davidd (davidd) wrote,

Fixin' Stuff

I finally fixed the broken drawers on the under-sink cabinet in the bathroom. The bottom drawer, or more accurately, the rails on which the drawer slides, broke several months ago. A visiting relative took it upon himself to disassemble the broken sliders and discuss a number of elaborate plans for repairing or replacing them; fortunately, I suppose, that's as far as it got.

The top drawer sliders broke a couple of weeks ago, possible jarred loose by the earthquake. One broken drawer, rarely used, wasn't that big of an inconvenience. The broken top drawer, however, was another matter, necessitating a repair attempt.

I've been putting it off for a couple of weeks, I think because I knew, I just knew, that rounding up the parts that "Uncle Dan" had disassembled would take longer than the actual repair process. I was not mistaken. I spent two hours hunting down the missing parts. I found and discarded ten out-of-date telephone directories in the process, and discovered that we have at least six partly used boxes of aluminum foil in the house. Don't ask me why, 'cause I really don't know.

Anyway, back to the cabinet: the fact that this cabinet is only about two years old left me pretty irritated when the drawer sliders broke. I blamed it on the cheap plastic brackets that hold the metal guides in place. Today I finally decided to tackle the repair-or-replace project.

My assumption, as I said, was that the brackets were cheap junk, and that they had become brittle and crumbled in less than two years. Upon removing said brackets from the back of the cabinet -- easier said than done; workiing underneath sinks is always such a joy -- I noticed something rather interesting: the brackets had been installed upside down!

Like this would make a difference, you might think? An examination of the brackets revealed that the plastic was still supple, no sign of brittleness. Further, the "load bearing" section of each bracket had a support section molded in, complete with nifty little cross-hatching and reinforced stress points. The "top" of the brackets, however, were comparatively lightweight, meant to serve only as guides for the metal parts, holding them in place but not designed to support any weight!

Installed upside down, however, the non-load bearing section was supporting the entire mass of the heavy plywood drawer -- and all the junk in the drawer. NO WONDER IT BROKE!

The cabinets were assembled and installed by a local handyman. Supposedly the guy knew what he was doing. At least he showed up for the job, and worked reasonably quickly. He had a reputation of being one of the best handymen on the North Shore.

But he installed the plastic brackets upside down... and they broke. Duh!

I reinstalled all the brackets. The "top" part was broken on each of them, so I used little screws to secure the metal rails to the brackets. It should stay put for a while at least.

Upside freakin' down.

Did I ever rant about my neighbor "breaking" my new DeWalt cordless drill? A few months ago I bought a new electric drill. I lost my old one somewhere -- I think when I was loading up my car last school year after installing the new whiteboard in the classroom, I may have left it in the parking lot. I dunno. It's gone, I can't find it. Heck, it might be buried in the Room of Doom. Whatever, I can't find it, so I bought a new one.

DeWalt drills are "professional grade." They're those big yellow ones that guys wearing tool belts carry around on construction sites. They're supposed to last forever.

I loaned my mondo mega drill to the neighbor to use when he was building his deck a while ago. Last week I asked if I could get it back... I needed it to fix the drawers. He was briefly evasive, asking if I really needed it right away; then he admitted that he'd broken it while drilling into stucco.

"Uh, it's a DeWalt," I said. "You can't break a DeWalt."

He assured me it was broken, and offered to buy me a replacement or have it repaired. He went and got the drill, and showed me the problem. The chuck, which is the part that grips the bits, wouldn't grip the bits, and made an awful grinding sound when tightened. I told him not to worry about it, that it shouldn't have broken, and that it should be covered by warranty.

Yes, it turned out that it would be covered by the warranty, if I could find the receipt. Which I couldn't. I also checked all my credit card statements going back eight months, and couldn't find the purchase. I guess this was one of those rare occasions when I actually paid cash for something. I spent a couple of hours looking for the receipt and looking up warranty information and checking statements.

Then I actually looked closely at the drill. I listened to the grinding noise. I again thought to myself, "this is a DeWalt, they're not supposed to break!"

I took it outside, found a can of WD-40 penetrating oil, and flushed out the chuck mechanism. After the first shot of oil the grinding sounded less harsh. I continued for about ten minutes, spraying it and trying it and spraying it and trying it again, and guess what? All fixed, good as new! It just had some gritty stucco dust and sand wedged in the mechanism.

I was glad the drill wasn't broken. I know the neighbor would have bought a new one, but I didn't want to have to wait, and I didn't want to hassle with going shopping again, and I wanted to get the stupid drawers fixed. Mostly, however, I didn't want to find out that the two-hundred dollar "professional grade" name brand tool was a piece of crap!

I also loaned the same neighbor my Porter-Cable jig saw. I asked for that back at the same time as the drill, but he hasn't yet returned it. I really hope it's not lost, stolen, or broken. He said the roof of his shed has been leaking....

Today I needed my aluminum step ladder. It was... guess where... at the neighbor's. I went over and got it. I also found out where my papaya picker, my green plastic lawn rake, my heavy garden rake, and my short-handled shovel had disappeared to. You know how in the comics Dagwood and Herb are always arguing over who borrowed whose tools? Yeah, well, I'm living in a comic strip world. Like that should come as a surprise.

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