And today’s tour – a rust graveyard! Grab the kids, let’s go!

Every time my son and I drive past a certain sign, he pipes up and says, “Look mom! It says 1-800-Got-Junk? You should call them!” And it makes me laugh every single time. πŸ™‚

While I do indeed have junk, it sure is inspiring to drag something new home rather than the same ‘ol. And today was my lucky day!

I was lettering up a couple trucks at a welder’s place outdoors today and came upon this box of whatevers. I was VERY pleased with myself, turning it down, for it wasn’t ‘good enough.’ Didn’t think I had it in me didja?

I then walked past a gated area. My peripheral vision was apparently on high alert, causing me to walk backwards to pay better attention to what I THOUGHT I just saw.

Hubba hubba. πŸ™‚ A real honest to goodness rust graveyard! (no wonder I’m still single…) Would you like to take a walk with me down the meandering weed path, through the ditch and beyond the rolling piles of rocks? Let’s go!

Now, I’m going to number each exhibit so feel free to ‘name that junk artifact’ if you know what they are.

#1. First up, we have your regular variety of railroad something or others. I should have taken a closeup because the patinas on the right side were AMAZING. No two were alike. I wanted to wallpaper a wall with them. *sob*

2. Oh I’ve ALWAYS loved these. And I’m gonna make me one someday and hang it on my big ‘ol empty staircase wall. So I got a few closeups so I can make it look good and authentic. It’s a giant spool in case you weren’t sure.

3. I have NO idea what this contraption is but who cares! It was cool and made me go ACK!!

4. I want the wheel I want the wheel I want the wheel! Did you know all this stuff weighs about 500lbs each? Crazy heavy duty stuff.

5. LOL yeah I know.Β  But it reminded me of these robotic arms my artist bud Dan makes. He has this uncanny way of joining fake nuts and bolts and pipes and knobs and rusting it all up that looks similar to this. Very steam punkish. Who knew the underside of some vehicle would be so appealing?!? πŸ™‚ This is abit sick isn’t it?

Β 6. What in tarnation are these?!? They looked like rusty metal elve’s chair backings. Heck… I’d make a chair set for kids outta these. (with a tetanus shot package to go with it)

Admit it. You’ve NEVER been on a tour quite like this before, have you? Wouldn’t it be cool hanging out with me for a day? Oh, you have to go? Ah. Ok, well…

7. Too bad cuz then you’d miss these really cool cut up truck bumpers! I want one of each to hang verticle on a wall from floor to ceiling. I really REALLY loved them! But again, that 500 lb thing, not to mention they actually belonged to someone for a reason I suppose.

8. Now these were crazy! I LOVED the hinge bar things connected to these piles. Oh how I wish I was sitting next to someone that could tell me what each thing was so I could sound super smart for this post.Β  They would have made really cool outdoor railings or.. staircase railings… yeahhh!

9. Apparently this was a shipping carton of some kind. Would have been a cool laundry hamper (after replacing the wood) IF it didn’t weigh.. you know..

10. Ha! Did you even KNOW these COULD rust up? I sure didn’t.

11. Nor these paint cans! Holey moley folks… see what else we can now do with all our metal garbage? No??? Yes, I’m feeling ok! Why do you ask?

12. Poor things. I felt sorry for them. But at least they’re friends that get to hang together with a common interest.

Are you still here? We’re nearly done. And I promise, it gets BETTER.

13. Why? Because I hit THIS motherload of gear and cog goodness!

Right about here I went ballistic. I glanced at the time and I had about 30 minutes to just play with them. Kinda like playing marbles. You just have to.

And after I did this, that was it. I was fried with grief stricken envy that someone had these and I didn’t. So I marched right up to the owner and demanded an explanation as to why good living room decor was left unattended in the graveyard!

Not really. I asked him if he’d look at the pile I had aside andΒ  wanted to know how much he wanted for it. He told me he needed some vehicle letteringΒ  so we could partly trade if I desired, but if I didn’t do the lettering to take it anyway. He refused cold hard cash. Whaaa…. (this man will be rewarded greatly for his kindness and for not laughing at me) (edited to add: YES I took the gears home!!!!!! eeeeee)

14. I also took this pinwheel fan thing home.Β  If you flip it upside down it could be one of those cake holders you gals are making out of dishes. Hmmm.. what else can we make here. Book stand? Self protective lamp base? Who cares. It’s in my truck and that’s all that matters.

15. And I took this. They were very unusual metal house numbers. I want a number wall.

16. And I took these what I think are hook type things. I’d like to use them for hook type things. Somewhere.

Making rust safeΒ 

So how does one prepare such delicious rust to be safe indoors? Miss Mustard Seed once upon a time did a tute on clearing it with a clear spray which I did on my mattress spring bulletin board. It worked fabulous and removed the orange tone from the rust, deepening the hue even more. So I’ll be getting out my BBQ wire brush to knock off the loose stuff, then clearing it.

Hey, thanks for tagging along!

Anything in this bunch you would have taken home with you?

Or have I finally taken you to the murky depths of “gone too far this time?”

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Categories: Junk Drawer, Shopping

76 thoughts on “And today’s tour – a rust graveyard! Grab the kids, let’s go!

  1. I can definitely see why you were so excited. I wouldn’t bring them home because they are not my style but I am sure you are going to do something outrageous with those cogs and the other stuff too.

  2. Oh how I enjoy shopping with you! And to find such treasures. Too bad some of those items weighed so much…they would have been so cool! I love the cogs and that shipping carton. Oh and the fan blade thingy!! Very cool!!

  3. I love a good field trip! I am picturing you dragging your “laundry basket” to the washing machine. What a work out that would be! Though it would make a great planter. That way you wouldn’t have to move it. Or you could put casters on it!

    I saw the gears and did the same thing in my head that you did on the ground. The hook like things and numbers would come home with me too. Along with those grate things.

  4. I’d probably still be climbing through there. I love old rusty junk. That shipping crate would have had to come home with me. I can just see it transformed into a planter box.

  5. What a fabulous and fun post! You are just too clever with your words…”They looked like rusty metal elve’s chair backings. Heck… I’d make a chair set for kids outta these. (with a tetanus shot package to go with it)”….that had me laughing out loud! Love the cogs and pinwheel! Thanks for the tip to use TREMCLAD!
    I do love rust.

  6. #3 – it’s a Funky Junk outdoor Christmas tree!
    #4 – … but a really determined lady can move anything…
    #5 – ahhhh… so that’s how those work… I bought a couple of those at a yard sale and took it to my blacksmith group for the monthly raffle. The old boys JUMPED on a chance to win them.
    #7 – AWESOME! I want several!!!
    #12 – I see a water garden and a potting bench sink…
    #13 – now THAT is where I could go monkey crazy!!

    The nice man didn’t laugh at you because HE’S ONE OF US!! What a cool playgound he has!

  7. That is definitely the Mother Load of all things rusty! Glad you got to bring some of it home to play with and thanks for showing us around too…love looking at that stuff! Only you could figure out what to do with it though!

  8. Isn’t it great when you don’t know what something is?? You can invent all sorts of things! I too love the gears, they would have come home with me for sure. Someone said your laundry hamper would make a great plant stand, I agree. The biggest thing I love about you Donna is that you are so different and not afraid to show it(seriously, those are compliments)!

  9. OH my WORD what a perfect post and my kind of shopping!! thus my name the Rusty Thimble. I
    just happened upon your blog this morning and I am in Heaven I have read it like three times. I love Rusty Stuff. thank you for making my day

  10. ooh aah…cool! love the railing post holders, vintage bathtub, gears, numbers, and the spool…which gave me an idea for a project that i have been “stuck” on. stay tuned πŸ˜‰ and thanks for the help!
    judi πŸ˜‰

  11. I want the wheel! and the cogs…would’ve begged for the spool. Love the cake stand idea…that will work. Numbers are fascinating aren’t they.
    oh…that bathtub would look great with cascading plants in it.

    What a goldmine you came across! I love rusty things too, that is why I scour the web for rusty wire to make my crosses with.
    I even bought some old funky rusted wrenches at a flea market one time and of course hubs said; “what are going to do with those?”
    That man…after 25 yrs of marriage he should know better than to ask that.

    omg…I almost posted, had to edit when I went back and looked at your pics…those rusted paint cans? Awesome flower pots! oh and I’ve used cogs for candle bases in the past πŸ™‚

    Now I want to got to the salvage yard today and I have work to do…dang it!

  12. I screamed, “OHH EMM GEE !!!!!” when I took a quick preview scroll of you pictures!!!!! (have to admit, I always do that – and I’m never disappointed!) This is fuel to get my creative juices flowing!

  13. #7 is actually showing several pieces of a materials called “Heels and Wheels” grating. It is ADA compliant grating for walkways, and is very, very, expensive.

    #8..Isn’t that the thing you put your feet on at bars?

    Wonderful pictures! πŸ™‚

  14. OK… I’m officially jealous!! Your rust junkyard supplier has more stuff than mine! LOL!

    It’s like the island of misfit toys… And we’re Santa!! HaHa! Except for the heavy pieces… Some of those are the best eye candy but too heavy to hang or move around… I’ve had to walk away from a few of those myself… sniff, sniff!

  15. Oh dear, seeing that old tub out there with that sink in it brought a tear to my eye! I NEED it. I would have taken that home in a heart beat and done everything I could to get it in great shape to actually use as a ….. get this… a TUB! :O) I adore old junk yards like this one, but at the same time I hate seeing such useful (okay okay, useful to ME) go to waste. There is a junk yard I drive by everyday that has a ’67 Mustang sitting there – and it hasn’t been touched in years! I know the person that owns it and the dang thing still runs great – but they refuse to sell it. And refuse to take care of it. It’s in a way like a neglected animal. If you can’t respect what you own, you should be forced to get rid of it after a certain number of years! Okay – off the soap box.

    If I lived anywhere near you I would love to just hang out with you for a week, just watching you work and create and share in all the fun that you do!

  16. Honey, you need to marry yourself a welder!

    With every welder you get a complimentary rusted steel junk pile. I know because I’ve been married to one for 25 years and I have a small version of your post on our property. And the bonus is that every welder knows how to move and place those 500 lb objects too!

  17. Tamra, I’m afraid you’re right. A welder it is! “Honey, for our anniversary, let’s meander in the back 40 and make plans. Again.”

    #28 Connie, thank you SO MUCH for that Etsy link! I had the best time with ideas rushing in. I can barely stand it! I need to get my clock gears up on my new clock gear wall! πŸ™‚

    Loving your comments! Honestly, a graveyard such as this really forces to push your creativity. But what a fun force…


  18. What a cool place to just pick through! While you were drooling over all the rusty stuff, was drooling over all the grey metal stuff! LOL I loved the old bathtub and sink, and those other grey thing-a-majigs!
    You left with some great stuff! Those numbers are awesome!
    Thanks for the tour!
    ~ Jo πŸ™‚

  19. Oh how fun!! Let me just say ~ you would go completely rusty-nuts at our place. Soooo much rust, especially the hubby’s side of the driveway {think: Sanford & Son theme music}. It is fun though when you can think it through to a cool project! I have no where near your talent in that dept.. for sure πŸ˜‰ -Tammy

  20. Oh what a wonderful spot! I love your junkin’ ways. 12 and 13 have my vote. I want to make some gear flowers, or just put gears all over the chicken coop. I gotta tell you that last night I dreamt that I didn’t have a car seat in my car, but a big blue exercise ball. True.

  21. Stopping by to say I LOVE your blog! Lots of sassy ideas! I would love it if you would add me to your blog list… you are already on mine! πŸ™‚

    …visiting from Sassy Sites!
    (cause your blog is a sassy site!)

  22. Holy Cow! I would love to visit a rust graveyard like that! Lucky you — especially that you got to take some home cash-free. Love the gears, LOVE the hooks, and LOVE LOVE LOVE that box you call a potential laundry hamper. With some casters it could move about and be an awesome planter/firewood box. Drool.

  23. Hey,Donna,, that is some pretty cool stuff you found there. I love love love the hook things,, I need to be so lucky to find some of those. And I agree the fan thing would make a super neat funky junk cake stand.

  24. Hahaha you crack me up! I was actually twitching looking at all your pix because it makes me think of my in-law’s house and I twitch so badly when I go there and want to clean and throw things away! I think I’ll look at their junk a little different next time.
    definately loved the tub πŸ˜‰

  25. Thank you for taking us along. I will go rust/junk shopping with you anytime. I have a secret passion for the stuff myself. Please don’t tell anyone ;)!

    Always, Teresa

  26. I’m surprised you didn’t take a truck bumper or two! Maybe too heavy? Fun tour πŸ™‚ can’t wait to see what you come up with, especially with those cogs and gears!

  27. I love the things you found, although I can’t identify many of them. I showed some of the pictures to a son-in-law and he knew as little as I did. I’ll try a son later! Happy hunting.

  28. Did you read any epitaphs?

    Here lies good ole Rust
    He never made a fuss
    One day he was fine
    Then, the next, vanished his shine

    Everyone he was attached to
    Lies somewhere nearby
    The memory of their luster
    Is now high in the sky

  29. My husband thought I was crazy when I asked him to remove some old rusty knobs off some old pipes he was THROWING AWAY. I am using them as hangers in my craft room! what does he know anyway, right! Love your blog you crack me up! πŸ™‚

  30. Oh my lord you were in RUST heaven!!! My favorites are the large wheels and the hooky looking thingys….is that a word? I would totally use these somewhere to hang things on!!

  31. What I look at and find beauty in is so different now that I have started spending time with friends like you. Thanks for opening up my eyes to a whole new world. This land of rust couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

  32. an AMAZING place! that guy has a gold mine {eerr a rust mine!} and doesn’t even know it. so many people would pay big for some of that stuff. i think you should make a wall full of all of that…one big cool art piece!
    loved this post today!

  33. Hey Donna!
    Ok, WOW OMG!!!
    I want to go with you next time!!!
    The large rusted circle things….THINK CANDLE HOLDERS!!! I can just see multi of them stacked ontop of each other and with buy themselves with a very large candle and a old key raped around them!!!
    What do you think?!?

  34. Loved the tour. Picture three made me wand to get a water system going in it, or outdoor lighting or plants definitely an outdoor item for me, … unless it’s used to light up a corner . Have fun with what you got.

  35. Where is this place? I like the cogs and the thing that you said could be a cake holder. Numbers wall? Now I have More things to collect. In Greenwich CT there was once a store called Button. It had a whole wall of buttons set into plaster. It was beautiful, but they said it was really hard to do. I’ll bet you could figure it out fast. The nice part was those little mother of pearl buttons that used to be for baby clothes and blouses. Do you ever go to JunkMarketStyle? They have the most beautiful table, now a desk. The top is all wooden letters from printers. I hope you are joining the next part of So you think you can decorate. Your submissions this last time were really great.
    I always want to make a lamp out of everything. Ann

  36. I think #6 would make great table legs. I can picture a side table with a glass top and 4 of these butted together to make a super base! Of course I have no idea how to actually put it together and as you said weight would be an issue but I bet it would look great.
    I love how you placed the gears together. I can see them running down a small strip of wall I have in my living room.
    If I lived near you I would be hounding you to take me with you every time you left the house! LOL

  37. OK..#4 you have no excuses for leaving’s a WHEEL girl! Wheeel it home!!!! LOL
    The cake holder big is it? a glass top and it’s a table???

    I am envious…and I know you don’t live too far away…I want me some cogs for some cog art…*sigh*

  38. I’ve been catching up on your blog since my internet has been down. I really missed your posts…they are either informative, profound or hilarious…sometimes all three! I can just see you wide eyed, darting from one rusty treasure to another, hugging a few here and there!

    I love the cogs and the wheel. That propeller looking thing #14, would be so cool topped with glass and made into some kind of side table… maybe add a base to it if it’s not tall enough. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  39. Wonderful stuff – maybe you could organize a junk trip for the rest of us! My local junk dealer was forced by the town to close up by town council because of complaints from people who are not like us. In the summers I get my fix by poking around the face of the local transfer site (ie dump) but it’s just not the same as visiting the junk guy. – Jen

  40. I was just looking at some of your old posts and found this treat! I love it! It’s nice to know there are kindred spirits out there who would stand beside me at a chain-link fence, gazing wistfully into the scrap metal yard at all the “goodies”! Such wondrous pieces of art just wait for us!

  41. Happened on this as my daughter was talking about photos she took for the county fair photo contest–the theme this year is Rust! Years ago I found some gears and other rusty things that resembled flowers and my husband put them on steel rods and we put them around my water garden. I often commented on wanting a sign that said “Welcome to my rustic garden.” My sister who lives about two hours away decided last week she would have one made for me. I seem to have lots of junk around my small farm and have been creatively repurposing it. Love your site.

  42. The best part about finding an auto-salvage junk yard is that any piece of scrap or part you find can be kept for your own good. If not you can even cash those in to certain scrap companies. Its a beaut to find an auto yard, seeing all the cars that people abandoned instead of prolonging their life.

    -David Enabulele

  43. I would like to order a #3, #4, #6, #8, #9, #13 & #14, please. πŸ™‚
    Great junking site for me because I am lucky to be married to Hercules. lol At least that is what I call him but the guys where he works call him Super Dave. Anyway, he tells me as long as he can lift something without getting a hernia, he will help me get it (and he cooks, too).

    Love to go scavenging and I am going to check out Miss Mustard Seed’s site.

    Thanks for the tour. TJ

  44. Wow! You have opened my eyes to seeing the beauty in the ugly. I love it!! Now I just need to find my own graveyard of goodies.

  45. I can always count on your archives for some junkin’ lessons! I’m going picking today and needed to adjust my eyes to be able to really hone in on rusty treasures. Just have to say thanks for the inspiration!

  46. Donna, Donna, Donna…
    I’d’ve taken every little bit of it and more! Those gears & cogs alone would send my friend, Angie, into orgasms of pure, unadulterated bliss. We used to junk together on Maui in the mid-90s. People thought we’d flipped, bringing home big,rusty old chain & UROs (unidentified rusty objects). We called it “ART” & put some of it in the yard for all to admire. Many didn’t.
    The point is, & yes, there is one, that all that glitters is not the only gold! Rusty goodness is pure gold in my scuffed up ol’ book! I’m so jealous!! Even though this post is years old & I just found it. Still jealous.
    I’m a definite fan, Donna!


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