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I took a trip to BarterTown. A nearby meca for us devotes of RRR (Reduce Reuse Recycle). It always Exciting to visit BarterTown otherwise known to the uninvited as Builders Surplus. The piles of treasurers are always changing. In these times of economic apocalypse. I don't subscribe to the gloom and doom vision of our world. I practice the Universal laws - Especially the Law of attraction.

The usual cast of characters run this place. Some family some maybe not. There is the very "large Marge" chain smoking behind the waist high counter. She is the Martiach who runs the place. No Aunty Entity but a trip non the less. Then there is the crew. Sons, Nephews, evil spawn who knows. The Collector and the Blaster as I remember them from BarterTown. They know where everything is but you have to ask for it in code. Like what is this long and that size in any material. They only speak salvage and surplus dialects, so it makes them have to think and I can see that this is painful from the expressions on their faces. I have spent a small fortune at BarterTown. They see me as just a small fry in the scheme of things. I have gotten all of the windows I used to build the Greenhouse and a myriad of other things like very cheap like 3" PVC elbows and U fittings.

Today I was on a quest to see if I could find some solutions for the things that I had planed for this weekends big build agenda. I need to build two 16ft by 40" wide float beds for under the 4 rows of six stacks of Vertigros. I also want to build a 16ft gravel bed for filtration. So maybe a good find could solve some of the materials need instead of LUMBER.
Bartertown is about 10 Acres of treasures disguised as "Builders Surplus" material. So what a find. 16ft Long Fiberglass columns. 12" x 12" perfect to make the gravel beds. So I bartered to $25 each. Less than half of what it would have cost for the wood. Next I found 11 ft Stainless pipes for hanging the vertigro stacks from. Lets see at Lowes 10 ft Galvanized fence top rail for $12 or 11Ft Stainless ones from BarterTown for $6. Plus the good Karma of RRR. No brainer.

Next I needed to make the sides of the 2 16ft DWC float beds. I had considered Plywood, not good for ground contact in florida. PT wood. Expensive and not good for GAIA.
Ahh there it was a stack of 16" wide 16ft long 3/4" thick hardiboard, so I haggled the price to $6 each (they never reduce the price but I keep trying). A real steal. Each DWC float bed will cost me only $15 plus some scrap pressure treat 2x4s for posts and a billboard liner. Can't beat that.

So here are few pics of the place - I could have taken dozens. And of course I had to haul it back in my my proud 51 Willys wagon a real RRR vehicle.
Oh yeah I threw in the Rainbow pic from yesterday to remind those folks that live in Hawaii that those of us on Mainland have glimpse of natural beauty in our lives.

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Comment by M Cosmo on September 15, 2010 at 7:39am
RRR sources. Free is always the best. But sometimes Construction Salvage is very cheap.
Liners can be had from Clear Channel Outdoor. They are Billboard take offs. They are free and come in various sizes. Typically Black 14x 48ft. I took only white ones as I want to see the bottom. They let me take half a dozen when I went to the Clear channel in Clearwater fl. If you are going to go there contact me and I will give you the contact persons phone and name off line. I got the lead from Michelle. She is vastly resourceful like TCLynx.
I would lookup and visit the local recycle stores. Especially the ones that handle builders surplus. A superpages search in Tampa for Building surplus results in 10 good listings. Also search for used lumber - Don't forget recycling centers.
Here are a few hints on how to shop these places.
Go prepared to take what you find or at least pay for it.
If you find a material you can use buy all that you can afford if it something they don't get a lot of.
Always Always ask the price. I bought Brand new never installed Low Eglass windows for $35 each that retail at 1200 each. I ignored them the first two times I visited Bartertown as I assumed it would be too much money.
Ask how much the whole batch will cost so you know what they are thinking is their lowest price.
Be prepared to design what ever you are building with the materials you find.
If you find something you like PRICE it at the Homedepot Lowes stores. Bartertown charges more for lumber than I can get it at Lowes but charges 1/4 for the 3" PVC fittings. Call the Lowes etc to price the same item if they have it for a price. Nothing is more than discouraging than paying more.
Above all be Creative. imagine how you could use that thing.
Ask questions like to you have anything that looks like %%&*^#.

Go the the county recycling center and ask them if they have what you are looking for. Remember they always think of something as what is was original designed to be used for so be creative.
Make friends. I think TCLynx has a few buddies at here local Recycling center. She is very resourceful. Show them pictures of projects. Ask them to call you if they get what you want. Leave them your cards with what you want on it.
Have fun Have fun Have fun - Don't be surprised if you find yourself telling everyone about your deal. They won't care but it feels great to be a good steward of the planet.
Give away or sell your surplus - don't let it rot.
Veni, vidi, vici
Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 12, 2010 at 7:05pm
Great post. I went to Home Depot and priced treated lumber and plywood for 4ft x 8ft grow beds and came away dismayed. It would end up costing me about $100.00 total. You've inspired me so I'll call around and see what I can find. It's too bad that around here (New Orleans Area), authorities forbid scanvenging in the trash dumps. I have seen thousands of yards of perfectly good fabric, furniture still in the box, windows still in packaging, lumber, even school desks that were perfectly serviceable thrown away (a Jefferson Parish School truck dumped them). It's not that I can't afford the 100 bucks, but that it irks me having to pay when I know I could get some things for free. Anyway, you did a great job.
Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on September 12, 2010 at 9:58am
Outstanding story as always, Michael. You have quite the flare for writing. The best part - the picture of your Willys wagon. Somehow it is what I imagined you would drive. Perfect!
Comment by M Cosmo on September 12, 2010 at 7:03am
I am going to frame the float tank with 2x and and sit the gravel bed on the frame. It will have 6" of support hanging a few inches over the float bed. Upright -in the ground 2xs are the main support.
Comment by Sahib Punjabi on September 12, 2010 at 6:04am
WOW!
I love doing such projects. Hopefully one of these days, you can arrange a FL AQ visit to BarterTown :-)
Comment by TCLynx on September 11, 2010 at 8:15pm
12" by 12" for the gravel trough sounds even better than what you had originally planned!!!!!
So how are you going to support that gravel trough over your float tank?

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