Gem of the City

Downtown Hardware is the most amazing store.  It’s tiny and unpretentious, but tucked into the nooks and crannies is the most incredible variety of really useful items.

The PROJECT continues to consume our evenings and weekends; at this point, we’re re-assembing parts that attach to the new engine before we put the engine in the truck.  All of the old parts have been thoroughly cleaned, or replaced if they couldn’t be scrubbed clean enough.  The oil pickup tube was one of those.

Yesterday, we put the crankshaft pulley back on.  The crankshaft pulley has a Woodruff key that keeps the pulley from spinning independently of the crankshaft, but we missed that piece somehow when we took the crankshaft off the old engine.  We looked at each of the three auto parts stores in town and they all carried them, but not the size we needed.  What we needed is about the diameter of a penny, and about three times the thickness of a nickel.  We called two different Ford dealers — this being the most popular engine in the most popular vehicle they’ve ever produced — but the nearest one they could locate was in Memphis.  Would be about Wednesday before we could get it.

We were on our way to Downtown Hardware for something else, when someone suggested that they carry Woodruff keys in a variety of sizes.  Although we couldn’t find one that was an exact fit, we did find one that was just a little too big, so that HWTFM could machine it down to the proper size without too much difficulty.  And, while we were at it, we needed some Sevin Dust for the tomatoes anyway.

Later in the afternoon, we made another run to replace a bolt that had stripped (one of 25 holding the oil pan in place).  If my tomatoes ever get ripe — there are a lot of green ones — I’ll probably make another trip down there because they also carry the sealing ring for my antique pressure canner.  It belonged to my grandmother, and is of a vintage that is hard to find parts for.  Except that Downtown Hardware must have some magical stash — it’s like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Wal-Mart can’t do that.

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