Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It May Curl Your Hair

I have been spending some of Christmas Day exploring pinterest.com. I have assembled a number of ideas for industrial and lighting projects. One of the most interesting is a guy Rags and Bone Man making lights out of airplane engine parts in London. So I approached my online auction fix with a variety of industrial and lighting possibilities swirling in my mind.

The online auction just ended and I think that I am going to have fun making some very special industrial lights. I will probably gut most of the existing guts and rewire the pieces with new UL approved lamp parts.

This 1930's hair curling machine has a great look and wonderful switches and dials. The curling wires are detachable so I will just disable their sockets and keep them with the soon to be lamp. I hope to use the existing switch and gauge to power the new lamp that I plan to install under the bonnet.

It should make a great prop with a new use for a beauty salon.

I intend to do the same process for this second curler.

This is a heavy duty 1930's hair dryer. It appears to have a bracket on it so it can be mounted and swiveled. I will gut the dryer pieces and install new lamp parts. I have a couple of different bases that I can mount it on, so I'll do a little experimenting to find the best look.

The online auction has granted me a little bit of a reprieve from the auction withdrawal shakes. I have a couple of more items from this auction and two other online auctions currently in process. So I should be stable through New Years Day.

Mr. Flannery

Auction Fix

Its Christmas time and we all know what that means. Ya Good Cheer, family and friends, great food, presents etc. etc. But it really means that there are no auctions for me to attend.

I have been scouring the Internet for auction listings. I have been printing out and reading line-by-line, with yellow highlighter in hand, auction bills that I would normally speed read on the monitor. I have been looking at every on-line auction that I can find. I have bids in on two on-lines that end at exactly the same time tonight. I just have to admit it, I have a problem and Christmas has interfered with getting my fix.

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Music Can Raise Long Hidden Emotions

Last Sunday I worked at Second Hand Rose. The obligatory Christmas music was playing through-out the shop. The 4th or 5th time through the playlist made me cringe but then I heard a woman singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas". It made me tear up slightly. I flashed back to a Christmas in maybe 68 or 69. It was the Bob Hope Christmas USO Tour entertaining the troops in Vietnam. A woman was singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas". The camera panned the soldiers and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Even now,I hear that song, I see those soldiers and I still tear-up. Some things are so clear and so poignant even after 40 years.

Mr. Flannery

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One More Day at Second Hand Rose

The December sale at Second Hand Rose has been very good and very festive. It was fun working on Friday and greeting and meeting all of the Christmas shoppers. My favorite is answering the phone. Our callers are 99% women and they are expecting a woman to answer the phone. So I answer in a deep bass voice "Second Hand Rose". Invariably this is received with a pause while the caller contemplates if she reached the right number.

I had to completely reset my space after the lockers and all the signs sold. These are photos of the reset. I especially like the large Minnesota wall map.

I am going to work on Sunday. We are open from 10 AM to 5 PM. If you have a chance stop in and give us a "Merry Christmas".

Mr. Flannery

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It was Very Strange at the Auction

I attended another auction on Tuesday evening. Because of the locker trip to Minneapolis and the subsequent mandatory resetting at Second Hand Rose I did not get to the auction until 3 hours after it started. There wasn't too much left to sell, but for some reason the auctioneer had left the furniture for the end of the auction. The selection of furniture was marginal, but there were a few interesting pieces.

The leather love seat and chair sold for more than I can resell them for at the shops, so no bids there. The iron and glass tables were OK but just too heavy and too fragile, at the same time, for my interest, after all the locker dancing. There was a decent 2 drawer library table/small desk. It was not an antique, but it was solid, clean and resellable. So I bid on it. Most of the attendees had left the auction by then, so there was little competition for this piece. I got it for $35. Then one of the strangest occurrences happened.

The auctioneer moved on to the next couple of pieces. A guy, who had been at the auction since the start, came up to me and asked if I had bought the library table. I said yes. He asked me "how much"? I told him and he contemplated my response. Then it happened. He said "I'll give ya $50 for it".

I said "I just bought it, why didn't you bid"? He responded with a story about a trip to the bathroom. Oh well. Now what do I do? I sold it to him. I had the clerk change the number of the sale and he gave me $15.

So in the course of 5 minutes I made 40% on my potential investment. I never actually handed over any money. I never even touched the desk. No lifting, cleaning, dancing or resetting of the desk. Now that was a strange auction event.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

8 Days 'Til Gypsy Lea's

The December occasional sale starts at Gypsy Lea's in Sauk Rapids in eight days. I stopped by the shop with a load of furniture for the next sale. It looks crowded but great.

Delivering the lockers freed up my trailer for another load. I went to an auction and secured a nice load of antique furniture. I met Gypsy at the door and she wanted everything on the trailer for the December sale. Its going to look like Christmas by next week. Photos to follow.

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It was a Heck of a Tuesday

Today was dealer day at Second Hand Rose. I usually sell a couple of things and don't even have to do any straightening for the Thursday first day of the sale. Well today was very different. One person bought every sign in my space plus the gym locker unit. She then called me at home and bought the other seven units that were still lashed on my trailer. We did a little negotiating and I agreed to deliver all the lockers to her shop in Minneapolis. I grabbed my trailer and headed east.

Of course the locker and the signs were in the back of my space. So everything in my space had to be moved and removed to get the pieces out. I loaded the lockers from the shop onto the trailer and resumed my trek to the big city. These lockers are definitely heavy and the impact of the full trailer was reflected on the gas gage. I got to Hunt and Gather and two young woman came out and unloaded the trailer. I assisted, but they did most of the work. I was impressed, they worked their butts off.

Back to Buffalo and a complete redo of my space. It looks great, and I certainly do not want to complain about sales, but this complete redo after one day may be a PITA. I brought in a butcher block top work bench and some more signs. The departure of the big red Fireman's Ball sign has freed up wall space and dampened the color in the space a little. I now have prints and paintings properly hung on the walls, new old signs in place and a decent look for the sale. I am most surprised that my rusty chain garlands remain undisturbed. Maybe all the dealers have enough rusty chain to make their own once they steal the idea.

All in all it was a heck of a birthday.

Mr. Flannery

Monday, November 28, 2011

Its Christmas at Second Hand Rose

The December sale at Second Hand Rose starts on Thursday, December 1st. I spent most of the day Sunday at the shop getting my space together and all the items priced. Most of the dealers stopped by to finish up their spaces yesterday so the whole place was rocking. We had all four spaces with 6 people working in the front room at the same time. Oh my! While the roses have their spaces decorated for Christmas with their elegant designs or festive displays, my hogs are lurking under rusty chains and cast iron faces.

This antique oil on canvas painting is little shabby but the Art Nouveau frame is fabulous.

Balls and rusty chains make festive garlands in the hog pen.

Lots of nice burlap sacks under a cool rustic table.

Car mirror as a shelf.

Cast iron HOG.

The brass yacht helm ships wheel is English made about 1900.

The long black slate topped table is a lab table from a local high school.

I even have one of the middle school gym locker units into the space this time.

The classics are here. Four different dogs playing poker framed together.

Its going to be a great sale.

Mr. Flannery

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for American Exceptionalism

A City Upon A Hill is a phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:14, he tells his listeners, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."

Puritan John Winthrop's 1630 sermon "A Model of Christian Charity" applied this parable to the New World. Still aboard the ship Arbella, Winthrop admonished the future Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be a "city upon a hill", watched by the world. Winthrop's sermon gave rise to the widespread belief in American folklore that the United States of America is God's country because metaphorically it is a Shining City upon a Hill, an early example of American exceptionalism.

Ronald Reagan used this image in his farewell speech in 1989:

...I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still...

I am Thankful that I was born in this God-blessed nation always striving to be the City on the Hill.

(portions from Wikipedia).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And Now There Are Even More Lockers

I went to a school district surplus equipment auction yesterday in Cold Spring, Minnesota. It was bitter cold (about 15*) with a cutting north wind. About 20 minutes into the auction it started to snow. My good friend Mike was there too and he forgot to wear a hat. He was interested in some butcher block table tops (3' x 8' and over 100 lbs. each) and maybe some wood topped lab tables. I wanted some slate topped lab tables and some interesting lockers. Of course these items were in the last row of items to be sold.

There were about 3 inches of snow on the items when we got to our row. Mike got all five butcher block pieces and they will be table and center island tops on pieces that he crafts for Gypsy Lea's and Second Hand Rose. He missed on the lab tables when one bidder took 12 tables. The next item of interest was the slate lab tables.

I bought all five lab tables with their 150 lbs. tops. Oh my! Then came a row of desks and more desks and some other desks. They could not get a $1 each for the desks. A scrap dealer bought 80+ individual desks for $1 and now bought these office style metal desks for about $.25 each.

The last items sold were locker units. These are painted orange and blue and yellow with mixed door colors on other color bodies. Most of the units were a mixture of larger clothes lockers with many smaller storage lockers. There were about 22 units. The first choice of lockers sold for $90 each. The bidder took two. The second choice went 6 for $65 each. Bidder no.1 took the next four for $25 each. Then I got the last 10 units. Mike bought 2 units from me so I had 8 to haul.

I had my truck, but not my trailer. Mike and I loaded the butcher blocks into his van and then the 5 lab tables into my truck. The ride home was exciting. The first 1/2 inch of snow melted into a sheet of ice on the highway. This layer was then covered by the next 4 inches of snow. It was a slip sliding trip home. I decided to stay home and pick up the lockers on Sunday.

It was only 18* on Sunday, but there was bright sunshine and the snow started to melt. I unloaded the tables and the big lockers from the trailer and headed back to the school for the other lockers.

I was heading into a double 90* curve on the county road just south of Cold Spring. The SUV headed in the other direction crossed over my lane and then flipped in the ditch onto its side. My first thought when the SUV crossed was "there's no driveway there". I pulled up, as did the guy who had been behind them and offered help. The young girl. who was driving, and her father were not hurt, but she was really shaken.

They didn't want to call a tow truck (probably because they didn't want to report the accident) and asked if I could help right the SUV. I carry a tow strap in the truck and said that I'd give it a try. I disconnected my trailer and lined up to give a pull. He connected the strap to a frame member and I pulled the SUV back on its wheels. There was a dent in the fender and the back side window was broken, but the doors opened and the engine started. He then hooked the strap to his trailer hitch and I gave him a tow out of the ditch. They drove off, I reconnected the trailer and met Mike and his step-son Kjell at the school.

I have eight locker units loaded on the trailer. I think that they will be good sellers at Gypsy Lea's and Second Hand Rose. I am going to bring one unit and one lab table into Rose tomorrow and the same into Gypsy Lea's on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Such is the adventure of junking on the tundra.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lockers, Way Too Big Lockers

I bought 7 heavy open mesh lockers at an on-line auction. They were supposed to be 2 two locker units and 1 three locker unit. All the other groups were two and three units. When I got to the defunct nursing home on the East Side of St. Paul I found that my unit was one 2 locker and one 5 locker. These lockers are each 2' x 2' x 6.5' and probably weight about 70 lbs. There was no way that I was going to get the 5 locker unit out of the room. Too heavy and way too big. So I decided to take the 5 unit apart.

I removed about a thousand small bolts and tried to separate the pieces. Well, of course there were 1003 bolts holding the units together. The first, when finally located, came out with the wrench. The second, which was high up and behind a support, just turned. The little bolts have smooth heads, like a rivet, so there was no slot as in a screw or edges like a normal bolt. I tried to grab the edges with a tiny vice grips but I couldn’t get a bite. I futzed around for about 15 minutes trying to get the nut to turn and the bolt to stay still. Finally I brought out the big gun, my angle grinder.

I came prepared. I brought the angle grinder and stopped to get a pack of 10 cut-off discs on my way to the site. I also brought my own extension cord just in case. I got the grinder set up and the bolt was gone in about two thousand sparks and 15 seconds. Success! I was ready to part the sections.

Well that was 1002 bolts removed and now I encountered the 1003rd bolt. It was at the back, under the bottom shelf. I could only reach it by pulling out the 5 locker unit and crawling under the section. Now this was a storage locker room in an old building. The lockers had been in place for years with about 2 inches of open space under the lockers. And that area had never been cleaned. I had to crawl on my back in the space that I cleared by pushing the lockers from the wall and reach blindly into the base to remove that last bolt. Of course it wouldn’t come off. The nut and bolt just turned. The vice grips wouldn’t bite. And there was not enough room to get the angle grinder onto the bolt. Up and down in the grime trying this tool and that tool. (And how can a tool I just had crawl away so I had squirm around on my back to relocate it?) Finally I gave up. I grabbed the smaller end of the unit and tugged and twisted it. The bolt gave and the unit popped out.

I loaded the units onto my cart, trekked through ½ of the nursing home and loaded each onto my trailer. I had to tug and lift and push, but they all made it in for the journey home. The straps were tight. The bungies were in place to secure the cart and furniture dolly. The tools were all back into the truck. So I began the trip from the east side of St. Paul through the heart on St. Paul and then the middle of Minneapolis and out to the busy Minnetonka suburbs. Because I decided to go to an auction in Spicer (110 miles from the nursing home). So I made the trip, hauling the trailer full of vision blocking lockers through the heart of the metro area on its busiest freeway at rush hour. Damn I am crazy.

Mr. Flannery

Maybe a Nuclear Blast Will Move It.

I decided to try to refinish one more warehouse cart before winter shuts me down. The cart that I have had a few problems. The most glaring was the coating of tar on the surface. Sometime in the past someone (idiot) decided that the cart would be improved by adding a heavy layer of the black tarry substance that was once used to glue linoleum tile to a floor.

I tried scraping it. I tried sanding it. Only thing that happen was that the sand paper immediately filled up with tar and became useless. The last time that I encountered this problem I ended up using a propane torch and a scrapper to remove it. This time I settled on using a stiff wire wheel on my angle grinder. Dust, pieces of tar and stray individual wires from the wheel flew in every direction. (But no blazes needed to be extinguished as in my past experiment.) It took more than two hours to clear an 8 square foot surface. Now I can sand and refinish the cart for its next life.

As usual, Babe was a big help in dealing with this project. The pallet top and the lights are also in progress and should be ready for the December sales.

If you encounter a project involving this tar like substance, I suggest a nuclear attack. And even then I am afraid that, like the cockroaches, it may well survive.

Mr. Flannery

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reset for the Weekend

I had sales at Second Hand Rose on Thursday and Friday sufficient to justify bringing in another load of good stuff to refill and reset for the weekend.

One of my favorite "new" pieces is this 1830's inlaided walnut tilt top tea table. The top is sufficiently shabby to show her age, but the legs are beautiful.

This marble topped washstand is a marriage. The base is an 1850's piece while the tile back splash is from the 1880's. It is a sympathetic marriage and seems to have worked for a long time. The large blue and white transferware bowl and pitcher is 1880's English and the dishes are a 30 piece luncheon set in the Christmas tree pattern.

I like the look and feel of this rose pattern hooked rug.

Even with the reset I still have chairs on tables on other tables. I just brought the rose needlepoint chair into the shop.

Mr. Flannery

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Signed Up at Second Hand Rose

I am set up for the November sale at Second Hand Rose in Buffalo, Minnesota. I have a new spot in the shop and it took a while to get the feel for the space. I do not have any pieces of furniture that I made or recycled in this month's sale. But I do have a bunch of signs. Somehow November has become Sign Month for me. I have big signs, small signs, red signs and blue signs. My favorites are a 1920's doctor's shingle and a huge Fireman's Ball sign.

The Cowboy Shop sign is 4' by 5' and double sided.

The large fish above the sign is a Monticello Minnow. Caught in the Mississippi River just below the Monticello nuclear power plant.

My mafia vignette. A hobby horse head in the chair.

ELE-VATOR? I wonder if Ele is Darth's sister.

I like the 4 gooseneck lamps atop the large wardrobe. Doctor Reuben DeWitt Zimbeck was the town doctor in Maynard, Minnesota. He practiced there from before 1900 until his death in 1927. The shingle was found in the attic of his old house 90 years after he died.

This watercolor is a painting of the Swedish Pavillion at the 1915 San Francisco Panama- Pacific Exposition.

Flying trike and cow signs.

Mr. Flannery