A present from my Grandfather…

My grandfather owned a hardware store, Eckroat Paint and Hardware, in downtown Oklahoma City. It was torn down in the 1960s for an urban renewal project but I can remember playing in it when I was a kid. I can still smell it if I try – metal, wood, wallpaper, and dust all mixed together.

My dad ended up with a lot of really great stuff from the store. After Daddy died, we inherited many of his tools, and some of the stuff from the hardware store. This parts bin is maybe the coolest thing:

AntiquePartsBin-01 copy 

It came to us, more than 20 years ago, full of the original hardware. My husband was in testosterone heaven. He has, in fact, used a lot of the various bolts, nuts, screws, washers… but no one biology professor can use that much hardware. For the last 10 years it has lived in our storage shed (above).

It is octagonal and more than 4' tall. You can see the white base at the bottom. In the center of the base is a vertical pole that is as tall as the whole unit. The outer shell that holds the drawers is a separate piece that sits on the pole. The base is stationary and the unit with the drawers spins.

AntiquePartsBin-02 copy

The drawers are triangular. I have no idea what color this all was originally, but somewhere back in time the drawers were painted orange, then yellow. The yellow paint has crackled. 

I have always wanted to put my quilting/craft supplies in this thing but it was full of hardware. Now we need the shed space for pool-related items. Steve agreed that it was time to let go of the hardware that he thought he would never use.

AntiquePartsBin-03 copy

I bagged up the hardware and we gave it to the physical plant at the college. Those guys were very happy! I washed the drawers. They are nailed together, no glue, so washing them worked just fine. I was amazed at the dirt – and the smell reminded me of the hardware store!

AntiquePartsBin-04 copy

Once we got it in the house, we discovered an ant colony in the pole. Oh my. That was exciting! I realized that the dark green looked way bad so I painted what was green, orange. Of course the orange parts bin looked way bad next to the pink walls – so my pink bedroom is now yellow. Much better.

As it turns out, the yellow bedroom made the wall color in the hallway look even worse. I knew it needed to be changed but I had thought I could put it off. No, now the hall is white, like our bedroom. I do believe I am done painting for a while.

My next step with the parts bin is to make new, colorful cards for the drawer fronts so I can tell myself what's in the drawers. I want to line the drawers with paper (I've got pattern made already). Then I get to fill the drawers! But not today. Today I need to work on actual work.

13 thoughts on “A present from my Grandfather…

  1. Wow – I think that’s a wonderful bin! You were very smart to save it; if it were mine, I’d never let it go 🙂 I just love unique items (although, I’d probably ditch the Chucky Bunny!).

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  2. what a wonderful piece! I’ve seen one like it at Charles Eagle Plume’s store in Estes Park. They keep small earrings in lots of the little drawers. Just so cool and interesting!
    cathi

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  3. I’m amazed at how you thought to paint the dark green orange. That makes the whole piece kind of luminous. A lovely family heirloom…

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  4. I love the story behind this wonderful piece of furniture. We girls love our cubbies and drawers to fill with stuff, and it is so well made! You had me laughing with your painting the bedroom then the hall, plus the ants, as if it were nothing at all. Who would have thought the simple choice of moving one piece from here to there would require so much work? I’d love to see inside some of the drawers when you’re finished.

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  5. Ill take pictures when I start to fill it. My DIL and son are going to be staying with us over the holidays. Celia is way crafty and, since Jeff will be inheriting this piece one day, Im hoping to enlist her help in lining the drawers with fun scrapbook paper. Celia, if you are reading this….

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  6. Great piece! You might want to consider sealing the inside of the wood drawers. We have some old “solid wood” furniture that is 30+ years old and if you put any fabrics in the drawers it comes out with a smell. You can’t smell anything when you sniff the furniture, but the fabrics seem to absorb something…maybe a coat of poly…

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  7. Love the cabinet. There is a store in San Francisco that has one very similar. I took a picture because it has been burned with a pretty design and I thought of trying to duplicate it on some unfinished drawers I got at Ikea. To date that is a project that is at the bottom of the list!
    Love, love your work. (took a class from you through Diablo Guild when you were out here – loved it……
    Judy B

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