Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Doing it the hard way

I guess I am, by most standards, hopelessly obstinate. When most people are curled up in their nice warm bed having realised the fish are not there, or back in the pub because the wind is blowing you sideways across the cliff... I'm still there. The same I guess goes for the writing, and for the constuction -- or destruction projects. It's not that I'm good at them, just persistant - or too stupid to give in. This was put to the test today when I got Bill to come and help me haul my new work-bench out of Peter's shed. Now is one of those quick jobs - cut 4 legs with a chainsaw. About 3 minutes work...

Yeah well. Enter some very old concrete imbedded pieces of some REALLY hard timber. And the chainsaw from Ping Ping, circa 1910. Okay it said 'Stihl' on the casing but if I were them I'd be denying it :-) So Pete starts it with a rattle and a clatter, and yours truly goes under the bench and gets loose with gurt clouds of smoke and cuts - not without effort... one leg. Leg 2... sparks and smoke and no progress. #$%@ bits of cement from concreting the bench in. So Peter goes to sharpen the blade, and we try again. And again. In choking clouds of carbon monoxide, oil, soot and cursing... repeat until you have Dave with one of those weeny branch saws (not a bowsaw) but a saw half the size of the leg... sawing away. It was a sharp little saw, but little. Anyway two hours later, and some crowbar work later, and language to make a lascar blush, the legs are cut... only it's not moving...

Now we get the 'right said fred' part - with 3 hot tired men and a large crowbar.
We took this off... to get that out. And then to move that we took off the next. and so on. and on. The bench came out small pieces. Heh. Good thing the chainsaw had rattled and gasped its near last or we'd have had the shed down too.

Two and a half hours that ten minute job took, and Bill was trying to get back to his project that he only had today to do...

Anyway, I have four sturdy legs towards a work-bench... :-)


  1. Oh, jeez. I've lived that experience. My heartfelt sympathies, Dave.

    I'm assuming that SA does killer hardwoods in the same fashion Australia does -- but if you ever run across a genuine piece of 'ironbark', just keep running. It's amazing stuff. The grain has a natural wave to it - about 2cm wavelength, maybe 1cm amplitude. A natural shock absorber. But as if that wasn't enough, it's laid down in such a way that different layers are significantly out of phase with each other.

    Seriously the most unsplittable, uncuttable timber I've ever encountered. They used to use it to make telephone poles, out in the outback of termite-infested Queensland. It's concrete and steel, now - but the Ironbark didn't do a bad job.

  2. And I thought I was stubborn. You take first prize. :)