I was wondering how you guys deal with "tool less" neighbors asking to
borrow your powertools.
I've been asked today to lend my PC pancake compressor for a full week
the time for the "neighbor" to put up a new wood floor in his house. I
found him rude to even ask. I managed to get away with it by saying
the compressor won't be powerful enough but I'm not sure he believed
I would never borrow a tool from a neigbhor, I'd rather rent one. I
don't know if it's me but I believe there's so much more involved in
landing a tool. Just to name a few:
1. The tool can be abused or even damaged by careless handling or a
lack of understanding on how to use it. If it does happen, comes the
"fun" to ask "the neighbor" to pay for the repair or replace the tool.
He may deny damaging the tool and claim he got it like that... You
must have heard that one before...
2. Liability issue. What happens, especially for you guys in the US,
if "the neighbor" injures himself pretty bad with your tool. Can he
sue you and invoke the fact you didn't give him enough warnings and
advices on how to use the tool?
3. Will it ever come back? When it's a big job, chances are pretty
high he will use it for several days. During all that time, you don't
have the tool for yourself. Not to say if you're to shy to ask, he may
just keep it.
4. And the last one, I just can't resign myself to lend any of my
tools. I carefully chose and paid the high price for them (I buy only
high end stuff) so let's say the "better cry once" happened several
times with me and I don't why to cry twice for the same tool.
So, what do you guys do when those situations happen? Do you have any
horror stories about that or overall, it always work for you?
I don't have any neighbors who are tool less (or gunless), except for
the recently divorced lady nest door.
My other neighbors and I freely lend tools to each other, mostly the
one who lives behind me. In fact, about an hour ago I borrowed a
hammer drill from him. If I wanted, I could borrow his Bobcat front
loader too, but I'm not checked out in it yet. (I just need to drill
a couple of holes in my new concrete/stucco patio wall, not knock it
When he added on to his house, he had my DeWalt 12" chop saw on
indefinite loan. It came back looking better than new. He used to
have me cut stuff on my Craftsman table saw for him, but when I bought
my Unisaw I sold the Crapsman to him. Remarkably, we're still
He's a certified welder by trade if I need that done, I'm a retired EE
so I solve his electrical problems.
I'm glad I don't live in your neighborhood.
No way! This is a hobby for me and it is something I enjoy doing. I
wouldn't want the potential headache of someone goofing up my power tools.
Try asking the big golfer in you neighborhood (every neighborhood has one)
if you can borrow his expensive golf clubs for the weekend and see what he
says. 9/10 attempts you will probably get the door in your face.
I usually decline. Luckily, few ask.
The only tools I lend are when I really feel comfortable with the
lendee, and only when I offer. If I didn't feel comfortable to offer,
I feel that I won't be comfortable doing it.
I recently loaned my $500 Porta-Nails floor nailer to a very good
friend to install 2000 sq/ft of oak. He's a good friend who I'm glad
to have in my life. He's always willing to help me flip a project,
load my trailer, and he dosen't puke when I take him flying.
If something happened to the nailer, and we couldn't agree on getting
it fixed, I value him over the tool. It's a tool, they'll make
more... When he brought it back, he gave me a really nice case of
It all comes down to the value of stuff vs. friends. Most of my
neighbors are simply acquaintances, not necessarily friends.
I like to be a good neighbor; so yes, whenever reasonable.
But borrowing a compressor to put a floor in is just wrong. I lent a
neighbor mine for a couple hours (along with my nailer) but for a floor he
should buy his own compressor.
I'll lend tools to mates that I know will respect them, but make a
general policy of not loaning tools or cash to anybody. It's a sure fire
method of losing friends.
On the other hand I don't borrow tools either and turn down most offers
of a loan.
In the past I have lent tools to people and had them back in a shocking
condition, completely RS or just a "sorry it stopped" ???
On the other hand, I borrowed a whipper snipper from a mate many years
ago. Needless to say, it turned bottom up. So I bought him a replacement.
Outcome- I was short the cost of a machine and no machine to show for it.
No horror stories. I'll loan something if I know the borrower is
competent to use it. The few times I've loaned something it's come
back as good as new. And it works the other way too. When I need to
use something I have infrequent use for, I'll ask someone that has
one. And then do my task and return it right away.
But I wouldn't loan to just anyone.
Also, my shop is in the basement so not that many people have seen my
stuff. They don't know I own "it" so they don't ask.
I just say in an ever louder tone of voice, "The last guy I lent tools to is
dead, and I don't want to go into the details about how he died because it
just gets me SO VERY ANGRY .............. "
at which time I start twitching the corner of one eye, banging whatever I
have in my hand against the floor, grunting, etc.
They usually leave quickly.
Sign in shop "don't embarrass both of us by asking to borrow tools" I lend
tools to people I woodwork with on a Limited basis. If I don't work with
you, you don't get tools. Same for the guys I work with. We have three shops
between us each set up for a specific type of work and the only tools we
"Lend" to each other are tools not normally used in one of the other shops.
We chip in and buy together tools that are needed in all the shops and used
in common, and pay for repairs and supplies in common. Outsiders don't
borrow tools from any of us.
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