Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: 5-Gallon Bucket Book - DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles

 by Chris Peterson

The five gallon bucket is an amazing invention –remarkably strong, they’ll hold up to high pressure and heavy loads. They can take a beating with out getting bent out of shape. They can be cut, melted, glued, drilled and more, making them amazingly adaptive. These simple, handled containers can do so much more than just carry materials from one place to another. They can be upcycled into a mind-boggling array of new conveniences and handy inventions.

Why just reuse a bucket when you can reinvent it?

Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap (indeed, they are often free). But did you know they can also be hacked, hot-rodded, reengineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY projects for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers, and preppers? 5-Gallon Bucket Book contains 60+ ideas that put these humble and hard-working mainstays to work past their prime and keep them out of landfills. Simple step-by-step instructions, as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, make sure you will have fun and love the results of your work.

Projects include perfect additions to your yard and garden, tools to care for your animals, useful innovations, handy home helpers, and even family-oriented designs! They range from simple things such as chicken feeders to much more complex projects (small room air conditioner, anyone?). For anyone who doesn't already have fifteen of them cluttering up the garage, 5-Gallon Bucket Book also offers advice on where to get cheap and free buckets and how to tell if a bucket is safe to use for food.

About the Author
Chris Peterson is a veteran home improvement and design author living in Ashland, Oregon. Among the many books he has written for Cool Springs Press and other publishers are Building with Secondhand Stuff, Manskills, four books in the Ideas You Can Use series, and many Black & Decker Complete Guides. He has also authored several books in the food and cooking area and he has co-authored numerous home design books with noted media celebrities.
Purchase Chris Peterson's 5-Gallon Bucket Book at major online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target. 

Our Thoughts
Growing up, there were always 5 gallon buckets around, usually used for holding a plethora of things - extra miscellaneous nuts, bolts, and even a big bucket of old car keys for the kids to play with. They also made handy stepstools or seats when flipped upside down. I'd even seen my dad use the mousetrap one on page 30 of the 5-Gallon Bucket Book.
Here at home, we use 5 gallon buckets to carry and hold all sorts of things.  My husband created a landscaping rock washer out of a 3-gallon bucket to wash all the dirt/debris off the river rocks when we were re-doing our landscaping.  He simply drilled several small holes around the base/bottom of the bucket (smaller than the rocks), ran the hose into it, and was able to swish the rocks around in the water, with the dirty water draining below.   We also use a 5 gallon bucket with a bag to clean up our dog's waste in the yard.
At our cabin, we have a couple of buckets in use as indoor toilets, except instead of using pipe insulation as a cushion (in this book's example), we purchased the toilet lids specifically meant to fit on 5 gallon buckets, which you can find at stores selling camping equipment.
One of the things we tried to make (and failed at) last year utilizing a 5 gallon bucket was the small room air conditioner.  The video we'd seen wasn't terribly descriptive, and this book lays out the steps better, so we may try making it again. 
small room air conditioner
This one will come in handy in the future - we recently purchased a rural acreage where we will be building a new home.  Chickens are on our consideration list and automatic chicken feeders will come in handy.
automatic chicken feeder

This one is certainly on my to-make list: the manual washing machine.  I've washed clothes in the sink and in the tub in a pinch, but I need a better option for cloth diapers - something with more agitation.  Our son is now potty trained but if we have more children in the future, I want some manual backup at the cabin in case the washer up there ever breaks down.

This one might just be one of my favorites: the child's bucket seat.  Your imagination's the limit with this one regarding bucket & fabric colors!

The child's swing is the only one in the 5-Gallon Bucket Book I don't really like as shown - in my opinion the leg holes as shown need to be MUCH bigger. The book recommends this seat for 1-3 yr olds.  I have a very petite child, and I've often struggled with getting his legs in and out of seat-leg holes that are just too small for a child who could not (at the time) maneuver his own legs into/out of position. I would at least double the height/width of the leg holes shown here.

The directions for each project are nicely laid out with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions with photos in the 5-Gallon Bucket Book as well as suggestions on where to acquire used buckets and how to tell which ones are food-safe.  There's lots of great DIY ideas with sections such as Handy Home Additions, Barnyard Helpers, Family Fun, and Yard & Garden Innovations. A fun book for your own use or a nice gift for your DIY friend/family member!