Penny Washers

Since I have decided to qualify for the coveted scrooge award, I have gone out of my way to ‘economize’. This post is an example of extreme economy. The scrooge award is a plaque awarded yearly to a person who can demonstrate he is the cheapest man on three continents. It is not as popular or well known as the Darwin award but in the same category.

I was restoring three deck chairs. These are of cedar construction. Legs and back are bolted to a seat and back structure with 1/4 inch bolts. The cedar was split and weathered. The hardware was rusted. The chairs were a wobbly mess. Maybe that is why they had been discarded.

I successfully restored two of the three and was working on the third. The third was a real mess. I had to reconstruct the back out of cedar 2X4s (also salvaged from the scrap pile created when my neighbor removed a rotted deck). The 2X4s were cut into 2X2s and the rotten wood was discarded (saved for the fireplace).

All that was needed was to bolt the last chair pieces together, paint and varnish and I would have a decent set of three deck chairs.

During the restoration I had lost some of the hardware. I was short four washers for the 1/4 inch bolts. I looked through my large collection of hardware but no washers were found. At least none that would fit the 1/4 inch bolts.

My first inclination was to get some washers at the hardware store. We have a local hardware store just blocks away. After recalling that nickel plated steel washer in 1/4 inch size would cost at least 5 cents each I decided to save myself the trip. I retrieved four pennies from the penny jar and drilled a 1/4 inch hole through each one. These washers only cost me a penny each instead of a nickel.

Turns out pennies are no longer solid copper. The ones I drilled were copper clad aluminum. No problem, They worked great.

So instead of spending 20 cents and wasting a half hour going to the hardware store, the washers only cost me 4 cents and ten minutes at the drill press.

Explore posts in the same categories: consumer

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