Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cool Junk

It's junk week in my town. Next week is April vacation for the local school system, and the week in which the town hires a couple of burly young high school fellows to ride around with the trash pick-up guys and pick up piles of brush and old, dead washing machines from people's yards. In some yards it is difficult to tell exactly which hulks of metal are junk and which are art or being saved for some later purpose, so the town asks that unwanted stuff be dragged to the edge of the road for easy identification and removal.

Tradition in this town means that for the week prior to junk week (each village and neighborhood has scheduled pick-up days) everybody drags their stuff to the curb in the hopes that some entreprenurial soul will find value in it and cart it off to drag to curb in front of their house next year. In an odd kind of one-up-manship, we won the local contest for baddest thing hauled to the curb. We threw out a cast iron furnace.

Yesterday, we hauled the old, dead furnace out of our basement to make room for workspace and tool storage. It weighed a ton. It's about the size and shape of a rectangular dorm refrigerator - the ones that will hold two or three cases of beer, not the little cubes that only hold one case - and it is made out of big pieces of cast iron bolted (and now, rusted) together. I got a nice piece of steel cable from Marden's and a come-along, and I wrapped the furnace sixteen ways with the cable, secured it with a shackle, and hitched it to the come-along, which was hooked to the bumper of my van. Laura cranked the come-along while I guided the furnace up the bulkhead steps. Metal creaked, concrete blocks crumbled. The neighbor came to watch and give advice. The neighbor went away and came back with another neighbor and a length of pipe, and they both tried to help.

Boards and pipes were pressed under the furnace and lifted and rolled and shrugged and broken. The come-along eventually ceased to go click click, and I got fed up. I told everyone to stand clear and I drove 10 feet in the van. The furnace made it up over those last two steps with a sickening crunch of metal and concrete, but at least it was in the yard. We bent the hand cart/four-wheel dolly getting it to the curb, but now it is done. I'd love to see someone try to make off with that thing. Heh.

So with all this wide open space in our basement (ha!), Laura and I went junk hunting today. We got rid of one furnace and returned with four lengths of thin metal pipe (painted white - from a hammock frame) two plastic pails, a plastic mobile tool caddy, a gasoline powered ice auger, a plant hanger bracket, and a frame for a full sized bed (I wanted the angle iron for welding). We had traveled less than a half-mile. We unloaded in the yard and went out again. The second time we had to travel further and came home with a nice length of 1-inch steel pipe, five good pieces of 4 by 4 timbers, a big piece of sheet metal (I may go back for the other piece that was there), and a stackable shelf of red cube-looking things that say Canada Dry. It will fit nicely in a corner of my shop that presently is dead space. The timbers will become shelf supports, the sheet metal will go on the back of the shelves to protect the stuff on the shelves from the water that pours in through the cellar walls, the pipe will go to make a new bridge squisher for Women Unlimited, and the other stuff was just cool. I shall try to post pictures of how all this stuff works out as we go. I figure I have until the middle of next week to either find a use for this crap or get it to the curb for pick-up.

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