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Lock and load

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I locked down a great deal on some lumber over the weekend. Literally.

My car has those remote-control locks – click the clicker and they open; click it again, and they lock. Ultra-convenient modern technology. But for some reason about a month ago the rear hatch on my car stopped responding to the remote and stayed locked all the time. All the other doors functioned fine, but not the rear hatch. And since that rear door doesn’t have a regular keyhole on it like the other doors – it can be unlocked ONLY with the remote – it was permanently locked. My car is a Saturn, and Middleofnowhere W.Va. doesn’t have a Saturn dealer; the nearest one is nearly 90 miles away.

While traveling I spotted a Saturn dealer on the interstate and stopped in, but the service department was clueless. Their best recommendation was to schedule an appointment at my closest dealer and leave it for the day. Well, because of the distance that was impractical. What a pain, but since I could still access the back of the car through the rear side doors it was still workable, so I decided to just live with it till I visit my daughter in Connecticut next month, where there’s a Saturn dealer right down the street. The only real problem till then is that I can’t get standard 8’ lumber into the car anymore.

But last week my problem reversed: The door suddenly unlocked, and ever since I’ve been able to open and close it just fine. I just can’t lock it. Still a problem, but a lesser one; since my town has almost no crime, not being able to lock the door is no big deal.

So this past weekend I headed down to my local wood monger and stocked up. I bought several 1x12 pine boards for shelving and some other 1-by stock, and a couple pieces of oak. All this 8’ lumber fits neatly, if just barely, into my car through the back hatch. If I fold down all the seats on the right side of the car, I can slide it in right up to the glove compartment with about a quarter inch to spare. I was golden… until I got home.

When the doors locked on the drive home (they do that automatically), that back hatch suddenly locked again. And stayed that way. No matter how I tried, there was just no way I could angle that lumber to get it out of the car through one of the side doors. Since I only needed some short lengths of a couple of those 1-bys, I cut them with a jigsaw to get them out, but the rest of the stuff I need long so I don’t want to cut it. It’s all still in there, and will likely stay there till I drive to Connecticut.

Sometimes, I really hate modern technology.

Till next time,


Don’t forget I’m looking for input from any of you who’ve been to IWF in Atlanta, for an upcoming article in Woodshop News. What’s your best suggestion for someone attending the show? What worked well for you, and helped you cover the most ground in the least time? What are your tips for making the show fun? What is the number one not-to-be-missed aspect of IWF? E-mail ideas and suggestions to me at, along with your name and shop location (city and state), and I’ll include the best ones in my article.

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