n 2001 I started renovating a dilapitated carriage house on the corner of my property. Zoning
laws stated that because the building was situated right on the propertly line, if it fell down, it stayed down. So with a very limited budget I began shoring up the building after first (humanely) evicting a family of skunks, a resident woodchuck, grey squirrels, and a nasty infestation of ants. Unfortunately, soil had been allowed to build up as much as twenty inches or so along the back and sides of the building, so I had to remove by degrees the rotted sills and wall studs and replace them with pressure treated timbers. Fortunately the stones the building rested on were still as true as the day they were put in the ground. The front of the building however, was so bad, it had to be completely removed, and a new foundation poured for the new wall to rest upon. This was the first summer of work, but it kept the building standing, and that was enough for the inspector.
Above is the only "before" picture I have of the carriage house. To the right shows the damage to the roof caused by decades of neglect.
The next spring I was able to tackle the roof, which proved much more challenging than expected. At the time I was unaware of the damage the ant colonies had really caused, and it was only when I started peeling away the layers of tar shingles and cedar shakes that the true destruction was exposed. The entire summer was spent removing, replacing, and disposing of the roof, right down to replacing over half the rafters.
This is how the carriage house looks today. A well insulated and sturdy workshop secured against Maine's harsh winters.
t was during the restoration of
of my carriage house that I came up with the idea of Salvage Maine. I was already reusing a lot of lumber I had "gathered" from area dumpsters, and it came to me that continuing the practice once the carriage house was completed only made sense. Plus, I already had an extensive collection of salvaged tools that not only fit perfectly with the decor of the interior, they were in excellent working condition. So I sunk an anvil stand about two feet into the ground beneath the floor and placed a salvaged, 225 pound farrier's anvil atop. Salvage Maine was born.
If you would like to see the latest goings-on at Salvage Maine, follow this link to Salvage Maine's facebook page. On this page, I will eventually get photos of some of the cooler salvaged tools I have restored and put to use in the shop. Thanks for showing an interest in Salvage Maine.
I found a 19th century, hand cranked drill press way up in northern Maine, laying in a pile of discarded clothes in a second hand shop. The owner was getting ready for a dump run. Imagine that. So I asked him how much he wanted for it. "That thing?" he asked. "Gee, I dunno..."
I got it for twenty bucks, and he helped me get it accross an icy parking lot into my van. Other than some light cleaning and re-oiling of any moving parts, this beauty worked perfectly. A quick modification allowed me to install a Jacob's chuck, and it was ready ro go.
The beauty of a tool like this is it allows you to hear the drill cutting, and it gently, automatically, feeds the drill bit into the work peice. Plus, I get to hear the huge flywheel whipping around!
A woman came into the studio years ago and asked if I wanted an old farm tool. I went to her house and there in the gararge was this perfect grinding wheel, complete with tractor seat and pedals. Even the bearings were in perfect condition. If I rolled the stone wheel. it just kept on going. I was told if I could get it in my van on my own, I could have it. No problem there!
I rarely use the stone's surface for grinding. I have other wheels for that. A stone like this would be nearly impossible to replace today. Instead, I have glued a coarse sandpaper belt to the stone and use that for sanding wood and iron. It is very efficient, and the up-down motion of the pedals is nearly effortless to keep the stone spinning.
This is a specially geared hand-cranked grinder I found at a yard sale for five bucks. One rotation of the handle rotates the wheel six times! A convenient oil port on top keeps the bearings moving prefectly. All it needed was a new stone, available at any hardware store. I added a rope and foot pedal for when I need to keep both hands on a part being grinded.
This tool is used primarily for re-sharpening vintage nails, something I spend a great deal of shop time doing.
The 25 pound block of steel is actually a printing plate. There is an advertisement for a furniture company barely visible on the bottom, printed backwards as was standard for the time. I found this walking through an abandoned industrial yard out at the eastern end of South Portland.
The hammer was found in Hinkley Park in SoPo. It is an AT&T Bell Systems service hammer some pole jockey lost decades ago. Lucky me.
Another old tool sharpener found at the dump. Granted, its legs were somewhat rotted from sitting out as a lawn ornament for years, but after just a few moments of woodworking it was standing as strong as the day it was made. The bearings, steel rollers really, were badly rusted, but I put them on a slow lathe and polished them back to perfection.
A modification to this tool involved adding a large, salvaged sewing machine pulley to the stone's axle, which was then belted to a step-down pulley connected to a modern stone wheel. This allows for varying speeds for sharpening different typed of blades. This way, the original stone maintains its weight and acts as a flywheel to run the smaller stone. A foot pedal easily keeps things spinning along.