Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Barn Find Of Another Kind

image credit: item on sale at Etsy. Get over there and buy one!

I hope to write here occasionally about "old-school tools" that faded when newer technologies came on the scene. Quite often, with farm equipment, newer is better since new technologies include ergonomic and safety features that could save a life on the farm.

Not so with label-embossers. I have never heard of anyone dying from embossing plastic labels. The technology, from Dymo, was wildly popular in the early 70s. I still find my name in tidy white letters on items from that era. The little 3/8-inch-wide strips of plastic last forever, unless they get wet and the adhesive fails. For a Type-A personality like my own, facing a huge barn of loosely sorted fasteners, tractor parts, and other cryptic hardware, two things can curb the clutter: shelving and labeling.

Shelving is easy for me, as are bins and carpenter's chests for sorting the little stuff. But how to identify items with a quick glance and not the opening of 25 little drawers? Enter a 1970s Dymo M6 label embosser, new in box, found under a shelf. It's not a '67 Pontiac GTO or an M-1 Carbine rifle, two things I would love to find in my barn, but it's still a delight and will get far more use.

Dymo still makes these older devices, though the company focuses its efforts of higher-tech and higher-cost paper labelers that I see at office-supply stores.

One becomes less fastidious when living in the country, but some urban habits of mine will never pass. One is a belief that a clean countertop and well sorted tools save hours of time. I also have an OCD-person's memory for things that interest me. I can tell you where nearly every can of the 100 shades of paint are in our barn, where the galvanized screws are not, where to find cable ties, jack-stands, gear oil, or which cabinet holds the PTO parts for our old John Deere M.

As with gardening, there's an "illusion of control" at play here. Early Spring makes a garden, or a workshop, look manageable. It's one reason I prefer the cool-season months. Once the humidity and heat set in, things go to hell fast after 10am.

So it's time to get to work, making those labels!