Entries from July 2009 ↓

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.


I like bananas. Must be the monkey in me. I have one in the morning for breakfast and one in the evening for a snack.

I like the taste and the price. A bunch of six or so go for $1.50. That is about 25 cents each.

The only problem is that they do not do well even when kept in the refrigerator. Buy them green wait a day or two for them to turn yellow so you can peal them. A couple days later they start getting brown spots, then all brown, then black.

You can avoid the brown and black transformation if you keep the purchase down to one bunch of six. Trouble is I don’t want to go to the store every week or three days. I would rather buy enough bananas to last me for a couple of weeks.

I finally found a way to keep them indefinately. Just freeze them. Peel them first. Put them in a freezer bag and leave them to get frozen. Takes about two hours to freeze, overnight to get really frozen hard.

Bananas have a thermal coefficient that makes them particularly good at staying cold. A frozen banana is as good as a slurpy at causing a brain freeze.

So, next time at the store load up on bananas and freeze them if you have room in the freezer.