Monday, September 6, 2010

Who let me play with powertools?

Ohhhh, if you could have only been here on the afternoon I constructed a frame loom to see if I could turn the project into a Saturday Sampler. Because for me, the key to a successful Sampler, is test-driving the project over and over until I know the good, the bad, and the ugly, hoping to eliminate surprises that might turn up during the two hours of class. I know there are a gazillion and one ways to make a frame loom. I've seen looms constructed out of wood, metal, PVC pipe, and even a book. I'm not opposed to constructing a few more frame looms in variety of ways, but I wanted to start with the one I knew best: the one I made in my very first college Fibers class.

It's been 16 years since Fibers 101 when we constructed the very same loom I was attempting to re-create that afternoon. We used nails back then, and after working with Floyd this last year and a half, and seeing how he put things together more often than not, well, it gave me the brilliant idea to buy screws instead. I tried to use wood glue this time around as well, thinking it would add a layer of sturdiness to the loom. And oh, did I mention that sixteen years ago, the pieces were already pre-cut to a specific size on a power saw? No? Well, this time they weren't. So, I had to use a handsaw and apparently the teeth were too rough for the wood. I needed a finer tooth saw. It's a good thing my teenager son has a mouse sander.

While trying to get things square, I fought with the clamps and wood glue . I'd no sooner get one side square and clamped together, then the other would come apart. I wrangled my eleven year old daughter, Ruth, into being an extra pair of hands. Still, the wooden parts were slipping and sliding. After a bit, I managed to get the sides clamped down to the top piece of the loom.

Then came the drill. I knew enough to pre-drill the holes. But apparently, I didn't know enough about drill bits and screws to choose the right ones, both drill bits and screws. The screws were too big, and the drill bit too small. When my husband Jeremy walked up to the porch after he got home from work, he noticed I was fighting with getting one of the screws into the wood. I had asked him to help, but between the two of us, we split the wood. I say "we" because, as for me, I was the one who pre-drilled the hole. And he, because he'll tell anyone who listens, he's "Anti-handiman."

So I had to take that piece apart, which wasn't easy to do since the glue had set up, cut another bar the same size as before, and then had to try to re-assemble it. (Floyd makes this stuff look so easy!)

Joshua, my afore mentioned son, rode his bike up to the porch at that very moment. He was just getting back from hanging out with his friends. I looked up at him, and made sure to look as pitiful as I could, and said in a pleading, helpless voice, "Oh Josh. I need your help." I should be ashamed of myself, using my femininity that way, against a poor hapless, unsuspecting, young, man-in-training. After all, that "help-me-I'm-a-girl" bit never fails with males of any age, even though I suspect they already know what game we are playing. However, I was desperate enough to try anything that might make a teenage boy willing to help his mother. Floyd was on vacation, and I didn't want to wait a whole week to finish my frame loom.

Feeling all grown-up and manly, Joshua sauntered over to me and said, "What do you need?"

"I bought the wrong screws apparently, and I'm not doing so well with the cutting and measuring...and well, it's pretty ugly." I sat on the porch amidst parts and pieces strewn about. Blowing my hair out of my face, I added, "But hey, I've learned a lot. And now I'm ready to turn it over to someone with more expertise." Flattery will get a woman everywhere.

Sweet boy that he is, he held in his laughter as he scanned my "mess." "Sure," he said with a big smirk, as he leaned his bike against the porch railing and climbed over the gate. After inspecting what I had already completed, and listening to what needed to happen next, he helped me square up the bottom piece, while giving me advice about what I should have done instead.

When I asked him to drill the hole, he said "See, I love this drill. It has this level on the back with cross hairs so you know you're drilling perfectly straight."
"Well, huh, look at that." I said
"You didn't know that?"
"Nope. I didn't know that."

In about 1/10th of the time it took me to do the top of the loom, Joshua had the bottom fixed, and fixed the top half where I made mistakes. Well, O.K., in two places he accidentally drilled all the way through. After the second hole that went through the loom frame, he looked at me and said, "Two words: Wood Putty."

Until the next time I go unsupervised with tools...


No comments:

Post a Comment