04:16 PM

Pete, you are not alone, it takes a lot of time and money to build up, caution and security is the word of the day. I had issues with working in my Garage in VA with the door open as strangers would just walk up and check out what I was working on, it felt like they spend more time looking at the equipment and making a price list in their head. Luckily nothing got taken from the garage, however, I did lose a boat motor from the boat parked alongside my house. That’s one of the reasons in my new location, my garage does not face the street and very few people are allowed in my shop.

One can never be to careful.

-- Norm (AKA - The Maddhatter), Middletown DE

View Brandon's profile


4380 posts in 3832 days

#9 posted 04-23-2011 06:26 PM

I sold a table saw and an oven on Craigslist. Both times I had the items in front of my house with my garage closed. I’ve been pretty careful.

I also purchased a few things on Craiglist. I commissioned a friend of mine to help me pick up a jointer. When we got to the sellers’ house (an older couple) my friend asked to use their restroom and they let him right in. I couldn’t believe it. I would never let a stranger into my house. And I’d never ask to use a stranger’s restroom either.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4054 days

#10 posted 04-23-2011 06:41 PM

The worse the economy, the more time to think …. and the more motivated … the criminals become.

I agree with everybody else: sucks to have to think this way, but … it would cross my mind, too.

Last CL BUY I made, we picked a public meeting place. Now … I GET that … that’s tough for a TS, or similar, but …..

-- -- Neil

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 3490 days

#11 posted 04-23-2011 06:47 PM

I’ve only sold small items on craigslist so far, and I’ve always set it up so that I meet the buyer in front of a busy store near my house. If I ever sell anything that’s not easily loaded up in my car, I’ll plan to have it in front of the house in advance.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View Murray62's profile


9 posts in 3572 days

#12 posted 04-23-2011 07:22 PM

Ya got me thinking about this now. I do sell items that at the times when I bought them I thought would be the cat’s meow . I think when I have other large items for sale I will put a curtain around the entry and the item to seperate the shop contents from the view of potential buyers. It would also be good to have a “Beware of Dog” sign posted even if you don’t have a dog. I live in an area that is very trusting but I do not want to be the first one to get robbed.

View poopiekat's profile


4811 posts in 4615 days

#13 posted 04-23-2011 08:47 PM

All quite true, but half the crime shows on tv nowadays make the remark: “No sign of forced entry”...there are plenty of people, kin, acquaintances from work, neighbors and casual friends who really have no business taking an inventory of my possessions. It cannot possibly have a positive result. Those who ask to borrow items I own, when I have no idea how they could possibly know that I owned such a tool, can be the worst situations. My near-new appliance dolly has ended up far from the hands of the person who borrowed it, for example. I’ll have to go get it myself, I’m afraid. Generous = Chump. Though I wholeheartily endorse the need to protect yourself from CL respondents as well.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3571 days

#14 posted 04-24-2011 05:16 AM

I share your concerns.This is what I do EVERY time someone I dont know comes to my shop.I make a point of telling them to be sure and call with their arrival time so I can catch Rosco P before they arrive.Roscoe P is a 120 pound Lab?Great dane cross who really doesnt like visiters.When they arrive,I make sure they get a good look at Roscoe.If you dont have a Rosco,You might get one of those tapes of a bad dog for your wife to play when strangers arrive or adopt a Rosco and your worries are over.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3573 days

#15 posted 04-24-2011 06:48 AM

I know this is a little off of this thread, but when I joined LJs and posted my shop pictures I thought everybody with a PC can “case the joint”. So for my location I just posted the general area. The unsavory types could shop around and wait for the opportunity to strike if you have the exact location posted on that map. Something to think about.
No I don’t let strangers in my shop.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

showing 1 through 15 of 47 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics