“The average power drill is used for just 13 minutes in its lifetime.”
This simple truth is one of the driving thoughts behind the Edinburgh Tool Library, which is just one of many successful tool-sharing communities around the world.
The average power drill is used for just 13 minutes in its lifetime. We clearly don’t all need to own one, and they’re often too pricey for many people to buy them in the first place – meaning a whole lot of untapped creativity, and a huge amount of wasted money. And it’s not just drills which are expensively gathering dust in cupboards.
To tackle this bizarre mixture of oversupply and under availability, tool-sharing libraries are cropping up around the world. These ventures give their members access to a huge range of tools for far less money than they’d cost to buy individually, and can become real creative community hubs.
Running out of a Dr Who-style police box near the city’s docks, the Edinburgh Tool Library has been going since early 2015 and now has 1,200 tools, 180 members, and is growing fast. We caught up with its founder, Chris Hellawell, to find out about making bathtubs into furniture, working to bring young fathers and their children together, and everything else that makes a successful tool library tick.