Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy
A long time ago when I was a kid, I discovered something really cool. I found out that both of my sisters used the family hair dryer to dry their nails after a polish. This was a revolution to me in my young life because the only thing I ever knew our old pink hair dryer with the 3 foot long hose could do, was attach to a bonnet over curlers on my mothers head.
My sisters would remove the bonnet, do up their nails, then point the airflow over their fingers, and in no-time, the fresh polish was dry. Meanwhile, my mother who did not know this trick, would sit at the table in complete fear of touching anything, lest she smudge her nails, while waiting for the polish to dry. After watching this, I realized my sisters were on to something.
I figured that polish was literally glorified glue, so whenever I had school gluing projects, I would drag out that hair dryer, blast the air over freshly glued work, and in a fraction of the normal time, it would set up and dry. It worked on glued plastic models, wet paint, and I even began defrosting the perma-frost freezer that we had, just because I loved to make the ice melt.
I began to think of reasons to use that thing, and found them. Wet socks dried in only a few minutes with hose inside, and dryer turned to medium heat. It worked the same for gloves and mittens too, and jamming a warm blowing hose down cold boots for a few minutes, always makes them nice and toasty for your feet. I even used to eat ice cream by blasting hot air over the top of that frozen confection, just enough to make the surface a little melty, and then spoon it off.
OK, so what does all of this have to do with maintenance? Well, mounted on my workbench is an old retro hose type hair dryer, and I use it for almost everything. Anytime I glue something together, I turn it on and blow it over the joined pieces. They set up faster and are less likely to shift. When I want to put several layers of paint over an item, I will dry each layer for a few minutes on high heat, spray another coat on, and dry it again. Instead of waiting the usual 30 minutes to an hour before re-applying, you can put another spray coat on in minutes.
The cold air works great for blowing dust off of, and out of, hard to reach places, as well as blowing sawdust or metal particles away from anything I am sanding or cutting, and a hot cup of coffee cools in about 1/10 the time by blowing cold air over the top.
The detachable bonnet comes in handy as a little heat room that can literally be wrapped around anything. Small cans of paint, or spray cans can be warmed up this way, making paint application much easier, and warm spray from cans comes out in a finer mist with a bit more velocity.
Wet shoes will easily dry within hours wrapped in a bonnet, unlike having to wait overnight and then some. Besides, sliding your foot into a warm shoe, is a little bit like heaven on earth. And remember, these older style dryers generally use only as much electricity as a 200 or 300 watt light bulb, so for all the versatility you get, the power consumption is not worth sneezing at.
You can find these all over the place at rummage sales and auctions for pennies on the dollar, and if you use them like I do, it is a wonder how I got along without one.
There are many uses for a good old fashioned blow dryer, and although I keep finding new ways all the time, my favorite is still melting the top of ice cream on high, spooning it off, and then slurping it down. YUMMY