By DAVE GYMBURCH Staff writer

SHERRILL — Hundreds of thousands of dollars in machining equipment dating from Oneida Ltd.’s former factory operations will be sold at auction by Sherrill Manufacturing Inc., which continues to make flatware at the site.

The live webcast auction, to include bidding online or onsite at the 102 E. Seneca St. facility, will be held Thursday, July 19 at 11 a.m. The equipment and related items will be available for inspection Wednesday, July 18, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and July 19 from 8-10 a.m.

Conducting the auction will be the Great American Group of Woodland Hills, Calif.

Sherrill Manufacturing will maintain a smaller machine shop to support its stainless steel flatware making, but otherwise is "auctioning off all the equipment we don’t need" and consolidating its factory operations "into a smaller footprint" of about 150,000 square feet, explained co-owner Matt Roberts. The company also rents about 200,000 square feet at the site to about 15 companies including a number of start-up businesses, and additional space will be freed up, he added.

Equipment to be auctioned ranges in age from about 15-20 years to about 70 years, said Roberts. Among the items are fabrication machinery, a high-speed press line, machining center, other machine shop and tooling department items, plus boilers, air compressors, forklifts, pallet racking and general plant equipment. Roberts estimated its value at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The massive plant of about 1 million square feet had been operated for decades by Oneida Ltd., and was purchased by Sherrill Manufacturing in 2005 when Oneida Ltd. ceased flatware production. Since then Sherrill Manufacturing has been using a portion of it to make flatware as well as doing some machining work for various Central New York customers.

However, the machining was "not a big enough business" and was "distracting" from the flatware, said Roberts. The company would rather emphasize "making flatware and selling it online," under the Liberty Tabletop name, he added, while also making a stainless steel product used by one of the business tenants.

Sherrill Manufacturing is the only stainless steel flatware maker in the U.S and Canada, said Roberts, while there are some smaller sterling flatware makers. Its Liberty Tabletop flatware was included last week on a Today Show segment about housewares products made in America, he noted; it was billed as the "last standing American flatware manufacturer" at today.com.

Sherrill Manufacturing has slightly less than 20 employees, said Roberts. Besides the other companies that rent space there, about 400,000-500,000 additional square feet has been available. Beyond that, about 200,000 more square feet will be available for rent after Sherrill Manufacturing compresses its flatware production space, Roberts added.