Junk Hunt

As it turns out, I haven’t had as much time to hang out in my basement and play with my tools as I usually do, mostly because I spend all of my spare waking moments searching for property to build my cottage on. I think I’ve actually moved into borderline-obsessive territory with the property hunt, as evidenced by my appearance yesterday evening when I found a promising plot of land during an internet search that was about 15 minutes away from my rental. Since it was about 10 minutes before dark  I did what any sane person would do in twenty-degree weather—ran out of the house in my cutoff sweatpants, tank top, and work boots, jumped into the car, and went about 80 down the back roads to catch a glimpse of the property before it got dark.

1.) Good property, bad neighbors. 2.) No I didn’t lose any extremities to frost bite, but now I have to keep a spare hoodie in the car in case it ever occurs to me to do something that stupid again. (It will.)

But, just because I’ve got a few unfinished (and unstarted) projects on the brain, it doesn’t mean I can’t keep an eye out for the next one. Which is why when Katy from Turtle House suggested we go on a little Junk Hunt through Ypsi/Ann Arbor, I was totally in. (And thank god for the internet finding me friends who are awesome and already know all the good places to go antiquing in this area.)

We found inspiration for building stuff:

The mecca of old door hardware:

This little table that we’re were convinced one of us needed to buy even though neither of us had a place to put it.

Now that I look at it again, I probably do have to have this thing.

We also found some objects I alternately (and authoritatively) declared were pieces of a rocket ship or light fixtures covered with Indians.

I finally figured out what Katy knew all along which is that those designs have wings and halos, so obviously they’re Jesus, not Indians. It’s a Jesus light! Well, that’s what I said out loud anyway, but it occurs to me now that Jesus didn’t have wings, so… (Once my mother stops praying for my heathen soul, she’s totally going to go buy me a bible.)

Hey, here’s something I do actually know things about.


I scored this old drill for $15. If the zombie apocalypse ever happens it’s clear I won’t be the person to look to for identifying guardian angels, but I’ll be dammed if I won’t still be able to drill holes in things.

And I wanted to buy this old carbide headlamp, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even so, I’m a bit of a dork about antique tools so I had to learn more about how these worked.

(If you’re also a dork like me, you can find out more here.)

So I went out looking for a small dresser, ended up buying a “new” tool. I’m nothing if not consistent.

18 Responses

  1. Ohhh where did you go!? I recognize that little table from Treasure Mart (I ran by there today on my lunch break- saw a cute little school desk out front right by that table that I really want!) But where else did you go? Looks like a fun day!

    1. Sarah, I don’t think I knew you were in the area… why aren’t you joining us for these? You’re totally invited next time!

      Also, now that I know that table is still there I totally have to go back.

      Katy knows the proper names of all the stops on our tour, but it was an architectural salvage place in Ypsi and then another small antique store in ypsi as well. We didn’t quite make it to the Re-store, but are planning to hit that one up too.

      1. OMG, the Jesus rocket made me cry-laugh in my office. Now my colleagues think I’m crazy.

        Sarah, we hit up Materials Unlimited and Kim’s in Ypsi, then Treasure Mart in A2. We definitely have to get back over there to the Re-store (and another trip to TM, obviously). I’m up for another trip any time!

  2. That is such an awesome helmet. I’ve been looking for one like that for the longest time. After I bought my house I found a whole can of calcium carbide, but no lamp to go with.

      1. Kit, thanks, but I don’t think I’ll be making it out that way any time soon… I’m out in Maryland. Will have to keep my eye out here.

        1. Ha. Well, I was actually thinking you could call them and have it shipped if you want it that bad, but I think you could probably find something cheaper on eBay anyway!

  3. Aaakkk! I’ve been looking for new fun places to treasure hunt in Ann Arbor/Ypsi… thanks Kit/Katy! I’ve only found overpriced stores so far! My next stop is a finding a falling down barn and kindly ask the nice homeowner to “take it off their hands” for my new basement accent wall without anyone realizing I’d pay for it since I have a mild obsession with salvage wood.

    1. Seriously Kara – Cone Rd in Milan, West of 23… there’s a falling down barn and I’m planning to hunt down the owners in spring and see what they’ll let me steal. I didn’t know there were so many of us in ypsi/a2, we need to get together for a group treasure hunt one of these days!

  4. That old drill reminds me of an antique shop near where I live that had quite a large collection of old tools. Not sure what I would use any of them for, but they sure were interesting! Perhaps I’ll regret passing them up when the inevitable zombie apocalypse does happen.

  5. I have some old tools like that drill. I also have some drill bits. When we were cleaning out my grandparents house my brother and I found them in the attic in a tool box with my great grandfather’s name on it. I also have a hand crank grinder. I show it to everybody that comes to my house.

    1. Oh, it would be so much fun! I keep saying I’m going to plan a DIY road trip some day, but I keep finishing houses and then starting new ones… ha!

  6. So Cool! I have a huge interest in Carbide lighting! My old farm house still has a carbide holding tank out in the yard (looks like a well) and I was told my house used to be lighted with carbide!

  7. I HAVE that table! OK, not THAT table, but one just like it. I just inherited it when my grandma passed away. It must be an east-side thing; Grandma lived in Ferndale.

    I stripped boatloads of Halloween orange and black paint off of it, stained the top ebony and painted the legs blue – it looks almost exactly like that one, but cleaner and with a drawer. It’s a perfect desk for my daughter.

  8. Cool brace (what you called a drill).

    You also have/had a manual drill at one if I remember right from all the posts I’ve read the past several weeks starting at the beginning. It’s the one with the crank.

    My dad made me bore holes with a brace or manual drill for a year before he let me use his electric drill. That was my punishment for not using the right terms…;-)

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