Monday, November 2, 2009

Manly Tools

I love the power! It feels so good.

While my folks were in town this past weekend, my Dad labored hard to prepare a garden bed for a batch of raspberry bushes my folks have given us as a housewarming present. With advice from my semi-professional landscaper cousin, we picked up lumber, hardware, and fill and set to work.

My Dad, bless 'im, spent most of Saturday afternoon in occasional drizzle digging up a patch of earth and trenching the base timbers into place. These were to be spiked into place using 3/4" diameter x 4' length of reebar, and we'd picked up a massive drill bit to match. The only problem, we discovered, is that my modest cordless drill only has a 3/8" chuck, while the bit required a 1/2". It's just as well, my drill wouldn't have been able to supply the necessary torque for the job in any case.

The solution? Craigslist. In about five minutes' searching, I found a guy just down the road who was offering a slightly beaten up corded power drill with the requisite 1/2" chuck, for a whopping $20. He even threw in a mud mixer attachment for the drill and a handful of large lag screws.

So now we could drill through the 4"x6" pressure treated lumber, but how to get these large bits of steel through them? How about a nice new 4.5-lb blacksmith hammer? About 40 or 50 whacks per bar really made the forearms stiff. A bigger and heavier sledgehammer would have been more efficient, but stood a fair chance of breaking some bones.

Those lag bolts the drill seller gave us came in handy - we used them to tie the timbers to one another. But how to drive the 3/4" hex heads? How about an upgrade to my lightweight socket wrench set? A set of large-diameter deep sockets and a 3/8" ratchet should do the trick.

Yes, it was a fine weekend for spending money on tools.

Unfortunately, the weekend is only so long, so there's still a bit of work to do. For one, the tool rental places in the area are closed on Sunday, so we couldn't rent an auger for digging the post holes for the trellis. There'll be some painting to do, as well, since the appearance of pressure-treated lumber, even after aging, is just atrocious.

Oh, for the love of raspberries!

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