Salvage Maine is a creative business borne on the idea that things people throw away can in fact be re-purposed into something useful once again. This all came about during the restoration of a carraige house located on the corner of a small urban farm. The reasoning for the restoration of this non-historically significant building was simple: Beause of it's footprint on the property line, the city said "If it falls down, it stays down."
The carraige house had been neglected for decades when I purchased the property. The sills were rotted beyond measure, soil had been allowed to pile up along the back and sides. There were
infestations of ants which had riddled the studs and roof. I had to humanely evict a family of woodchucks who had burrowed up inside, and skunks who had nested up in the lofts for years. Fortunately, the stones upon which the building sat were as true then as the day they were laid, and a new foundation under the front wall was all that was needed to start building anew.
New roof and rafters; new walls, windows, and a front door. Reflective insulation protects the interior from cold winter winds while blocking the heat of summer. Super easy to heat, yet nice and cool even on the hottest days(except when the forge is fired up)! A lot of the building materials used for the re-build were salvaged from local dumpsters and beaches.
Equiping Salvage Maine is just as much fun as working here. The thrill of the hunt through flea markets and yard sales, negotiating deals for vintage tools, and actually getting to put the tools back to work. That is what being a maker is all about.
You might say I am a collector of tools, and my family would agree. However, I only bring in tools that will actually get used, even if only once or twice a year. If there is one mantra that a maker must carve in stone and must abide by, it's THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB AT HAND.
This hand-cranked, auto-feed drill press was found in an indoor flea market up near Norway, Maine. It was sitting in a huge pile of clothes and junk getting ready to be hauled to a dump. I asked the guy how much. He said "That thing? Land's End, if you don't ask me to help carry it, gimme ten bucks."
It took just a small effort to get the drill cleaned, oiled, and running smoothly. I modified a Jacob's chuck to fit onto the arbor so I can use regular drill bits. The sound of this drill spinning is litterally historical.
This was another of those 'you haul it, you have it' deals.This tool grinder is an amazing contraption, the pedals making for easy work getting the huge stone wheel moving. To save the stone from wear(these are super hard to replace today), I glued a belt sander belt to the wheel, which is great for stock removal of both iron and wood.
A tool rest coming in from the side would be very helpful, and one of these days I'll build one!
Every farm had a tool sharpener at one time, but they mostly disappeared when electricity came about. Today, these human powered grinders are mostly rotting away in a garden somewhere.
This one was given to me by a neighbor after it idled in a dark corner of a basement for decades. The bottom of the legs were a bit rotted, but the stone and bearings were in excellent condition.
After some minor work shoring up the legs and greasing the bearings, I attached a flywheel pulley from a foot-powered sewing machine onto the axle of the stone. This fed a belt to a step pulley which turned a smaller, modern stone at varying speeds. This modern stone is easily replaceable, saving the old stone as a flywheel.
I often design items at Salvage Maine to look as though they have been around for hundreds of years. In many cases this requires the application of well used nails, thus my nail restoration center.
The grinder is a specially geared, hand-cranked device that rotates the wheel six times with every rotation of the handle. This makes for speedy work re-pointing nails!
The hammer, found in a local park, is a lineman's tool stamped New England Telephone Co.
The 20 pound block of steel is a printing plate with an advertisement for a furniture company on one side.
There is so much more I want to post here about Salvage Maine, and I will as time allows. Hopefully soon I will get a photo album posted showing some of the items created here. I'll also feature some more salvaged tools put back to work in this and The Lamp Repair Shop's workshop.
In the meantime, always try to up-cyclesomething and help save the planet!
The center of Salvage Maine is the anvil I found in another junk shop up north. This is an old farrier's anvil, which itself was repaired decades ago which is fitting for what I do. The 'stump' is a design I read about as a youth. Basically a box built down about twenty-four inches below the floor, filled with sand, and capped with a loose, one-inch thick board. This deadens the sound of hammering considerably. Always being thoughtful of my neighbors!
By the way, the hatchet on the block is a hand forged, iron head I stumbled upon while walking through some woods in Pownal, Me. I carved a Lilac handle for it because...you know...I wanted to.
My cordless drills never need new batteries! The one in the center, with the blue disc, is stamped American Telephone & Telegraph Co. How cool is that!