Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I need a truck!



Digging through some photos this morning made me realize something.

I need a truck!Awesome deals abound here, but you need to be able to grab them quickly. These were originally shade screens from some rich guys house. 12' x 16' of shade cloth all rolled up on an aluminum extrusion, $15 each. The aluminum extrusion is nearly worth that in scrap......and somewhere in there are motors to roll the shades up and down. Automatic window shades, jeez!

Even better than the shade cloth, is the roofing tin underneath. Most everyone here uses steel sheet roofing, because most people are collecting the rainwater from their roofs . There isn't a municipal water source on this side of the island, so you need to be self sufficient here.

This stuff is worth it's weight in gold ( well.....) , particularly because this is the good, thick, old stuff. The new galvanized sheet roofing material is only 1/2 the thickness and seems to rust out within 10 years or so, less if you live closer to the volcano. Common sense would dictate that you should switch to a more durable material, except that steel IS considered the more durable material, at least in the USA .

The new tin corrodes so quickly, they are pushing aluminum roofing as the "new and improved" material ( "Low maintenance and long lasting, too!") but it's so expensive that only the rich can afford it. Or you could take out a loan, I suppose. Poor people stick with steel here.

The funny /sad part is that the reason that the steel roofing corrodes so quickly? It's that the volcano is constantly spewing out sulfer dioxide. This precipitates out as "acid rain", and it's something that any builder from the east coast of the USA could fill your ear on. Rusts the steel roofs, rusts the cars, kills the landscaping......ever wonder the effects of sulfer dioxide on aluminum?

You have to wonder.....How did those people gets so rich, if they can't read? The effects of acid rain on aluminum roofs has been documented for decades.

Anywho.....26 sheets for $25. The new, thin crap stuff runs $48 EACH, so.....

It starts out small. A pile of kitchen cabinet doors.

Solid maple, 20 doors and in good shape.....except the glue that was used in their construction couldn't withstand the Hawaiian environment. Many of the joints have separated and, as is all too common in new construction, glue is the only thing holding thus stuff together. Solid maple is not a bottom shelf product. This is the good stuff, but it ends up at the dump all too soon.



More stacks.....

And piles.

God forbid that I actually build something. I've got the ingredients for a half decent workshop here.

Of the two tents at the Keaau trash dump and resale store, this one is my favorite, despite the other tent having all of the books (5 for $1).

Excercise equipment, beds and furniture, various and sundry items....

Luggage. Going somewhere?

See those baby cribs?

One of them is filled with children's toys, and the others are filled with clothing, children and adults. Free. Free clothing.

This place exists as part of the state of Hawaii's push to recycle everything. They are serious about recycling here, and I can't say enough about how wonderful this all is. You are responsible for recycling, there is no trash service to pay for and you don't get fined, should you decide not to participate. It's your choice, but if someone sees you tossing some good, usable stuff in the "trash" dumpster, you're going to be losing some aloha.

The resale tents are operated by a separate nonprofit entity, and this site has maybe 8 employees. The prices are completely arbitrary, and the people setting the prices value items differently. This can be a pain, particularly for the employee, because if they ask too high a price, people get pissed off. It is donated materials after all. None of the people working here want to work the price desk, haha. I know I wouldn't want to.

Ted is retired military and hates building things, did too much of that while enlisted, so he prices building materials low (sometimes too low, and the bosses get on his case. "Fire me." he says). Roy is a great guy to talk to and learn from, but he's too much like me and knows how expensive this stuff is to buy. Thankfully he doesn't work the price desk very often. Another young guy doesn't really know what ANYTHING is worth, but he really cares about pulling useful items out of the waste stream. His prices are usually very good /low.

Totes full of stone tiles?

I forget.....$12 I think........Or $6/each at Home Depot.

And my biggest score ( in more ways than one)?

Kohler cast iron, extra deep, soaking tub....hardware included. It looks like a contractor screwed up and had to pull a new install. Ouch! It appears brand new, except for the nasty gray nonskid stuff glued around the perimeter. It is so abrasive, it is easy to imagine some wealthy retiree saying" UHH, no....I don't think so!". Off to the dump it goes.


This thing must weigh 300#, but it still fit easily in the back of my little Scion Xa. I had nearly 1/2" of wiggle room, haha. Guys in big pickup trucks were watching, shaking their heads and saying that it would never fit. Some people took pictures ( and I wish that I had, too).

The gray crap scraped right off. $2,800 new, and I got it for $40.


Nearly $3,000 for a freaking tub.....who does that? And the waste....

People here want to help others, and this is a way that works. Free clothes, cheap books and furniture, not to mention building supplies. The other day, a construction contractor was cleaning out his shop and brought a truckload of interesting stuff. He also brought in landscaping stock, some shrubs and a Happu'u fern ( these are the ferns that get super tall, like trees). He didn't think it was right to throw away living things like that so.....the guys working the tent shrugged their shoulders, said "Put it over there."

Another guy came in with a truck full of old rusty lawnmowers. Said " Where can I put these? People need parts...Lots of parts here.", but the guys said that they had nowhere to keep rusty junk, put it in steel recycling. The guy who brought it actually argued, said people need this stuff. He was bummed!

The service gives jobs (that provide retirement and health care!) to the people who work there, and if I feel that occasionally I might spend more than I would prefer.....so what. I owe them, big time!

Oh yeah, they have a separate paint tent, paint goes $5/gallon. A full, unopened gallon of polyurethane varnish for $5, and if I didn't hate the stuff ( shellac is the stuff of dreams), I would buy more. Too bad I don't have hardwood floors. 4 gallons of paint for $20, and it's the same stuff that Ace Hardware sells for $100.

While I'm at the dump, Renee tries to talk the cat into scratching her face.

She's tough (Renee, that is), and will do anything for a photo-op.

Here is Ellie's May celebration performance.

I am pretty sure that this is the first time that she has worn a dress.

I love this place.




  1. You've convinced me - I'm flying there just to go to the public market!!! What a score!1

    1. Paul, you are welcome anytime.

      Bring food ( for us, haha)!

  2. Great trip to the tip! I go there, too, but haven't explored the tents. Our neighbor raves about it all the time. Fun blog, Jason!

    1. Hi neighbors!

      I'm a series fan of your blog, and we are also seriously envious of your sunny weather, down there in HPP. It's raining now as we "speak" up here in Fern Acres, haha.

      I was just in the tents this morning, and the gods were telling me to buy a trash bag full of old 10 kilo burlap coffee sacks. What in the hell I'm going to do with 100-odd brown bags is anyone's guess, haha. That place is a wife's worse nightmare, but I suppose it could be worse. At least it's cheap.....$7 total!

      There was a second bag, so I pat myself on the back for exhibiting such uncharacteristic restraint. They might still be there.....

  3. Hi Jason- So glad I read this. You're really getting some bargains! Love the pic of Renee and the one of Ellie.


Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason