OT - Neighbor borrows tools and doesn't bring back

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I need a bit of advice. I recently moved into a new house with a big garage that I've made into my workshop. My next door neighbor is a really good guy and comes over to shoot the bull every now and again and I show him some of the new things I've made (adirondack chairs and tile inlay tables). While he's there I'm sure he scopes out what I have and after a while comes to ask if he can borrow my tools for a project he's working on. I always get the "I'll bring it back in a couple of hours" statement, but it's usually the next couple of days. I've never lived anywhere where a neighbor needed any of my tools, so this loaning out of tools is new to me and I want to be neighborly. But now he has my level, palm sander, one of my two pipe clamps, and an extension cord that has now been strung across his backyard for a week in the rain. He brought back my ladder a few days ago that sat in a snow storm overnight.
I just got a new cabinet saw and dust collector. Now that Christmas is over and my kids birthdays out of the way, I'm going to be working pretty hard getting my chairs made for spring-summer time, therefore, the loaning is going to come to a stop.
Here's my question, is there a way to tell him I can't loan out my tools now that I'm going to be using them more without pissing off a neighbor? I'm already going to have to ask for my other tools back since I need them now, not when he decides he can bring them back. It gets to me a bit that he always wants to borrow my tools since he works at Home Depot. I figure that some of you guys out there have gone through this. How do you keep it under control? I know I can say "no" everytime he wants to borrow something, but won't that make for bad blood?
Thanks for any advice.
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Treat him like an employee. Tell him that you are very particular with your tools and you have noticed that he leaves your tools out in the weather. Tell him that you do no mind him borrowing but he really needs to concentrate on taking better care of YOUR tools and returning them in a more timely manner. If you are using your tools tell him that they are not available. If he is not an idiot he should understand. If he is an idiot don't lend them out any more and tell him why.
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now
I'm
now,
Your mistake was that you didn't set the ground rules from the get go. All you can do at this point is to sit him down and explain that you think he's a nice guy and all, but you have a personal problem with lending out tools. Tell him that you can still lend him tools when it's necessary, but that you'll expect them back the minute he's finished with them. If he still takes advantage of you, then you're going to have to restrict tool lending even more.
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Uh, is he worrying about pissing you off? You're the guy getting screwed.
I have a friend like that. Loan him an axe and he leaves it in the woods. Loan his wife an airless sprayer and she loses half the parts. Something on the order of 25 years ago, I said no more and meant it. We're still friends.
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"Darrin" wrote in message

Basically, you must decide which is more important to you, his friendship, or your tools ... nothing else will work all the time.
IOW, if you like the guy, and if he won't take a hint, you're gonna have to live with it. But here are a couple of dodges that work for me:
"Sure you can, but I need it later, so no problem providing you can bring it back by ..."
Or for the stubborn: "This are my "personal" favorite (tool)" and it's sorta like my toothbrush/wife, but you can certainly use this:" pointing to an el cheapo, or Harbor Fright version bought specifically for the purpose.
I know the latter works because I routinely use it.
That said, there are some folks who can borrow anything I own and I'll help load it, and there are others that I wouldn't loan a used band aid ... their friendship doesn't count anyway because it almost always has strings attached.
Your decision ... good luck.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/06/07
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I don't let anybody borrow the tools I use to make a living with. I sometimes lend out lawn/gardening equipment but rarely. I become quite defensive when people want to borrow something and usually point them in the direction of a phone book or rental store. I paid for this stuff why can't they?
I'm also in the habit now of not asking to borrow anything. Just makes life simpler since I usually ended up fixing what I asked to borrow before I could use it.
Gary
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Good advice. I try not to ask the neighbors to borrow anything either, because I don't want to be in "debt" to them. If they lend you a $20 fertilizer spreader, they think they have a right to borrow all your tools and leave them out in the rain.
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From Hamlet:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
I wonder if Shakespeare did a little construction work on the side?
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I lent my framing nailer to a new neighbor who was building a shed. He then 'rented' his compressor and MY nailer to his golf club for the weekend for $50. I found out 3 months later. I was pissed. He still has half a box of nails (useless to him) left a year later that he is 'saving' for the next job. What did I get in return. Just him bitching about the weight of my nailer..<g>
He came over bitching how his manual T-50 stapler pinches his hand (he's replacing the plastic on the greenhouse at his golf club) hoping to borrow my air version. I told him it was broken and suggested he spend $25 and buy one. He finished the job with his crappy Crapsman manual. I have no idea if he charged the golf club rent or not.
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On Jan 25, 1:27 pm, Barry snipped-for-privacy@home.com wrote:

Wow, it never ceases to amaze me the nerve that some people have.
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I believe he bought his second hand air compressor just so he could borrow my air tools. He doesn't use it for anything else. We had a conversation about how economical it would be for him to spray stain his fence. When I didn't offer to loan him a sprayer he ended up doing it with a brush.
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I had a friend do this once. He did not really intend to steal the tools. He just "forgot".
So I waited until he had company. Went to his house, and in front of his friends, threw a fit. I yelled about how my wife got upset with me for lending tools. This was true. Then I went into hyperbole mode. I talked about calling the cops, small claims court and having to hide my gun from the wife. This was pure theatrics.
But it worked. All tools were immediately gathered together and delivered to my place in a matter of minutes. And his wife forbade me from borrowing any more tools again.
So that turned out well. I must admit that a couple of other cases did not turn out so well. It just depends on who it is.
I have a nice neighbor now who I found out recently is a high ranking member of the local police force. She does ask to borrow things from time to time. The tools are returned within the hour except once. And that was returned the next day. Can't complain about that. You can't ask for a better neighbor.
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A few years ago I started getting people to sign out my tools. I can't tell you how many times I started to hunt for a tool, couldn't find it and had to start calling around. I've have one guy that's had my mitre saw for a year now, good thing it's not my only one otherwise I'd be pissed. I just can't bother to drive the 1/2 hour to go get it. I find that when people sign them out they normally return them faster and if not it gives me a reason to go through my list and follow up. I usually make the "friends" pay with coffee or work off the loan. Remember most of us have a lot of money tied up in tools. What do you think it would cost him to rent them or hire you to do the work??? Same goes at my metal shop, you can use the shop and tools but nothings free. I have power, heat and consumables tied up in the shop it's not free to me.......
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Thanks for the suggestions. I did tell him when he needed my level that I was using it and couldn't loan it out, he said he would wait on his project until I was done with mine. There's nothing like taking turns with my own tools. He has made the comment that when I'm working on a chair it's a good time to borrow my fish tape, and wire stripping tools as he knows then I won't be using them. But to me my tools are like my toothbrush, some I got from my grandfather who was a master carpenter, some from my Dad, some as birthday/father's day/Christmas gifts. I don't like loaning out gifts, which is what my ladder was, only to see it out in a snow storm. I think I've been trying to be more friendly than practical. I'm still learning my skills and sometimes not exactly sure which tool I might end up needing, especially when I screw something up and need to fix it.
Thanks guys.

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Darrin wrote:

Tell him that you'll lend him the money to go rent a tool and, to make sure neither one of you will forget (with busy lives and all), he can leave you a post-dated cheque.
You are suggesting this to circumvent the possibility of him feeling bad if he accidentally breaks one of your tools, which could leave you in a lurch. He wouldn't want that to happen would he? Being friends-and-all....
I have never minded lending a helping hand, but I thoroughly despise free-loaders. Sometimes that is a very blurred line.
r
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The problem of the neighbor who borrows tools is ubiquitous, and a losing situation for the lender, for all the reasons mentioned by other posters. The borrower puts the lender in the awkward position of having to create white lies and feel guilty for asking for his own property to be returned. I have no sure fire way to protect ones tools against borrowers but saying no at the beginning might be the least frustrating when all is said and done.
Joe G Darrin wrote:

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Darrin wrote:

Tell him, "Bring the tools back when you're finished. If I have to come looking for them you'll never borrow another tool from me again."
Stick to it. One way or the other the problem is solved.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Stop lending tools.
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Hello Darrin,
One way I have found that works to get your tools back real fast is to ask for a cash deposit, maybe of one third to one half of the value of the tools. This may be a problem for the more expesive tools, so you may have to negociate something different. I figure that if I lend someone a tool for free, that same person can lend me some money in return. And should the tool be returned damaged, you already have to money to get it fixed. Just make sure you have the borrower sign for what he borrows and the amount of deposit left, so the deposit is not considered to be the selling price of the tool.
Too bad to have to resort to such methods, but the lender is not the person who should suffer from his gracious deeds.
Andre
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andypack wrote:

How many times has the borrower had the tools that long,that he swears blind that he owns them ?????ive had them for years ???. my neighbour borrowed my jig saw on 4/1/ he keeps saying he will bring it back .He wont be bringing anymore tools back co's i wont be lending him any more . just Me.
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