I actually watched an old-timey coffee grinder being restored.

I often surprise myself by being fascinated by things that, had you told me I would be fascinated by them, I would tell you you’re out of your mind. I blame PBS’ This Old House for making me like this.

You see, for three years or so I worked for a fleet tracking/stolen vehicle recovery service called Teletrac here in the Detroit area as part of the graveyard shift. It was part tech support and part service job. Not only did I keep the computers that ran the system up and running, but when calls came in or a car was stolen I was the person who interacted with the customers and police. The system was pretty stable and calls were infrequent so there was a lot of downtime where my job consisted of breathing and trying to stay awake.

Fortunately we had a TV available to us. Unfortunately it was only over-the-air broadcast capable and at 3AM there wasn’t a whole lot on the big four networks worth watching. Hence my first real appreciation for PBS in general and TOH in particular. Keep in mind, this is a good 30 years before I would actually own a house and I and my co-worker had no real home maintenance experience, but it wasn’t long before we were offering our critical takes on the floor tile choices the people on the show were making. I don’t make a point of watching the show anymore, but when I did I really enjoyed it.

Which brings me to this YouTube video by the folks at My Mechanics which I stumbled across over at Boing Boing. It’s simply 26 minutes of some guy who bought a nasty old metal coffee grinder refurbishing it to pristine quality. That’s it. No real narration other than the occasional bit of text.

In this video i’m restoring an old coffee grinder. A few weeks ago I bought an old bench grinder to restore on eBay. The guy who sold it was actually selling more antiques, he had a room filled with old items. I took a look at his other stuff and this unique coffee grinder caught my attention right away. So I ended up buying it for $35. The one thing that really impressed me on this coffee grinder was the metal body, usually they’re made of wood. I also liked the colour very much. The restoration itself turned out to be a lot more challenging than I first expected. I’m very happy with the final result of this coffee grinder. I really like how the handle turned out.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have neither the know-how or the patience to do something like this that makes it so fascinating, but I watched the whole thing and was impressed with the results. The video doesn’t cover every single second, but it does appear to cover every step and meticulous is definitely a good word to describe the process. There is a part of me that wishes I could to this sort of thing, but another part that knows it’s not something I’d actually enjoy. Watching someone else do it on YouTube? Yeah, I can get into that because what was likely days — if not weeks — of work was compressed down into a mere 26 minutes. Me doing it myself? Probably not a good idea.

4 thoughts on “I actually watched an old-timey coffee grinder being restored.

  1. Interesting to say the least. I wouldn’t think you wouldn’t find it interesting.

  2. “I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have neither the know-how or the patience to do something like this that makes it so fascinating”

    No, it’s just a guy thing. There’s a popular series called “How It’s Made” about manufacturing everyday goods, now in it’s 22cd season.

    Seems like most men find this sort of knowledge fascinating whether or not we ever practice it ourselves. I didn’t grow up learning any manual arts and am definitely not a “man’s man” type, but I deeply covet exotic tools and a fully equipped shop (think Adam Savage’s workshop/warehouse/mancave).

    Not that women are necessarily free from these urges, but they most often seem to express them via arts & crafts or fancy kitchens (I want one of those too, at least when I’m not thinking about living minimally on a sailboat).

  3. I have watched more than one episode of shows like “Modern Marvels” and, yes, “Hows It Made.” Much like “This Old House”, they weren’t something I would seek out, but would watch when I stumbled across them while channel flipping.

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