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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pile of healing



In my family, we used to say that given enough junk, my dad could repair or build anything. When he sold his house and moved to a trailer in Florida, all that junk had to stay behind.

It wasn’t really junk by then, but raw materials. He had organized piles of scrap metals, plastics, wood, hardware, wire, motors, electronics, fabrics, just about anything imaginable.

Most of this stuff was snapped up by people from the same school of thought. They tend to drive old trucks with big tool boxes in the back. You never know when something might need to be taken apart and hauled away.

My buddy Jeff calls his scrap collection his “pile of healing.” With the junk from the pile he can make most things better. His wife wasn’t too keen on that pile until he showed her how much money it saved them. We built a nice solar panel rack from junk out of the pile. In fact, we saved literally thousands of dollars on his solar electric installation by digging through the pile.

The trailer hitch on my van is the happy marriage of scrap from two different fix it guys. It takes skills and tools to make it happen, but sure pays off in the long run.

While not in my dad’s league, I’m a bit of junk collector myself. Today it hit me how far down that road I’ve traveled. My lovely wife and I were talking about our woodstove in the basement. It takes too long for the heat to make its way upstairs. What it really needs is a hood with some ductwork to channel the hot air directly upstairs.

Well . . . I’ve got this hood from a glass blowing furnace that would almost fit. All I have to do is modify it with some metal from the jacket of a scrapped hot water tank. There’s some left over hot air duct that could direct the hot air to a repurposed cold air return register. Of course the whole thing will be fastened together by salvaged screws and rivets.

By the way, the last time I visited my dad in Florida, he had just added a second shed for his stuff. Over time he’s slowly acquired a somewhat scaled down scrap collection. There is no stopping an old tinkerer. There’s always something that needs to be repaired or built.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. With my dad's pending sale looming ever closer, I noticed he's having a hard time separating the 'junk' stuff. If I go to put a piece of iron in the junk skid, I hear..."Wait a minute, someone might need that." 'Well, then, let them buy the whole skid.' Then I get the 'look'. Much fun.

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    Replies
    1. It's only junk because it hasn't found a home yet.

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    2. I know a man who used to say the same thing!

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  2. Had to scale down my pile when we moved. Going from a 16'x20' shop with a loft down to an 8'x10' shed meant most of it had to go. I've needed some of that stuff since...

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    Replies
    1. Nothing like getting rid of junk to discover is exactly what you need for the next project.

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    2. Another "been there, done that" event since we moved from Michigan.

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  3. Oh don't remind me. . . got to get rid of some of this junk that we have been collecting for way over 100 years or more. Yes, my Mom collected things and I inherited all that stuff, too.

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  4. Never know what you've got 'till it's gone! Besides, it's always fun to trade junk with a friend who has some, don't you think?

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    Replies
    1. Nothing more fun than poking around someone else's pile.

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  5. Waste not, want not. Too many folks think that's an outdated saying.

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  6. If I was wasteful, I'd have to get a real job. Anything to avoid that. :)

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