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Items you’ve converted into kitchen use

It brings a bit o’ joy when I discover items that can be converted into kitchen use. Hardware stores are one of my favorite places to find them. Often at a good price too. Here’re a few of my favs.

Utility scissors=kitchen shears
Strap wrench=jar opener
Piece of wood=cutting board
Square tile=pot/pan rest
Blank address labels=jar/container labels

Anybody else?

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  1. I use lip gloss cap (round metal cap pounded to a flat disk) as a coconut meat scraper...

    1. Stainless steel needle nose pliers are the BEST thing for removing fish bones. Forget those stupid fish tweezers. I decided to use pliers after watching a professional appetizing guy remove bones from Nova lox with a pair of needle nose pliers. At the time, it was nearly $20 per pound, so you really needed to get those bones out without damaging the fish. It is now $30 per pound,

      I keep utility scissors for things like cutting string (for trussing chickens), and a pair of adjustible c-jaw pliers to grab those little plastic tabs that are impossible for me to get hold of when opening bottles of ketchup or packages of cold cuts. Those pliers grab on well, and tend not to tear the plastic.

      I also keep cheap, sharp utility knives for cutting open packages.

      Does freezer tape for labels count? It sticks much better than masking tape.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGC1982

        Good ones! C-jar pliers are new to me. Must forage in Mr. Spice's toolbox.

      2. I've got a stack of 2 foot lockers, in a 3x3 configuration, large casters on the bottom and a butcher block top... An older gent in my town had made it for a workbench. A few modifications, and some plastic Coke soda flats for drawers fit inside the lockers (mostly for jars of spices) and it's the perfect rolling kitchen island.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ninevah

          Please post a picture. I can't imagine what this looks like, but it sounds cool.

          1. re: RGC1982

            This is how it looked originally. Don't have any current pictures available, but I removed the middle set of lockers (was too long for my kitchen) and took off the frame around the top. A coke flat, like I mentioned, slides right into the locker and fits nearly perfectly.

        2. "Strap wrench=jar opener"

          Interesting... I'm going to try this.

          1 Reply
          1. re: unprofessional_chef

            +99 on this tip--it's a life saver, and so cheap and useful. I now have rheumatoid arthritis, and it's a godsend.

          2. The last time I was making broth from a roasted turkey carcass, I thought I would break open the larger bones (drumstick, thigh) to get at the "goodness" inside. Though roasted and then simmered for a while, such bones are not easy to break by hand. BUT.... ratcheting PVC pipe cutter from the workbench... no problem! Piece of cake... or, "bowl of turkey soup".

            1. Superglue for this little kitchen mishaps with the cutlery

              Bag of marbles (in a cheesecloth) for blind baking

              Brick wrapped in aluminum foil to roast a spatchcocked chicken.

              1. I thought for sure Alton Brown would be often mentioned here. My favorite is the motor oil can he uses to squirt olive oil when needed. Oh, I bet a lot of you did not recognize that.
                Trash can smoker...

                1. I looked at woodworking tools to find a cheap alternative to a microplane but did not find any. :o(

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pdxgastro

                    I don't think you're going too. A good rasp is likely to be significantly more expensive than a good microplane, not to mention harder to find. The day may be here where you start to see the Today Show doing household tips segments like "How to plane down that 'sticky' door using tools you already have in your kitchen."

                  2. Nail scissors for cutting herbs. Razor blades for scoring pork and duck skin. I've used a Sawzall to cut off ham hocks and PCV piping as a ring mold.

                    1. Right off hand I can think of several type of surgical clamps in my kitchen drawer as well a set of plastic scrapers used for fiberglass application and are used as board scrapers

                      1. I whack my stone crab claws with a claw hammer. Isn't that how it got its name?

                        1. Binder clips for holding edges of parchment to the pan. Cardboard tube shaped containers that held small bottles of Scotch are perfect for my large piping tips - One tube for round tips, one for star tips. And already mentioned needle nose pliers for removing fish bones.

                          Does my balcony count? Use it as a blast chiller or fridge depending on the temperature.

                          I used to work at the Banff Springs Hotel and they had a carpentry dept and engineering dept that would make stuff for the kitchen when asked, like molds and forms of wood or metal. The pastry kitchen had all sorts of shapes and sizes of metal forms made from pipe, etc.

                          1. I keep a sewing gauge ruler at the ready. Handy to see how thick meat is to determine timing. Also helps in cutting strips of dough, etc.

                            This link has a photo:


                            1. Pliers for debearding mussels.
                              Nylon mallet (originally for sheet metal) for pounding meat flat (and getting out aggression)

                              1. Sad iron for pressing bacon, steaks and grilled sandwiches.

                                1. Needle nose pliers for tiny bones and lots of other things. Utility knife for cutting packaging or anything else. Perfectly shaped river stone for smacking garlic cloves to loosen skin.Several beakers from my dad's lab for measuring, keeping herbs, liquids, etc.