Thursday, 13 March 2014

Blood Blister

My chair is fixed. I’m not so certain about my body.

thumbIt took me a few hours yesterday to remove the old bolt from the seat. There was about half an inch of threaded end stuck in the hole and I spent about an hour trying to drill out the hard steel with an electric drill. That didn’t work so I tried to cut a notch in the slightly exposed end of the bolt but the screwdriver wouldn’t bite. Frustrated, I reached for a hammer and tried to knock it through. That’s when I missed the chisel and hit my left hand. I cursed mightily and angrily tried again with the hammer. That’s when I missed the chisel a second time and hit my left hand on the same tender spot. It hurt even more and where the hammer bounced off the bone, it went into my thumb, producing this delightful blood blister.

I was about to give up but I remembered something my Dad had taught me or perhaps it was something I’d seen on one of the Discovery Channel documentaries such as Gold Rush. It suddenly struck me that I’d been doing it all wrong. The high powered electric drills were just spinning on top of the bolt. I reached for an old brace and bit and slowly started to turn it in the hole. Soon I could see small flakes of metal coming out and I could feel the drill biting. After about half an hour, I could see the drill beginning to protrude from the other side. I’d gone in slightly askew and half of the bolt was remaining so this time I reached triumphantly for the hammer to knock out the stuck fragment. It popped out easily, though not before I’d managed to hit my hand a third time. My cursing didn’t last long. About half an hour later, the chair was reassembled with a new bolt and washers holding the back in place. I felt slightly elated.

I’m not a handyman. In fact, people often laugh about my skills as a handyman, though the same people admit that I can hang wallpaper pretty well, put up shelves, rewire a plug, and do plenty of the other things that need doing. About the only thing I can’t do is climb a ladder higher than twenty feet. I figure I’m too big and cumbersome to go climbing about on the roof. Anything lower than that and I’ll give it a try. And that pretty much sums me up. I’ll have a go at anything. I’m just not sure the result will ever be all that pretty.

The bolt doesn’t look great hanging from the chair but you only see if it you go looking for it. The point is it works and I preserver in these things because I like to believe we’re not past the stage when a little effort produces a result. We throw things away too easily. Since I saved this PC monitor by soldering in some new capacitors a year or so ago, I feel like I have a duty to at least try to get things working again. I’ve saved my chair, saved some money, and have a blood blister I didn’t have before.

Today, I’ll stick to my preferred form of engineering. I have new ideas to incorporate into my app. A few days away from it has given me a little more faith in the concept. I intend to learn how to create a widget to sit on my Android screen and integrate with the app. It should be fun and hopefully blood blister free.

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