Perfectly Good Isn’t Necessarily Perfect

Wow it’s hot outside!  I am afraid of gettiig heat exhaustion and hurting myself again.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I watch Buffy and drink iced coffee on my multiple breaks from working 🙂

I am not good at precision with power tools.  I’m getting better, but my work isn’t pretty and probably never will be.  I console myself by thinking of the amazing houses built before precision tools were available.  On the carpenter forums, professionals are always talking about having to “eyeball” levels and straightness in old homes, stating that it’s better to do that so things look good, than to actually be level but look askew.  In other words, perfectly good homes aren’t necessarily perfect.

Using reclaimed materials necessitates compromise.  There might be gouges, scrapes, nail holes, etc in otherwise useable goods.  As you can see in the pictures, the 4×4 I’m using has metal connector pieces still attached, which I couldn’t figure out how to take off.  The lumber is square and true, no dry rot or any damage, but it has these big metal “things” on it.  What to do?  I’ll tell you, cut off what you can and smash flat the rest with a hammer. Problem solved.

The next puzzle was how to firmly join the planks with the joists I cut today.  The solution here?  Push all the planks forward so the ends are hanging off the metal frame, then clamp each one individually to the doubled end-joists in order to get them firmly screwed into place. One screw in the front joist, one in the back joist on each plank.  Of course this must be done by leaning out and over the edge (basically upside down) to use the screwdriver, as I couldn’t reach the area from below, unless I stood on the hood of the Beast.  I didn’t want to do that, so monkey time it was.  It worked, and I didn’t fall and break myself today!

That’s all I accomplished though.  The heat combined with climbing up and jumping off the truck many multiples of times wore me out early, and so I’m back here with another iced coffee, watching an episode of Buffy, and writing this.  I’m OK with that.

Lovely long piece of 4x4 I got for free.

Lovely long piece of 4×4 I got for free.

I removed the few nails present, and removed as much of the metal as I could, then hammered the rest flat.

I removed the few nails present, and removed as much of the metal as I could, then hammered the rest flat.

One thing I learned on the first Oliver's Nest is to work smarter, not harder.  Clamping the boards together and cutting them all at the same time just makes sense.

One thing I learned on the first Oliver’s Nest is to work smarter, not harder. Clamping the boards together and cutting them all at the same time just makes sense.

The ends aren't perfect, but they are pretty good, and will work.

The ends aren’t perfect, but they are pretty good, and will work.

This is the edge I leaned over in order to screw through the planks up into the doubled end-joists.

This is the edge I leaned over in order to screw through the planks up into the doubled end-joists.

I used a block of wood to ensure the doubled joists stayed level with each other as I screwed each plank in from below.  Worked really well.

I used a block of wood to ensure the doubled joists stayed level with each other as I screwed each plank in from below. Worked really well.

I hope you were able to solve a problem or two today.  It feels good. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Perfectly Good Isn’t Necessarily Perfect

    • Hi Diane 🙂
      You wrote a little while ago asking about the letter, and I cannot find it ~ I have no idea why or where it went, which honestly bums me out. You’ve been so kind and caring!

      I hope you maybe have a copy so you can send it again?

  1. Hi Parker – this is Sarah, the biker who stopped to chat and distract you from your building for a bit. 🙂 i like what you’re doing, so i followed your blog and twitter – i hope that’s alright…

    • Hey, hi! I absolutely DO think that’s ok 🙂 The more the merrier, and on those days when I’m not feeling talkative, other people are there to take up the slack!
      I enjoyed our little chat today, and definitely would love to talk again to hear about your past adventures. 🙂

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