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Patrick Olguin
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

Dear Rec.Norm Mavens,

My career as a commissioned Neanderdorker is being somewhat supplanted
by my career as a journeyman horn player these days...
http://www.klownhammer.org/trumpet who knew? It's good to be wanted I
suppose. Anyway, competitive hobbies aside, I did get a chance to
install part of my commissioned work the other day. To put it bluntly,
it was an interesting day.

It started out innocently enough, what with my seemingly monthly visit
to family court to address lingering administrivia. I lost miserably
(minor battle, not the war), and so I was definitely looking forward
to some quiet woodDorking at my friends' house, installing a simple
speaker shelf for his way-over-the-top home theater (theatre, Luigi)
system.

The shelf was already complete (single piece of 3/4 red oak ply, with
some mitered oak trim), and had been oiled/shellacked and delivered to
my pal's house (a sprawling ranch-style home not too far from where
former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda lives). It had been resting
comfortably in a bonus room. I'd also been lucky enough to find some
rigid enameled steel shelf supports that would hold up a 22" deep
shelf. The idea was to achieve the appearance of a home theatre center
speaker sitting on top of the TV (telly, Jeff), when that wasn't
physically possible, owing to the sharp slope of the back of the
nearly flat TV's cabinet. During the design (lots of musing and
fussing about, TomW) stage, we'd been fortunate to discover there was
a 3/4" lip on the back side of the bezel, perfect for making a shelf
all but invisible when viewed from the front.... generally the
preferred location from which to view even the worst television
programming (the WB, BAD).

The previous weekend I'd literally stumbled over some rather hefty
molded toolboxes at a yard sale, and I snapped up three of them for
less than the price of a foot-long (.3048 meters, Andy) Subway
sammich. So I carefully packed approximately three times the number of
tools I'd need for the job into the boxes, kissed SWIATAABOC, and
headed out on my merry way to spending half a day as a tradesman.

Getting on the freeway was the first mistake. The traffic here in Los
Angeles is legendary, and my local "freeway" did not disappoint. I
abandoned the grid locked disaster after a good 40 minutes going
practically nowhere and finally made it to my destination a good 30
minutes late. I was hot, sweaty, miserable and late. I hate being
late.

And then things actually began to go my way.

It was unseasonably warm, even for LA, and my pal had his A/C humming
and trendy ceiling fans a-whirring. It was instant relief. There were
a couple of guys from a local A/V installation company setting up his
new satellite feed and scratching their heads over the various wiring
issues a set-up just short of something Steven Spielberg would have in
his house. I trundled my tools into the quiet cool and set straight to
work.

The other contractors had already opened a few access holes in the
wall where I was to install this shelf, and as luck would have it, I
was able to locate a stud by feel instead of the bothersome task of
using the stud-finder I'd forgotten or fussing with measuring between
windows or any other such folderol (yes, Keeter, I wrote folderol).
After marking the stud locations, I measured the height of the TV's
back lip again. And again. I really made sure. We're talking sure.

The rear of the shelf needed an access hole, and to accomplish that,
I'd brought along one of my most prized neandertools - a Millers
Falls permaloid handle Parsons brace. See it he

http://www.klownhammer.org/toolpicku...er5Resized.jpg

Yes Chuck, that's a drive-by neener. A re-neener, actually.

I'd even had the forethought to bring a piece of scrap so the hole
wouldn't splinter on the backside. As I quickly and quietly bored
through the ply shelf, the older of the other contractor types
remarked to his partner, "Check it out, this guy's old-school. Look at
that hole... can't get that with a spade bit." I beamed with pride.

Back to the shelf supports...

It was simple to transfer the TV's height to the wall. I taped the
level of my 6" Goodell-Pratt combination square to a longish piece of
trim I'd brought along just for the occasion, fashioning a functional
carpenter's level. I then grabbed the shelf supports and proceeded to
mark out the screw holes. I only beggared that once, and fixed the
marks before I'd actually drilled any pilot holes.

My plan was to drill pilot holes with an 11/64 bit and then use 3" #12
screws to secure the supports to the wall. This task was also the
domain of the Parsons brace, seeing as its universal chuck easily
grips drill bits. It slipped easily through the drywall, and hit pay
dirt. I heaved a small internal sigh of relief, because I knew I'd cut
just a little corner in locating the studs. The going seemed just a
bit slow and then there was a distinct *thunk*
as the bit sunk in a good 3/4" more all at once. What the???

What happened next occurred in a very short time span, and it really
is amazing how your brain slows things down as it tries to function in
a crisis. I pulled the bit/brace out to see what the deal was. In
retrospect, I'm certain I could hear the faint hissing that began
immediately after the *thunk*, but what with the air conditioning
making it's bit of white noise, and the gentle flap-flap-flap of the
ceiling fan nearly directly over my head, maybe I'm just imagining I
could hear something. I pulled the bit free of the wall and was
immediately hit with powerful gout of water.

Pay dirt indeed.

I tried to insert the bit back in, but it was no good. The volume and
pressure of the water was incredible. It was as though we were on a
WWII submarine and a depth charge had cracked a bulkhead. I screamed,
"Where's the G@#$#@$damn shutoff?!!" What I really wanted to cry out
was, "abandon ship!" My pal was calm, as his very expensive carpet (he
claimed later it needed replacing anyhow), oak floors and
not-so-expensive-yet-highly-valued two cats got soaked (prior to the
incident, the cats were behaving as admirable shop cats, quite close
to me as I worked). "It's right out front, I'll get it." Meanwhile his
missus tossed probably a basket-load of bath towels to me. This
couldn't have taken more than ten seconds.

The shutoff was right outside the window and so I watched hopefully as
my buddy tried to close it. It didn't look good. His calm was fading.
He disappeared for a few dreadfully long seconds to the garage, and
reappeared with as big a pipe wrench as you'd hope to see in a
household just inside "the O.C." He leaned on it hard, and I felt the
force of the water subside just a bit... or was it me just finishing
peeing my pants... I wasn't sure. He bore
down again and this time the pressure definitely dropped. One more and
I figured he'd have it. Sure enough, he gave it one more crank and...
SNAP... there went the shutoff valve.

We no longer had a burst submarine bulkhead, but it was more like a
fancy water fountain. I looked longingly out the window and saw the
street shutoff near the curb. Abandoning my post at the mouth of the
new spring, I ran outside still clutching my precious Parsons brace. I
popped open the street access cover and then realized that it was one
of those gas/water company shutoffs, not a hand wheel. I don't know if
it was the weight of that wonderful brace or divine inspiration, but
before I had full cognition of what I was doing, I was loosening the
chuck to free the drill bit. I managed to get
the entire cover off the water main junction, chucked the little "tab"
into the brace and cranked it shut.

A faint whoop of approval was heard from inside the house.

I went back inside to inspect the damage. Firstly, I was soaked. I
mean really soaked.
The only dry spot on me was the furthest arrearages of my underoos (I
don't really wear underoos but I'm not quite such a dandy that I'd
mention right out that they were probably Calvin Kleins), putting to
rest the notion that I might have soiled myself in the excitement. The
water damage to the house wasn't that bad, if you discounted the
gaping 6"x6" wound in the drywall. None of the delicate electronics
components had been doused.

My pal right away began apologizing for not helping me measure the
wall. I sat down heavily on my tool chest. The larger cat, O'Malley,
came up to me as though to console me, stropping my legs with his tail
the way cats to. He all of a sudden seemed enthralled by my one leg
that always has an anti-DVT support stocking on it. The poor little
six-toed cat got his claw caught in the heavy mesh and began pulling
on it. I mean he was really hooked. He began howling, yowling and
really pulling. I was worried he was going to lose a claw or
something. I finally helped him get his claw free so he'd stop
pulling on my leg...

... as I'll stop pulling on yours now.

I remain as always, the unregenerate...

O'Deen
  #2   Report Post  
Tom
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

so it was all a dream...!
Someday, it'll all be over....
  #3   Report Post  
RWM
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)


"Patrick Olguin" wrote in message
m...
Dear Rec.Norm Mavens,

... as I'll stop pulling on yours now.

I remain as always, the unregenerate...

O'Deen


I will admit that you got me. Great story.

Bob


  #6   Report Post  
Greg Millen
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

well told Paddy, bravo.

You may like a post I made a while ago, in similar vein:

================
The Shake

Picture this. I have been painting the house all week and weekend, using
every available moment to grab a brush. I walked into the shop to get a
large can of acrylic white I'd left there. As I walk into the shop I make a
bee-line around the junk laying everywhere and make one small mistake - I
tread on the shop-dog's tail. The dog, a solid two year old Lab, leaps up
howling and lifts the card table she's under. The paint I am looking for was
on the card table, now it is everywhere and running all over the shop-dog's
back. Shop-dog gets that bath-time look, and I know she is about to shake,
so I yell "NOOooooo" and make a grab for her. I slip on the paint and crash
down in a heap on the floor in the paint, sawdust and shavings.

The dog gets 'the look' again and there's not a thing I can do about it. I
watch as she lowers her nose at me and the lips begin to twitch, the eyes go
into squint mode and the jowls begin to wobble, the nose twitches and,
finally, her head starts 'the shake'. The paint flies from her head to the
roof, walls, tool cabinets, windows - everywhere! The 'shake' moves to her
neck and back as I get to my feet and start bellowing at her. She tries to
move away but is mid-shake, and only manages a half-turn, this is just
sufficient to aim at the remaining unpainted areas of the shop. A full
gallon and a half is thrown all over the shop, what can't get onto benches
hits the roof, then falls onto benches. Drillpresses, sawbench, electrical
tools, open cupboards and drawers, she gets the lot. I try to dive again and
miss, instead hitting the Sears toolboxes which begin to move quickly across
the floor until they hit the expansion crease - and stop dead - at least the
wheels do anyway. The three cabinets lean right over and fall, crashing into
the TS and dropping their contents all over the floor into the paint,
spanners, sockets, screwdrivers, planes, chisels - every darn handtool I
own.

At this point I roar out "get the f*@# outta here" and hear SWMBO saying
"Greg, it's all right". "Bull*#@!" says I, as I struggle with something
pinning me down. I slowly realise I am pinned by a sheet, and become aware
that I am in bed, dry, and it's the middle of the night. SWMBO asks why I
was yelling at Sally (shop-dog), and what did she do? For my part, I tell
the kids to go back to bed and promise to tell SWMBO in the morning. I
should have told her as soon as we got up, because she has been reading this
over my shoulder as I type it in, and now I have coffee down my back.

Brains are treacherous things guys, never switch 'em off - they'll turn on
ya.

===========
--
Greg

"Patrick Olguin" wrote in message
Dear Rec.Norm Mavens,


snip

something. I finally helped him get his claw free so he'd stop
pulling on my leg...
... as I'll stop pulling on yours now.
I remain as always, the unregenerate...

O'Deen



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Conan the Librarian
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

Patrick Olguin wrote:

[snip of wonderful tale of woe and triumph]

... as I'll stop pulling on yours now.

I remain as always, the unregenerate...


So my question is, how much of that was true? I mean you didn't
make all of that up just to namedrop Tommy Lasorda and do another
driveby on the MF brace, did you?

And that whole drilling through the water-pipe and trying to get it
shut off; it sounds like you're just a bit too familiar with that whole
scenario for it to be just a figment of your imagination. (Not that I'd
know anything about that sort of thing myself.)

Come on, fess up, O'Deener. :-)


Chuck Vance
Just say (tmPL) Still it's the best bit of prose I've read around
here for quite a while.


  #8   Report Post  
Frank McVey
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)


"Patrick Olguin" wrote in message
m...
Dear Rec.Norm Mavens,


snip looong but articulate shaggy dog story

I finally helped him get his claw free so he'd stop
pulling on my leg...

... as I'll stop pulling on yours now.

I remain as always, the unregenerate...

O'Deen


Nice one, Paddy. Hook, line and bloody sinker.....

Cheers,

Frank


---
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Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.593 / Virus Database: 376 - Release Date: 20/02/2004


  #9   Report Post  
mttt
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)


"Frank McVey" wrote in message
...


Nice one, Paddy. Hook, line and bloody sinker.....


Yah - me too. Didn't even put up a fight on the line.
I just plopped myself up in his boat...


  #10   Report Post  
Tom Watson
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

On 1 Apr 2004 16:35:32 -0800, (Patrick Olguin)
wrote:

Dear Rec.Norm Mavens,



Good one, NeanderBubba !


Thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
(Real Email is tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/


  #11   Report Post  
Jim Wilson
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

Conan the Librarian wrote...

So my question is, how much of that was true?
...

Come on, fess up, O'Deener. :-)


MUM WMF CMNGK. removes hook I'm with Chuck.

You had to be divulging some truth in there. It was just too much like
real life! So, what's the scoop? Details, please!

Jim
  #12   Report Post  
Patrick Olguin
 
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Default Neanderthal-style Shelf Installation (long)

Jim Wilson wrote in message hlink.net...
Conan the Librarian wrote...

So my question is, how much of that was true?
...

Come on, fess up, O'Deener. :-)


MUM WMF CMNGK. removes hook I'm with Chuck.

You had to be divulging some truth in there. It was just too much like
real life! So, what's the scoop? Details, please!


It's not all that exciting .

Everything was the gospel truth until I hit the non-existent water
pipe. The Parsons brace easily bored into the studs like they wuz
buttuh. Driving the #12 screws with a hex shank chucked into the
brace was so satisfyingly ridiculously easy, it was almost criminal.
A ratcheting brace is very handy when dealing with tight tolerances
(like a wall or the edge of a large bracket) where a drill-driver with
much more *girth* wouldn't be able to fit. Plus, no cordless drill
can approach the immense torque of a brace. And even if it could, it
doesn't offer the feedback you get with a brace, when you can actually
feel the metal of the screw head stretching and stop before you snap
it off.

When the two techs slid the TV/stand under the shelf, the older feller
remarked, "fits like a glove." I had a difficult time disputing his
opinion.

Well, you can judge for yourself easily enough.

http://www.klownhammer.org/speaker

And that, they say, is the rest of the story

O'Deen
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