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Disposal of tools & equipment

My wife wants me to clean my “stuff” out of the garage. She’s right, since due to age, I’m not going to be working on cars anymore. We’re talking big heavy stuff, like a Sunscope engine analyzer, Sun distributor machine, and a brake lathe that was old when I bought it 40 years ago, as well as a host of smaller tools and test equipment. My first thought for disposal was donate everything to a local vocational school or program. I met with the chancellor of the local school district, and he informed me our school district has no vocational program. I contacted the county community college… Same answer. Other than selling all this on eBay, anyone have any ideas what I should do with all of it?

I dunno. My wife told me the same thing but I’m not getting rid of any tools at this point. Pawn shops will take lots of stuff but you won’t get anything for it. Maybe ask a couple independent shops who might have some mechanics that would be interested for their own use, or maybe if there is a car club or two in your area like the Street Rod Association in Minnesota. Ya gotta make sure it gets a good home though so if you have to rent a storage unit until then, so be it.

My dentist decided to retire and I was there on his last day. I looked around and asked him what he was going to do with all the stuff he had and he didn’t know. Suppliers wanted to sell new stuff out of the box and not sell used. I’d love to have one of those adjustable chairs to sit in, and I always thought those little drills and everything would be great to have. When our building at work was sold, I had about 30 days to clean out about 100,000 square feet with a small crew, including office and lab equipment. Most of it just got dumped-no market. If it wasn’t for the scrap dealer hauling load after load, I never would have made it. It might have been turned into a new Plymouth by now.

A fellow at the local monthly flea market was selling an ancient Sun distributor diagnosis machine last summer. So that’s one idea, your community flea market. Another, sell it on craigslist. My neighbor refurbishes old industrial equipment that’s 50 years old or more, table saws, drill presses, etc, and once he’s done if his wife makes him declutter the garage he sells it on craigslist or other websites that deal with buying and selling that sort of stuff. If you clean it up, maybe give it a little contrasting paint, it will sell for more $$ and faster.

It’s unfortunate the shop class seems to have vanished from the school system. I still recall when I took metal shop in junior high school, a subject for which I had absolutely not aptitude. I’m talking seriously no aptitude. While the other kids were welding up filing cabinets and other complicated stuff, the best I could do was a dustpan. That required spot welds, so I learned how to do that anyway. That knowledge hasn’t done me any good since, no spot welding machine. I still use the dustpan though, works pretty good as dustpans go. I got off on a bad start in that class. During the first pop test one of the questions was: What do you use to mark a layout line on a piece of sheet metal? I said “a straight edge”. The correct answer was an “awl”. I argued this point with the teacher, but still got no credit for my straight edge answer. The only way I passed that class at all was to bend up a couple of oven baking sheets … lol …

When I spoke with the school district head, he explained to me that 96 percent of our high school graduates went on to 4 year colleges, and had no interest in the trades, thus no vocational program. Your experience with metal shop mirrors mine in wood shop, and to this day I’m a lousy carpenter.

Yeah that is turning out to be a fool’s errand. Now companies are crying for the trades where earnings easily exceed those with four year degrees. They are having to again re-tool to build up Vo-Tecs. Who didn’t know that? One of my classmates has a very successful tool and die shop and was apoplectic with the vo-tec when they started eliminating the trades-his source for staff. Maybe @VDCdriver could comment on the trend as a councilor? Tons of jobs available around here compared to many fewer for those with degrees in non-STEM fields. They had shop when I was there but you didn’t have time to take the classes if you were college prep so I lost out. I picked up my shop training though from my dad, on my own, the Army, and summer factory jobs, so I was lucky. We had an automotive program that won national competitions sponsored by Ford. A couple years ago they tried to cut it out but the public was so up in arms that the school board kept it. I can’t say for sure if they didn’t shut it down again with the retirement of the instructor. Clearly some of these folks in charge of educating our youth were out to lunch. Don’t get me started on the history programs.

I made and varnished a corner shelf in wood shop and I don’t know if it has dried yet!, I lost track of it when we moved 53 years ago.
Our state has a BOCES program that is basically a vocational program. I transported our auto tech students to a neighboring district because ours didn’t have a program.

When I asked the kids how the program was, I was told they were not able to do any actual shop work because the school systems were dumping a lot of juvenile delinquents into the program so the regular schools didn’t have to deal with them. These kids stole and sold all the tools and equipment the first week to pay for drugs.

If you find a trade school with an auto repair program they probably won’t have space or the desire to store that type of equipment (obsolete).

In 2003 the monitor on our alignment rack failed, the service tech removed the monitor from our Sun oscilloscope for the alignment rack and the Sun analyzer was wheeled out to the dumpster. I was shocked, apparently I was the only one using it, on my own cars, there was little use for it with customers cars. I wanted to take it home but it was just too large to keep around as a collectible.

You might draw some interest on Craig’s List for the large equipment, an old hobbyist may be interested. Scrape dealer’s might offer to take it away for $50, you pay them.

Thank you everyone, you’ve given me some intriguing ideas. I’m a member of the WPC ( Walter P Chrysler ) club. I’m going to see if any of my fellow admirers of old iron want to annoy their wives, and put this equipment to good use.

In the county where I taught and where I later was a HS Counselor, we were lucky to have a very good county vocational school system, which was reputed to be the first county-wide vocational school system in The US. Over the years, it actually expanded, but the public seemed to view it as a place for less-capable students.

In a move that I think was absolutely brilliant, about 10 years ago, the powers-that-be decided to use that same vo-tech system as a group of specialized college-prep magnet schools for the most gifted students in the area. One is dedicated to health careers, another to STEM, and I don’t recall the specializations of the others. Now, whenever SAT scores for the state are publicized, those county schools are consistently in the top 1-2%.

So, in addition to continuing to provide excellent vo-tech education (at no cost to HS students or to post-HS enrollees), they have polished their image by also running highly-competitive, highly-specialized, college prep programs for those who don’t want to enter a trade.

Is there a category in Hemmings for this stuff?

What a great idea.