I have been searching every hardware/lumber yard I come across for a few weeks now. Searching for a replacement handle for my splitting maul. The last one fell victim to a blown brakeline resulting in a low-speed impact w/ the front deck, effectively snapping it. A classic episode of Irony. Don’t believe in it?? Check this; On the rare occasion that I take my splitting maul w/ me to get firewood I place it in the cab w/ the saws. On this particular trip I stuck it in the stake pocket behind the headache rack. Backing under the deck to unload I blew a front brake line. As I dropped ‘er into 1st to avoid collision I heard a crack. Lurching forward I assumed that I had damaged the deck w/ the headache rack. Nope, snapped the splitting maul handle. The one time in maybe 15 years that I put a maul there.
One more example; Before I started building headache racks I hauled wood for 6-7 years w/out them, just vulnerable back windows. Some how I managed to never put one out. When I got my current truck I pulled alongside my last one and transferred everything. I torched the rack off and tossed it over. Having sold my welder it would have to wait for a trip to Green River Repair for install. Couple months later it is late fall and I am ready to get a load of firewood. Yes, I should run to town and weld up the rack. Yes, I procrastinate that. I head up the valley, cut down, then up, a tree. One of the first pieces tossed in hit the inside wheel well bouncing clean through the back window. Nothing but glass, then nothing but air. Irony indeed. I looked on the bright side, it has sliding windows so only 1/4 of the entire back window was gone:-)
Back to handle search. I got an underground tip that the “Amish Wal-Mart” was back in operation outside of Ontario WI. Fanfuckingtastic news!! I had been there like 5 years ago when they were going out of business and had bought the last 3 on hand, the last of which being destroyed in the above episode. This morning dawned gloomy so Cody, Mojo, Sketch, Odin and I headed for Amish country. By memory we found our way having no problem and indeed they were open. Tried to get a pic of the wagons leaving as we pulled in but my photo journalism is still lacking. Also I missed the big picture and only got the main building. There is a small lumber yard of new and used lumber. Also outside are rows of bigger items from horse-drawn implements to stainless steel bulk tanks. Had it been a sunny day I would have asked to take some inside photos. It was fairly dark inside (no big electric lights here) and my camera hates, hates, hates, dim lighting. So more pics next trip. Though it is really named Trails End the nickname is fitting. Stacks of straw hats to oil lamps to leather horse harnesses to maul handles to big wooden pulleys of every shape, it’s packed in there.
I took along one splitting maul head, two hammer heads, and three sledge-hammer heads in a bucket and did some bartering. He traded the bucket ‘o heads for two handles for my splitting maul head. I could have walked out then, dead even, carrying exactly what I went in needing. But just like the big city Wally world there were more bargains to be had. (click pic for big pic)
Here is a list of what I got, spent, and would expect to pay in the american world. Prices are totals for each item type so in the case of the needle nose pliers that’s $4.50 for all three:
- 1-snap swivel $1.20 vs $3-5
- 1-3″ paint brush $1.80 vs $2-4
- 2-10 pack foam brush $3 vs $6-10
- 1-3M Abrasive Pad $1.80 vs $2-3
- 1-pr XL Kinco brand insulated work gloves $7 vs $9-11
- 2-pr XL Leather forearm mittens $13 vs $40-70
- 5-pr XL Latex coated work gloves $5 vs $15-20
- 3-pr Needle nose pliers $4.50 vs $9-15
- 5- Handle wedges $0.60 vs $1-2
- 1- Framing hammer handle $1 vs $5-10
- 2- Sledge hammer handles $10 vs $16-25
- 2- Splitting maul handles $0 (trade) vs $22
- 1- 28oz Plumb anti-shock hammer $23 vs $39.99
- Total w/ tax; $75.85
- Total from elsewhere using low numbers; $169.99 w/out tax.
- Savings; $94.14
As all items were going to be purchased in the near future anyway, I count the savings as actual. Some of the items I have been looking for but haven’t found elsewhere. Example; The Xl latex covered gloves I have only found large and can’t wear them. The big mittens I haven’t found in any size for years. The type of splitting maul handles I needed seem to be non-existent any place else. The 28oz hammer I need for work and almost purchased two days before at Tractor Supply for $39.99. And the needle nose pliers are not your typical cheap crap for that price. They have the same quality that I have paid triple the amount for. The handles are quality Hickory straight and hard. Unlike many handles I see in other stores for twice the money.
What was the slogan I saw the other day on a Wal-mart semi? Live cheap, live better or something. Well yesterday I lived better, spent less, and got better stuff by going to the “Amish wal-mart”. And it was obvious where the profits were going. The corporate headquarters are 100 yards away. The family home. No huge stone and glass temple looking buildings. Just a basic, quaint, easily maintained, simple structure. No huge transformers to heat/light/cool the place. Just wood in the stove, lamp oil and windows that open. No huge fountain spewing part of the employee wages into the air. Just a few chickens who lay huge organic eggs which are available in store for $1.99 doz. Half the shoppers arrive by horse-drawn wagon or buggy. We went by van burning approx 8 gallons of fuel. How much do them horses burn?? Here is where they park at a local gas station. CLMF!!!!