The Good Idea That Leaves A Hole In The Wall

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We’ve all had that great idea at some stage of the game. The one that is so simple and will save oodles of time. The one that we can do ourself with just a few simple chemicals. The one that we can finish before the wife comes home, and won’t she be pleased…

The days before power tools also saw these ideas, but they were limited in the area that they affected – it was harder to skid off the edge of something with a hand tool than it is with a Makita and a new abrasive disc. We injured ourselves just as well, but it took more time to do it. There was a chance to bellow for help before the refrigerator toppled into the basement.

I have friends and relatives who have grasped red-hot metal pipes, revolving chucks, and loose belt sanders and who have been saddened by it. I have fallen off the back of a winch truck after stepping on the live roller at the edge of the bed. I know exactly what happens when you leave the drill key in the chuck and sort to work. I do not resent these occurrences – they have been salutary experiences, and as I’m still typing, I may have learned from them…but I’m not betting on it.

I now have new tools to abuse. Three spray guns and an air compressor must surely be a potent invitation to the demon of disaster – I have long known not to direct compressed air on bare skin and I will not be flushing the guns out with petrol by the light of a candle while smoking a cigar. Nor will I invest in mysterious solvents and bottles that the paint store man hands over the counter with tongs…I am going to stick to water-based paints.

Likewise I shall carefully sharpen all the chisels, knives, and scrapers in the workshop – I find that nothing calls trouble up sooner than dull cutting edges.

The Dremel tool and the flexible shaft tool will also get careful maintenance – the first step of which will be to throw the cutting discs that came with the kits into the bin. I have had long experience with Joe Dandy discs in dentistry and I know that they are a second cousin to stick grenades when it comes to bursting in your face. As silly as I might look, I will use my safety goggles more.

Fortunately I rarely work with fire these days – the old lead melting pots from muzzle-loading days are cold now. I find that aluminium and brass are easily-enough worked that I rarely cut steel. I have friends in the blacksmith hobby game who can set fire to their premises if I need iron or steel injuries.

Now to engage a handyman service to prevent having to crawl on the roof…

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