If you recall a month or so ago I wrote a little post called "A Drive in the Country" about all the old houses and farmsteads around here which have been standing empty for many years. What I didn't tell you about was Mountain Man's find that day. Actually, the reason I didn't tell you about is because I pretty much thought he was a bit crazy for taking it home and I didn't even bother to take a picture of it.
Let me see if I can paint you a bit of a word picture. It was old, dirty and nasty looking. The filth seemed to be mostly dirt and soot and I couldn't even perceive of there being anything worth salvaging. Grime from years and years of being up in the barn, which was open to the elements had changed its color to that of a very muddy puddle. To top it all off there were.... Eww! Mouse dropping in it. I am not the faint of heart and have dealt with many a mouse and its leavings but really I just couldn't see this object he insisted was an old egg incubator as being worth my time. Sigh... When will I learn???
The farmer had told us if we found anything we wanted to just take it but even so we double checked to make sure. Did I tell you people around here think we are weird for liking old stuff?
I pretty much forgot about his find until later on when he brought in a lovely piece of copper tubing. It was gorgeous! There was copper in that old incubator? I never would have known as it just looked like black tubing. What he did with that copper was amazing and I was realizing I had made a huge mistake but was still trying hard to be skeptical.
It took him a day and a half to complete the restoration but the result was nothing short of amazing. Much of the wood could not be cleaned without some sanding and the hardware all had to be removed and cleaned. This was a task he gave to me and I just threw everything in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and let it sit for a few hours, then scrubbed it well. All the fixtures were beautiful when done. Here is a sample of a before and after. Different hardware for a different project but the results were the same.
When he brought the finished project in I couldn't believe my eyes! I love, love, love rustic and re-purposed items. This was the ultimate piece. We both knew just the spot for it and it's purpose. Besides looking fantastic it also holds all our internet/phone equipment (modems etc) all nicely organized and out of sight. The legs were much to tall but they were quickly shortened so it was the right height. You can see there are a few holes here and there where the tubing used to be. Some of you may be asking why we didn't just restore it all and put it to use. Well, as it was kerosene run and very old we really didn't think it would be safe to use. Also, finding kerosene up here is not easy and what you can find is very expensive.
Restoring the label was careful work as we really didn't want to lose it!
I couldn't help but print off some chick pics to put in the viewing window.
At first we couldn't decide what to do with the big hole where the large tubing entered but wanting to stay with the old and rustic theme we found a very old metal baking powder lid and fixed it in place.
So, what happened to some of the copper tubing? Well for now it is a picture frame!
Recently on-line I have seen these old incubators selling for around $300.... They are in much better shape than the one Mountain Man found but who knew?
Also found on Frugally Sustainable and Mind Body and Soul blog hops.