Museum of Strange Things...

by Roy Mackey



     Below are some images of a strange and unsual things you won't see often if at all. Hope you enjoy!!



Antique Hand Made Band Saw

     This first item may appear to be just another old band saw but not quite. It was hand made by Harry McMichael. Most knew him by or called him Russ. After taking a look you will see that it is pretty obvious that Russ could have showed McGiver a thing or two. Apparently he built this thing back around the early fifties or so. On top of that Russ's son estimated that him and his dad built around 100 wooden boats using this saw!!! It amazes me at what can be done when a someone is smart and determined enough.    


     This thing is incredible. All made out of old water pipe, wood scraps and a bit of steel. It is a 15" and is running a 1/4 hp motor. The top and bottom wheel are both made out of wood. So is the front pully for the v-belt. Below are some more detail pics for your amusement. I should note that I tried cutting with this and works as good as our new general downstairs!! Russ obviously knew how to make something that lasts. Thanks to landfills and accountants that would be impossible today.  

     The pully on the motor is metal but the one on the saw end has been made out of some kind of hard wood. Carriage bolts hold the bearing hub to the wooden wheels of the band saw. Old rubber belting was attached to the wooden wheels for tires.


      You can see the the basic frame has been put together using water piping.


      Here you can see how they made the bearing guide for the blade work. The square shaft was surrounded in lead or babbit. The adjustment works amazingly smooth with no sticking up or down. Then just tighten the thumb nuts.


      Not totally sure yet if this box part was made or scabbed off some other thing.


      This was also all hand made from what I can tell. Not yet sure what the blade guide material is made of but it is softer.


      You can see that the table is bolted to the frame using the pipe flange


      Yes this pully is made out of wood! So both the upper and lower wheels.

     Don't have a band saw and need one? Well then quit yer whining and hit the scrap yard. Grab up some old pipes and bearings Then hit someones wood pile for some scrap lumber and you are in business.   : )




Antique toledo scale,, steel sculpture, steel art

Antique Toledo Scale

     Here is one of our favorite gems. The last patent date on this is 1917. The best part about this thing is the fact that it was being used right up until the day I bought it. In fact we still use the thing and from what we could tell is right on the money.

Antique toledo scase,, steel sculpture, steel art, roy mackey

No Springs (attached) Antique Toledo Scale

     If you are sharp you can feel the difference with something that was made with pride in mind and not shareholder profits. Toledo was no doubt proud of this scale when they made it.

Vintage toledo scale,


Vintage toledo scale,

Vintage toledo scale,

Antique toledo scale,

Vintage toledo scale,

     Strangely as heavy as this thing is it moves around very easily. The cast iron wheels help and the bulk of the weight is on that back two. So to steer it you just push the front sideways with your toe and it slides around.

Antique Toledo Scale,

     I am not sure that the rollers on it are original or not but either way I am sure they are old as the nuts are square on it. We might remove them for easier use but not sure yet.


Very antique trunk,, steel sculpture, steel art

Very Antique Trunk

     Here is a very old trunk I picked up about twenty five years ago. This sucker is one of the oldest trunks I have seen. There are a lot of newer..."camel back" trunks out there but not near the gem that this one is. You have to look at the details to see this fact. Over the years I have seen hundreds of trunks but not one that comes close to this beauty. 

Very antique trunk,, steel sculpture, steel art

     Though it is kind of hard to tell in the photos almost all the hardware for this trunk is hand forged! What is not hand forged is cast iron. This is very unusual. It has copper rivets and wooden wheels mounted in the cast iron wheel frames.

Very antique trunk,, steel sculpture, steel art

     At first I thought it was made in Canada and then noticed this tag. If you look real close it looks like is says Montreal... where ever that is. Can't quite figure out the brand name which is above where it says Montreal. It is very faint though and hard to read.

hand made tools,, roy mackey, steel sculpture, steel art

      So here is another really cool item and bit of a strange coincidence. I was at a yard sale one time awhile back and spotted this actual lawn trimmer. I passed it up since she wanted a buck and I needed that money for a candy bar. Later that day I realized how bloody stupid I was... I already had a case of candy bars at home and should have grabbed it. Anyway about a month or more later I was digging around a scrap yard and lo and behold there was the same bloody lawn trimmer in a low grade junk bin. I lucked out and for twenty dollars walked away with it!!!

     I think what amazed me the most about this was the fact that it was hand made. Someone had taken some steel cut it into a circle, bent some metal rod, brazed some pipe and cut some old tire tread out and threw together this beauty. Most people would never look twice at this. It is hard to imagine how rich they must have been back then to be able to take the time to even make something like this. These days we barely have time to run to CT or HD every spring to buy the same thing new since the handle broke off the one we bought last year. The strange thing about this tool is they do still make them. My guess they are cheap as hell and often break on the way home from the store. Yet here is this guy with, no computer, no plastic injection machine, or cnc mill, makes this one and it still works fifty or more years later. The worst part is it will still work for another 50 years no problem. I bet the neighbors have gone through ten newer, factory made, ones since this was built. Life is weird.


vintage hand made tools,, steel sculpture, steel art, weird sculpture, New York Times hammers

     I think one of the big frustrations these days is most stuff barely if ever works not to mention lasts for very long. It makes us slaves to buying cheap junk that never lasts. As soon as we buy one thing another thing we have is outdated or breaks and we have to buy another. Nothing ever gets old enough to take on any kind of historical character. Don't get me wrong I love new well made things that are fun but really do you want to waste time, money and effort every year re-buying  dumb things like a new lawn trimmers etc. every year?? I don't know about you but I can think of a lot funner things to do for sure.




vintage drill press, roy mackey,, steel art, steel sculpture, free junk

       Here is a very unusual gem I picked up off a cool guy that got tired of moving it around. His Dad made it back in the days when men actually made stuff instead of shopping at wallymart. Some old water pipe... not unlike the band saw above. A bit of wood some haywire, an old switch and some good ole lead based paint and he was drillin holes!!


vintage drill press, roy mackey,, steel art, steel sculpture

     Ok it's not the best running drill press but hey it works! Back then a new drill press probably cost half a  years wages so you had to make due I guess.


vintage drill press,, roy mackey, steel sculpture, steel art, free junk

     Yup, drill a couple of holes, a little filing here and there bend a piece of metal and two months later you got a drill press and are the envy of the block!!


handmade drill press,, roy mackey, steel art, steel sculpture, vancouver bc

     Actually now that I think about it I am not that sure why I picked it up other than it is a work of art. Not sure what I am going to do with it either other than see if some museum wants it. Not likely though for at least a few more years. Then they we realize the historical importance of this type of junk.


handmade drill press,, roy mackey, steel sculpture, steel art, vancouver bc