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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scrappy, Scrappy, Scrappy

Hi everybody! Welcome Michael Blough to the Blog!  The picture below is not a picture of Michael-you may have been confused, you know, beards and all.  Anyway, that's a picture of one of the guys from Duck Dynasty.  If you've watched the show you may know the catch phrase "Happy Happy Happy."  Well I asked Michael to write a guest post about how we became "happy happy happy" by finding a way to get our house to pay us back a little bit during the demolition process.  This post is all about the scrapping process and how it made us very happy! ~Laura

Happy Happy Happy | Scrappy Scrappy Scrappy

Well, it's probably about time for me (Michael) to write a blog post. I have been scrapping our metal and old appliances this summer, and Laura recommended that I blog about it. I tried to get out of it by reminding her that her writing is more entertaining and how much of a better writer she is, but it didn't work. She thanked me for the compliment and asked me when she could expect my submission. :) So, here it goes...

As we started our construction project and got involved with demolition, I knew we were going to have a lot of scrap metal. We replaced our appliances, removed all the copper plumbing, removed a lot of ductwork, replaced copper wires, and all the aluminum siding on the house. My first idea was to turn the scrap into this...

But, I figured the fuel efficiency was poor. So instead, I decided to scrap it.

Before I get started on my process, I must give some credit to a website that I referenced frequently.

It was a great resource throughout my scrapping experience and has a scrapping handbook that I used often.

So, here is the step by step process I used to turn our scrap trash into scrap treasure:


How to Scrap

Step #1: Get Yourself a Magnet

One of the most basic tools for a scraper is a magnet. With a magnet you can determine which metals are ferrous or non-ferrous.

In depth explanation: check out this blog post:

Short explanation:  Ferrous metals contain iron (examples: steel and cast iron) and are magnetic. Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron (examples: aluminum, copper, and brass) and are not magnetic.

Step #2: Strip Your Appliances

The next step involves removing all the "good" stuff from your appliances. If you skip this step you could be losing out on money. The scrapyard give the lowest price for appliances with mixed metals, therefore it is to your advantage to separate the valuable metals out. Start by removing any power cords. These will contain copper. For dishwashers and fridges, remove any stainless steel. Any non-ferrous metal is much more valuable than ferrous, so take them out when you see them.

Step #3: Separate Your Metals

This seems obvious, but it is a very crucial step. Separating your various metals helps save time when you arrive at the scrapyard. Plus, if you separate them before you arrive, you won't have disgruntled people glaring at you as they wait for you to get off the scale. In addition to separating your metals, it is also a good idea to put your non-ferrous metals in an easy-to-reach location on your truck or trailer. You'll see why later.

Separated Scrap

Ready to Roll

Step #4: Head to the Scrapyard

OmniSource is a buyer of scrap metal in town and most of the following info relates to this yard, but my guess is most scrapyards follow a similar protocol. I recommend going as early in the morning as possible to avoid a rush, especially if you go on a Saturday.

Step #5: Start with the Non-ferrous Metals

It doesn't really matter which area you start with, but I liked starting with these metals because these get you the most money! At OmniSource, there is a separate building with a small scale for non-ferrous materials.

After each metal is weighed, you present your ID and get your picture taken. Note, keep your ID handy. You present it at every  station along the way. From what I understand, there is a "black list" of scrap metal thieves and the process of asking for your ID and taking pictures reduces the crime. Once you are photographed, you are presented with a weight receipt with your payout amount.

Non-Ferrous Building

Step #6: Ferrous Metals

Now, you're ready for steel, appliances, cast iron, etc. In general, these ferrous materials are the bulk of your load. Because of the large quantities, this process involves a truck scale. First, pull up onto the truck scale, and enter a small building near the scale to go through the usual ID process. You tell the attendant what you are weighing and they input your "gross" weight (weight of your vehicle and metal scrap) into their system. You drive off the scale to the appropriate pile and unload your metal. Once you unload, it's back into line for the scale. Now the attendant will weigh your vehicle and get your "tare" weight (weight of your empty vehicle). Your "gross" weight minus your "tare" weight is your "net" weight. You are paid for your "net" weight. Now that your net weight is calculated, you take your weight receipt with your payout amount.

Truck Scale

Unloading Scrap (Picture features my scrapping buddy, Tim Blaum)

Crane at Ferrous Scrap Pile

If you have multiple scrap categories to be weighed on the truck scale, you must go through the scale and get weighed for every type material you bring to the scrapyard. This can often take some time if the line to the scale is long - another reason to go early.

Step #7: Get Paid!

This is the best step of all! Now, all your hard work finally gets rewarded. Take your weight receipts to the cashier's office, show your ID, get your picture taken, and get paid cash. Here is the breakdown of my scrapping work this summer to give you some perspective.

And when we saw that grand total, it made us happy, happy, happy!

Money in the bank... and then right back out again.  But, I guess, such is a life lived renovating.