The "Hell box"
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  1. #1
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    The "Hell box"

    We often read on the forums of people trying to find an odd expedient part or replacement for odd gun stuff like small springs or washers or a piece of steel or brass that can be used to make something.

    If you ask most gunsmiths, repairmen, and hobby buffs you'll find out that they have a "Hell box".
    They may call it another name, but what it is is a box full of odd parts, bits, and pieces they've accumulated over time.
    This may be spare screws from a parts kit for a machine, parts and pieces stripped from a machine or appliance prior to throwing it away, or a bunch of plastic model parts and decals left over from model kits.
    It's called a "Hell box" because it's hell to find what you need in it.

    Very often these Hell boxes can be a life saver for a repairman, gunsmith, watchmaker, or hobbyist in a pinch.
    Find yourself on a roof of a building repairing an air conditioner and finding a part missing in a parts kit, and you may well find it in your Hell box.
    Gunsmiths too benefit greatly by finding an odd part or screw that might be usable, or finding an odd piece of metal that can be filed to fit is a great time and money saver.

    All my life I saved parts and decals from hobby kits, extra gun screws and parts, and I've never thrown away a kitchen appliance or electronic device without first stripping it of parts that might one day prove to be useful.
    I've often found an odd piece of steel or brass picked up along the way that can be used to make a gun accessory part, or useful in holster making.

    I've always enjoyed a non-professional personal hobby of using these scraps to make "something from nothing" for my own guns.
    As example a old damaged plastic screwdriver handle once became an extended magazine release on a Ruger 10/22 I owned and front sight inserts for revolvers.
    A piece of flat stainless steel became an AK-47 trigger and hammer pin retainer plate for a buddy.
    Pieces of scrap metal from God knows where became front sights for auto pistols.
    A stainless steel 3/8 inch ball bearing and 6 inch piece of heavy brass tubing became a favorite holster molding tool.

    My Hell box is a large tackle box. I've made at least an attempt to separate wood screws, machine screws, springs, and metal into their own drawers.

    The trick is to never throw anything away without first looking for bits and pieces that might be repurposed later.

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    I wish I had only one "Hell Box". I must have 5 or 6. I have tool boxes of old screws, buckets of various metal parts, and boxes of electrical parts. Even a plastic tray cabinet of gun parts.
    Saved many a trip to the hardware store though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by phyllis1 View Post
    I wish I had only one "Hell Box". I must have 5 or 6. I have tool boxes of old screws, buckets of various metal parts, and boxes of electrical parts. Even a plastic tray cabinet of gun parts.
    Saved many a trip to the hardware store though!
    That pretty much sounds like my garage.
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    Who else has His and Hers junk drawers in the kitchen??
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    Ask my wife, she'll tell you I never get rid of any thing..........
    Leigh
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    Kitchen Junk Drawer...

    Her: What are you looking for?
    Me: Do we have any X?X?X?XX???
    Her: We should have some.
    Me: Do we know where it is?
    Her: It should be in the drawer.
    Me: (mumbling and shuffling things around)
    Her: Move...I'll find it. Here you go. Next time, just ask.
    Me: (additional mumbling) Yes, Ma'am.
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    First time I heard it called a Hell Box was here on the forum by our esteemed and sorely missed rhmc24 aka Robert M. I really got a kick out of that and think about it whenever I’m looking for something I know I should have but can’t remember where it is. And don’t even get me started on the Junk Drawer lol. If you can’t find it in one of those two places you probably don’t need it.

    Tom
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    50 yrs ago hellbox referred to another hardware item. Was still packed with parts!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkInTx View Post
    That pretty much sounds like my garage.
    I call mine the "chamber of horrors"

    I suspect that when I finally clean it, I'll find either Jimmy Hoffa or Al Capone's secret vault...
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    I have several of said "Hell Boxes"! One is an old wood box with a hinged lid that has all kinds of screw, nuts, bolts, washers, etc. I have several of the cabinets with the small plastic drawers with bits and pieces of previous car projects. Need linkage for a Corvair 4 carb setup? I've got most of it! How about a set of 1952 Ford Mainline tail light lens? Got those also! They came off my first car that was purchased for $100 in about 1964. Or, maybe you need something exotic like some Whitworth (British) nuts and bolts? Yep, got them too! There's more, but you get the idea. Most of it I will probably never use, but I got'em if I need 'em!
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