Getting Every Last Drop of Product Out of a Bottle, and Other PVC Hacks

My value of what I’d later learn was called “industrial design” was formed early on. At 14 I started working in a restaurant owned by a hands-on penny pincher, and letting a single molecule of a condiment go to waste was a fire-able infraction. So we were taught to “marry” ketchup bottles at the end of the night, and I learned how to get every last drop out of a glass Heinz bottle.

That was accomplished by the means of this little gizmo:

I never learned who designed the darn thing, even though ten years after first encountering it I was working as a bottle designer. But the ethos of both that device and my boss’ nagging never left me, and to this day I take great pride in getting every last drop out of detergent, shampoo and soap bottles. I don’t have any use for motor oil bottles, as I don’t own a car (which may change soon, stay tuned), but I was tickled when I came across this:

“Being environmentally concerned,” writes an unnamed editor over at The Family Handyman, “I try to completely drain oil containers when servicing vehicles and lawn equipment.”

“My oil recovery system is made up of 1-in. PVC pipe and assorted 1-in. PVC fittings. Cut 1-in. PVC pipe into 3-in. and 6-in. lengths and glue everything together with PVC cement as shown. Build the oil recovery system as large as needed. Use pipe straps to mount it to the wall, placing it high enough off the floor so a gallon jug with a funnel can slide underneath to catch the last of the oil.”

The image is from this roundup of “PVC Hacks,” and as with all such collections, you’ll find some of the ideas silly and others clever and useful. Here are the ones I dug:

I often work alone and am always on the lookout for how to move heavy things by myself. Leapfrogging the pipes would be a damn sight easier than trying to haul this thing:

Staining is my least-favorite thing in the world, and here’s how to do a crapload of spindles or other narrow objects quickly and efficiently, without having to fire up the spray gun and compressor:

I’ve recently been fretting over how to transport a variety of sharp items like chisels, saws and a combat spear (don’t ask), and while this isn’t the perfect solution, it is starting to give me some ideas:

You can see the rest here.