Wednesday, March 4

Use Whatcha Got

It’s always frugal and wise to use things you already have for a project. For example, instead of spending, what? maybe fifty bucks for a shiny brass toilet paper holder, why not use this century-old solid wrought iron anchor cable guide from our old floating dock at Florence Lake—it’s perfect in every way!

It's sitting on the floor now, but will be mounted higher up on the wall. It has a nice round hole in the middle, is nearly an inch thick, and weighs over fifty pounds. This thing could hold maybe millions of rolls of toilet paper in its useful lifetime. Not only that, we still have another four of them in our iron pile in case this one wears out.

About twenty years ago we bought over eight thousand ceramic roof tiles. When we were applying for the building permit for our new house, we were told that since we couldn’t provide all the certified vital statistics regarding strength, hardness, resistance to meteor strikes and attacks by as-yet-undiscovered tile-eating bacteria, we couldn’t use them! Our architect/builder weighed some of them and designed the walls and roof understructure to hold the weight. But we ended up using much lighter metal tiles instead since the county could certify reams of evidence that they were perfectly safe to use. Oh well, at least now our roof structure is too strong!

So what do we do with these now-unusable tiles? We offered them for sale on Craigslist and got a single order for a hundred bucks’ worth. Right now I am using some of them as rain catchers below the drip edge of the garage roof.

Works like a charm; no erosion, no mud splashing on the walls. And if one of our horses stomps on them, we have over seven thousand nine hundred and fifty free replacements!

Karla had a favorite pebble she picked up somewhere around here. As we were building the house, it was always lying around on our kitchen counter. When I started setting tile on the countertop, one of the tiles had a little flaw that I took advantage of—I turned its flaw into a perfectly-sized hole for her pebble.

Now we have a nice tile countertop and her pebble is free to play with whenever we want.

There’s more. For example we turned a fallen oak tree into—gasp—firewood! I could go on but you’re probably already exhausted by this unfettered-genius brilliance.


Pete S. said...

I especially like the pebble in the counter top!

Tom Hurley said...

Pete S: The hole for the pebble was a natural. After hearing so many people’s complaints like “Where can we put our pebbles?” it was a no-brainer.

Avis Durgan said...

Just heard that you're back to blogging; hooray!! I second Pete's pebble opinion. Stay well, Tom!

Susan said...

The pebble in the counter top is my favourite of your innovations so far. The century-old solid wrought iron anchor cable guide toilet paper roll holder, while quirky and original, would sadly probably not catch on as a mass trend due to the exorbitant postal costs these days.

Tom Hurley said...

Susan, the toilet paper holder could be mass produced in some lightweight plastic material that would closely resemble wrought iron. That would make shipping cost a non-issue. As for the pebble in the countertop, you wouldn't believe how long it took to make the hole! The fit is perfect, so it was worth the effort.

Susan said...

That's a good idea to make the toilet roll holder out of lighter material. Are you going in to production soon? Yes, I can see a customised pebble hole in a counter top would require a lot of meticulous work!

Pete S. said...

So your roof can hold what, maybe 14 feet of snow? That could come in handy someday.