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5 Things That Last a Lifetime
Outside of a tree, a wedding ring or an heirloom, what can you expect to buy today that you will use for the rest of your life? Here are five useful items that will last you a lifetime.
Look for: A new cast-iron pan with the surface that is uniformly dull gray inside and out and uniformly rough in texture with small grains or “pores.”
Avoid: Pans with seams, cracks, or uneven or sharp edges. Buy a cast-iron pan that is all of a piece—not one with a wooden handle. Avoid a ridged bottom; a flat surface conducts heat best.
Look for: A good-quality chef’s knife that you feel comfortable handling. Pick up a knife and see how it feels in your hand. Also buy a steel and use it regularly to keep your knife honed. If you buy a good chef’s knife and care for it properly, you should never have to replace it.
Avoid: Knives that have a serrated cutting edge or those that claim to “never need sharpening.” Good knives do need sharpening.
Look for: Forged metal, and plastic, fiberglass, or metal handles. A typical basic set includes a 16-ounce claw hammer, a few sizes of screwdrivers (regular flat tip, together with Phillips or Robertsons), an adjustable (Crescent) wrench, slotted pliers, a wide 25-foot tape measure, a retractable utility knife and an 8-point crosscut saw. Good-quality hand tools should last not just one lifetime, but for a couple of generations.
Avoid: Cheaply made cast-iron tools and tools with wooden handles.
Scrapbook or Photo Album
Look for: A baby book, photo album, or scrapbook with pages made from dye-free, pH-balanced archival paper. Affix your photos and memorabilia with picture corners or small mounting squares. Check your local crafts store for the latest materials—the scrapbook craft industry is making improvements all the time.
Avoid: Plastic sheets and sticky-backed pages, and don’t use regular tape.
Leather Handbag or Briefcase
Look for: Small tight stitches made with heavy thread. Make sure clamps, hinges or locks are nicely machined and work smoothly. The most durable bags are made of top-grain leather. Leather described as full grain won’t necessarily last longer. A top-quality leather handbag or briefcase is actually inexpensive—if you amortize it over the lifetime of use.
Avoid: Trendy designs. Buy a classic style that will endure for a lifetime.