Reuse-recycle-repair: Spotlight on Ostia Tools

Published 29th August 2017

How did it begin?

Ostia Tools began life as a team of hobbyists in a small workshop, using, making and repairing second hand machinery to its former glory. We sourced equipment online and in auctions and began to realise that we were dealing with lots of schools needing to get rid of old machinery and parts.

About a year ago we got chatting to a D&T teacher and found that the school had a lot of equipment in storage they needed to shift. We were shocked to find that, in the past, his school had been forced to pay for a company to collect valuable equipment.

We soon realised this was commonplace, with schools rarely receiving a fair price for good stock, so decided to create a solution: offering schools an efficient service for the removal and sale of equipment, providing much needed funds to them and lots of lovely tools and machinery for us!

Evolving and growing

From these early days we grew and were able to move out of our small workshop into a large unit in Bredbury, Stockport. The main factor was that a lot of tool traders aren’t interested in buying end of life, used equipment, whereas we can take everything from the completely new to the seemingly beyond repair.

The unit is set out like a diversely stocked warehouse shop so anyone can come in and browse the equipment. We have added a new website and soon hope to transfer the sales of second hand and reconditioned items to e-commerce web listings.

Working across the school

We mostly work with D&T departments as the equipment used here comprises the mainstay of our tool-based knowledge: lathes, saws, milling machines, drills, planer thicknesses, grinders, sanders, extractors (and loads more). Having said this, we welcome all kinds of school equipment no longer in use, from solid hardwood furniture and folding aluminium tables, to catering, art, science and gym equipment.

We are keen in ensuring that much, if not all, of the payment finds its way back into the D&T department. The reasonable price we offer schools goes a long way to assist in the improvement of resources. We’re proud that much of the work we have done has funded the purchase of new, high standard, state of the art D&T technology. We aim to remove the need for a busy D&T teacher to list items individually, communicate with bidders and buyers and organise multiple couriers. We offer a service that combines the purchase, removal and collection in one costing bracket. We price the items in-house, pay directly to the department and have a friendly and efficient courier service to complete the job.

As both buyers and sellers we’ve gained a large bank of contacts across the tool marketplace. Indeed, we often have a particular hobbyist in mind when we pick up a lathe, planer or saw. It’s comforting to know that all the tools we handle will find a good home.

We like to build good relationships with the schools we work with, and try to be always on hand for advice and support. We believe that collaboration is really important and love exchanging ideas on everything ‘tools.’

D&T futures

Everyone at Ostia Tools did D&T throughout our school years with some carrying on in to higher education with D&T related degrees. Of all departments across the education sector, D&T benefits most from keeping up-to-date with new technology. The technology sector is one of the fastest growing job sectors, so it is of paramount importance that D&T education in schools is practically current so pupils can take modern experience into the wider tech world.

We really enjoy talking with teachers and technicians about the equipment and find that they are equally passionate about pushing the subject forward. It is essential that teachers and D&T departments have the resources they need; hopefully, we can continue to be a contributing factor long into the future.

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