Gifting as a Brewer's Wife

All my husband wants for Christmas is stuff for brewing beer. Since I know he doesn't read my blog (lol), I figured I could share with you all what I'm scheming.

I've been scouring Craigslist and Ebay for cheap useful things, and I've acquired a pretty good collection already. Aside from the random yellow junk I bought before to make him a lamp (NOT home brew related, by the way), I bought a neat antique scale, a vintage bench-top bottle capper, an old grain mill, and a rough-looking solid wood desk. What on Earth, you ask, might I be doing with all this stuff? Let me show you...

First, I'll start with the grain mill. I bought this from a gentleman who is selling off all his home brewing stuff. I talked to him on the phone and he seemed very nice, and his wife was also very sweet when I picked up my purchase from their home. I'm not entirely sure why he's throwing in the brewing towel, but I'm glad he's selling his stuff for a good deal!

This particular mill looks like it has a pretty small capacity, but I think I can fashion a new funnel for the top for larger batches of grain. I may also bring it to work and have one of the mechanical engineers help me put a motor on it. It wouldn't be difficult to figure out, but I want to make sure I do it correctly. UPDATE: One mechanical engineer advised against motorizing this particular mill... two others think it's doable. Noted.

I'll be checking the second-hand stores for a funky little end table or something to modify into the new 808 grain mill. It just needs to fit a 5 gallon bucket underneath it to catch the crushed-up grain.

As for the old desk... it's in pretty rough shape right now, judging by the pictures (I haven't picked it up yet because I'm trying to arrange storage for it while I work on fixing it up). But it appears to have good bones and I can definitely refinish it. For $20, it's totally worth it.

I'm thinking black, dark grey or maybe blue paint with a natural wood top. I'll probably replace the top of the desk with an edge-glued wood surface so it looks like a butcher block or bamboo counter top.

Something like this. Except with handles.

I'll also raise it up a little bit with some square legs and locking casters for easy moving, and swap out the drawer pulls with something more fun.

The center of the desk is going to become clean bottle storage, so I'll add a shelf or two in there as well and have my grandpa make a few wood crates to fit. He loves to help! In fact, I might keep this whole project over at his house...


And that's exactly what I'm doing!

I picked up the desk on Monday after work and brought it directly to grandpa's house (after a phone call to make sure he was home). Fortunately my aunt pulled up in the driveway right after I did and she was able to help me unload the thing into his garage; grandpa broke his upper arm earlier this fall and still shouldn't be using it (advice which, of course, he ignores).

I stopped back over Wednesday morning- I took the rest of the week off from work for Thanksgiving- and we removed the handles and started sanding.

At first Grandpa was convinced that the plywood top was glued in place and wouldn't come off, but after some inspection we discovered screws holding it on and it popped right off no problem. Nice!

The lower sides of the desk are the most severely damaged; likely a flooded basement situation or something. The whole thing is seemingly hand-built out of plywood, and the outer layer is peeling off about nine inches up either side.

Grandpa wants to trim it off nicely and insert a new veneer, but I'm thinking we'll just putty the missing areas and slap some bead board and trim over it. It's all going to be painted anyways, so I'm not concerned about wood grain and species.

I get the feeling he's not entirely on board with my "creative direction" with this one, but he told me "you're the boss"... so hopefully that means that he won't have the whole thing done by the next time I visit! Ha ha... he likes it how it is I guess!

I was going to stop at Menard's to buy the rest of the materials and paint to finish this up today, but seeing as it was Black Friday there wasn't a parking space to be found in a one-mile radius. That's a red flag for me! No, thanks!

Once the capping bench is complete, I'll fill the drawers with fun little surprises like the vintage scale, a bunch of bottle caps, non-slip bar mats, etc. Maybe I could even convince Grandpa to part with some of his beer signs...

Gosh, my husband is a lucky guy. I sure hope he realizes that... ha ha!


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