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Awesome things you've found when buying a house (not-so-subtle tool gloat)

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  • Awesome things you've found when buying a house (not-so-subtle tool gloat)

    Howdy All,

    Long story short, we just bought a house that needs a lot of work and has a 30' x 40' garage out back which had the roof collapse 10+ years ago. Good lord, there's lots of cool stuff in there the previous owners didn't bother moving out, but to keep from making this thread entirely about how awesome a deal we got, what sorts of cool stuff have you gotten as a result of a home sale?

    So far my list includes (mind you I have yet to actually go digging and have only pulled back the vines growing up the front of the garage, but I've been told the garage was the father's tinsmith/roofer workshop from the early 1960's on and there's likely lots of that kind of stuff hiding in there that I haven't uncovered yet):
    1. The 1940's Buffalo drill press I mentioned in a thread last week
    2. The 1930's Canedy-Otto Dovetail drill press also mentioned in that thread
    3. A vintage-unknown Craftsman bandsaw (probably 1960's from the look of it, no idea if it's geared for metal or wood but I suspect the former)
    4. A Rockwell horizontal belt grinder (thanks to GWilson for explaining to me what this tool was the other day in his amputation knife thread; had no ideal I was about to run across one so soon)
    5. A 295 amp AC welder (Century badged, if it makes a difference and probably 1970's or 1980's vintage)
    6. An Acetylene welding rig that nicely fits the #5 Acetylene tank a friend scavanged for me last week from some random person's front lawn (had a "free" sign taped to it and is the subject of a recent thread)
    7. Quite a lot of sheet metal fabrication equipment in varying degrees of disrepair (see mention above re: roof collapse), including several bench-mount flangers, a shear or two, what looks like a press brake (see note above re: not getting a chance to go digging yet and the father being a tinsmith/roofer)
    8. Probably a dozen old caned rocking chairs needing new caning
    9. Supposedly a mid-1800's era rope bedframe (the house was built in 1825 and we're told it's hiding in there somewhere but haven't found it yet)
    10. Not the one boat we were able to see when looking at the house, but two others as well. The obvious one is a fairly nice ~15-20' bass boat (115hp Johnson outboard, acoustic fish finder, 2 electric trolling motors last registered in 2004), but there was also one hiding in the bamboo behind it which looks to be a wooden sailboat of some sort in bad shape (but decent looking trailer) and there's a 10' speedboat looking thing propped up against the front of the garage hiding under the Virginia Creeper/wild grape vines/bamboo.

    There might also be a gas-fired heat treating oven in there, but it'll take some doing to dig it out and see what it actually is. Probably will find a bunch more when we get a chance to dig; as I've mentioned, the roof collapsed and all I've done so far is walk into the sections that are relatively safe to go into. Will post pics once I get them transferred to the computer, but it might be a couple days since the place needs a lot of work and we literally closed on it yesterday afternoon.

    Last edited by adatesman; 07-30-2011, 11:52 PM.

  • #2
    Gez wtf lucky bastard. Course, you did kinda pay for it along with the house. (that makes me feel better.. :P)

    Hope the stuff in the garage is still ok. Guess someone just died and ignored the place or something. I sure as hell would'nt leave all that stuff just laying around if I was still kicken!
    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


    • #3
      That's a lot of neat stuff you found ! I hope much of it is usable or restorable.
      Back in 1976 when I bought my current property, it was 5 acres of junk, with one exception; a reasonably nice 1955 Thunderbird sitting out in the weeds.
      Imagine my disappointment when, a couple of weeks later, a guy with a trailer pulled in, loaded up the T-Bird, and took it away. He didn't say a word, but a call to the previous property owner confirmed that the T-Bird had been the subject of significant dispute, including a fight with a baseball bat, and definitely did not go with the house.


      • #4
        Pretty much, Black Moons... Father died 10+ years ago, family piled crap in his workshop for years, the roof fell in, they couldn't be bothered to go digging to get any of it out. As for the boats, well, can't explain that part; they belong(ed) to the oldest son, who lived in the cottage on the property and was served eviction papers a month ago (by his younger brother who has POA) and for whatever reason he left them in spite of the fact he could have easily backed the truck up and taken them off-site. The way the law is here in PA it looks like ownership of tenant property after eviction passed to the landlord once they're out, and if the property is sold ownership passes to the new owner. Last thing I need is a boat, but it seems I now have 3. Very excited about rebuilding the garage/workshop though and am planning on fixing up/renting out the main house to cover the mortgage, putting my mom in the cottage and then using the workshop for all the silliness I get into. Oh, did I mention the property is all of 10 minutes from my house?


        • #5
          Sorry to hear that Bill, and FWIW what I've read seems to indicate it belonged to you. At least here in PA it looks like it would have. From what I can tell there's a fairly straightforward process here for me to apply for a new title for what's effectively abandoned property. Time will tell if I'm reading it correctly, though.

          That said, probably best not to stick yourself into the middle of a 'discussion' involving a bat. That's never a good place to find yourself.
          Last edited by adatesman; 07-30-2011, 11:45 PM.


          • #6
            Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, Black Moons, at the moment I'm thinking "condolences" are more appropriate than "congratulations" with regard to the new place. Sure, we got it cheap but dear lord does it need work. It's basically 0.5 acre in an old suburb on Philadelphia, PA with the house being the original schoolhouse for the town, built in 1825. The house itself is in decent shape for the age, and mostly needs cleaning, spackle, paint and some reinforcement in the basement/crawlspace. The cottage was built in the 1920's and it's a tossup whether it would be better to gut it or burn it. I'll let your imagination dictate what that means, but will caution that I've done the old-house-rehab thing twice so far and tend to go to extreme lengths to fix/rework/rehab whenever possible. Sure, there's likely good stuff to be found in the garage, but at the moment I'm barely able to move and have many months more of this to look forward to. What were we thinking???? (read: aside from things that need inspection {electric, etc} we're doing everything ourselves. Oh, and by "We" I mean me and whatever handy friends I can rope in with promise of beer and burgers, which nowadays there's a dwindling supply of given the lack of teaching the sorts of things that would qualify one as "handy". And while my wife will be helping where she can, she's really just the PM for the job since I'm the stay-at-home-dad-with-time-and-skills-to-do-this-sort-of-thing and she's the one with PM experience working for a big name national defense company. Somehow I think she's getting off easy, but then again, I'm getting a big-assed workshop with untold goodies to be found in it.)
            Last edited by adatesman; 07-30-2011, 11:46 PM.


            • #7
              The things I've found weren't nearly as awesome as yours. I found that the drains ran slow, the fuses popped at the slightest hint of use. I found that the roof leaked and that a neighbors kid played bass guitar.....really loud. I don't care to find anything else.
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


              • #8
                This might be the appropriate time to mention none of the toilets actually flush.... If you can imagine how well that goes with bribing worker bees with burgers and beer you have an idea how my day went....

                Oh, and I neglected to mention the moldy spiders. As in spiders that died in their own webs and were subsequently covered in a 1/8" thick coating of mold. Never seen anything like it, and hope to never see it again. Straight out of a Stephen King novel. Seems the old furnace was a gravity heat/octopus type thing and there's loads of wood piled in the basement, rotting away thanks to frequent flooding. Mind you, the octopus was pulled out of service in at least 1980 (first service date written on the side of the "new" oil burner), yet it took us all day to empty the cellar entrance of the floor to ceiling pile of rotted wood destined for the octopus. And that's in addition to the 5 cubic yards of wood already rotting in the basement next to the octopus...

                Today's mantra: "the workshop's going to be awesome"
                Last edited by adatesman; 07-31-2011, 12:01 AM.


                • #9
                  I would consider consulting an attorney or the state regarding those boats. I dont think you legally own them. About fifteen years ago now, my uncle lived on the NY side of the border but kept his bass boat in a storage lot on the PA side. He was an "occasional everything" in that he had more money and toys than time to use them and often didnt for months or years on end. Well he shows up after what was likely months expecting to pick up his boat, but the boat isnt there and neither is the storage lot. It seems the lot was foreclosed on and the bank auctioned everything. A legal battle later, the bank had to pay several thousand dollars to replace his boat.

                  Youre definitely a lucky guy regarding your tool find however. When my brother bought his farm, we found a 19=teens Buffalo 10 inch camelback buried in the mud of a shed.
                  "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."


                  • #10
                    I have never found anything, but I recently bought some stuff from a guy on CL that bought a property at auction for 170,000. The property was in the middle of a suburb, on 7.5 acres. It also included a house, huge red barn w/ silo, and a huge shop also filled with machine shop goodness. The PO had died and left his entire estate behind, which this man bought for pennies. He wasn't a machinist and was interested in turning the shop into a nice garage to store cars. He sold all the equipment and tooling for pennies and most of it was from the 40's-60's. I bought up as much as I could afford before it all went away...the sad thing is I paid 190,000 for my house 2 miles down the road a year before that(1 acre w/ house, no machine shop lol).


                    • #11
                      Your story has all the primings for a mystery novel. I hope you find jelly jars stuffed with money buried somewhere in the mess, not a trunk with a body. The moldy spiders are a nice touch.
                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                      • #12
                        Only thing I have ever found [ still got it ] was one of those long school photo's that had the whole school on it rolled up in a loft of a house we bought.

                        It was taken in 1957 at Rugby school in the UK, very posh, paid for boarding school.
                        If I had been rich and clever enough to go there it wouldn't have been until 1959 but hey what's 2 years after all this time !

                        Good thing about these photo's is there is ALWAYS someone like you on them so looking at the first year sprogs there was this ugly pimply faced Herbert with thick glasses that looked just like me.

                        Stuck the pic in a frame and stuck it up on the wall. Visitors would come, note the picture and walk over to take a look.
                        "Oh you went to Rugby did you ? " [ Brit stiff upper lip protruding ]
                        "Oh and I bet this is you ?" pointing to the pimply sprog.

                        What a hoot..........

                        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                        • #13
                          Burn the sailboat! Arm your men, and let no one be taken alive!

                          Oh wait. Wrong century.

                          Wooden sail boats are a PIA to maintain and restore. Salvage all the metal parts. Should be a decent amount of SS and brass and then give it a viking funeral.


                          • #14
                            Burn the sailboat!

                            Check out an issue of Wooden Boat magazine. There are them what would take it off your hands and give it a new life. No different than you rescuing a lathe or mill. What goes around, comes around.
                            Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                            ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                            • #15
                              Good to hear about your new tooling and machine score. I bet the old guy that owned them would like the thought of them staying put and someone putting them to good use.