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Project Information

This is strung across my living room wall-it's a constant reminder that we don't own this house, the bank does. But for every thousand dollars less we owe them, we get to smash a link in the chain. It's an attempt to motivate ourselves through step 6 by getting to smash things with a hammer. Everyone likes smashing things with a hammer.

The wood portion of the project is terribly simple, just scraps from my can crusher thrown together to hold the anvil and anchor link. I did play around with it a bit-I chamfered the edges, and learned how easy it is to screw up your chamfers during sanding. The shelf actually sits in what is probably the first dado I've cut.

The chain is a manifestation of one of the wife's latest craft obsessions, polymer clay. I considered one of the various methods of making wooden chain, but that would have been more work than I'd be willing to destroy.

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Edit: A comment asked for details on the chain construction, so I'm adding it here rather than hiding it down in the comments.

The chain links were pretty simple. We got the single link of actual chain from a hardware store and set it on the table while working for a visual reference to try to keep the links uniform. They're made from Original Sculpey, which you can find sold as polymer clay in a 1lb brick in the craft section at Walmart-which works out, because it's both cheaper and a bit more brittle than the other varieties you'll see at the craft stores.

The links are just rolled out straight, sliced to length, and the ends are pressed together. It seemed easiest to assemble in waves:
  • Make half your total number of links in single, closed links, and bake them
  • Add a link to make sets of 3
  • Add a link to make sets of 7, etc

The sections where we didn't follow this, and ended up with several soft links in one section being baked at once, were much harder to keep lined up, and we ended up with some misshapen links. We baked the majority of the chain in a toaster oven, on a ceramic tile; joining the big pieces together into the full length required the main oven. Rebaking the clay doesn't seem to have any ill effects, but it will discolor if you get it too hot.

Make sure you get the joints pressed together well; we had a few break in the first few weeks it was hung, and it was always at a joint where only a small amount of clay was bearing the load. The wife says we could bake a new link in with a heat gun, but we've just been using white school glue and some tape for clamping pressure, and that's been holding up fine.

Gallery

Comments

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696 Posts
I like this idea!!
 

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LOL , I thought your name was odoriferous for a second , but then again , they mean the same thing.
Thanks for the laughter ! I really needed it today.
 

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Now you get to have even more fun while doing a great thing!!

A cool way to celebrate the steps of a long process. Maybe you should collect the rubble in a jar to show how far you've come…
 

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Wow! Judging by the length of the chain, you must have a nice house. Great project, thanks for sharing.
 

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That is a great visual. I LOVE IT!!!

Dave Ramsey rocks!!
 

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So you are willing to destroy your wifes work, but not your own! You are lucky, I would make you hang it in the garage. I do get the whole stressing mortgage and bank thing but why make everyone think of it every single day. Just my opinion.
 

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Steve: Already got the jar going. Many years from now we won't need a constant motivator on the wall, but a jar on the shelf full of broken links will be a simple reminder of how far we've come.

Eugenie: Well, we both worked on the chain (her links look much better than mine). Thinking about it every day is the whole point. Multiplying your family's income times the number of years in a typical mortgage equals a whole lotta money passing through your fingers. You have to be intentional if you want to accomplish your goals.

I want this chain GONE, and to do that, I have to tell myself NO when I'm walking through the toy stores.
 

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Cool….........what a reminder!
 

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Here's to smashing those chain links, and burning that mortgage!
 

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Nice idea to keep you motivated. Good luck in getting to the last link. Look forward to seeing projects between now and then.
 

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haha cool, I bet those clay links really explode even with such a small hammer.
 

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Wow that's really creative and probably worthy of one of the side note stories in Dave Ramsey's book. Good luck getting through step 6!
 

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This is an awesome motivator. My wife and I are working baby step 6 as well, you have encouraged me to find something to keep us motivated. Look forward to hearing your call to Dave and proclaiming a debt free scream!
 

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Great idea. Have you sent this to Dave Ramsey? He would get a kick out if it. Good look and happy breaking.
 

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love it and like Dave Ramsey as well great advise and hope to do the same ,that is a good reminder and you can see the chain links fall as you go
 

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Dave would be proud! I'll listen for your debt free scream! I will be coordinating my first FPU class this summer…mind if I borrow your photos?
 

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I'm 49 yrs old and just a sliver away from being 100% debt free. It is truly liberating, and I congratulate you and your wife and working towards your goals.
 
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