Category Archive: IDEAS

How to Age Metals for that Distressed, Vintage Look

These days, it’s next to impossible NOT to find dozens of DIY methods of decorating, designing, updating or changing metals like brass, copper and pewter to achieve the desired look on furniture, lamps, doorknobs, drawer pulls – and just about anything else.

Some techniques involve the use of toxic materials such as acetone; while others rely solely on natural ingredients such as vinegar, salt and lemon juice. The more natural methods may take a little longer. But, if you don’t like having things like acetone and chemical-based “agers” in the house, it might be worth the wait.

Here’s a simple method for “aging” brass, bronze and other metals naturally.

Step 1:
Using a very fine steel wool pad or fine sandpaper, first remove the shiny finish from the metal. Once the metal has been dulled, wash it thoroughly in hot soapy water, then rinse well and dry thoroughly.

Step 2:
Using a large glass bowl or container that will hold your brass pieces, use a solution of vinegar and salt (3 parts vinegar to 1 part water) and fill the glass container. Add the brass pieces and soak them for about an hour or longer (don’t worry if you have to leave in the middle of your project to do some errands – allowing the metal to soak for longer periods of time in the vinegar/salt solution will not damage it).

Step 3:
Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees and place the metal pieces on a cookie sheet in the heated oven for about 15 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it while it is heating. The longer you leave it in, the darker the metals will become.

Step 4:
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the brass to cool completely. If you still want a darker look, you can repeat the soaking and heating process. Once you are happy with the color, use car polishing wax and massage it into the brass with a soft rag. Note: car wax will not give the brass a sheen, so no worries there.

Other Methods
You can also use acetone (nail polish) and brass ager, which you can find online or in most stores that sell home cleaning products.

Step 1:
Place the acetone in a glass bowl and submerge your brass pieces into it. This will remove any lacquer that may be on the brass. Once you see the lacquer begin to get sticky, remove it from the acetone and rinse the remaining lacquer off in water.

Step 2:
Using a clean dry cloth, apply the brass ager and allow it to dry.

Step 3:
Use a fine gauge steel wool and gently rub the entire surface of the brass piece. If you want a more weathered look, simply add more ager and gently wipe with the wool.

There are lots of other ways to age or weather your metal lamps, fixtures, and hardware. But, there’s only one place to find all the rigging equipment and hardware you’ll need for your business, your farm, or for your boating needs.

Henssgen Hardware has a complete line of the highest quality snap hooks, clips and other rigging hardware. We carry hardware in all types of metals and galvanized steel for all types of jobs, from hauling heavy loads to quick-release panic snaps.

Visit our website today and check our online catalog.

Getting Your Summer “Toys” Ready for Storage with the Right Snaps and Hooks

If you’re asking, “Where did the summer go?” you’re not alone. We’ve already had early glimpses of autumn with cooler evenings and early mornings. If you live further north, some of the leaves may already be changing. If you’re a boat owner, you’ll want to take advantage of every sunny day before it’s time to store your summertime home away from home.

If you’re a new boat owner, it’s very important for the life of your boat that you perform key maintenance tasks. Here’s a handy list of “To Do’s” to check off:

  • When hauling your boat out of the water, be sure to have the hull cleaned, maintained and painted annually. Some people think they’re saving money by having these jobs done once every two or three years. However, that could really cost you in the long run.
  • If you’re a DIY boat-owner, make sure your rope lines are in good shape and showing no signs of fraying or separating from their metal fastenings.
  • Inspect your pulleys, snap hooks and clips to be sure they are also in good condition and free of rust.
  • Once your boat is out of the water, be sure to check your running gear, propellers, wiring, drains, bilge and through-hulls for wear and corrosion.
  • Once your boat is cleaned and serviced, you may also need to get the bottom re-painted to ensure your boat’s longevity and efficiency.
  • Check your canvas boat covers and tarps to make sure your snaps and clips are in good condition.
  • If you are a sailboat owner, check all lines, rigging and masts.
  • Check your canvas boat covers and tarps, as well as your rope lines and other hardware.

Knowing that you have a game plan in place for your fall maintenance and storage of your boat will allow you to enjoy these last few weeks of summer on the water with your favorite toy. When September or October arrives, you can rest assured that your boat will make it out of the water and safely on to dry land, instead of having no plan and a possible “dry dock” disaster!

Henssgen Hardware has a complete online catalog, with a comprehensive inventory of marine hardware and rigging equipment. Visit us at www.henssgenhardware.com/catalog/

Old Friends at Cabin Creek, in Greenfield, NY, Offers Home for Retired Thoroughbreds

It’s called the sport of kings, but far too often the majestic thoroughbreds that make up the royal family are sent off to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada, a cruel and unusual end to an all too short life of training, racing, and perpetuating bloodlines. It seems only right, then, that Saratoga Springs, home to the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in the country, is also home to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, a retirement haven for thoroughbred racehorses.

Mark and JoAnn Pepper are the owners of Cabin Creek, a forty-acre spread located on Sand Hill Road in the town of Greenfield Center. The long dirt road bends and winds down to the entrance, where a vista of tranquility and serenity greets each visitor. A stable that could have been in the movie, “Sea Biscuit,” is surrounded by paddock areas, each one home to a peacefully grazing animal. To the left of the stable is a small pond with a fountain spraying water at its center, adding to the feeling of peace. At the top of another hill stands the Pepper’s home, from which they can survey the scene below.

Photo Courtesy of Old Friends at Cabin Creek

The Peppers built the ranch from the ground up and – for them – Old Friends is the culmination of a lifelong dream to provide a home for these wondrous creatures. While the ranch itself is privately owned, Old Friends is a non-profit organization that feeds, houses, and provides veterinary care, support and – above all – love for the animals. The ranch has been open since 2009 and is currently operating at more than full capacity, housing and caring for 15 horses, ranging in age from 3 to 27 years.

This is the first and only satellite of the original Old Friends, based in Georgetown, KY, the brainchild of Michael Blowen, a retired sports writer from the Boston Globe. Blowen’s love of the animals and the sport prompted him to create a safe haven for horses as they reached the end of their careers.

Now, in its eighth year of existence, Old Friends at Cabin Creek is home to two Travers winners: Thunder Rumble, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his win this year; and Will’s Way, who took the title in 1996. The most senior of the equine family, Crusader Sword, winner of the “ Hopeful” 28 years ago, looks remarkable for his age, a ripe old 30. Of lesser fame – but no less pampered – is Moonshadow Gold, the first horse acquired by the Peppers when they opened the ranch. At age fifteen, Moonshadow is a veteran of a whopping eighty-nine races.

The Peppers love horse racing, but they also love the animals who give their lives to the sport. “There are too many horses out there without a plan for a full life,” JoAnn confided to me. “Being able to open Old Friends was a dream come true for us.”

Photo Courtesy of Old Friends at Cabin Creek

The horses that call Old Friends at Cabin Creek their home are free to roam their paddock areas, romping and rolling in the grass, munching on hay and feed. They never have to run in another race or have a saddle on their backs. They are pampered by a devoted group of volunteers, who care for their equine charges in fair weather or foul, rain or snow.

Of course, as with any other horse farm, it’s vital to have the best rigging hardware available in order to ensure the safety of the horses and their caregivers. Henssgen Hardware supplies the best and most comprehensive line of rigging equipment and horse hardware for places like Old Friends at Cabin Creek, as well as the many other thoroughbred aftercare and horse rescue ranches that are cropping up around the country.

Please visit our website and browse our catalog to find everything you need, from hitching plates and horse panic snaps to harness rings and hoof picks. We offer the sturdiest and most durable equipment, in a variety of non-corrosive metals, such as die cast zinc, brass, malleable iron and steel.

Henssgen Hardware, located in Glens Falls NY, has been supplying hardware for 39 years. Visit their website and their online catalog for more information.

Swinging Through Summer

When it comes to summertime backyard entertainment for kids, there are so many more options than there were even ten years ago. The standard swing set and slide have taken a back seat to more creative equipment and backyard fun is only limited by your imagination. There are a ton of online resources for finding – or building – your kid’s favorite backyard jungle gym, swing, ropes course or tree house.

Some of the coolest designs are hanging swings shaped like boats, motorcycles, airplanes, skateboards – the list goes on. Why not toss out that old tire swing and replace it with a space rocket?

Of course, the most important common denominator with all these creative playthings is securing them with sturdy, rust-resistant hooks that are carefully anchored into place.

If you are planning to hang a swing from a tree, be sure – first of all – that the tree can handle the combined weight of your child and the swing itself. The last thing we want is our little space explorer to plummet to earth in his space capsule.

Heavy duty swing hangers, firmly embedded in a beam, will ensure that your child is safe as she soars along on her imagination.

If you already have a swing set or a jungle gym, try switching out the swings for rings and watch your child test the limits of his strength and agility. Stainless steel S hooks or snap hooks are the best choice because they will not rust and they can handle weight and motion. For kids who really put their equipment through a workout, you may want to choose heavy-duty cast-iron swing hangers.

Other choices are brass or die-cast zinc. But, while they are rust-resistant, that does not mean that they won’t eventually rust. You don’t want to be rifling through your medical files to see when your child had her last tetanus shot as she accidentally cuts or scrapes herself on a rusty old hook or snap.

And don’t forget – as your kids grow, so does their weight and the need for sturdy hooks, bolts and snaps that will accommodate their rapidly growing young bodies. You should check each piece of equipment at the beginning of the season, making sure it is rated for your child’s weight and level of physical activity.

If your swing has seen several seasons of sun and fun, be sure to test the chain links for signs of rust or wear. Same is true for the S-hooks that make it so easy to interchange your jungle gym equipment. Always err on the side of doting parental caution. Visually and manually inspect all outdoor equipment before junior takes his swing on a ride around the moon and back.

If you have a ropes course, it’s also important to check for fraying or looseness. If the rope looks like it’s starting to pull out of its hardware, best to invest in some new equipment.

Your local hardware store should carry most of the items you will need to ensure that your backyard remains a safe and fun place for your kids this summer.

Henssgen Hardware, located in Glens Falls NY, has been supplying snap hooks and other rigging hardware for 39 years. Visit their website and their online catalog for more information.

Before It’s ‘Anchors Aweigh’, Get Your Boat Ready for Summer Now

It looks like Spring has finally sprung in the Northeast. Crocuses and daffodils are beginning to submerge from their long subterranean slumber and soon gardens will be showing off their warm weather colors.

Before you can say “April showers bring May flowers,” it will be time to get the boat ready for the water. Before you go ahead and launch your sailboat or power boat for a season of swimming, sunning and snorkeling, it’s a smart idea to make a pre-launch checklist and follow it carefully. Don’t have a list? Here’s a basic one that will cover most of the important components of your boat.

Electrical system

  • Check your batteries.
  • Clean the terminals and connections.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect against marine battery acids.
  • Check your boat’s running lights.

Safety equipment

  • Do an inventory and inspection of your life vests and flotation devices.
  • Check your fire extinguisher and get it re-charged if necessary.
  • Make sure you have at least one, if not two working flashlights and place them in readily accessible compartments on your boat.
  • Check your anchor. If it’s a motorized anchor, make sure the system is fully functional and the lines are in good condition and not frayed.
  • Check all your buoys.
  • Inspect ropes, lines and rigging.
  • Replace any frayed lines.

Equipment and hardware

  • Open and close your seacocks to be sure they’re working properly and no water has seeped in and frozen over the winter.
  • Make sure the hoses are double-clamped. If the clamps look rusty, replace them.
  • Replace broken, rusty or damaged hardware on your tarps and awnings.
  • Check any pulleys, boat hooks, and quick links to make sure they’re working and free of rust or corrosion.
  • Inspect all rope cleats to make sure they are properly secured. Replace any loose screws and bent or damaged cleats.

Swab the deck…and underneath too

  • Thoroughly wash the exterior of your boat before putting it into the water.
  • Check all crevices, including the propeller and other hard-to-get-at areas for any possible algae, mold or organisms. Most lakes, like Lake George, Lake Champlain, and other smaller lakes, will not allow you to launch your boat if they discover any suspicious algae or organisms on the hull of your boat.

Paperwork

  • Check your boat registration to make sure it is current.
  • If you trailer your boat, check that registration as well and check the wiring so other vehicles will see your brake lights and turn signals.
  • Make sure you have the proper launch stickers for whatever body of water you’ll be putting your boat in during the summer. If they’re expired, you can usually buy a new one right online.

A few hours of inspection, inventory and maintenance and repairs can save a whole lot of headache and frustration in the middle of the lake or stuck on the launch. Getting your boat ready now ensures that you and your family will have a safe, secure and fun season on the water.

Henssgen Hardware, located in Glens Falls NY, has been supplying rigging, boat hooks, snap hooks, pulleys, rope and other rigging hardware for the marine industry for 39 years. Visit their website and their online catalog for more information.

Don’t Wait for Spring Thaw to Plan Your Outdoor Awning Installation

Even though it’s too soon to call winter officially over, it’s not too soon to start thinking about awning installation season. Once the snow starts to melt off the roof and the deck flooring begins to emerge from beneath the frost, our thoughts turn to long summer afternoons relaxing under the shade of an awning or canopy.

If you’re a DIY kinda guy or gal who wants to expand your outdoor living space, you should start thinking now about what type of awning you want. These days, there are many different types of awnings to choose from. But the common denominator is that they all need the right kind of hardware.

The first thing to consider is what type of awning you want for your house. Is it going to be stationary or retractable? If it’s retractable, will it be motorized or manual? How big do you want your awning to be?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can figure out what kind of rigging hardware you will need. Mounting brackets that you can install on your siding is the first important consideration. You will need to select brackets, mounts and connecting fittings that will work with the type of siding you have on your home.

If your awning is retractable or movable you will need to select swivel eye pulleys and snaps that will allow your awning to move smoothly and with a minimum of effort. Stainless steel hardware will offer the best protection against the elements, as will rot-resistant rope and cords.

If you are planning to install a larger awning that will span large outdoor deck or patio spaces, it is very important to look at large harness swivel-eye pulleys and fixed-eye trigger snaps.

Maybe your backyard or deck calls for a smaller portable awning? It doesn’t really matter what size or shape it is. It’s just as important to have hardware that won’t weigh your awning down or make it difficult to move or rotate. Using stainless steel, swivel eye pulleys and weather-resistant cords and roping will make relaxing under the shade of your awning a breeze.

Regardless of the size or shape of your awning or canopy, Henssgen Hardware supplies the best snap hooks, pulleys, quick links, and rigging and mounting equipment to get the job done right and make your summer outdoor space hassle-free.

Call us at 1-800-833-9598, contact us online and check out our amazing selection of industrial rigging hardware in our product catalog.

The Hard(ware) Facts About Your Dog’s Leash

Next time you’re at the animal shelter or vet, watch as the staff there easily handles three or more dogs at once on a multi-dog leash. Of course, you can’t help but notice the amount of hardware involved in creating a great multi-dog leash.

When we think of a leash, we automatically think of a nylon line with a loop at one end for the walker’s hand to slip through, with some kind of snap or hook at the other end to attach to the dog’s collar. The average person doesn’t normally think too much of what it takes to turn a length of nylon into a safe piece of equipment for you and your dog.

In hardware “speak,” the pieces that make a simple nylon lead so effective and safe are familiar items in Henssgen’s everyday inventory.

Swivel Eye Bolt Snaps and Trigger Snaps

This is the item that connects you to your dog at the other end of that nylon line. It comes in several different metals, including malleable iron, brass and die-cast zinc, all of which are sturdy and weather-resistant. This is important for a couple of obvious reasons:

  • You and you dog still must go out, no matter what the weather;
  • You need something that is going to work smoothly and be rust-proof;
  • If the hardware on your leash is low quality, your dog could get loose and be injured;
  • It can get expensive to keep replacing your leashes.

Your Dog’s Collar and Comfort

If you’ve ever noticed, your dog’s collar is designed to fit on him snugly, but comfortably, allowing him to breathe with ease and move his head with no restrictions. The same is true of the increasingly popular harness-type collars, often used for bigger dogs or for dogs who are learning not to pull on the leash.

The Dee Ring on the collar and harness is used to attach the leash to your dog. There’s a reason it’s shaped like a “D” and not an “O” or other letter of the alphabet: it provides maximum comfort for your dog, while offering the best method of connection and quick release from the trigger or bolt snap.

Multi-Dog Leashes

For those of you who are real hardware “nerds,” a multi-dog leash is a beautiful example of the right use of hardware items such as quick release snap hooks, dee- and O-rings, and large harness swivel-eye trigger snaps for larger, heavier dogs.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to take your dog out for a walk, stop and take a look at the smalle but important pieces of hardware that transform a simple length of nylon into a safe, sturdy and dependable leash that keeps you and your dog safe and secure on your daily jaunts.

Henssgen Hardware has been supplying rings, quick release snaps, leather and chain hardware to dog leash and collar manufacturers since 1978. For more information, visit our website and shop our online catalog.

Hardware Stores Have Always Been The Place to Shop

It used to be that hardware stores were the place you went when you needed some nails, or maybe some plumbing tools to fix that leaky faucet.

Over the years, hardware stores have evolved into places where customers can shop for items ranging from large appliances, lighting fixtures, as well as items for your yard and garden. You can even sit down with a designer to build that custom kitchen or bath of your dreams.

But, one of the best aisles to browse is still the aisle that has all the nails, screws, snap hooks, pulleys and other small but irreplaceable hardware “treasures.”

Just think, if you’re a farmer, what would you do if your hardware store no longer carried essentials like panic snaps or all-purpose snaps for your livestock? Or, what about rope and chain hardware and other rigging equipment?

Because Henssgen Hardware is only about 30 miles away from the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in the country, we know there are dozens of horse farms – not to mention, the racetrack itself – that are in constant need of equine hardware. People who’ve worked in horse-racing and other equestrian industries know how important it is to have quick and easy access to horse panic snaps in durable and non-corrosive materials such as die cast zinc, steel, malleable iron and brass. It’s also important to always have an adequate supply on hand of other types of snaps, which are terrific for fixing crossties, leads and other stable equipment.

Hardware stores are not the go-to place for just farmers, horse people, or people who work in the trades. They are also a great place to find unique and eclectic DIY solutions for your home, your storage shed and your garage.

About a year ago, we showed our readers how to use S Hooks to organize clothes closets, hang up pieces of jewelry, as well as using them in your basement, garage and potting shed. Another article showed readers how to use snaps, rings, clips and snap hooks for both art and functionality.

So, the next time you’re browsing through the “large appliance” section of your local hardware store, don’t forget to take a trip down the aisles that contain the “nuts and bolts” of the hardware world.

Henssgen Hardware has been a supplier of quality rigging hardware, snap hooks, S hooks, pulleys, chain hardware and many other items for Farm, Marine, Sport, and Industrial Supply Stores since 1978. We are proud to be family-owned and operated, and we offer only the highest quality hardware, the best customer services and the most competitive pricing. Call us at 1-800-833-9598, or contact us online. And, while you’re there, check out our user-friendly online product catalog that lists our amazing selection of industrial rigging hardware.

Storing Your Holiday Decorations When Space is Tight

Remember how much fun it was pulling out all those holiday decorations? Stringing up all those lights? Hanging the huge wreath on the front door? What about that life-sized sleigh and reindeer that you just had to put on the front lawn?

It doesn’t seem possible, but all the stuff that we dragged out about a month ago now has to be taken down and put away again for another year.

Somehow, it always seems harder to store all of our accumulated treasures than it did to unpack them. Especially when floor space is at a premium. But, it’s a new year and a good time to make a resolution and use the right kind of hardware that will help make your storage a snap.

Space-saving tips

To keep your wreaths and door decorations looking fresh and full-looking, try hanging them from hooks on the wall of your basement or storage area, instead of packing them in those bulky storage bins. First, put them in a clear trash bag and hang them from the hook. It saves floor space and keeps your decorations looking new.

It’s also good to get some of those bigger items, like that Santa sleigh and the eight not so tiny reindeer, off the floor. Take advantage of overhead space in your attic or garage eaves by using a pulley and some sturdy rope hardware. Swivel-eye pulleys make it so easy to lift and lower those heavier items for storage.

Has the box that your 20-year old fake Christmas tree came in finally fallen apart? No worries! After taking your tree apart, store it in sections in heavy duty trash bags and hang the bags on hooks.

And, don’t forget the lights. Once you’ve made sure that they’re all still working and you’re not putting away strings of lights that won’t work next year, use a power cord holder and – you got it – hang them from a hook!

Henssgen Hardware has been a supplier of quality rigging hardware, snap hooks and many other items for Farm, Home and Sport since 1978. We are family-owned and operated business, and we pride ourselves in offering the highest quality hardware, the best customer service and competitive pricing. Call us at 1-800-833-9598, contact us online and check out our amazing selection of industrial rigging hardware in our product catalog.

Don’t Find Yourself on Thin Ice with the Wrong Equipment

As winter descends upon us and the days and nights grow colder, fans of ice fishing are getting out their gear and preparing to reel in plenty of fish from nearby lakes, streams, and rivers.

For those who are new to this chilly winter sport and excited to get out on the ice, you’ve probably already got your augurs, chisels and special rods, reels and lures. And, your ice shanty is sitting in your garage, all ready to be loaded onto your pickup.

Think you’ve got everything? Well, before you head out onto the ice, don’t forget the other gear. You’re going to need sturdy rigging hardware to pull that shanty onto the lake or river. And, once you’re all settled on the ice, gear like D rings, double end bolt snaps and quick links are indispensable items for hanging your gear inside your shanty and keeping your reels and lines untangled and organized.

It’s also a good idea to have snap hooks linked to your fishing vest and other outerwear, giving you easy access to lures, jigs and other items that you’ll need to get your hands on in a hurry.
If you’re really diving into the ice fishing experience, chances are you’re going to cook your own food while you’re out there. Did you bring a cooking pot to hang over your campfire? Don’t forget to also pack some S-hooks for hanging the pot and other galley gear. Henssgen Hardware has a complete line of the best pulleys, hooks, all-purpose snaps and quick links in Stainless Steel, brass, die-cast zinc and other metals that won’t corrode when exposed to the water and the freezing elements.

Be sure to browse our extensive online catalog before you finish packing for your first ice-fishing trip of the winter. Otherwise, you could find yourself fishing on thin ice without the right equipment