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Sunday, August 1, 2021

I'm not entirely useless,

Uline Folding Table

I fixed the folding table today. Some fat ass sat on it the other day (probably a couple of months ago) and half a dozen of the screws holding the frame to the top popped out. They sounded like bullets when they hit the hard laminate flooring. 

It was a simple enough project, all I had to do was turn the table upside and put in some more / larger screws. First, however, you have to clear all the stuff off of the table, and since I hate having to bend over, what I want is another table. Well, there is one in the next room and there is enough room for all the stuff that is sitting on the broken table. Now I need a place to set the table. I could work on it on the floor, but getting up is a pain. A table to set the broken table on would be nice. Fortunately I have such a table. Apparently I am loaded with tables. When I found out how useful tables can be, and that they could be had from Office Depot for $40 (okay, that was a zillion years ago) they became the solution for all of my space problems and I ended up with half a dozen of the things.

Used to be when I needed to move one of these table, I would tip it over sideways. Now I work from one end and when I tip it over, I end up with my right hand supporting the edge of the top and my left hand supporting the leg. The other end is down on the ground. That way the center of mass is about at the same height as it was before I tipped it over. Now I can set it down gently and we don't have big slam bang we get with other technique.

Getting the folded, broken table onto my work surface, that just took plain old effort. Some things I can still do. Look at the underside and count the missing screws - six. I found four of them when I was clearing off the broken table. They were the last things lying there.

Examine the screws. They seem to be of two types. One is the course sheet metal thread I was expecting. The other was much finer. That might be why this thing failed. My solution is go to Lowe's and buy some fatter screws. Okay, I can do this. I can drive to Lowe's. I have preferred Lowe's for a long time. Back before all the crazy happened (my family bought three houses), Lowe's was nice and quiet. They seemed to have higher quality merchandise, so it was a more pleasant experience. Yes, I know, when you are trying to get the job done and all you want to do is get in and get your stuff and get out, ambiance is the last thing on your mind. And there were times when the crowds at Home Depot actually started to get in the way. Besides I've got $30 of store credit at Lowe's.

#12 Sheet Metal Screw, half-inch long
Yes, I know the picture is of a two inch long screw.
You'll just have to use your imagination.

I drive to Lowe's, it might be ten-fifteen minutes away, cross-town traffic through residential neighborhoods. The screws in my hand look like number ten, so I'm looking for some number twelves (just a little fatter, ya' know), half an inch long, and boom! There they are, a bag of six. It can't be that easy can it? I send a couple minutes looking for #14 screws. They have some, but none as short (half an inch) as I need. Take your prize, Chucky, and go home.

$1.28 at the self-serve checkstand. For some reason I am in a bad mood and don't want to talk to anyone. Might be because of my brother. Jerk. Why did he have to end up in the hospital? Pisses me off. Anyway. Can't use the store credit at the self-serve machine, they need to check your id and all that hooey. And it's only $1.28. And they let me use my charge card. Which I use for frigging everything now, even though I think credit card companies are vampires, but maybe that's the cost of security these days. Remember when businesses used to post bad checks by the cash register? The display was always labeled with this line: "No checks, we have several from last year." Haven't seen one of those lately, though maybe I just don't frequent the same kinds of places anymore, or maybe it's the part of town.

Screwed the new screws in the old, ripped out holes using just a regular screwdriver, which I had in my office. The killer driver-drill youngest game me for Christmas is upstairs, and climbing stair ranks right up there with bending over. Besides, I'm still useful, dammit.

Now all I had to do was muscle the fixed table back into my office, set it up, and transfer all my valuable stuff back. I think elapsed time was about two hours.

The table might have cost $40 twenty (or thirty?) years ago, but now they are $150. So maybe this repair was a worthwhile project. The tables Office Depot sells are different. They still have tables with particle board tops, but the frames are different. They also have plastic tables. I was a little sceptical at first, but then I remembered that toolbox makers are putting holes for padlocks in their toolboxes. Plastics have gotten a lot tougher than they were back in the day. It might be interesting to trace the evolution of plastic. When was the last big advancement in cheap plastic? I am sure there are new advancements being made all the time for special purposes.

And don't forget Waste Management. If I had just replaced the table, I would have had to get rid of the broken one, which would have meant cutting it up into pieces small enough to go in the garbage / recycling / compost bins. Can you compost particle board? Seems like you ought to be able to. Some of the stuff isn't much different than compost anyway.


xoxoxoBruce said...

Well done Sir, both the repair and the foresight to grab a bunch of tables when they were cheap.

Chuck Pergiel said...

They weren't any cheaper, it's just that inflation has made our money worth less. 5% inflation over 30 years means that old dollar is now worth 23 cents.

xoxoxoBruce said...

True, but we can just deficit spend to make up for it. LoL