I come to the oracles seeking the wisdom of the ages.
More specifically.... I am planning on moving in a few months and I want
some advice on moving my larger stationary tools.
Can I trust a regular moving company to move power tools with precision
surfaces/mechanisms? I am most concerned about my planer, jointer,
contractor style table saw, and band saw. I also have a floor standing
Can a regular mover handle these ok?
Are there special moving companies?
Is it really worth begging my friends to lug heavy metal for me?
Any and all advice appreciated. I have never done this before. Last time I
moved was BWW (before woodworking) and my tools fit in a couple of
cardboard boxes. How time flies and shops fill up.
Many moving companys (not all) have problems moving simple furniture much
less shop tools.
I'd strongly suggest NOT going with the lowest price for movers, unless you
want everything held for ransom for months on end by a private trucker.
Go with the most reputable mover you can get, someone with their own trucks.
Be sure to tell them exactly what tools wil be involved, everything should
There is approximately a 0% chance that I'd let anybody move my stationary
tools without me being there while they were being loaded to make sure it
was done correctly and with care. What's the matter, your friends don't
drink beer? ;-)
I moved last year from Boston to southern Utah with a full shop of equipment.
You need to be there, and to have a few items broken down first. Usually the
driver supervises packing the van, and most are pretty good. The helpers,
however, are often whomsoever might be available, and need to be closely
watched. Make sure all your cords are secured, fences removed, etc. There are
specialty moving companies, but they're very expensive.
Assume, of course, that you'll need to realign everything when it arrives.
The only problem I hit was they moved the shop in the afternoon, and it
started to rain. We had to wipe off each item when it reached the van, and I
still had rust to remove after it arrived.
I just completed the same task. Table saw, router table, dust collector,
jointer, bandsaw and lots of cabinets and hand tools. Talked to several
moving companies and decided on one that specialized in piano moving.
Smartest move I made! Not only are they adept and handling VERY heavy items,
there are trained to be very careful. Bumping a piano can torque the frame
and there goes the tuning.
Long story short - only caution I gave them was not to lift the tablesaw by
the extension fence. After the move, I checked the alignment of all the
tolls and they were as good ( or bad) as when I started.
Good luck -
I am only 1/2 way through the replies so far. Thanks everyone!
So far there is some good advice.
Disassemble evreything I can
Secure power cords
TopKote the heck out of everything to reduce rust
Find movers that can handle pianos
Watch them closely
As for my table saw I was going to remove
the table extensions and guide rails.
Thanks for all the replies everyone. I still got more to read!
I moved not too long ago, before I acquired some of my larger tools, but
if I were moving again today I'd do it the same way: self-service moving
(www.upack.com)I'm not affiliated, just a one-time satisfied customer,
YMMV, all disclaimers apply. They dropped a 28' trailer in my driveway
and then came and got it when we were done loading it. Same deal
unloading. It worked out to be less than half the cost of paying somebody
else to move us long distance, and our 4 BR household *pretty much* fit
into the trailer (after an impromptu yard sale). If you don't use the
whole trailer, you pay less.
As far as packing your goods, you're on your own with this method, and
frankly I wouldn't have it any other way. If something of mine gets
broken, I want to be the one who broke it. One man's junk, and all that
... a lot of hand-me-downs that insurance can't replace.
So we wrapped just about EVERYTHING in industrial strength saran wrap
(the kind of stuff shippers wrap around pallets of just about anything
... don't know where you'd find it; my dad knows some guys who drive
trucks and got some partial rolls). It's more of a pain to load the truck
because nothing slides, but then again ... nothing slides. I threw an old
quilt over my table saw and wrapped it in plastic, and it was good to go.
I used scrap lumber and tiedowns to improvise a series of bulkheads every
8' or so. The ride is rougher than U-Haul, and the trailer will get hot
inside, so plan accordingly.
Two notes of caution about the big folding ramp: 1. They expect you to
leave room for it in the trailer. 2. Its serrated nonskid design works
great on workboots, but not so much when you trip over it and land on
your knee ... and when you're moving, a trip to the ER and the insertion
of 11 staples can really interfere with your moving plans, especially if
you're one of these anal-retentive types who HAS to do everything
yourself :) Good luck with the move.
I think you've had some good advice here, but I'll tell you my
experiences. I've moved the shop several times across country. The
best results have always been when I did most of the work myself - that
goes for the whole house including dishes, glasses, etc. Obviously I
couldn't handle the big stuff myself for long distance moves and I
strongly recommend you follow the advice given here that says BE THERE
when they move the shop. I usually break the tools down (fence rails
and wings off the TS for example) and try to get them packed in boxes.
You also haven't mentioned the small power and hand tools. Even though
they say they won't guarantee breakage for the boxes they don't pack, I
STRONGLY recommend you do it. I wrap them all in layers of newspaper
and fill in the voids with more crumpled paper. They'll just throw them
into a box and you can expect much breakage, dents and nicks.
There's an even bigger reason for pre-packing. I don't want to lose my
tools! Early moved seemed to result in much pilferage. When unpacking
one time, I had pulled out a few tools to start cutting open boxes and
putting things together. As the movers cleaned up, I noticed several of
my tools were missing and they seemed to be the ones the locally hired
helper had borrowed (I agree with the comment by a previous poster that
the drivers can be trusted). After I complained, the driver told the
helper several times to go find the tools, but he just wandered around.
It wasn't until I refused to sign the release that he went out to the
truck, reached under the seat and returned with the tools.
The moving company will reimburse you for lost items, but what are the
chances you can remember every single tool you own. You'll realize
something is missing several months later when you need it.
I ditto what Art said; I moved my shop twice. Break down your machines
as much as possible; if its a contractor saw, remove the fence, wings
and motor. Do your own packing and number the boxes "1 or 10 Shop"
etc., and don't label them as "Lie Nielson Planes" but generically as
"shop" to reduce pilferage, as the help ain't always the best of
character. A good mover will drop you off some labels, tape and packing
material so you can pack your stuff up yourself. You must be there for
loading and unloading. good luck.
Good advice. Thanks.
I always pack for my own moves. It is not only cheaper, but I pack better
than they do because I care more.
I mostly hire the mover to load the truck, drive the truck, unload the
Unfortunately I to have heard many stores of pilferage by movers. For
boxes with hand tools and such in them I will just mark them "basement"
and a number. I will record the contents on my clipboard.
I have one more thing to consider. I have a huge gun safe (800 lbs). I
may find a rigging company and have them do the safe and stationary
machines. It will cost a little more, but I bet riggers who handle pianos
know how to be more carefull.
Also, thanks for the advice about not signing the delivery notice until
pilferage is resolved. I bet that does get them to "look again" to find
the things that got "lost".
My preference would be to mark them 'Books' instead. 'Basement' could mean
lots of things. 'Books' on the other hand are quite unlikely to attract much
interest, as well as being heavy which matches many tools.
A decent second-hand bookstore should buy them. At least, I've bought
several from second-hand sources to keep as references and they must
have got them from someone. Of course, if you happen to have a copy
of Euclid's Elements Vol. I and Vol. III (Books I, II, X, XI, XII, and
XIII), I'd be happy to take it off your hands to complete the set.
The local library doesn't even have the buggers anymore.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
Use your stock to build crates and break down the large machines. For
example, when I moved I remove the cast iron wings on my table saw and
built a wooden box for each wing. The crates can be managed much
easier that way. Don't expect a moving company to take your machines
apart and crate them. Moving companies will, however, have custom
crates made at a additional charge. But I'm sure you can make your
own, and probably better built.
Yes! Look under "riggers" in the yellow pages, and prepare to pay!
These guys show up with forklifts, etc... and move machinery every
day. I've hired these guys to move large telephone company wet cell
batteries, generators, etc... If they can't move it, nobody can.
Did I mention to open the wallet?
Call riggers and get quotes, the answer will quickly become clear.
I think, at some point, I would consider selling the large iron locally,
and looking for replacements on the other end. Unless I had a unique,
low serial number Unisaw or something else special, but everything I
have in heavy gear was purchased new in the last five years.
Hand tools are a completely different story. Plywood cases, glued and
screwed, with lockable hasps. Casters. And large labels. Like a rock
Where I would have a problem is with the wood rack. Some of that supply
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.