First Things

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Memories Of A Former Kid

Ah, the New Year’s resolution, a shifty critter
if ever there was one. This time of year, it rubs against your leg
like a friendly stray. So you leave food out for it, maybe even let
it sit on your lap while you rub its ears. Next thing you know, it
either vanishes in the dark of night or worse, unpacks its bad
habits and settles in for the duration, reminding you daily of your
lapse in judgment. Either way, you end up feeling like a chump.

The chance to start fresh is nearly irresistible. “Things are
going to be different this year,” we say. A little self-improvement
is a fine thing, but be aware of the law of unintended

Zero Growth “I’m not adding anything to my
collection this year.” Not buying another thing? Swearing off
auctions? What if everybody talked that way? Think of the
auctioneer: He has kids to feed! And if you’re the only
collector who stops buying stuff, all that means is that the other
guys are getting the stuff that was supposed to be yours!
How are you going to get your stuff back when it’s in somebody
else’s collection? You’ll end up paying twice the price! Better
rethink that plan. You can actually save money by building
your collection now.

FIFO “No new projects until all the existing
ones are completed.” Applying accounting principals (First In,
First Out) to restoration? OK, but consider this. While you’re
lavishing unprecedented attention on that one piece, time
marches on. Old stuff gets, well, older … and so do you! Are you
going to be better equipped to handle seven concurrent projects 10
years from now?!? If you wait to tackle a project, it’s only
natural that it’ll take longer as you age. You’ll be putting twice
as much time into each project, which means that you can only
complete half as many projects. Any bean counter can tell you
that’s no way to run a hobby.

Managed Throughput: “Next year I’m starting
earlier.” So, a week of all-nighters to get that restoration ready
for the show didn’t sit so well? Fine. Set up a spreadsheet to
manage the process. But if you finish too far ahead of set-up day,
you’re going to spend a lot more time polishing that new paint for
the show crowd. And here’s another thing. Practically every new
restoration has a hiccup or two. Think about it: Do you want that
to happen in the privacy of your own shop, or at a show, surrounded
by compadres offering helpful suggestions? Right. Start earlier
next time!

When it comes to old iron, your best bet is this: Resolve to
have more fun in the year ahead!

Leslie McManus, Editor

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment