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Hippo Fixes Leaky Faucets

Posted on July 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

Build a Greenhouse from Old Windows!

Posted on April 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

Even though the first day of Spring was in March, the physical manifestations of warmer/sunnier/frost-free days sometimes don't arrive in Portland until mid-May. But for those of you itching to get some greens into your garden (or just get an early start on your garden starts), the perfect solution could be adding a greenhouse to your home.

There are numerous types of greenhouses available, commercially, if you've got the money but not the time. Polytunnels, lean-tos, prefabs, greenhouse kits, and the like dominate the market. But if you're short on cash, have even the most basic of DIY skills, and have borderline hoarding tendencies, you can build your own custom greenhouse for a fraction of the cost.

First, start collecting old windows and doors, as well as any salvaged 2x4s you can find! Portland's "free strips," also known as "verges" (the strip of grass or plants, and sometimes also trees, located between a roadway and a sidewalk) are filled with finds from homeowners looking to keep building supplies out of the city dump. If you don't have the patience to wait around for free ones to appear, you can also purchase used windows, doors, and building materials at many reclaim/salvage stores around town.
Greenhouse Build Photos
Once you've acquired your windows and doors, start plotting them out. Lay them on the ground, take some measurements, and figure out how to best connect them together with 2x4s. Consider using wider planks of wood for the base or even salvaged bricks (if you can find some). Make sure you sketch everything out, with dimensions, before moving on to the build itself.

Once you've got your plans in order, it's time to build the frame. For any wood that will be coming into direct contact with the ground, use pressure-treated lumber. Using nails to hammer everything in place will be a less expensive option, but for stability and ease of disassembling, consider wood screws. Finally, don't forget to consider the roof! Whether building a lean-to-style or coupled roof, build for the type of sun/warmth you'll need for your greenhouse.

Once the frame is built, add the windows. Drawing a simple diagram/plans and labeling your windows will make putting everything together much easier. With windows and doors in place, consider adding corrugated plastic roof panels, which will withstand Portland's sudden bursts of hail and graupel during cold seasons. Once your greenhouse is assembled, you can paint, decorate, and/or add whatever siding you'd like, to help add style and durability to your build.

The greenhouse pictured here cost approximately $400 to build, using mostly found materials (windows and door), supplemented by salvage lumber (found and purchased), and newly purchased hardware (again, screws will cost more than nails). Optional add-ons can include gardening shade cloths and fans (to help keep the greenhouse cool during the hottest parts of the day), a potting station, running water, and/or electricity. You are only limited by your imagination... and your budget!

Posted in build, greenhouse, old, reuse, vintage, windows

Removing Paint From Metal

Posted on January 08, 2022 | 2 Comments

Baby, it’s cold (and wet) outside! That means it’s time to pack away all the tools from summer’s outdoor jobs and start (or continue) working on those indoor projects.
A question we repeatedly hear from our customers is: How do I remove old paint from doorknobs [hinges, escutcheons, etc.]? Lucky for you, we have an easy, environmentally-friendly, and Hippo-Approved®™ method for restoring your old fixtures to their previous grandeur. So, light the fire, make a cup of hot cocoa (don’t forget the marshmallows), and get ready to make the inside of your home sparkle like it was meant to.

Removing Paint From Metal—Boil If Off!

We love this method because it’s gentle on the environment (no harsh chemicals), as well as your hands (and hoofed hippopotamus feet). This method works best on solid, metal parts (think escutcheons, rosettes, hinges, and switch plate covers, strike plates, to name a few).

Tools You’ll Need:
  • heat-resistant gloves
  • an old pot (not used for cooking)
  • baking soda (SCIENCE!)
  • tongs (or other grabbing utensil)
  • old towel
  • clean rags
  • old toothbrush
  • polishing cloth
Bring baking soda and water to a boil (use 1/4 cup baking soda per quart of water).
Carefully place the items in the boiling water. Watch for any signs of paint starting to bubble from the object (this process can take up to 15 minutes or more).
Remove the object from the boiling water using tongs and place the object on a towel.
Wearing heat-resistant gloves, carefully scrape, rub, and/or brush the paint from the metal, using rags and/or an old toothbrush.
Be careful not to use anything too abrasive, as you can damage the metal with anything other than soft, nylon bristles.
Repeat the boiling process, as necessary, to remove all the paint.
Use a polishing cloth when done, for that special, just-made-something-old-look-
new-again sparkle and shine!

Watch how the magic works in this video by This Old House:
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Happy Hippo Hardware Holidays!

Posted on December 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

With the holi-daze approaching faster than a stampeding bloat (aka: a herd of hippos), and a supply chain resembling Boskalis blocking the Suez Canal, there’s no better time to shop local! Here's our two cents on holiday gifts:

1. We have a super fun and ever-popular set of cast iron grizzly bear bottle openers, back paddling otters, awesome octopi, and various critter-related hooks. On the other hand, we also offer a great selection of antique hooks ranging from florid to formal to functional. 2 Our hand-selected variety of hooks are sure to meet any style of décor. Not only do they make great stocking stuffers (who wouldn’t love a tentacled new friend peeking out from their stocking?), but they’re practical too.
Hippo Hardware Tchotchkes and Trinkets

2. Up on the mezzanine level, we’ve just put out our “Good to Go” floor and table lamps. They’re wired and ready to go home TODAY! Bring functionality and style to those dark corners of your home, making it a more relaxing and welcoming place to settle, even after the sun sets.

3. Next to the ready-to-go lighting table, you’ll find our 3/4 sleeve boatneck t-shirts. From now until they’re sold out, they’re 20% off! We also have our classic crew necks at the regular price. We're working on getting our stock updated online asap but we do have in store availability!

4. This year, our motley crew of Hippo Wranglers have harnessed their crafty superpowers to bring you an assortment of handmade, decorative ornaments.

6. Want to give your loved one/friend/neighbor a gift from Hippo Hardware, but not sure exactly what to give? We’ve got you covered! Gift certificates are always available, never expire, and are always appreciated. Just see the cashier or purchase one online here. 

As always, thanks for shopping local and thanks for shopping at the big Hippo store! Holiday wishes to you and yours.

Hippo Hardware was featured in INC Magazine!

Posted on September 26, 2020 | 1 Comment

Hippo's own Steven Miller was interviewed in INC Magazine to celebrate small businesses across the country. We are honored and delighted to be included in such a great set of folks. Read the full INC Magazine article below:

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COVID-19 and Hippo Hardware

Posted on March 23, 2020 | 6 Comments

Please forgive our delay in reaching out. It’s been a very hectic time for everyone, including our staff and ownership. For the safety of our community, our last day open to the public was Thursday March 19th. We are unsure of the future at this point as it’s unknown how long this all will last. Our plan is to shift our business online as much as possible and continuing working safely from our store.

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Speak Easy Or Forever Hold Your Peace

Posted on March 29, 2019 | 1 Comment

Speakeasy meant just what it sounded like, Speak. Easy. As in, "Go easy on speaking about this totally illegal bar, there's a Prohibition on alcohol sales out there!" Between 1920 and 1933 proprietors of speakeasys usually placed a couple of hired goons behind a heavy, solid door but needed to be able to see who to let in. Enter the speakeasy. (With a password, of course.)

Prohibition ended 86 years ago but the tiny window lives on. This security feature is alive and well in many older homes. A house or piece of furniture are only as good as their hardware. The charm of this antique is met literally at the front door or wooden gate. It is the first impression and with a speakeasy you can bet there will be an inherent air of mystery.

To add to the clandestine nostalgia, there are plenty of styles. From portholes, Victorian designs, Art Deco, to twisted wrought iron grilles; there’s a style for just about anyone. Some feature a door knocker, glass for insulation or even double sided mirror. It’s a tiny window into a time gone by, the Emerald City or just your entryway. Hippo has many great speakeasys in our hardware department (hired goons not included).


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