do you lend your tools to friends?

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Forum topic by distrbd posted 03-12-2013 04:13 PM 6346 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2252 posts in 2839 days

03-12-2013 04:13 PM

This is something I always struggle with,lending tools to people you know,if I know and trust that it will be returned in the same condition and in a timely manner then I’m alright with it but that rarely happens.

If I own two of the same tool,I would loan one but in general I would like to have my tools available to me when I need them rather than making arrangements to either pick it up or have it returned as soon as possible.
People borrow tools because they don’t want to spend the money to buy them,if it’s a one time deal they know they can rent but it’s easier to just borrow at no cost, right?

These are the most recent tools I have lent:a Jig saw with good wood blades ,a nail gun (which means the nails and the compressor),a caulking gun (with a full silicone tube supplied by me),grinder and blade.drills and bits.etc ,etc.

What do you say to cheap acquaintances/friend when they ask to borrow a tool and it’s usually longer than a day or two?Do you say yes but with a condition? do you say no go get your own?
I always try to help them as much as possible but I just don’t like lending or borrowing anything.
What’s your experience?

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

37 replies so far

View SebringDon's profile


95 posts in 2333 days

#1 posted 03-12-2013 04:47 PM

I’ll loan anybody a crappy old screwdriver or pair of pliers, or a hammer, something they can’t break easily. I’ve got a hacksaw I’d be glad to see disappear, and an extra cordless drill I’ll let out of my sight.

After they’ve managed to return those tools in a timely manner and in the same condition, then I might consider tools higher up the food chain. Extra points to a borrower who has watched me use the tool and has a similar or identical use in mind.

Just handing out tools like a lending library? Not gonna happen on my watch.

OTOH, I let friends know if they have a project they want to tackle, they’re welcome to my shop anytime with a stack of raw materials, and I’ll be happy to share the shop for the company. I’ll use the tools they’re not ready for yet.

I’ve been doing this with my stepson, and it’s been a positive experience for both of us. He’s moving up the tool foodchain nicely. I’m actually looking forward to hooking another friend or two with this approach. :D

-- Don

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 2907 days

#2 posted 03-12-2013 04:50 PM

Years ago, I once lent a VERY expensive, industrial belt sander, (4X27) to a friend who was refinishing an outdoor deck. Never got it back, since I did not know he had sold his house and the deck refinish was part of the sale. He moved to another state before I could get it back.
That burned me for years. I was a stubborn mule about lending out even a screwdriver. I even told my own kids to buy their own tools.

Then I mellowed just a bit. If I truly know the person, or think I do, I will lend them a tool as long as: I know they are capable of using it and not hurt themselves and sue me, they live where I can get to them, and I see them with some regularity.
That being said, I had to go to a trusted neighbor recently and just about beg to get my water meter wrench back. He had a dozen excuses, (he was using it on a plumbing job on an old house and no shutoff save at the meter, waiting for a new faucet, blah, blah,) but I insisted that if one of my pipes broke, I didn’t want to be down on the ground with a pair of vise grips trying to turn an old valve and could I please have my wrench back…please??
I got it back two days later when he left it unannounced outside my shop door in the rain…

So I guess things never change. Remember, the guy with the pickup is usually one of the most popular guys on the block.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2847 days

#3 posted 03-12-2013 05:54 PM

I have found that rather than lend my tools to someone that most likely doesn’t know how to use them anyway, it is easier for me to go and do the job for them. This not only saves wear and tear on my tools, it also eliminates me having to undo their attempts at fixing something that they shouldn’t have touched in the first place!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2754 days

#4 posted 03-12-2013 06:16 PM

Neither a borrower nor lender be.

Yesterday I bought a case of ammo, and on the way home I stopped for gas.
A gorgeous blond at the next pump noticed the ammo in the back seat.
She said, “Would you trade ammo for sex?”
I thought for a few seconds, and said, “What kind of ammo do you have?”

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2400 days

#5 posted 03-12-2013 06:30 PM

Like willie I’d rather bring my tools to them and help ( or let them come do it in my shop where everything is) then let them take something from here.

and LMAO at Clint :-) ... So how much ammo did you get?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Chris's profile


445 posts in 4479 days

#6 posted 03-12-2013 06:39 PM

I appreciate what Don stated: “Just handing out tools like a lending library? Not gonna happen on my watch.” I’m right there with you buddy.

Haven’t loaned tools out in years….I understand there are probably some guys out there that might be apt to return tools, tooling, equipment in a timely manner and perhaps even cleaner than the manner in which they were, when borrowed. However that having been said, it seems to me that most of the individuals that are predisposed to ‘ask to borrow’ in the first place are also of the ‘order, family, class’ of individuals that are either disorganized and do not possess the appreciation for possessions anyway.

The reason they are asking me is because they probably just lost their own, or left it riding in the back of an uncovered pickup truck in the rain (seen several guys that do this with, you guessed all of their power tools-uncased)

Anyway…. I would be willing to allow respectful, trustworthy individuals to utilize my woodshop but as far as lending tools out. I just basically seal the heart up and render a, “Sorry dude” for I am as Don:

Just handing out tools like a lending library? Not gonna happen on my watch.


-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View mikema's profile


180 posts in 2979 days

#7 posted 03-12-2013 07:11 PM

I have loaned out my tile wet saw to a few trusted individuals, and one brought it back in better condition then he found it. That one didn’t bother me as much, as I had pretty well used and abused it myself. My woodworking tools…. no. I have made far too big of an investment to build up my workshop to what it is today. There are many tools that if not used right could be damage beyond repair. The ONLY exception to that rule, is if they stay in my shop. I have invited friends over to let them use my shop on many occasions, and every one of my tools is available for use. Of course, I will be right out there with them! :)

I had a neighbor a number of years ago come up and ask me about some flooring that needed to be redone. He doesn’t have any tools beyond a few screwdrivers, and what he needed was a miter saw. I would have loaned it to him, as they are a family friend. However, as he talked through the process, it was obvious he was not comfortable with it. Rather than risking injury, I offered to make the repairs he was needing. It took me an afternoon, but it was done fairly well, and no one was hurt. Plus, there was the added bonus of all my tools coming back in the same condition they were to begin with.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog:

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3536 days

#8 posted 03-12-2013 07:19 PM

I carry an old Estwing 20 oz. hammer in my van for just this reason. It’s a special hammer, as it is broken just past the mid point, under the rubber. Hammers and measuring tapes are generally the items asked for on a jobsite (I’ve got crappy cheapo tapes too). When someone asks to borrow my hammer, that’s the one I lend. Invariably the comment comes back, “this one’s broken”, to which the answer is “It wasn’t when I lent it to the last guy!”

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2461 days

#9 posted 03-12-2013 07:27 PM

Ken, what if you loaned them a caulking gun, no caulk, jig saw, no blades, nail gun, no nails, drill motor, no bits, grinder, no grinding wheel, etc., etc., etc. Do you think they may get the message???

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View chrisstef's profile


17915 posts in 3399 days

#10 posted 03-12-2013 07:34 PM

When i was still in the field i wore this sticker on the front of my hard hat:

But was too soft to ever follow up on it. As for my wood working tools, those stay in the shop and like most everyone else, if you need help ill be there, if you want to come to my shop, the door’s always open.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2839 days

#11 posted 03-12-2013 07:40 PM

Bogeyguy,the one person who constantly ask for my tools assumes I’ll bring the nail,bit ,etc, plus when it comes to working with power tools he is all thumbs.I only help him because he does not make much money so if I give him let’s say a nail gun but no nails ,he’s going to ask me to leave the gun until he buys the nails which is never.
I prefer to take the nails with me and do the job at his place by myself and bring all my tools back home safe and sound.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3316 days

#12 posted 03-12-2013 10:23 PM

I have tools I will loan and other “good” tools I won’t. I loaned a really good chisel once and got it back after the guy drove it thru a nail. After that,nada, now anyone gets the el cheapos I keep just for that purpose.
Years ago I asked to borrow a guys pocket knife. When he pulled it out it was a $.69 Imperial (I said years ago) I laughed and he asked why and I said this beer can pocket knife. He said “you’re going to bring it back aren’t you and I nodded” he said he used to loan a good knife and usually never got them back. He said “I always get this one back”. I’ve found this true with tools.
Good post Ken, I know exactly where you’re coming from.

-- Life is good.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3344 days

#13 posted 03-12-2013 10:59 PM

I have another woodworker friend in the same town here to whom I loan tools and vice versa. I trust him and I’m confident that he’ll use the tools correctly, respectfully, and timely. Like others, I also have tools that I don’t mind loaning out to non-woodworkers (HF chisels, cheap hammers, black & decker drill etc.) because i’m not using them and if they suffer a little abuse I’m okay with that. And of course, I offer my shop to most of my friends because I enjoy having people over and sharing in the craft.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16128 posts in 3011 days

#14 posted 03-12-2013 11:50 PM

I can say with certainty there’s not a friend around here that wants to borrow one of my hand planes. Zero. So there’s another good reason to go hand tools. :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4158 days

#15 posted 03-12-2013 11:55 PM

“No” is a powerful word. I use it all the time. Not just when asked for tools but all kinds of other stuff too. The best part is to wait for their response when you say “no”. They just look at you strange and don’t say anything. “No” works really good on the phone too. You say “no” and then you don’t hear anything…......... I love “NO”.

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