Road blocks

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Ever try to do a simple, basic task, but something – Murphy’s Law, planetary alignment, gremlins, whatever – prevents you from doing so? Yeah, me too.

The task was extremely basic: drill some holes at a 5-degree angle in chair legs for rungs. If I did this a lot – I don’t – I’d just make a nice jig to keep on hand. Instead, I figured I’d just tilt the table of my drill press 5 degrees, knock out those holes, and be done with it. What could be easier?

However, the bolt on the drill press table was bigger than any wrench I owned, and the head of the bolt was recessed into the cast iron so an adjustable wrench was out. Only a socket wrench would work. But I couldn’t get a reliable measurement of that recessed bolt – calipers couldn’t get in there, and I couldn’t lay a rule flat on the top of it. And, no, the bolt size wasn’t listed in the manual.

I ended up pressing a sheet of stiff paper on it to get an impression, and measured that. (No, I didn’t have wax, clay or other material, and didn’t want to use a bar of soap.) What I got was somewhere between 7/8” and 15/16”, so it was probably metric.

So it was off to the Mom & Pop hardware store to get sockets. Pop said I could buy a few and just bring back whatever didn’t fit. So I got a 7/8” as well as a 22mm, 23mm and 24mm. The 24mm fit perfectly, and since it was close to closing time for the store I immediately returned the other sockets.

Back in the shop I found that bolt so frozen I couldn’t budge it. Nothing I tried could make it move. This was a job for WD-40, so I went to the cabinet where I keep it and found… just the cap to the can of WD-40. I searched the shop, and couldn't find it nowhere.

And so it went. In the end I made the jig I probably should have made in the first place.

A.J.

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