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7/2/2014 2:28:28 PM

"Found" Items

These are, of course, just a few of my favorite or recent "Found" things, and I always keep an eye out for new old things to re-purpose... so I am sure I will post again about more "Found" items down the road.

$3 Wooden Lounge Chair - Found at a Fire-Station yard sale.  

One side support of the chair was cracked, so it is not as sturdy as I would like even after adding a few support screws, but I used the chair to make a pattern for future lounge chairs, and with a good sanding and a couple coats of outdoor stain, it is definitely usable.


Free One-Person Hot-Tub - Found on Craigslist "Free Stuff".

Okay... so it is a jetted bathtub currently sitting on bricks on my porch.  But fill with hot water and throw on a swim-suit, and it makes a great little one-person hot-tub for a nice soak.  And while the logistics of getting hot water out there without a hose running all through the house will be somewhat of a task on it's own, one of the great parts is not needing to mess with chlorine or other chemicals because it drains through a pipe over to the bushes when I am done.

Yep.  I know... strange... and well... redneck.  But I get a nice hot soak with bubbling jets, and the bushes get a watering, all without messing with chemicals, or the expense of a "real" hot-tub.  For me... that's a win-win.  Win

( I will write more about this project when I build a nice surround for the base, etc. )

$2 Large Vases - Found at Goodwill Thrift Store on Half-Off Sale

This large of vases run pretty expensive, even at most second-hand stores, so I was delighted to find them for only about $4 each, and then even more impressed to find they were on half-off sale, too.  With a light brush-on or sponged-on paint (see the one on the right), they make great containers for wick planters.

$5 Evaporative Air Filter / Cooler - Found at ARC Thrift Shop

This is one of my favorite finds, because not only is the thing vintage and super simple in design, but it WORKS.  Sure, it won't compete with a modern air-conditioner, but it works better than the few other portable evaporative coolers I have come across.  And it's compact size means that it can help cool down our bedroom in the summer without taking up half the room.

We bought it for $5 several years ago and have used it in our bedroom each summer since then.  All it takes is a quick cleanup and replacing of the pad in the back and it is ready to go each year.

Possibly more impressive is that I did some research today and found that it was built (or at least trademarked for) in 1955.  

There is just something a little wonderful and amazing about a mechanical item lasting that long and still running great.  Yet something very sad about the fact that a cooler built today would be lucky to last five years.

$20 Serving Cabinet - Found at a small Local Thrift Store

Before Before

While this cabinet was in the most need of work in comparison to the majority of other "Found" item I have come home with, I think the project and time spent doing it was more than worth the results.  I still have not out-fitted it with the flavored syrups and toppings that it will probably get as a Coffee/Cocoa/IceCream cabinet, but it is such a neat and beautiful piece that it is really something I am glad I picked up even if it doesn't get a ton of use.

The first step was fixing the pneumatic valve that lowers the tray slowly as the sides of the lid close.  I was at a loss until my dad came for a visit and figured out how to get it open and oil the leather gasket.

Then it sat idle for quite some time until I got in the mood to sand the whole thing down.  Several small areas needed their veneer re-glued and repaired, but I decided that I was more interested in making the item something I loved and would use, rather than a professionally restored antique.  So I fixed only the parts of the veneer that I thought needed it, and took off the pealing veneer from the top altogether.  

After that it was a matter of choosing stains that complimented the woods without covering them up and then several coats of varnish.  This is the first piece that I had ever stained and brush-varnished, so there are some streaks in the varnish that I may sand out and re-do at some point, but all-in-all, I am pretty proud of how it turned out for my first try at this type of project.


Finished Front Finished Back

While the original had very dark stain on most of the wood to make it match the dark tiger-wood veneer on the front panel, I love it so much more now that each section of wood shows it's natural beauty. 

Finished Open

While I have not been able to pin-point a particular age for this item, a bit of research has gotten me a general idea.  Because of how it was built, the materials it was built with, and the type of pneumatic valve made with a leather gasket, it is guessed to be from about the 1930's or 1940's.  Possibly even as old as the 1920's.  This definitely makes it the oldest "Found" item in my list so far.

A lot more pictures and information on the re-finishing process can be found here.

$15 Baker's Rack - Found on Craigslist

This Baker's Rack fit the space we needed it to and held our microwave and toaster oven, and I adjusted the bottom shelf so that the cat food and water fit underneath easily, too.


We used it for several years before I had a belt sander and put it to good use sanding down the too-red shelves.  They were a beautiful natural color underneath, so I sealed them with varnish and they go with my kitchen perfectly now.  It is interesting that most things with a "cherry" finish are often a very light and beautiful wood underneath and it takes very little sanding to get to that light natural wood.


More pictures and information on this project can be found here.

$10 Lint Pot - Found at small Local Thrift Store ( More Info Here. )

Needed paint and a new lid, but was a relatively easy fix for something I had been looking for, for a long time.


$40 Dishwasher - Found on Craigslist

This dishwasher was a pretty nice upgrade to the one we had, but the front panel made to match someone else's cabinets didn't match ours at all.  We found a panel that had similar wood grain and stained it to a close match to our cabinets.  

Scraping off the previous panel was a challenge that took the scraping blade on my multi-tool and quite a bit of time, but it wasn't really hard to do either.

I glued the new panel in place with epoxy and also made a matching kick-plate.


Of course, later I discovered a tear in the filter screen and had to take the innards apart to melt a plastic piece firmly over the tear, but it turned out to be a good thing because I was able to clean out some labels and other debris from the washer guts, and it works even better now.

More pictures and information about this project can be found here.

50 to $1 Cupboard Doors and Drawer Faces - Found at Bud's Warehouse in Denver


What do you do with stacks... and stacks... and stacks of cupboard doors and drawer faces?  
Well.... you build things, of course!       Like this magazine rack and little bathroom cabinet.  More pics here.


And this under-the-coffee-table-shelf and behind-the-couch-corner-shelf...


$10 Marble Counter-top - Found on Craigslist

Using this section of counter-top and some of the large cupboard doors, I built a storage area for my tools and mobile workshop.


Wow!  I can't believe I just showed a picture of that mess!  Scared

I promise it will look better when I add the cupboard doors to the shelves and organize all that stuff off of the counter-top.

So... go find something great and tell me about it!

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7/13/2014 11:25:38 AM Thrifty
I have always loved going to thrift shops, antique stores, and garage/yard/estate sales. Some of the best stuff ever can be found in their depths at unbeatable prices. Good job in finding all that stuff and finding even better uses for it!

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