Machinery Removal – Part 1

by | Apr 24, 2012 | 9 comments

I’ve been racking my brains for a couple of weeks now trying to peace a sentence together that best describes moving the machines. To be quite honest I think the English language has let me down. Two weeks and I’ve only rustled up three words…..
‘Shear bloody will’.
I also seem to have trouble remembering much of it. (They do say you tend to forget traumatic experiences). All I can say though it that they are now back here in Lincolnshire all in one piece.

It all started on a sunny Friday morning, the birds were singing and I felt very positive. I decided to write Friday off from work and focus on making sure that I’d packed everything, and I mean everything. Engine lifts, pallet trucks, plywood, a hoover (don’t ask) the list went on. I managed to fill my old LDV to the brim and the trailer and then I headed off to kip at Kevin’s (another Maguire who happens to specialise in moving heavy awkward stuff!) so we could set off bright and early down to Kent the next morning. In the last seven years me and Helen have barely spent a night apart so three nights away were going to be quite a big thing in themselves. Helen seemed to overcompensate by packing me with bags and bags of food, there was all sorts from your usual snacks to boxes of Rice Crispies (I don’t even eat Rice Crispies!). Where to store all of this food did pose quite a problem especially as I didn’t take in to account the two scoots, five tonne jacks and bags of strops that Kevin had to add to the load so we spent a good twenty minutes stuffing food in to every nook and cranny around the pick up. 5am Saturday morning and the truck roared in to action, all 60 measly horsepower! The trip seemed to go on forever as my van defines the very meaning of van and as soon as we hit a slight incline on the motorway it rolled down to a steady 30mph, I didn’t dare look in the mirror but when I did I could see the whole world held up behind us whilst we pebble dashed their cars with Rice Crispies!

After about 6 ½ gruelling hours later we arrived and were greeted by a good friend Douglas. After straightening our spines back out again the three of us went off to the workshop to make plans for  the task ahead. The first thing that I noticed was that the little 2” step in to the workshop suddenly appeared 10” tall, no body said anything but I sense that we all thought the same. With time against us though we cracked straight on and within ten minutes were already unbolting the planer from the floor, the planer turned out to be quite a farce to move but we just kept reassuring each other that the first one is always the hardest. It turned out that none of them really wanted to leave their hundred year old home, they were all grouted down along with the bolts. It was the grout that posed the real problems as it was as hard as nails and had got in to all of the casting, probably an old local brew! Once we’d mastered a technique though the rest did seem to flow a lot smoother and some of them were out within minutes.

After the planer followed the spindle moulder, rip saw ( what a beauty that is!), morticer and grinder. We seemed to get all of those out in the time it had taken us to just get the planer.  It was only when we came to the bandsaw that the fun really began, we’d faced the same difficulty with all the machines but due to its positioning and height this one was especially tough. Once released we had to lift the machine well clear of the bolts left sticking out from the gound and having grout still caked around its base just added to the trauma; this one seemed to bring half of Kent up with it! It was at this point that Douglas had to leave us but with a man down and half way in to the night we persisted. It must have been over four hours just to get the bandsaw out but it was made easier when Sue (one of the owners of the workshop) brought us out a lovely meal – blimey that lady knows how to cook and the wine washed it down a treat! With the bandsaw out we decided to call it a night and headed to the Inn. Neither of us spoke much about it that night but I suspect we were both pondering the same question “was it possible to finish the job on time?” I didn’t get much sleep. On top of the final two machines we still had all of the pulleys and shafts to remove before the lorry arrived early Monday morning. The main line shaft was over 6m long and buried under the floor; I could see it spinning around and around in my head all night long!

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About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.


  1. Ken

    Richard, what a job you have given your self their buddy.
    When It’s all cleaned up, Installed and up and running I think you should be real proud of your self.

    I for one would love to see and hear them back in action. Great job, looking forward to the next post.

    Very Best


    • Richard

      Ken, Yes this was always going to be an awful lot of work and every time I think about it there is more and more to be done but I do know that the very first time that they are fired in to life I will be paid back and more. We have some big plans for once the machines are in action so I will certainly keep you updated. I do seem to have a habit of making life harder than it needs to be! Thanks for the support, Richard.

  2. John Walker

    Well Richard,

    Some job, for sure. The biggest machine in my single-size garage shop is a 12″ Sedgwick Planer/thicknesser. I am toying with the idea of putting it on castors, but as there aren’t many places I could move it to, I think I will just manhandle it around 180 degrees, so it faces facing the opposite way. Then it could tuck under the house stairs, when not in use. A system of wooden rollers underneath it makes it moveable along the shop to position where there is good feed on and feed off. So it’s a case of placing the rest of the ‘furniture’ around it! The only other thing without castors is my workbench. So I have to ‘play draughts’ when I want to use the planer anyhow.

    Hope the moving of that nice old Wadkin went okay of course.

    Best of luck.


  3. bob putman

    wow Richard, what a huge undertaking, but,…….it will be so well worth it, and your shop will be like a museum , and besides the wonderful benches you make, you will now have a premiere shop to show to boot, im really excited to be able to see this come to be, wish i could fly over and help, but my wings were clipped awhile ill have to watch from the sidelines..bob

  4. jimi43

    Hi Richard and Helen.

    It has been a true pleasure to have been involved in this plan from the first day the original owner contacted me to ask for advice about what to do with it. Looking back now, even I could not have foreseen the perfect match between him and your plans and the way it all dovetailed together perfectly! (Pun intended!).

    There are hardly any companies making benches approaching the quality and standard of build as yours but I don’t think any would have the heritage of build which you are about to install.

    This sort of devotion to perfection which makes me proud to say I am British….the sort of thing this country needs in an all too disposable world.

    I shall be watching your progress with great interest…well done guys!


  5. Andy Tuckwell


    I’ve been following this project with interest since it was first mentioned on ukworkshop and wish you every success.

    I just came across something that might help – an 1873 manual on how to set up and run a line-shaft and belt driven woodworking shop – available for free download to your iPad, Kindle or PC!

    I expect you will already know about it, but wanted to make sure just in case you didn’t.

    • Richard

      Hi Andy,
      What a fantastic find and thanks for sharing, it isnt something that we’ve seen. Its certainly going to be very handy so thanks again.

  6. Mike Johns

    I think the phrase you are looking for to describe this epic, is one my father used: “savage entertainment” best of luck

    • Richard

      ‘savage entertainment’… yes that seems to work well! Many thanks, I think we’ll need all the luck we can get with the remainder of this project!


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