Thursday, July 23, 2009

scroungers of the world, rejoice!

I've been spending the past few days looking through salvage yards for interesting materials to make stuff from. I need tabletops, countertops, benches, material to face the bar in, chairs, stools, lighting, on and on...I got hold of a free three-compartment dishwashing sink over the weekend (thanks to Kim for turning me on to it, and getting me permission to take it, and to Girard for helping me move it). It's bigger than I need, but for free, I'm not complaining.

Today was a good one, though. I ran into my friend Josh, of People's Donuts fame. He was at the Habitat for Humanity store in East Oakland, picking up some trim boards for his donut shop just down the road (San Pablo & 55th), which he hopes to open in a couple months. I told him what I was looking for, and he told me about a cart full of wooden tabletops he had seen at the UC Berkeley salvage store (just off San Pablo across the Berkeley border). So I went there to check it out.

What I found was pretty great. A rolling cart with six (6!) 2" thick, 6'6" x 3' oak tabletops. They were a bit beat up, but scars are just signs of character. I asked the cashier how much they were, and she didn't have a price. I offered her $50 (just over $8 each), and she said that would be just fine. I looked around a bit more and saw a couple other things I may go back for tomorrow, then paid up.

Getting the things to the shop was a bit of a chore. They're heavy - maybe 75 pounds each - and the cart was not the easiest thing to navigate. I considered borrowing or renting a truck, and decided it was overkill. I considered calling someone to help me roll them around, but decided I'd just do it myself.

So I did. I rolled the several-hundred pound, 7 foot long, metal-wheeled cart, up to the corner, then 5 blocks down San Pablo to the Cafe. I ride down San Pablo quite a bit in the morning, and always see guys pushing their enormous, really unwieldy shopping carts loaded with huge bags of glass and metal, and now I know exactly how they feel. It's hard work, and the cars in the road, construction on the sidewalk, bumps, ramps, driveways, bus stops, newspaper dispensers and trash cans
didn't make it any easier. I worked up a good sweat, but managed to get the whole thing to and inside the Cafe without major incident (although I did get into a couple conversations with drivers along the way).

Now to decide how I'm going to use them. I was waffling a bit on using larger communal tables or smaller ones. I think now the decision is largely made for me. Thanks, salvage!

Thanks to Josh for the tip. I owe you one.

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