Tool Time

Tool Time

Last week while heading towards check out at Home Depot, I passed the beginning of their holiday sale display at the front of the store. The whole lot was organized as such: $40 and under, $30 and under… well, you get the idea. With all those hot fresh tools in one place, I slightly arched my head back and let out a, “arr, arr, arr.”

Then it hit me, Home Improvement flashbacks dropped all over my frontal lobe. I use to watch that show, like all the time. Granted, I didn’t love the show, maybe didn’t even really like to the show, but it was on after school and was right before the Simpsons.

I was drawing blanks with any of the shows details, so I hopped on the INTERNET!!! and read the entirety of the show’s Wikipedia page. Man, first-rate times, I guess. Besides the super cute mom, the rest of the cast borders on unbearably obnoxious. Ugh, and the later seasons with one son being goth, and the other a preachy liberal constantly talking about environmental nonsense; fast forward to the Simpsons please.

I looked up some quotes from the show and had a good laugh. From the quotes, I’d have to say my favorite character is head honcho Tim; and the way I’ve been acting around power tools lately, I think I’m becoming him.

Before buying a house, literally, all my tools fit inside our apartment’s junk drawer. Pretty much a common hammer and screwdriver, cheap ones at that. And now, here I am at Home Depot, lusting over specific kinds of hammers. You mean there’s more than one kind of hammer? Yes my lad, there’s a plethora of diverse hammers; and check this out! You can choose a different weight for the same kind of hammer, you know, for comfort and smashing power.

Sure, Home Depot is a good choice for up-to-date power tools and items you lean towards wanting new; but lets not forget my first love, secondhand! More specifically, estate sales!

For anyone thinking/needing to build a tool collection, estate sales is the place to get the most bang for your buck.

We’re not talking cheap made in China or Taiwan garbage; your average estate sale generally reaches back to the late 50s early 60s, sometimes the 1940s 30s, enough to be considered common, and on the rare-ish side 1920s or before. Everything back then was tough as nails and made in the USA; built to last a lifetime baby. I highly recommend, purchasing your essential hand tools this way, you’ll get what you need dirt cheap, and be able to give new life to a piece of American history.

Not much time left before Christmas! Go hop on, find some killer sales, and start popping on some tools for the Tim Taylor in your life.

What time is it?


Manly Project from days past


Things that Would be Lost to time Volume 2
I found these plans for folding bunk beds in a book called, “Children’s Rooms and Play Yards”. The book, published in 1970, features a wide variety of insane and impractical design for child spaces. I would have loved these bunk beds when I was a rugrat.

These folding bunk beds made it possible to put two beds in an 8 1/2 by 11 1/2 foot room and have leftover space for play and two study desks.

To secure the beds to the wall, you’ll ned to expose two wall studs the same distance apart as the length of the mattresses you will use, plus 3 1/4 inches (to allow for the folding frames). This usually means adding 1 by 4 or 2 by 4 blocks to the existing studs, or adding a stud to the wall. The two uprights secured to these studs are 14 1/2 inches wide for the lower 28 1/2 inches; then they step back to 9 inches so the outer uprights can pivot up onto them.

Use any joinery desired on the bunk framing. Bolt the two bunk frames to the wall uprights and, with the bunks level, attach the two 5-inche wide uprights temporarily with small bolts. Swing the whole assembly up into the closed position to see if everything fits. Then install 5/8 inch thick bolts.

For the counterweights, cable and pulleys are available at marine supply stores and sash weights at lumberyards. Attach the cables to the front uprights so they will run level to the pulleys when the bunks are folded up. Adjust the spring tension to your liking. Then panel the exposed wall with 1/4 inch hard-board or plywood.

Personally, I would love to be able to do a project like this. I’m not sure if I know how to tear out the wall, expose the studs, and do all the other intensive labor aspects of the project. I mean you have to start some where though, right?

A Manly Vintage How-to: Shipping Typewriters

How to

Man, this blog post has been sitting around for a good year now, always so close to being finished; now it is here!

Whether you sell typewriters, or buy typewriters online, knowing the right way to ship them is critical. They have always been an easy money maker for me, and they can be for you too! Shipping the right way is harder than throwing it in a box, but the peace of mind is priceless. Here’s how.

The basic idea is just to 1) secure all moving parts and 2) provide adequate cushioning. Lets break it down!

1.Put bubble wrap or crumbled newspaper inside the type basket.

2. VERY IMPORTANT!!! — Tape down the carriage release . You want the carriage to slide freely. When the carriage is “engaged”, as in normal use, its held in place by one little metal catch; if it is shipped this way all the forces exerted on the carriage stress against that one little metal catch, which is pretty easy to break if the machine is being tossed around during shipping.

3. Wrap all moving parts, especially the carriage, in saran wrap. The carriage should be free moving — But not allowed to move. Get it? good.

4. Wrap the entire typewriter, from all angles and sides in regular normal thickness bubble wrap – the whole thing should be encased in bubble wrap, a few layers thick, and then taped up. With the exception of one, all typewriters I’ve sold include a carrying case, so you don’t have much room for this step. That’s ok. Layer the bottom of the case before you put it in.

5. Place typewriter in carrying case and fill all excess space. Close it up. Get bubble wrap in every nook and cranny. If it is difficult to get the case closed, good.

6. Place the carrying case inside the second box — make sure there are 4 to 6 inches of space on all sides (including the bottom, so pour a layer of packing peanuts before putting the first one in) and fill the excess space completely with packing peanuts, or something similar. The goal is to provide 4 to 6 inches of cushioning on all sides of the first box while it travels. With your standard size carrying case, I recommend the second box be 20″ by 20″ by 15″ to 18″.

7. Tape up the second box, make sure to mark which side is up, and that the contents are fragile.

All done! Congratulations, you have successfully package a vintage typewriter, crack open a beer and reward all your hard work.

Has all this reading about typewriters put you in the mood to purchase one for yourself or a loved one this holiday season? You’re in luck! Manly Vintage has three avaliable on Craigslist as we speak. Go here for more info.

From Beast to beauty – how to clean a vintage fan


Cleaning an old vintage fan can be a rewarding experience. Something as gunked up as the first picture can clean up and look great like the second picture and will probably sell pretty darn well too. Its an easy process. Let me take you through the process my brother and I used the other day.

1. Prepare the tools - You’re gonna probably need the following in no particular order:

  • Allen Wrenches – You might need this to separate the blade from the motor
  • Flathead Screwdrivers – small, medium, and large
  • Phillips Head Screwdrivers – small, medium, and large
  • Oil – get get some vintage machine oil out of someone’s garage for a dollar
  • Steel Wool – the finer the better
  • Magic Erasers – These things are amazing
  • Paper Towel – The dirtier your fan, they more you’re gonna need
  • Soapy Water – Put some warm soapy water in a bucket
  • Miscelaneous rags – some wet, some for drying

2. Prepare your workspace - you’re gonna need some good lighting. If you’re indoors, I’d suggest a good vintage task light. One similar to the one that we have in our shop is ideal, but something cheap from home depot will work.

2. Take pictures - Not only will taking before pictures help you really see the fruit of your labors and bask in the glory of your elbow grease, but it’ll also help you realize how the hell to get the thing back together again. This particular fan became a little problematic when trying to get the coupling surrounding the motor just right. Clicking through the pictures helped to solve the problem and my brother and I were able to get it right as rain in no time.

3. Get a strip of masking tape – you’re gonna use this to organize the various bolts, washers, and screws. I like to use masking tape because it holds the screw next to the correct washer, I can fold it over and write some sort of not on it so I remember where the screw goes. Planning ahead is important if you want to avoid frustration when you’re trying to put the fan back together.

4. Take Everything apart. – Dont be scared. Trust yourself. You’re smart, right? Above average at least. Get as much of the fan apart as possible.

5. Start washing the Heck out anything dirty. If its rusty, save it for later. Don’t worry about getting things wet. The only thing you wanna keep dry is the motor housing and motor. Everything else is fair game. Remember, Magic Erasers are your friends.

6. If is rusty, and made of metal, take the steel wool to it and go to town. I like to use the steel wool under running water so I can see my progress. Probably not great for the environment, but hey, I didn’t vote for McCain!

7. Continue to rub, scrub, scrape, and then dry everything until its spotless.

8. Put everything back together. Drink copious amounts of PBR. Take some shots of Irish Mist if necessary. Enjoy.

Why I love Vintage. A bullshit free manifesto.


“I love vintage because every piece has a history, a story to tell.”

I’ve read quote, “I love vintage because it has a story!” probably 10-15 times, mostly in etsy profiles, and I can smell the profile filling fluff miles away. While I agree that it can be true in some cases, the fact is people aren’t setting up an etsy shop because they want to tell a story. They’re setting up etsy shops because they want to buy it cheap and sell it steep. They’re setting up an etsy shop because they like vintage AND they realized other people do too. Let’s be honest. We’re all adults.

But there is more to it than just the money. I love vintage. These are my reasons why. I like lists.

1. Made in America – There’s just something about getting products that were actually designed and made in our country. The quality is better, the design is good, and you can buy it knowing your grandpa built it.

2. Quality – As I’m typing this, there’s a fan on my floor that was built in 1938 in the city of Chicago. When I turn it on, it works. It needs a dusting and an oil refill every once in a while, but other than that, its pretty laissez fair. This fan was made to last. No cheap plastic. No quick and crappy parts.

3. The Thrill of the Hunt – I’m absolutely obsessed with finding something that someone else overlooked. Its hard for me to drive past a garage sale, a thrift store, without wondering what I might miss if I don’t look. This is a huge part of it for me. I’ve found quite a few things that others didn’t see as valuable.

4. A Cash Positive Hobby This is how I try to justify it to my wife. Right now I’m sitting on a pile of cash that I made just from picking garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. Green is good.

5. The People I absolutely love meeting fellow vintage/antique enthusiasts. I’ve met some really cool people. I love selling to people at shows, giving them the history of the piece, discussing what they know. Its awesome and fun all wrapped into one.

That’s my list. Why do you love vintage?