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How to Make Aboard...
From: DRUID::KLEIN 11-MAR-1983 08:25
By Dave Barry

Most of what I know about carpentry, which is almost nothing,
I learned in shop. I took shop during the Eisenhower
administration, when boys took shop and girls took home economics
-- a code word for "cooking". Schools are not allowed to separate
boys and girls like that anymore.

They're also not allowed to put students' heads in vices and
tighten them, which is what our shop teacher, Mr. Schmidt, did to
Ronnie Miller in the fifth grade when Ronnie used a chisel when
he should have used a screwdriver (Mr. Schmidt had strong
feelings about how to use tools properly). I guess he shouldn't
have put Ronnie's head in the vise, but it (Ronnie's head) was no
great prize to begin with, and you can bet Ronnie never confused
chisels and screwdrivers in later life. Assuming he made it to
later life.

Under Mr. Schmidt's guidance, we hammered out hundreds of the
ugliest and most useless objects the human mind can conceive of.
Our first major project was a little bookshelf that you could use
as a stool. The idea was that someday you'd be looking for a
book, when all of a sudden you'd urgently need a stool, so you'd
just dump the books on the floor and there you'd be. At least I
assume that was the thinking behind the bookshelf-stool. Mr.
Schmidt designed it, and we students sure know better than to ask
any questions.

I regret today that I didn't take more shop in high school,
because while I have never once used anything I know about the
cosine and the tangent, I have used my shop skills to make many
useful objects for my home. For example, I recently made a board.

I use my board in many ways. I stand on it when I have to get
socks out of the dryer and water has been sitting in our basement
around the dryer for a few days, and has developed a pretty
healthy layer of scum on top (plus heaven-only-knows-what new and
predatory forms of life underneath).

I also use my board to squash spiders (All spiders are deadly
killers. Don't believe any of the stuff you read in "National
Geographic"). Generally, after I squash a spider, I leave the
board in the water for a few days, spider-side down, to wash if
off, assuming the scum isn't too bad.

If you'd like to make a board, you'll need:
Materials: A board, paint.
Tools: A chisel, a handgun.

Get your board at a lumberyard, but be prepared. Lumberyards
reek of lunacy. They use a system of measurement that dates back
to Colonial times, when people had the brains the size of MMs.
When they tell you a board is a "two-by-four", they mean it is
NOT two inches by four inches. Likewise, a "one-by-six" is NOT
one inch by six inches. So if you know what size board you want,
tell the lumberperson you want some other size. If you don't know
what size you want, tell him it's for squashing spiders. He'll
know what you need.

You should paint your board so people will know it's a home
carpentry project, as opposed to a mere board. I suggest you use
a darkish color, something along the line of spider guts. Use
your chisel to open the paint can. Have you gun ready in case Mr.
Schmidt is lurking around.

Once you've finished your board, you can move on to a more
advanced project, such as a harpsichord. But if you're really
going to get into home carpentry, you should have a home
workshop. You will find that your workshop is very useful as a
place to store lawn sprinklers and objects you intend to fix
sometime before you die. My wife and I have worked out a simple
eight-step procedure for deciding which objects to store in my
home workshop:

1. My wife tells me an object is broken. For instance, she may
say, "The lamp on my bedside table doesn't work."

2. I wait several months, in case my wife is mistaken.

3. My wife notifies me she is not mistaken. "The lamp on my
bedside table still doesn't work", she says.

4. I conduct a preliminary investigation. In the case of the
lamp, I flick the switch and note that the lamp doesn't go on.
"Your right", I tell my wife, "that lamp doesn't work."

5. I wait 6 to 19 months, hoping God will fix the lamp, or the
Russians will attack us and the entire world will be a glowing
heap of radioactive slag and nobody will care about the lamp

6. My wife then alerts me that the lamp still doesn't work. "The
lamp still doesn't work", she says, sometimes late at night.

7. I try to repair the lamp on the spot. Usually, I look for a
likely trouble spot and whack it with a blunt instrument. This
often works on lamps. It rarely works on microwave ovens.

8. If the on-the-spot repair doesn't work, I say, "I'll have to
take this lamp down to the home workshop". This is my way of
telling my wife she should get another lamp if she has any short-
term plans--say, to do any reading in bed.

If you follow this procedure, after a few years you will have
a great many broken objects in your home workshop. In the
interim, however, it will look barren. This is why you need
tools. To give your shop an attractive, non-barren appearance,
you should get several thousand dollars worth of tools and hang
them from pegboards in a graceful display.

Continued in first comment ....


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