Scrounge Chronicles 9-6-2018

Here are some more practical tips for saving money and a trip to the store, they are: Buying paint, making wood wedges and drifts, fixing a miter box, polishing aluminum with a 1950’s bench grinder, and making a long easel to paint signs or banners on.

First, a tip about buying paint. Usually, paying more for a paint always works better, because there’ so much labor involved, and it’s nice to be able to do the job in one application. That’s not a sales pitch, your time is worth too much.

Here’s another tip. If you need a bright yellow, or bright red, ask the store if they have on the shelf safety red or safety yellow. The factory buys pigment in 55 gallon drums, or some big quantity, so they’re much more generous than the local store. Below is a picture of store made yellow. Most of the surface was painted white, then allowed to dry before the yellow top coat was applied. You can see the area that wasn’t painted white first, it’s to the right of the spring clamp, by the grommet. This yellow doesn’t have much coverage.

Next, a tip about scrap hardwood. Usually it’s oak that I get in these dimensions, although other tough types of wood will do. Pine, not so much. When I have a 10 inch by 15 inch by 1 inch thick piece to discard, I cut it lengthwise (with the grain) into drifts and wedges. The drifts are the same width the whole length, the wedges taper to a point. I keep them on a shelf, and a few in my truck. I cut them into narrow wedges and wide wedges, along with different widths of drifts.

Their main use is as a sacrificial piece. When you’re hammering a piece of brass into place, and don’t want to have hammer marks on it, strike this with the hammer instead, using it to drive the metal in place. It also works with steel that you don’t want scratches or hammer marks on.

In the picture below, there’s a narrow wedge and a drift. The wedge is off to the right, it’s only in the picture to show what it looks like. The oak drift is being used to move a piece of plywood farther under the corner of a small building. I’ve jacked up the building a small amount, just enough to allow the plywood to be driven with a hammer. The reason was that t6he sheetrock inside the building is all nicely finished, and jacking it up too high migh make cracks inside. The fit is snug, but the oak giets in there with the plywood, and gets the job done. It was a success, no cracks inside.

I’ve had a plastic miter box for years, it never worked very well. Some guys probably have these mounted right on the workbench, but my bench needs to be flat, so I pulled it out when I needed it. I always thought that the saws I used didn’t have enough set. Recently though, I took a closer look at it, and discovered the problem. It was bowed slightly, in a way that made the plastic bind the blade. So I mounted it on a scrap piece of wood, which I stained and sealed to make it look nicer. It works great now. Still portable, but much better.My daughter is getting her first vehicle ready to drive, and doing a terrific job. She wanted to polish the aluminum trim pieces around the glass, and wondered if I knew a way to do that. I suggested the old bench grinder with a cloth wheel, and rouge abrasive. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it did. In the first picture, is the old 1950’s bench grinder. Back then, the spindle was in a separate hosing from the motor. In the picture below that, is a close up of the tarnished aluminum, and the polished part. You can see the sky and tree branches reflected in ti. This is not a great picture, the results are very nice. All the parts of the bench grinder were given to me, except the on-off switch. Also in the picture is a white rag, and the redish stick of rouge abrasive that you apply to the cloth wheel before polishing.On my last salvage run, I picked up a few of these 16 foot long palettes. On a different run, I got some very nice particle board. I needed a long easel to paint signs and banners on, here’s how I made it. First, I made the upright supports, 4 in all. they are 2 by sixes, with a shorter piece of the same nailed on. The arm piece needed to be long enough to hold up the palette and the sheet of particle board, so I cut them at 8 inches. In the first picture, you can see the arm piece nailed on to the side of a 6 foot tall 2 by 6. Not a great picture, but the next one explains it. There, all the parts are together in the barn.

About 20% of the particle board pieces we got had a section cut out. This project was a good place to use two of those sheets. The holes aren’t enough of a problem to interfere with a sign or banner laying on the face of this easel.