Cast Iron Restoration

Griswold Large Block Slant No 3 Found May 5th 2018

  Restoring cast iron was a daunting task until the E-tank. 

   When I first began finding and cleaning cast iron I used Easy-Off Oven Cleaner and a lot of elbow grease. Sometimes it was more work than what the piece was actually worth.

    I had found a #10 3 notch lodge, it was excessively cruddy. So I cleaned it as I normally would. After some sore hands and 2 cans of over cleaner, I discovered that it had been ground down on the outside. So it went from a decent find to scrap.  That was the last straw.
     I had wanted to make an etank (electrolisis tank) but the idea of water and electricity had me wary. 

    I did some research to figure out how to make one of these contraptions.. youtube has some great videos.

   I started out with a 5 gallon bucket but quickly moved to a large plastic tub. 

So.. how to make a tank.

  1. Rubbermaid Storage Tote
  2. Copper wire
  3. Steel plate
  4. 50 amp battery Charger
  5. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 55 oz (Pack of 2)
  6. Piece of pvc or plastic tubing

     Clamp steel plate to side of tub, connect positive clamp to plate/clamp.

 Attach skillet to copper wire that hangs from tubing. Connect negative to copper wire on top. 

You will need to use 1-2tbsp of baking soda per gallon of water. Make sure skillet is completely submersed. 

Turn on battery charger.  And wait..

After a few hours in the tank. The gunk is starting to peel and flake off.

   Wait a day or 2 before removing skillet from tank. BE SURE TO TURN POWER OFF BEFORE HANDLING. 

     You should be able to peel most of the crud from skillet off by hand. If there are any stubborn areas that won’t come clean. Just place it back in tank for another day and check it again. Repeat as needed. 

3 days in the tank and it’s done

Rare Pyrex

Well lately it seems like all pyrex is rare. Mostly since all the articles about how old pyrex is worth a lot of money.  Htf things going for over double of what they would have 6 months ago. 

If you do a search on ebay for “rare pyrex” you get a lot of results. Maybe 3 of the 2000+ results are actually rare.  And you will know because of the bids or reserves on them. 

If you are a newbie I highly suggest getting The Hot for Pyrex Guide to Rare and Hard to Find Vintage Pyrex

Some things in this book that were rare are no longer rare. 

 Some things that were htf are no longer htf, and there are new ooak pieces that have surfaced that are not even in the book. 

Do your research to determine if your pieces are common, htf or rare. 

Certain regions have produced more htf and rare patterns than others, mostly near old pyrex/corning plants. 

I have been lucky to live fairly close to a pyrex plant. I have stumbled upon quite a few good pieces.

  Below are some pieces I have found itw. And very cheap for what they were. The butter print mugs became an entire fiasco that I will probably talk about in a later post. There are only 20 known. I happened to get 5 at one time.  

Pyrex Burgandy Paradise 024 with cradle
Pyrex Bright Colors orange Souffle
Pyrex Butterprint 1410 mugs
Pyrex Golden Gooseberry 442

Check out @smokeyheightsvintage on Instagram to see all my finds. 

Estate sale season is upon us. 

     Well, we are coming into estate sale season once again. 

     Getting up extremely early, planning sales a week or so ahead of time, and searching the internet endlessly are all things essential to estate sale goers. 

     There are many places to find estate sale listings

  1.  Craigslist under the garage sales
  2. Estatesales.org
  3. Facebook/market place
  4. Local news papers
  5. Gsalr.com
  6. Local signage on poles etc

    Some listings have pictures and a good description of items others do not. It’s really a roll of the dice. I have been to sales that sounded amazing and were terrible and sales that had very little listed and found amazing treasures. 

    Once you find that perfect sale, getting a game plan together is a must. What time will you show up?, do you need help?, is it going to be freezing?, where in the house are the items you want?, how much money should you take?. 

    Once I find THE SALE, i try to figure out exactly where in the house the item(s) are. Zooming in on pictures, and paying attention to the flow of the pictures(usually pictures are taken as the estate company walks through the house). That will give you an idea of the layout of the house. 

    I typically show up 4 hours prior to start of the sale because I like to be 1st or 2nd in line just to even have a chance to get what I want. And yes I have stood in 18 degree weather for 4 hours just to get 1 thing. 

    Being early also gives you time to look in Windows and determine the best route to your items.

    I would say there are 4 main types of estate sale buyers. The toy people, the tool people, the clothes people and the glass people. These categories may blend from time to time but usually you can spot who buys what.  If you go to a lot of sales you know who is competition and who is not. 

  If you are first in line and you are a glass person, if the next 3 people in line are toy/tool people that will give you a little bit more time to get to where you are going before the mob. 

^ photo from an estate sale 2 weeks ago. I arrived at 5am. I was second in line, luckily the first person was a toy buyer. 

    Now…… how much money should you take? I can’t really answer that. Take what you can afford to spend. Some estate companies price close to retail. Others don’t care and they price things extremely cheap regardless of what they are because they’re just there to clean the house out.  

     If you’re a collector you will spend a little bit more for something.  If it’s close to retail price most resellers are not going to spend $100 to make $10. 

 

Let’s Talk Brass

Vintage brass can be found in almost every thrift and antique store you go to and depending on the item it may sit there for months upon months.

Bucks are 24″, 21″ and 13.5″ tall

Brass animals are always a must buy.  The bigger the item the better. Don’t be intimidated if prices are a little on the high side more than likely you can always at least double your money.

In an earlier entry I talked about the 2 huge brass deer and elk that I found. the 2 deer have since sold for $125 for the pair plus shipping and the elk for $165 plus shipping .

Brass items to look for when out

1. Deer

2. Pineapples

3. Elephants

4. Unusual animals such as toucans, crabs, water buffalo

5. ANY items over 12″

Obviously depending on price and comps these are all great items. Pictured above are some of my brass finds, which have all sold.

I just recieved a 23 1/2″ brass elephant that I should be able to get around $300 for, I only paid $68 shipped on Mercari.

You can always sell for a decently high price. Not to exceed actual value.

Don’t be afraid of heavily tarnished brass. I use Brasso Multi-Purpose Metal Polish, 8 ozto polish all of my brass. 

Team thrifting

Thrifting alone is hard, have others thrift for you as well.

 Your friends and family have probably heard about how much good stuff you find. After they get over the initial confusion of why you are so excited about a find or that people buy that “junk”, they may enjoy helping you.

  I tell stories constantly about things I have found and how much it was worth or how I got certain items.  So much so that my mom now thrifts for Me, and my sister has started to follow suit.  

  We can only hit so many antique stores, thrifts, yard sales and flea markets in a day. When friends or family go on vacation or go somewhere outside of your normal stops ask them to stop at a thrift. 

Pyrex Pink Butterprint thrifted by my mother

  It may take a while for them to figure out what’s good and what’s not.. but eventually they will catch on… but they will. 

 

Where to sell and why

New to reselling or thinking about starting to resell? Where is the best place? What are the fees? How long will it be before i get a sale? These are all good questions.

Which I will answer with the knowledge that I have obtained through trial and error and my stats on the sites I use to sell.

There are many platforms to sell on, EBay, etsy, Facebook, Mercari , poshmark and probably more that i do not use.

My main sales come from Etsy, but I also use eBay and mercari ocassionally. As with anything, sales come and go depending on the time of year. Im going to attempt to explain my strategy on selling and the pros and cons of each. But the most important thing i have found out is CROSSPOSTING.

I list most of my items on etsy first. They may sell quickly or you may have them for months.. Etsy for me is the best. Low fees of around 3% and each listing costs 20 cents. Shipping discount(which allows you to make money on shipping). People tend to spend more money on etsy and do not haggle on prices as often.

You can completely customize your etsy shop and make it your own, signature to your genre of items. Once you are well established you will have many repeat customers but things sometimes take longer to sell.

 

When things are not selling well on etsy or not selling at all.. before you take it all back to goodwill or the thrift, list it on Mercari. Things that you have had listed on etsy for months may only take days at most to sell on here.

Fees are high at 10%, almost everyone will haggle you on the price. They offer flat rate shipping so it is more buyer friendly.. but that also means that you make nothing on shipping.  Also you have to wait until the buyer rates you to get paid.

 

And lastly there is Ebay(feebay is what I call it) which is my least favorite place to sell. Some people make a great living on eBay but it’s not for me. Fees are 10% then PayPal takes another 3% (13% total). You do have to wait for your money a few days at most. You do get a shipping discount so that’s a plus. I guess.

There are people who seem like they use eBay to just leave negative feedback, get things for free or discounted or better yet never even pay. On auctions the buyer has 8 days to pay(4 days after an unpaid item case it opened). They may never pay. Unless it’s a rare piece that is going to get a lot of attention I wouldn’t use the auction.

No matter what platforms you use to sell, when sales slow down cross post. Reviews and ratings will make or break you.

Sheets and Chenille

One thing you may not have thought about looking for is vintage sheets and chenille blankets.

You can find these at most thrift stores for low prices. Wether you want to resell or keep for yourself(if you can find the correct size), the sheets are always one of my go to aisles in the thrift store.

New in the package sheets are not always available at the thrift store, a lot of time they take them out to hang them up but none the less they are still desired. But be sure to check the shelves that are located near the linens for new in package.
The funkier the design the better they sell. There are quite a few facebook pages to buy and sell vintage linens. Be sure to check them out to get a better idea of what sells.

Below are some of my finds from past thrifts and estate sales

Look for names like Martex, Vera by Burlington, Lady Pepperell. There are a lot of vintage sheets brands and designs out there.

Most unfortunately only come in twin and full/double. Occasionally you will be able to find king and queen sheets.             75% of the time you will find flat sheets. If you do find fitted sheets be sure to check the elastic if they are out of package.

And then there is chenille….. these gorgeous super soft blankets are always a treasure. I have quite a few for personal use. They are light in the summer and when laid over another blanket they are great for colder months.

I have not found many that were not beautiful. They are usually a little pricier at the thrifts but well worth the money.

The holy grail of chenille…the peacock!!!

I have never seen one in the wild. They are very very sought after and can fetch up to $250 or more.  So this is a MUST BUY if you ever run across one.

Christmas is coming soon, so you may want to check out twobarbies on etsy.com, this shop has every color imaginable.

When sheet hunting keep in mind funky, floral, flat and fitted.