Turkleton

Advice on whether to transport large power tools cross country

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New guy here. I was hoping to get some advice from the knowledgeable folks on this forum.


An old friend recently passed away, and (completely unexpectedly) left me most of the tools in his workshop. These include a number of hand tools, as well as some larger power tools and machinery. However, there are two complicating factors: Firstly, he was located on the west coast, and I'm located in New England, so shipping costs are not insignificant. Although he specified that shipping costs should be covered by the estate, I would like to be sure that these machines are worth the expense of shipping them because I don't want to unnecesarily burden the estate. Secondly, the larger machines will likely be sitting in my unheated garage for several years before I'm realistically able to use and enjoy them. I have a few years of woodworking experience, and fully intend to get back into it down the road, but my work and family commitments at the moment don't allow me much time for this hobby unfortunately. Anyway, I'm concerned about the humidity and condensation in an unheated garage doing a number to these tools over several years. I've read that spraying the cast iron parts with boeshield or applying wax coatings can minimize damage, but I'm not sure how effective these treatments are over 5-7 years. I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of getting them over here, only to watch them deteriorate substantially over time before I'm able to use them.


I don't know anything about the condition of these tools since I haven't been able to get out there to see them yet, but knowing my friend, I suspect they are in reasonably good condition. The larger machines include:
- Rockwell Unisaw
- Bosch 10” tablesaw and legs
- Powermatic planer (18” quiet cutter head w/sharpener)
- 501 belt sanders
- Atlas Wood Lathe
- Grizzly G0586 Jointer
- Two drill presses (unknown make/model)
 - Logan model 200 machine lathe (not for wood, obviously, but something I could see myself using down the road)
 
I'd really appreciate any advice on which, if any, of these machines are worth the hassle and expense of shipping across country. I have a sense that a few of them - particularly the lathes – are probably extremely heavy.  I know some of these are older machines, but I don't know whether any of them are gems that would be hard to replace down the road. Also, if anyone has recommendations for how to actually ship these beasts, I'm all ears. 


Many thanks for any thoughts.
 

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When i moved i took my machines with me but that was only 600 miles. I had to store them for a while in a storage unit and i was very worried about rust. The reviews for storage units seem to be filled with leaky roofs ruined my stuff. I did some research for storing things long term, at the time i had no idea how long it'd need to be stored for. What i found was some gun grease that was supposedly good for keeping guns from rusting. I put it on the cast iron in a thick layer.

To stop from making a mess i cut some 3 mil plastic and cut it to the size of the casting and bedded it in the grease. This is a strategy that Powermatic used when they shipped me my table saw and jointer so i figured it must work pretty well. I then used some of that packing wrap to wrap it all up so the pastic wouldn't get peeled off and make a mess.

After moving and sitting in storage none of my cast iron had any sort of runs on it what so ever. I used denatured alcohol and rags to wipe the grease off and you'd never know that it was slathered on there after the fact. This grease was way more friendly than axel grease but it was similar to axel grease in consistency. It wasn't near as messy though.

 

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I can tell you there's a good bit of machine there. Yes, it'll be quite expensive to ship those as I'm sure they will have to be professionally crated, lifted with machinery all the way and probably be alone on a long haul truck.

Is it worth it? That's up to you but that is a very kind gesture.

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I agree with Brendon that is was a great gestur n your friends part and my condolences. However given the distance and your uncertainty as to when you will be using these tools, I would pass on them and let the estate dispose of them and let the heirs split the proceeds.. 

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That is a significant number of very decent machines. I think it would be worth at least finding out what the transport costs would be. Protect the cast iron and storage should be fine. 

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10 minutes ago, treeslayer said:

I'm thinking road trip!! if the estate would go for it, fly out, rent a U-Haul and drive the stuff back. Like Steve said thats a nice bunch of tools that you are going to use in the future and the expense would be great to replace the collection, plus they were an old friends tools and he wanted you to have them. just my 2 cents worth.

Good idea. A truck with a lift gate, a few furniture dollies, and some straps. You should be able to load and unload rather easily with some help.

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41 minutes ago, RichardA said:

I agree with treeslayer, a road trip and you get to personally oversee what you intend to keep.

And you never know there just might be some extras like hand planes, saws ect. that might be of use to you, and you get to meet the family, and i think thats the most important part.

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I'll be real honest.   The only one of those machines that would maybe be worth the cost of transport would be the 18" Powermatic planer.  But even that one, if it has the head I think it is-with short, thin straight blades, that's the least desirable head available on those machines.   The knife sharpening assembly by itself, if it's complete with the motorized grinding wheel, is worth more than you can buy that model of planer for on the East Coast.

I would keep the sharpening assembly, sell everything else there, and buy what you want at home.

Unisaws like that, and I use one myself, can be bought for less than it would cost to ship one that far.

I would need to know the models of drill presses before I can comment on those.

Also, I know nothing of Logan metal lathes.

Now, if you have the time for a scenic drive across county, throw all that out, go the rental truck route, and plan a trip you'll have good memories of for the rest of your life.

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Many thanks for all of your responses. The overall consensus seems to be that these machines are worth the effort and expense to transport across country, although @Tom King,  I do appreciate your honest assessment of the value of these particular tools relative to transport costs.  Sounds like they are decent enough machines, but not anything special.

My first choice would be to go out there, load everything up in a Uhaul, and drive it back east myself, as some of you have suggested.  But I don't know if I can swing that much time away from work this time of year, unfortunately.  Nevertheless, I definitely plan to head out there in person for at least a couple days to help pack up and perhaps load whatever I decide to take.  My buddy has also left me a bunch of smaller hand tools that I do plan to adopt.  I guess the next step will be to price out transportation options for this kind of thing.   @RichardA, any chance you could recommend a particular moving company or service, based on your experience?   Do owner/operator truck drivers ever take on this type of job?  

I suspect that once I have a better idea of what transport costs will actually be for the heavy stuff, it will help me decide which of the heavy machines to take and which to leave behind. I really don't want to leave the estate with an enormous bill.

Thanks again for all your thoughts, and feel free to keep the suggestions coming.

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Rarely do O/O even think about this sort of transport.  The reason is it's extremely costly to the consumer.  On average from Los Angeles to say Boston is pretty close to 3200 miles give or take. In order for an owner to charge for this trip He would have to require $3 to $5.50 per mile.   Insurance, fuel, tolls, driver pay, wear and tear. Then he has to find a load to get the hell outa any metro area.  And those loads are cheap, bare bones cheap, and always way to heavy.  Personally, I'd rent a truck from a nationwide rental agency and do the driving myself.  From California to Somewhere in the Northeast  with good weather,  Without experience of hard driving.   5 Days  A pro would do it in 3 days.

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Bring all the parts for the sharpening rig, on top of the planer, back with you.   The track assembly bolts onto the top of the machine.  There is a cast iron thing that holds a sharpening stone that cuts all the knives down to the same height below any knicks, that slides back and forth on the track while the machine is running, jointing the knives, and then there is an electric motor with a grinding wheel, that goes back and forth on the track, sharpening the knives.   The stone holder, and the grinder don't always stay on the track all the time, and one or the other is usually missing for the rare times when one comes up for sale.   Find them!

Unbolt the track off the top of the machine, even save the nuts, and bolts, and make absolutely sure you get the other parts.

When you go to sell it, hold out for the best price, and maybe even put them on ebay for a high Buy it Now.    Someone will want it badly.

 

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I have shipped a few tools a fair amount of distance. Usually the lift gate service to pick up and drop off is more than the freight itself. Get a freight broker and have him give you some prices. I’m thinking $3000 to move that stuff. The powermatic planer is worth having. The unisaw might be as well. The drill presses and lathes might be as well. I’m with everyone else, I think it’s a jerk move on your part not to accept the tools and use them.

 

Also, by “worth it” I mean pretty decent tools that would be worth having for the sentimental value. 

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It's worth a try to see what it would cost.    It looks to me like freight has gone up a lot, just lately.   I sold a sailboat boom to a guy in Portland.  It weighed 9.75 pounds, but was 118" long.  I sold the boom for $200 plus freight.  Freight was $338 and change.   The buyer was glad to get it at that though.

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I have a good friend that asked, if I outlive him, would I be part of the liquidation of his WW tools with the proceeds to pass on to his heirs and I agreeded. I can see where sentiment would come into the equation. Please keep us in touch with the final outcome and welcome to the forum. 

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I’d guess that the difference in cost of shipping a couple of the pieces of machinery vs shipping all of the machinery won’t be significantly different. I think the bulk of the cost will be due to the distance of travel. 

It might be hard to get a binding quote without having access to the equipment, especially if you don’t have the actual weights and dimensions of the stuff. But do what you can to get a couple quotes, then talk to the estate about it to let them know your concerns about burdening them with the cost. Some estates would be open to handling the equipment differently if the shipping cost makes it not worth sending, while others would rather pay $10k to have it shipped than deal with selling the stuff on Craigslist or similar  

If you decide to take the stuff, I’d vote for flying out, then driving a truck back with all of it. Depending on how comfortable you are with long drives, you could do the whole trip in a work week. I’ve done 2,675mi from CA to VA in 57hrs solo, and 42hrs with my wife. 

When you get back with the stuff, you can take your time to check out the equipment and decide what you want to keep and what you should sell. 

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2 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

I have a good friend that asked, if I outlive him, would I be part of the liquidation of his WW tools with the proceeds to pass on to his heirs and I agreeded. I can see where sentiment would come into the equation. Please keep us in touch with the final outcome and welcome to the forum. 

Thanks.  He was a great guy, and I'll miss him.

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I looked over the list and there is nothing that strikes me as worth a long distance trip to claim, even free.  This discounts any sentimental value.  

The Logan is a decent metal lathe but I don't do metal.

The only woodworking machine that sorta makes sense would be the planer BUT it is a Quiet Head.   Honestly, the only thing they are good for is a candidate for a Byrd head replacement.  They are a royal pain to set up or grind and joint.  If you watch auctions you will see they are the red headed step child of PM jointers which again makes them an excellent machine to switch heads on since they bring much less than a straight knife machine.  A Byrd head for the PM180 will run about $1500.  

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I think too many people's opinions are based on already having a shop full of tools or plenty of funds to build one. Having started with a cheap Craftsman saw anything was an upgrade. I wonder if " UShip" might find someone willing to haul a truck load of machines for you ?

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1 hour ago, wdwerker said:

I think too many people's opinions are based on already having a shop full of tools or plenty of funds to build one.

I think this is true.  

You owe it to your self and you friend to at least check it out.  There are some members here that are in Washington.  Maybe when the time comes for you to fly out and give this equipment a look,  post something a few weeks ahead and maybe someone up there will meet up with you to give you a second set of eyes to assess the tools.

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Unless the tools are truly awful, the story will  be nice to remember them when you use them. I wish I had taken more from my grandfather. I haven't found a use often for his old egg-beater drill, but I love seeing it and will use it time to time just for fun.

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