BorrowingReservationsMembershipThe WorkshopsClassesThe Workshop InductionStuff for saleRenewals and late feesTool SharpeningMusic Broth (Musical Instruments Library) – Sharing LibrariesCovid-19 procedures


Can I borrow tools at present?

Yes! We’re open for borrowing. You just need to have an active membership.

When can I collect tools? When must I return tools?

We’re open on Fridays for borrowing Meadowbank tools (3 till 7pm) and on Thursdays for borrowing Portobello tools (5 till 8pm). You can pop by during these opening times and borrow what’s available. You can also reserve tools and book a pick-up time slot for a smoother collection.

Tools must be returned on Mondays, clean and at the same location you’ve picked them up from.

Is borrowing only for the weekend?

Borrowing is for the weekend but if the tools aren’t in high demand, we’ll happily extend the loan for another week. Ask the volunteers when collecting. We will set the due date for not the coming Monday, but the one after (i.e. 10 days).

Please only ask when you really need the tools for that extra week. Maybe the weekend will still be enough?

Where are you located?

We have 3 different locations:

  • one tool library behind Meadowbank Shopping Centre for borrowing only,
  • one workshop and tool library off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall for borrowing and making,
  • and another workshop off Commercial Street, next to Dock place on the shore for making only.

See directions and opening times on our Find Us page.

What if I can never make your pick up sessions on Thursdays or Fridays, or cannot return on a Monday?

You can reach out to us and we’ll see what can be possible within our scope. Here is our contact page.

Is there parking at Meadowbank or in Portobello?

There is limited on street parking in local areas. Please park responsibly. ETL takes no responsibility for damage or theft of vehicles or for any endorsements received for illegal parking.

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Are reservations required?

No, you can pop by during our opening hours, see what tools are available then and borrow on the spot. Reserving tools allows you to know what you’re coming for and book a time slot for a smoother collection.

How long in advance can I reserve tools?

No more than 3-4 days in advance. We only accept reservations submitted on or after Tuesday for both pick ups from Portobello on Thursday and from Meadowbank on Friday.

Is there a reservation deadline?

We only consider reservations submitted before Thursday 10 am for a pick-up on the same day for Portobello tools and on Fridays for Meadowbank tools.

How many tools can I reserve?

You may reserve as many tools as you require, but only make one reservation request please. Multiple reservation requests will be deleted. This is because, to help maintain social distancing, we are limiting the total number of reservations, so multiple reservations would mean fewer people could benefit from the tool library.

Where can I browse the tools?

You can browse the tools online right here.

How do I reserve tools?

1. Log in to your tool library account here
2. Start a cart
3. Select a pick-up day (Thursday for Portobello, Friday for Meadowbank)
4. Select a pick-up time
5. Browse the inventory (Please note that we don’t have the capacity to move tools between Meadowbank or Portobello. So make sure to browse the tools from the location you want to pick up from).
6. Review your Cart once you added all the tools you need
7. And don’t forget to click ‘Submit’ reservation!

How do I know my reservation has gone through? You will receive an email from us recaping the tools you’ve asked to book.

When do I know my reservation has been taken care of? You’ll receive an email by Thursday 5pm confirming the tools are ready.

CARGO BIKE DELIVERY 🚴‍ – How to request a cargo bike delivery?

You can request a delivery for tools you’ve reserved. Read through our dedicated page here to check if the deadlines and fees are working for you.

I’ve realised I can’t collect my tools after all. What should I do to be a considerate member?

Cancel your reservation as soon as possible! You can do so via your tool library account, or if you don’t know how to do that, just email us at tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.

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How much is a membership or renewal?

Regular membership is £30 and £20 on renewal, concession membership is £10. If you want to help someone and pay forward an extra concession membership, you can select the Pay It Forward membership. Any contribution will be gratefully received!

Why should I become a member?

You should definitely become a member if you want to borrow tools and access the workshop (even once). If you want, you’re more than welcome to pop by our spaces when we’re open to have a proper look yourself. Volunteers will be pleased to give you a tour and answer any questions you might have! You can also read about membership benefits on this page.

If you’re looking for more ways to support our charity, what about adopting a tool or becoming a volunteer?

Are there any discounted membership options?

We have a concession membership rate of £10 for people in receipt of benefits or in full time education. We ask you to please bring evidence of this when you first come to borrow tools.

We require members to have their card details filled in online to reserve tools. Please contact us if this is an issue for you.

How long does a membership last?

1 Year.

Can I buy a membership? and where?

Yes! We welcome new tool library members. We prefer you to create your account and purchase your membership in advance online as it makes the process far easier for our volunteers. Everything you need to know is laid out on our membership page.

Do memberships auto-renew?

By default, no. So, if you’ve not ticked the auto-renew check box when signing up, you will receive several emails when your membership is about to expire and we would LOVE for you renew online here or email, or let us know in person!

Even if you have finished your home renovation, for example, and don’t think you will use us much this year – by supporting us annually you help to make us a robust resource for everyone and ensure that we’ll have what you need when you DO need us again!

Can I pay in cash? How will payments be taken?

In the interest of hygiene and to keep both you and our volunteers safe, we currently prefer contact less card payments. You can always go to your account, select and pay for your membership right here. We also accept cash or (ideally) card payments in person.

I do not need to use the workshop spaces. Is there a membership option just for borrowing tools?

No. Your membership gives you access to the entire ETL community and you can choose the resources that you need. Even if you only need to borrow tools, we’d recommend trying out a session at one of our workshops. Beginners are more than welcome, and we can assign you a volunteer to help you through any issues you may have with using tools. There are also free inductions as part of your membership, so we can train you how to use the larger machinery.

How do I cancel my membership?

We don’t refund memberships mid-year. If your membership is set to auto-renew and you don’t want it to, you can change that in your account on this page. You just have to un-tick the box that reads “◻️ Renew Automatically”. 

Membership revenue is one of the biggest ways our programs thrive as we are a charity. However, we also understand that life is unpredictable and we would never want to lock someone into a membership they can’t afford – if you’re worried about paying for your membership, email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk to see how we can help.

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The Workshops

Can I access the workshops at present?

Yes! During regular sessions and classes.

  • The regular sessions are for our members. You need an active membership to join in and we’ll require you to first attend a safety induction. You can read more below.
  • Our classes are open to everyone, members and non-members. No induction required.
What can I make in the workshop?

Our workshops are wood based. We have all the tools you need for making nice woodworking projects like wooden shelves, wooden toys, wooden gifts, wooden prototypes or models, etc.

Our workshops are also there for you to make new friends! Our workshops are the heart of our community:   

  • here for sharing and learning from each other, 
  • here for breaking down stereotypes about who can become a maker, 
  • here for gaining confidence and soon supporting new members, 
  • here for bringing the community together.
Is there storage space for a project that I have not finished yet?

No, there is no possibility of storing projects. Our community workshop is shared and used by different groups throughout the week. We need as much space available for the magic of making to happen.

I’m not sure which one of the type of sessions/classes would be best for me. Can you help?

We’ve laid out more information on a page dedicated to workshops and events at the tool library. See you there.

Where are your workshops located?

We have 2 different workshop spaces:

  • one off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall
  • and one off Commercial Street, next to Dock place on the shore.

See exact addresses on our find us page or when you book your spot via our eventbrite page.

I can’t make it anymore. How can I cancel my booking? 

Log in to your eventbrite account and follow these steps.

Please do your best to cancel your booking at least 48 hours in advance. That way we can  offer the spot to another member on the waitlist.

Note that:

  • if you fail to cancel in advance on any of the free member induction or open sessions, we retain the right to deduct a no-show fee donation of £5 from your registered myTurn card
  • there are no refunds for paid classes.
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Do I have to be a member to join a classe?

No, you don’t! Our classes are open to everyone. A tool library membership will give you a 10% discount though on the price.

What are the upcoming classes/making events?

Have a browse on our eventbrite page to see if there are any upcoming classes! We update our profile every Thursday 8pm.

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The Workshop Induction

What is the workshop induction for?

Our health & safety community workshop induction is to help you :

  • learn how to use the machines in our workshops safely 
  • understand and agree to our community workshop etiquette. 
Are the inductions valid for both workshops?

Yes, inductions are valid for both the Porty & Leith workshops.

When are workshop induction required?

Workshop inductions are required ahead of joining our open sessions. These require you to have an active membership.

Once you’ve attended the induction, you will be able to come to any members open sessions.

Volunteers on shifts will know that you know the rules and that you will do your best to keep our space safe for everyone.

Have a browse on our eventbrite page to see the upcoming ones and to book your spot!

What are the different levels of induction?

Most of the inductions cover levels 1 to 4:

1 = basic health & safety, hand tools

2 = handheld power tools   

3 = mitre saw, band/scroll saw, drill press, standing sanders   

4 = table saw   

5 = lathe

What about level 5 or other tools in the workshops? During open sessions you can request to be inducted on machines and tools that are not included in the initial induction you’ve attended. This option will be available based on the knowledge of the workshop volunteers on shift and the busyness of the session.

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Stuff for sale

GIFT IDEAS 🎁 Do you sell gift membership or workshop vouchers?

Yes we do! And we love that you’re thinking of us to make someone else happy. Get in touch at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk and we’ll sort you out.

Do you sell any tools?

We generally don’t sell tools. People donate them to us out of good will, and in order to maintain that good will, we give away our excess tools to other tool libraries that are setting up, or other charities that need them.

Some of our excess tools were sent to a refugee camp in Lesbos. Here you can see a group of young Syrian refugees being taught woodwork with our donated tools.

We recently ran a fundraiser tool sale and might run another one in the future, but it’s definitely worth it for you to become a member in the meantime!

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Do you sell PPE (including dust masks)?

We currently stock ear defenders, ear plugs and goggles, all £3 each. We sell them because we think everyone who is using noisy tools should have their own pair, and we are particularly aware of the risks in sharing wearable equipment. Once the COVID19 crisis is over we will stock dust masks too.

Do you sell any consumables?

Yes, we have a pick and mix wall of supplies and consumables for sale (depending on the latest donations, it can include screws, nails, wall plugs but also light switches, light bulb, safety pins, paint brushes, etc…-). You can check when you collect the tools.

We try our best to provide any essential consumables with the tool you’re borrowing (like blades, sanding sheets, etc.) and if you use them, we would ask for a small donation in return when picking up or dropping off the tool.

Can I pay in cash?

Yes, but we prefer card payments at this time. Late fees or donations towards supplies or PPE can only be paid in person. Memberships can be paid and renewed online from your tool library account.

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Renewals and late fees

I’ve realised I am not going to be able to return my tools on time. What can I do to avoid a fine?

If you know you can’t return tools, or you have realised you missed the return day, contact us at the first available opportunity. If you are super apologetic, and we haven’t had to disappoint someone else or chase you up, you might get away with a wag of the finger and slightly disapproving look.

Can I renew a loan myself?

Send us an email by Monday 1 pm on tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk. We’ll check if the tools are not in high demand and renew them for you. You can’t renew the loan yourself at the moment.

How much are late return fees?

It can go up quickly. Late fees are £1 per day per power tool and 50p per day per hand tool. So if you have a drill and a sander out and you forget to bring it back, you will be shelling out £14!

Every tool late is another member who can’t borrow that tool. So all late tools are charged a late fee. This is not how we want to make money, it is how we make sure you don’t forget next time!

How do I pay any late return fees I have on my account?

You’ll be able to pay the late fees in person at drop-off. Cash or card payments are accepted.

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Tool Sharpening

How much does it cost?

The cost is £3.50 per tools, or 3 tools for £10.00 (final cost is subject to seeing the tool, as sometimes it’s a longer job than normal).

This covers all normal hand tools such as:

  • chisels
  • planes
  • scissors and kitchen knives
  • most garden tools (shears, loppers, secateurs, and some mowers)

Saws are costed on an individual basis.

Sorry, but we do not sharpen swords, guillotines or aeroplane propellers!

Do I have to be a member to benefit from your tool renovation & sharpening service?

No, you don’t! Our tool renovation & sharpening service is open to everyone.

How long does it take?

Completion may take up to a week, but normally less.

Where and when can I get my tools sharpened?

Tools are sharpened by our volunteers in Portobello, during normal opening hours.

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Music Broth

NEW PARTNERSHIP 🎹 – What is Music Broth?

Music Broth is a Glasgow-based musical instrument library – exactly like a tool library, but for musical instruments instead of tools!

We are thrilled to announce that you can now pick up the musical instruments you’ve ordered via Music Broth from our Portobello space at specific days and times.

The default loan length is 2 months so you get time to practice.

Does my ETL membership cover Music Broth?

No, you need to have a separate Music Broth membership and account to borrow with them. They offer individual, family, band and organizational memberships. To find out more about Music Broth memberships, visit their website here.

Collection and return

The collection and return are happening on Monday evenings every 2-3 months. This is not regular yet. The first session was on Monday 30th September 2021. Keep an eye out on our social media and Music Broth’s website for the next borrowing event.

Why are we collaborating with them?

If you’re a tool library member, you’ll know already how important reducing waste, reusing materials and sharing knowledge and resources within our community is to us. Well, Music Broth are the same – but with music.

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Sharing Libraries

I’m thinking of starting a sharing library. Can you help?

Yes! We have laid out a must-read page for you to get started with common questions and links to resources you may find helpful. See you there.

I would love one of these Little Free Libraries you’ve made. Can you help?

Yes! We have laid out all the information you need in one pager. See you there.

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Covid 19 procedures

What precautions will be in place to avoid spreading of Covid-19 between persons?

We are asking all members to wear face masks and to be mindful of social distancing when visiting the tool library spaces. We also ask anyone handling tools to regularly sanitise their hands. All ETL staff and volunteers are following the same guidelines.

I am showing or a family member is showing symptoms of Covid-19. Can I still collect or return tools?

If you are experiencing ANY symptoms of COVID19 or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, please do not borrow tools from us, and please do not come to the tool library. If this affects you returning tools, please drop us an email to hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk

If this affects a reservation you have made, please tell us so we can free up the tools for someone else to use.

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If you have any other questions not addressed in this section, please email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk.