A large part of the RAB Trust’s work is helping makers and restorers recycle their very specialised tools/wood/books. This is a hard topic to talk about, but it’s a comforting thought to know that our precious possessions can be handed on to the next generation when we retire, down tools or sadly die. And so, the RAB Trust tool sales were born! We sell these donated items to the students at a very generous price, many, including rulers, small chisels, gouges and knives for as little as £1 whilst larger more valuable items may be priced at as much as £30/£40. The proceeds are then used to pay for student grants and awards at our annual meeting.
All tools are marked up and students receive a 50% discount at point of sale. This means that our sales can also be open to non-students who will pay the full ticket price. But our priority is always to the students, allowing them to browse and choose first.
Mark Robinson (ex-Beares restorer/maker), RAB trustee, and I travelled to Newark on Monday 6 November and spent a day unpacking and setting up tools that had been donated from three UK workshops.
The sale opened early on the Tuesday in one of the downstairs rooms at the college. We invited the 2nd years to come in first, then 1st years and then foundation. By early evening we were flagging but stayed on to sell to the evening class students.
Being up close to the students means that there is time for conversation. To get to know them and hear about their journey to this point. We also offer our advice on what the less obvious tools are used for and which tools are appropriate at this time in their training. We help them make good choices.
Being students they love the ‘Free to a Good Home’ section… always popular!
They showed so much interest and asked after the makers who had made the donations. It was quite heart warming how grateful they were to their benefactors, who they will never meet, but will remember when using those previously much-loved tools.
We took £2,500 during the course of the day, which considering the generously low pricing, really astonishes me. Money the Trust will re-invest in the students.
Huge thanks to Floriane, teacher and course manager, who put everything in place to enable us to do this, and technician Chris Wallington who couldn’t have been more accommodating!
Judith Blackwell, RAB Secretary and trustee