MINNEAPOLIS – Have you ever said, "That's it. I'm not hiring this one out. I'm going to build a deck."
To do it, you’ll probably want a Miter saw, post digger, maybe a skill saw, level, power drill, and sledge hammer.
You can rent about half these items at a local hardware store for one day at $84 plus tax and a hefty deposit (that’s what we were quoted). Or you could rent them from the Minnesota Tool Library (formerly Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library) for a flat $55 per year charge.
“People often time are unable to take on a project whether it be financially or don’t know how to maintain the tools,” said Thomas Ebert, co-founder of the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library. “We offer the tools, the space to store them, and the maintenance of them and then offer them at a low cost.”
Ebert and co-founder Zach Wefel, created the NEMTL in 2015, and in those two years, they’ve accumulated more than 3,000 tools and 360 subscribers.
“I’d say 90 percent of our tools are donated. You walk into this workshop and it’s yours. You benefit from the tools here but also clean up after yourself,” said Ebert.
The successful idea hasn’t gone unnoticed. Over the weekend, a second site opened in St. Paul.
“We said, we’d love to start one in St. Paul, can you help us out?” said John Bailey, chair of the St. Paul Tool Library. “And they were very eager to help us.”
The new site, located in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood, offers the same service and rate as the other library, and both will share full reciprocity for tool rentals and shop usage.
“I think it’s a super do-it-yourself community. I think especially in St. Paul. I think people want to do things on their own. They don’t want to pay someone to do things for them,” said Bailey.
Ebert says the library is expanding into household tools like sewing machines and kitchen tools like ice cream makers and Kitchen Aid mixers. He also says to expect another location in North or South Minneapolis in the near future.
A list of hours and tools available can be found at nemtl.org.