I was reading over some story synopsis when I recalled one I'd like to track down. This was likely written in the 1950s or even earlier, definitely Golden Age.
All I recall for sure is that the protagonist is near Venus but his rocket isn't powerful enough and he's being pulled down to the planet, or perhaps into the sun.
To escape, he begins cutting away the crew area of his spaceship until all he's left with is a closet, containing just enough air to get him to a point where someone can pick him up.
I seem to recall, but may be conflating stories, that everything started when he came across a crate full of what he initially thought were very good models of construction equipment, like bulldozers.
We later learn these are actually real bulldozers, being sold to the small native Venusians.