Sunday, March 07, 2010

Frig Id

Cold it isn't. The snow is melting steadily. On a little walk yesterday we noticed green grass starting to grow in the snow free patches. I am thinking of taking the chains off the skid-steer and changing the snow blade to a bucket. Or forks.

This Christmas Sara and husband Kevin came for Christmas. We decided to make it a build it instead of buy it Christmas. Worked out great. Kevin made me a really cool item - er items. He took a bunch of computer keyboard keys, drilled out the centers and glued in micro magnets. The magnets are super strong. The result is great "fridge magnets". It thought it was the coolest idea. It was clever, hand made, cost effective and re-purposed something destined for a land fill. Don't get me started on that one. All I needed was a bulletin board that would let magnets stick to it. I wanted a fairly large one and priced them at a Stationary store. Yikes. What a lot of bucks for what you get.

Then an idea struck me. As I was walking by an old fridge that had been rescued from the dump and was destined for a smoked meat enclosure I noticed the doors were flat and just about the right size. Hmm. With some help from the dogs and cats I removed the doors from the fridge. Both the freezer compartment and main compartments. I stripped the inside enclosures - the molded plastic stuff and insulation from the doors. It only took about 10 minutes with my trusty cordless nut driver. Er, loosen-er in this case. I saved the two inch fiberglass insulation - it's destined for a walk in green house. That made two nice flat surfaces of smooth metal, with some chrome trim. The freezer door and the fridge door. With all the inside trim, gaskets and plastic removed it was about an inch and a half thick. A few minutes with a spray can and Voila! some pretty high tech looking magnetic board.


I painted the freezer shelf that was screwed to the back of the door the same color and it makes a great wall organizer.
As Jo-Ann and I, plus assorted cats and dogs sat in the office with a nice cup of tea admiring our handiwork we did some brainstorming about reusing the huge pile of fridges and freezer that lay in our local dump awaiting their inevitable journey to destruction.

The insides of the fridges, shelves and pull out trays are very useful in workshops. Painted some nice matching colors they look like expensive IKEA units.

We've had a lot of success using tires to grow veggies in. One drawback is that tires are round. So anything I build to go with them, i.e. plastic covers needs to be round which presents some construction challenges. Round becomes Octagons. Way more work than simple rectangular construction.

We are going to experiment with a couple (of dozen?) horizontal freezers. Drill drain holes in them, set them on used pallets, or tires, fill the bottom foot with drain rock ( or broken up re-cycled Styrofoam) the rest with good garden soil, put a removable plastic cover flush with the top. Leave the lid on so that we can close them at night to keep the heat in. We are also going to run garden hose on the inside of the lid in a "UΩUΩ" pattern and continue it down into the freezer, buried in soil. It will help heat the soil. In summer the lid just stays up to shelter the plants from the North wind and lets us spread anti-bug netting to keep the denizens from chomping the leaves. The slick sides of the freezer should thwart small furry critters from plundering tender carrots. Cheap and dirty insulated raised beds. And more stuff gets re-purposed as opposed to enabling our throw away culture.

Stay tuned for this one. We're excited. Pictures to follow.

"Dad, where's the USB cables..I need one for my mouse.."

4 comments:

Endako Jo said...

behind you!....can't you read???!!

Wendy said...

I love this post! What great ideas!

My favorite use for an old fridge is as a tiny root cellar. I'm still trying to convince my husband, though, that we should dig the hole for it. He's concerned about where to dig ;).

I see a lot of this sort of stuff happening in our future ... at least I hope that repurposing and reusing become the norm, and we stop this over-consumptive way of life. Besides, I think taking something and imagining what it *could* be with a little tweaking is so much more fun than going to the store and buying it. Anyone can buy a magnetic wallboard, but to make one ... using an old fridge? That's genius!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Art, that is so cool ! I was planning to just paint a part of my newly remodeled wall with blackboard paint but your idea is way more creative.

ablom said...

Wendy: Fridges make great cold storage units. We use a large 4 door commercial unit that I have super insulated with styrofoam. It just sits by our basement door and I have some ducting and a fan on a thermostat that pumps warm air from the house to the freezer to keep it above zero during the winter. Burying freezers or fridges underground is more thermally efficient - and really it doesn't take a lot of real estate.

Donna: I just used some left over spray on truck bed liner I had. It dries in five minutes. The next one I do ( and there will be several..) I am going to use your idea of black board paint.