Wastelands of Suburbia
A place where the cast-off ephemera of the last four generations comes to rest, and is discussed fondly....Like junk, or the injection-molded minutiae of history? Welcome home...Junkyards, yard sales, roadside oddities, thrift stores and more-your memories are deep inside the box, so keep shaking.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Slowly Closing The Circle.
(Yeah. You know what I'm thinking.)
I have said many times that eventually, everything I desire pops up at the flea market, or at a yard sale, or even at the thrift store, at a price I'm willing to pay. Today was no exception. If you follow my blog (at times I wonder if anyone does, really), you'll know that I posted about coolers a while back, waxing nostalgic about how this simple artifact brings back tear-jerking memories for me. This particular one is likely a later model, due to the forming of the sheetmetal around the latch assembly. It's far from perfect, with the usual scratches and dings, and there's a bit of something that appears to be asphalt sealer dripped on the back. The important thing is the latch works, there's very little rust on the chrome parts, and it includes-wait for it-the always-missing upper tray to keep your sandwiches out of the icy water.
I opened it up-to inspect and to establish interest-and noticed some brown funk water inside. Asking the vendor the price, he informed me a paltry $5, and offered to throw the brown water in for free. This was my kind of guy. Not even blinking I paid him, no haggling-anything this good at this price, and you can't really split hairs-you can't buy a new cooler for that, let alone this kind of treasure. I'm going to load this up with Rolling Rocks in honor of Granddad and listen to The Cure and Black Flag all day.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Vintage Craftiness at Flea Market Prices.
Found this neat little score for $10 at the flea market last week-a handmade hobby/tool box. The vendor had two, one with a set of repurposed aluminum folding legs and vintage R/C aircraft decals on it, and this one. While the one with the legs was cool, I had some ideas of my own as to what I wanted to do, so I got the plain Jane instead.
There was a time, when we were far more resourceful (and consequently less wasteful) than we are now. Using plans from Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated or similar publications, a person needing a case would custom-build something like this to his own specs, resulting in a purpose-built, one-off design. Someone spent a fair amount of time putting this together, and while it's not dovetailed or possessing any other hallmarks of a master builder, its utility is what attracted me to it.
I thought about the thousands of cases, perhaps, built in the 1950s and 60s, maybe even into as far as the early 80s, like this. At some point, the cheapness of cases from power tools, etc. in that time period (due, likely, to the low cost of blow-molding, injection molding, etc., not to mention the cheap tools found within) made it easy to score a tool case from the dumpster at work and repurpose it for your needs. I personally have probably a dozen of these sitting around bearing the name DeWalt, Rigid, Milwaukee, Ruger, SigArms, etc. The electric motor repair shop up the street from my house leaves them out with their used pallets for the taking on a regular basis. I could at any time use one of these, but I just thought this thing was so damned cool.
So, to customize. What to do? I don't want to paint it-even thought the wood is basically Luan and nothing fancy. What has crossed my mind is a few water slide decals-you know, the ones that used to adorn the rear windows of station wagons trumpeting the states the family within had been to, the beaches, the tourist traps. Or the windows of hot rods and schlock rods, advertising the products deep within the engine's bowels (or sometimes not).
I'm thinking perhaps a few vintage Rat Fink decals, along with the "Powered by Chevy" vintage tire decal, maybe some flowers, checkered flags, that kind of thing. Something a kid would have done. A sailfish would be the ultimate. Maybe my name in those slanted, gold-toned mailbox letters. Or perhaps some monogramming with a vintage woodburning set, or some of the old-school DYMO label tape I still have laying around in three or four colors.
What's funny is vintage water slide decals will easily cost me more than the box did, but I don't care. These are the recognizable things that will all be there to make my transition to Heaven or the next dimension easier to bear. Stay Tuned.