Edinburgh Tool Library

The library

Can I borrow tool as of April 29th 2021?

Yes! We’re open for borrowing.

What day can I collect tools?

Leith tools can be collected on Fridays with booked appointments. Portobello tools can be collected on Thursdays, with booked appointments too. Read more below on how to reserve tools and book a time slot.

When must I return tools?

Tools must be returned on Mondays, clean, disinfected and at the same location you’ve picked them up from (at the same time if possible).

Is borrowing only for the weekend?

Yes, by default, borrowing is for the weekend but if the tools aren’t in high demand, we’ll happily extend the loan for another week from the due date. Ask the volunteers when collecting. We will set the due date for, not the coming Monday, but the one after.

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

Can I renew a loan myself?

You can’t renew online at the moment, instead send us an email by Monday 13:00 pm on tools@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk. We’ll check if the tools are not in high demand and renew them for you if possible.

What’s going to cost me a late return?

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 will be charged a late fee, no exceptions. This is not how we want to make money, it is how we make sure you don’t forget next time!

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.

Where is your Portobello space?

We are located off Portobello High street, a 2 minute walk from the Town Hall. The address is – 19 Windsor Place EH15 2AJ
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/WXn4D7sM9BdnXSUA9

Where is the Tool Depot?

We are located off Pilrig Street, a 5 minute walk from Leith Walk.
The address is – 9 Spey Street Lane EH7 4QB
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/Db2RLANrSoU4Vt9NA

Is there parking at the depot or in Portobello?

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

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. Very occasionally we have antique tools for sale, as these are more ornamental than are needed. If you are interested in antique tools, please drop us an email.

F.A.Q. 1
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.
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 some consumables for sale, which you can check when you collect the tools. It is tricky to do this as we have such a range of manufacturers and models that is impossible to have something that fits every tool. If you use consumables provided with the tools, we would ask for a small donation for things like sanding sheets and belts.

Can I pay in cash?

No, at this time card payments only.

F.A.Q. 2


How long in advance can I reserve tools?

We only accept reservations submitted on or after Tuesday (anytime) for a pick up on the same week, so no more than 3-4 days in advance.

Is there a reservation deadline?

We only consider reservations submitted by Thursday 10:00 am for a pick-up on the same day for Portobello tools and on Friday for Leith 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 Leith)
4. Select a pick-up time
5. Browse the inventory (Please note that we don’t have the capacity to move tools between Leith 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’ve just received 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 evening confirming the tools are ready.

How do I book an appointment for collecting tools?

This is integrated in the reservation process. Once you’ve clicked on the date, you’ll be able to select a pick-up time. We’ve split the session into 15 minutes slots, three pick-ups per slot. We ask that you return your tools on the Monday during the same time slot.

RECENT UPDATE – How to request a cargo bike delivery?

Have a read through our dedicated page here and if the deadlines and fees are working for you, prepare your reservation as usual, add all the tools you need (only tools from our Leith location), and when asked to choose a pick-up time: please select the last time slot – 23:00 to 23:15 so that we get them ready for Farr Out to pick up.

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.

F.A.Q. 2


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 that can help, 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?

How much is a membership or renewal?

Regular membership is £30 and £20 on renewal, concession membership is £10. If you want to pay it forward, or donate more, any contribution is gratefully received.

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 require you to create your account and purchase your membership in advance online at this time. Then pick any opening days and bring photo ID and a recent proof of address. Under normal circumstances we would require you to fill in a paper form as well, but that’s not happening anymore to avoid the potential transmission of coronavirus. Visit the membership page and get started today.

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?

No cash. In the interest of hygiene, at this time we are taking card payments only. We use Stripe to process our payments, so we can do this in a contactless way, keeping both you and our staff and volunteers safe. If this is a problem for you, please drop us an email.

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

No. You are paying to be part of this community. How you choose to use that membership is up to you. We would totally recommend you trying out a session at one of our workshops though once they are back open. 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?

Membership revenue is one of the biggest ways our programs thrive as we are a charity. However, we understand that life is unpredictable; we would never want to lock someone into a membership they can’t afford. Email us at hello@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk to see how we can help.

F.A.Q. 2

The Workshops

How can I use the workshops?

From the 13th of July we will have bookable regular open and women’s & non-binary workshop sessions for you to enjoy as part of your membership. As Covid isn’t out of our lives yet and the safety of our members and volunteers is central to us, the sessions will be a bit different than you’re used to.

  • During the open workshop session you will have access to a wide range of large-format tools, your individual workbench and be supported by our friendly workshop volunteers and staff while you work on a project of your own choosing or work along with one of our volunteers on a guided project.
  • A general induction is compulsory for anyone attending the open workshop session, even for those members who have previously completed an induction. Everyone who has attended the induction will receive a badge and won’t be required to attend a further induction to attend these open sessions. You can learn more about our induction levels and book an induction here. 
  • Women & non-binary woodshop sessions are like the open workshop sessions, only specifically for women & non-binary makers. 
  • All the workshop sessions will have a limit of 6 participants. This will allow for social distancing and help reduce the risk.

How does the new induction system work?

All members are required to attend a health and safety community workshop induction. It has been a long year for everyone so we want to make sure you still remember how to use the machines safely and follow our workshop etiquette. Everyone who has attended the induction will receive a badge and will be able to come to any of the regular open sessions. They can attend additional inductions where they would like to get a higher level induction. Inductions will be valid for both the Porty & Leith workshops and badges will be kept on site.

*** Please note that these sessions are volunteer run and access to machinery will depend on the level of induction of the workshop monitors & leads. Each session will have an induction level from 1 to 5 that will indicate which machines & tools you will be able to use and be inducted in during the session. Keep an eye out for the level number when booking your workbench. 

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

* Members can request inductions on machines and tools that are not included in the above levels during open sessions. This will be available based on the knowledge of the workshop volunteers on shift and the busyness of the session. *

How can I book a workshop session?

We will release tickets for sessions on our Eventbrite page as far in advance as possible. As they are volunteer powered it depends on our volunteers availability if sessions will take place.  

These sessions are free and out of courtesy to other members we ask you not to book two weeks in a row. If there is still an open spot 24 hours before the session, feel free to book. You can cancel your booking 48 hours in advance. This will give us the opportunity to offer a workbench to another member on the waitlist. If you fail to attend the session without cancelling, we have the right to deduct a no-show fee donation of £5 from your registered myTurn card.

F.A.Q. 2

Music Broth

What is Music Broth?

Music Broth is a Glasgow-based musical instrument library – sort of like ETL, but for musical instruments. They have their own membership and borrowing system, which you can find out more about here

We are thrilled to announce that, through our partnership with MB, every 2-3 months you can order musical instruments through them, and collect from our workshop in Porty!

Does my ETL membership cover Music Broth

At this time, no, you need to have a MB membership as well as an ETL one to take advantage of the scheme. But don’t worry – they do individual, family, band and organizational memberships, which may save you money. To find out more about Music Broth memberships, go here. MB even use the same booking system as us, MyTurn, so if you’ve used our library you already know how to use theirs!

Collection and return

The collection and return system is not regular yet, but will take place every 2-3 months. Keep an eye out on here, our social media and Music Broth’s website for the next borrowing event.

The folx over at know how long it takes to learn a new musical instrument, and are happy to extend loans to Porty-borrowers.

Why are we collaborating with them?

If you’re an ETL 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. They also use the same booking system – My Turn – which means members from both communities can access the others’ without online barriers.

F.A.Q. 2

Tool Sharpening

Where and when can I get my tools sharpened?

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

How much does it cost?

The cost is £3.50 per tools, or 3 tools for £10.00.

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?

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

How long does it take

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

F.A.Q. 2

Covid 19 procedures

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

All ETL staff and volunteers will wear face masks and follow social distancing measures when dealing with the public and handling tools. They will ask other members to do so too.

When picking up tools, there is plenty of space for queuing safely. We’ve also set up a time-slots system to avoid long queues.

I am worried about cross contamination from tools. What are you doing to keep me safe?

All tools will be required to be disinfected by members before return. Then all tools will sit in quarantine for 72 hours before they are lending out again.

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.

F.A.Q. 2

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