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Hard to find things that can be made that you would be willing to pay for!  RSS feed

 
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I would like to start a thread of things that you would be willing to pay for that should be able to be made in a small machine shop or home workshop.

For example, I see another thread where someone wanted to buy a barn beam drill. Doesn't even look that hard to build, the issue would be finding the right angle gears (differential center gears) and finding the right drill bit to do the job. Both of which shouldn't be hard to do at all. It looks like a brand new one of these would be worth $400-500 to the right people, however, a person might only sell 2 of them every year. That would be a great project for someone with a small machine shop.

A second example would be wooden clothespins. There's a guy who sells the springs and the plans online to make them. This is a woodworking project, but is something I would consider making for extra money, and they are sufficiently complicated that the average guy isn't going to mess with them.

A third example would be making wheel hoes. Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoes is a fellow who's got the plans online.

I would like to figure out how to make true swans neck garden tools. Everything is simple except making the actual swans neck which I haven't quite mentally figured out yet. I pick them up at garage sales and antique shops all the time because they are a extremely lightweight and durable type of hoe.

I have also seen cargo bike trailers on here, which would be an interesting sideline if I wasn't infringing on someone's patent.

One more thing that I have seen- building the frames of Planet Jr Garden Tractors with the gasoline engine would also be a fun sideline- as well as building a Chore Trac garden tractor- that's a one wheel gasoline powered cultivator. I would personally build one of these with a Mantis Honda motor, very lightweight and powerful.

As for myself, I need to pick up a metal lathe and a small wire welder to build this stuff. I have a background in construction and auto mechanics so I have a bunch of cross training to figure this stuff out.
 
pollinator
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A camp style rocket mass stove. Doesn't have to be light weight or portable. Something i can set a cast iron skillet on to cook dinner. Whether i make it or get someone else to do it, its on my short list.
 
master steward
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some small pottery or wooden chickens to pose with my yarn in photographs.  
 
gardener
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r ranson wrote:some small pottery or wooden chickens to pose with my yarn in photographs.  



Not germane to the thread but this triggered a childhood memory. 1976, Alaska, cabin, snowed in, 200 miles from the nearest mall, family of six, my mother is serving dozens of cookies a week and wants a cookie jar. She *made* one out of paper mache in the shape of a large chicken, starting with strips of newspaper soaked in glue that she wrapped around an inflated balloon.  Painted it with acrylic paints. Named her (chicken was a hen) “Amanda Pea”.  Big cookie jar, held four dozen cookies, was still in use (though beakless and combless and uncleanably filthy) when my dad passed a few years back.
 
gardener
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Putting new handles on things. Quite often there are perfectly good shovels or other tools that are missing a handle. They can be obtained at every yard sale for a pittance. The beauty of this is that the difficult metal work is done, but the tool is completely useless until someone does a little bit of work. Then you have a saleable item. You don't even need to make your own handles. There are just as many perfectly good handles attached to broken metal bits. It's just a matter of swapping them out.
 
J Anders
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Putting new handles on things. Quite often there are perfectly good shovels or other tools that are missing a handle. They can be obtained at every yard sale for a pittance. The beauty of this is that the difficult metal work is done, but the tool is completely useless until someone does a little bit of work. Then you have a saleable item. You don't even need to make your own handles. There are just as many perfectly good handles attached to broken metal bits. It's just a matter of swapping them out.



Do you actually sell tools like this? I don't have much of a market in my area for tools like this, I don't think, unless I were to sandblast and repaint them. I have thought about doing that though.
 
pollinator
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Dan Boone wrote:

r ranson wrote:some small pottery or wooden chickens to pose with my yarn in photographs.  



Not germane to the thread but this triggered a childhood memory. 1976, Alaska, cabin, snowed in, 200 miles from the nearest mall, family of six, my mother is serving dozens of cookies a week and wants a cookie jar. She *made* one out of paper mache in the shape of a large chicken, starting with strips of newspaper soaked in glue that she wrapped around an inflated balloon.  Painted it with acrylic paints. Named her (chicken was a hen) “Amanda Pea”.  Big cookie jar, held four dozen cookies, was still in use (though beakless and combless and uncleanably filthy) when my dad passed a few years back.




Cool Story!  What kind of cookies did she fill it up with.  I imagine getting supplies to a cabin this remote was difficult.
 
Scott Foster
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Anything basket.  I just planted a bunch of willows specifically for basket making and plan on making them for myself.  Baskets are utilitarian and they can be art.   Great for harvesting from the garden and hauling stuff around.  It seems like most of the baskets on the East coast are made from wood strips and European baskets are made from willow.   I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing or there just wasn't enough willow around.  

Check out John C Campbell for ideas.  They give classes on everything from blacksmithing to stained glass.

John C. Campbell

 
 
pollinator
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Similar to tangible things that we could make with sufficient expertise and materials are services.

I often buy services that I could do myself if I took the time to learn and could afford the chance at mistakes. I have done minor automotive repairs to my truck but pay for services of someone more expert than me for two primary reasons. One, the person can do it better than I can with higher rates of reliability. Two, where it is a service that I can do but still buy that service is when it simply is better to have it done then to try to fit it into my list of projects and try to prioritize those projects.  The latter reason is the one that I face more often than not. Is it rocket science to lay quality carpet down in a house? No. However, a professional can do it much more efficiently than I can so I pay for that kind of service.

Tangible things that I hope to make going forward and not buy them are things that I can make in a metal shop, such as anything forged or anything requiring welding.

If it's simply something that I neither have the expertise nor the time, but need for our homestead, I'm likely to not buy new but rather look for it at a rural auction.

 
Dale Hodgins
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J Anders wrote:

Dale Hodgins wrote:Putting new handles on things. Quite often there are perfectly good shovels or other tools that are missing a handle. They can be obtained at every yard sale for a pittance. The beauty of this is that the difficult metal work is done, but the tool is completely useless until someone does a little bit of work. Then you have a saleable item. You don't even need to make your own handles. There are just as many perfectly good handles attached to broken metal bits. It's just a matter of swapping them out.



Do you actually sell tools like this? I don't have much of a market in my area for tools like this, I don't think, unless I were to sandblast and repaint them. I have thought about doing that though.



I almost never sell a decent tool. I am more likely to buy them, so I was speaking from the point of view of a customer. It's something I've seen others do, mostly with shovels and axes. With axes, it's almost always a good metal part with a broken handle, so there's not lots of good handles out there. With shovels, rakes and other long-handled Garden implements, there is a good mix of tools with only a good metal portion and tools with only a good handle, so this creates some opportunity for mixing and matching.

I don't know how much a person could make doing this. It's certainly not something that wood to make a fortune.

Probably, this business is best suited to those in countries where wages are not high. I saw a man in Africa, who bought several tools with broken handles. I don't think these things were from there, because the dealer seemed to have many such items. It's more likely that they were shipped in that condition from a wealthy country. Used clothing arrives in big bales, from the US and other places. People sell them, but they also conduct repairs or break it down completely for the fabric. The guy buying the shovel and axe heads, can expect to get the equivalent of 2 days wages, for a good quality shovel. I went to a hardware store, and prices were generally higher for quality items, than if I had bought them here in Canada. A good quality mattock can cost the equivalent of 10 days wages for the person swinging it. These tools get sharpened and are generally well cared for by the owners. Good metal items don't get tossed out, because of a broken handle. A suitable piece of eucalyptus is located, and the tool is made good as new.
 
gardener
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Small scale grain and food processing equipment.  Something to thresh an acre or less of wheat.  Crack 50 gallons of nuts.  Shell 100 lbs of dry beans.  Press oil from 50 lbs of sunflower seeds.  Etc, etc...

There is equipment to do some of this on a small scale or on a huge scale but not much in the middle.  
 
Dan Grubbs
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To Dale's point ...

I know of a guy in our region who goes about finding all the small tools he can get his hands on, such as hammers, that have broken or band handles. He takes off the old handles, refurbishes the head pretty extensively, and re-hangs the tools and gives them a fresh coat of boiled linseed oil. He loads hundreds of tools onto a flatbed trailer and goes to consignment auctions and sells these refurbished tools. I've see many hand tools sell at auctions and these tools go for about double what an un-refurbished tool does. Is he making a living? I highly doubt that. I actually think it's his hobby. But, they are very good used tools, to be sure.
 
garden master
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Wooden toys for kids.  When my kids were little, I had a friend make some wooden cars.  These were not small, maybe 4" tall by 6" long.

Here are some suggestions from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Hape-Elephant-Wooden-Push-Toddler/dp/B00COQZMGA/ref=sr_1_21

https://www.amazon.com/BeginAgain-Family-Learning-Imagination-Bilingual/dp/B00UCWQLRC/ref=sr_1_8

 
pollinator
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Not really something "made", but something trained I think, would be a Mouse cat.

Not all cats are good mousers, but there is a huge demand for them. With a house full of daughters (4), they fall in love with any cat, but I cannot afford to have cats that do not mouse. To be guaranteed a mousing cat would be worth spending money on.
 
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