Free Dental Work, Furniture Restoration, Exporting Produce: Some of MOTHER's Best Barter Items

MOTHER's readers have bartered everything from free dental work and furniture restoration to exporting produce and scissor sharpening. Read more about some of MOTHER's best barter items now.

| March/April 1985

  • Sharp scissors
    A simple barter can result in big rewards, as one reader discovered when she volunteered to sharpen and repair her friends' scissors.

  • Sharp scissors

Will Paint for Free Dental Work

My wife and I had just settled into our new pastorate in rural Illinois and were celebrating the occasion with her favorite fried chicken recipe. With the first bite, though, half my front tooth sailed out of my mouth and came to rest somewhere near the gravy tray, leaving me with a broken stub and the thought of greeting my new congregation looking like a "Hee Haw" character. I quickly made the acquaintance of the town dentist.

As I sat having a temporary tooth affixed and discussing plans for the root canal work to come, I wondered where I'd ever get the money to pay him. Then I noticed his office walls were covered with wildlife prints, many of which reminded me of duck hunting in my native southwestern Ontario. Since I also love to paint ducks, the word "barter" came to mind. And after looking at some of my works, the dentist agreed to a swap. He got an original duck scene in oils, my new congregation got a fulltoothed sermon, and I got hooked on bartering and have kept at it ever since!

West Virginia

Scissor Sharpening Pays Off

Young homesteaders aren't the only ones who barter. At a meeting of our weekly senior citizens' group, I noticed one of the ladies in the sewing group was using a pair of scissors that were not only quite dull, but also loose in the pivot joint. Since sharpening tools is one of my specialties, I offered to take those scissors home and work on them for her.

When I returned them, sharp and tight, at the following week's gathering, I offered the same service to others there and was quickly given more scissors in need of sharpening or minor repairs. I made it clear, though, that I wouldn't take money for this work. So instead the ladies paid me by making me scarves, mittens and other homemade items. What started out as a friendly gesture turned into a terrific barter! And now one of those nice ladies has invited me to her house for a homecooked meal.


Furniture Restoration Lessons

Four years ago, my wife and I moved from a one-bedroom town house in the city to a three-bedroom log home that we built ourselves. Because most of our money had been spent on the house and 4 acres, there wasn't much left for furnishing our new home.

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