Lisette and the nail gun


Yesterday was a gorgeous day and I felt quite privileged to be able to be able to bike around looking for cool trash. I feel like I’m finally sitting some sort of stride with trash (and in life) by not expecting too much, appreciating how awesome it is to have this as a “job,” and just enjoying the ride.

Even the flat tire half-way through my run didn’t faze my good spirits. Well, it did for a short time as I was angry at the city for not filling that big pothole I hit. However c’est la vie, as they say pretty much everywhere – fortunately I was close to home and I was able to borrow my room-mates bike to finish the trip.

I found this book in a box full of recycles. It’s a collection of “Lisette” hebdomadaires (weekly magazines) made in Paris in 1939. Not a year later Paris would be under Nazi control after the blitz that look over much of Western Europe. It’s nicely illustrated, filled with stories and random facts and whatever. It was likely a magazine for young girls.

Someone is trying to sell a copy for 40 pounds (about 60$) online. My copy is missing the cover on the spine and would be worth a fair bit less. Still, it’s a good looking book.


These plastic jello spoons were among a collection of stuff in the alleyway next to Brebeuf. It looked as if someone either moved or had passed away, it’s hard to tell sometimes. These spoons, featuring Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretsky, seem to be worth about 5$ each on eBay.


The best find of the day, however, lay inside this trash can. I stopped my bike because of the old, empty drawers on top. Oftentimes people will take the contents of old drawers and throw them out as well, I’ve found cool vintage tools and other bric-a-brac this way.

Under the drawers was a bag full of broken ceramic and glass surrounding this…


…big, heavy duty nail gun. This is the kind of nail gun they use on roofs. I had a feeling that it worked fine and that whoever threw it out didn’t really know its value, maybe it was their parents or maybe it was in the basement when they moved into a new home.

(A good garbage picking tip is to look for a “theme” as to why the thing or things were thrown out. There’s always a motivation behind the trashing regardless if it’s the “right” choice or not, and having an eye for the motivations that lead to good things being thrown out may help you take a chance on something you otherwise might not. It’s also one of your best tools at avoiding getting bedbugs).

It was a heavy machine so decided to drop it off at home half-way through my mission. As I pulled it out of my backpack my neighbour walked by and inquired as to where I got it and whether or not it worked. He had a compressor (this thing worked on compressed air) so we arranged to meet up this morning to test it out.

The nail gun ended up working fine and he asked how much I wanted for it. I sold it to him for 40$, which seems like a pretty good deal all around. I’m sure I could have gotten more otherwise but I gave him a good price because it would have taken a lot more effort to test and sell without his intervention. Plus, he’s a good guy and lives in my neighbourhood so I reckon it’s good for karma.

Regardless, it was fun to liquidate this so quickly and get it in the hands of someone who can use it.

Today I’ve got to fix my flat tire and perhaps adjust my steering bearings if I have the time. Beyond that, I’ve been working more at getting stuff on eBay and Etsy and dealing with my accumulated “garbage”. I might spend a bit of time cleaning some of my silver jewelry and putting it up on Etsy before kicking back and doing something more social.

3 thoughts on “Lisette and the nail gun”

  1. Except for the flat, it sounded like you enjoyed a loverly, uplifting day. Instant rewards are always a nice bonus. That old magazine is great ephemera. I have a couple in the basement that I should dig out.

  2. Love that magazine 🙂 should be worth something! Good for you on the nail gun! You were in the right place at the right time! On cleaning your silver jewelry, a good tip that works for me. Line a bowl with alum.foil or use an aluminum pie plate. Put jewelry in dish, sprinkle with a tablespoon of baking soda and pour about a cup of boiling water over the jewelry. The water must be boiling. the mixture
    will froth up and might smell a bit nasty if the jewelry is very dirty.swizzle around with a fork and rinse off with clear water. If the stuff is really dirty you might have to do the procedure more than once. Change the foil at each time. Works great with silver spoons etc and even candlesticks. Enjoy this beautiful day!

  3. Hi,the good news is that Redpath Hall at Mcgill has not been throwing out books in recycling bins for the last two or three months because the entire terrace at Redpath Hall is closed for renovations and they have no way of taking out the recycling bins.The entrance to Redpath Hall is closed so the book fair organizers are not collecting donations.If the Mcgill Redpath Book fair closes,it would be fine for me because there are just plenty of other book fairs in Montreal.The Mcgill Redpath Hall book fair was supposed to have ended two years ago but they extended it by recruiting younger volunteers.I hope you keep tabs on this.

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