Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bobi's girl.

Despite the internet, we get more and more paper delivered by post each day. Our post box, which was an original fitting built into our front porch 80 years ago, has become too small. So Diane and I decided to purchase a new one. We bought a Bobi, which is a steel box with a proper lock. Of course, it is too large to fit in the porch. We decided to fix it to the side of the house.

Here was our first difficulty. Our house is covered with a rendering with lots of bobbles in it, making a bobbly surface not flat enough to fix the Bobi to. Our first solution was to put felt washers in between the box and the wall. Finding felt washers that were thick enough to make a difference was hard, but eventually I found some that were designed to protect a hardwood floor from furniture feet, which seemed to fit the bill.

The second difficulty was in drilling through the steel box. I had to go out and find appropriately sized titanium drill bits. Our local hardware man was sure he had some somewhere and eventually we dug them out. Only £1 each, but the time it took finding them!

The third problem was in holding up the heavy box for long enough to mark the holes in the wall to match those we had drilled in the box. We solved this problem by building a plinth of bricks to rest the box on while we marked up.

We marked and drilled the holes in the wall, but then came the fourth problem. When we tried to screw through the box, the holes didn't match up and the felt washers weren't thick enough. We had to abandon this plan and think again.

The solution was obviously to attache some battens to the wall and then attach the Bobi to the battens. I looked in the garage loft, but here was the fifth problem: no wood of the right size. Off I go again to the hardware shop to buy a piece of wood. Again, easily solved at less than £1 though by now my petrol is probably running at nearer £5.

This time I fix the battens and the box and all seems well.

That was yesterday and today we have our first delivery. Not the postman, today is Sunday, but someone delivering leaflets by hand. I see the young woman go to the porch, pause, then walk round to the side of the house. As soon as she is gone I nip out with my key to see what she has delivered.

Can you believe it? It is a leaflet offering alternative health products. Full body holistic massage £30, hot stone massage £45, Indian head massage £25 and the one that really fascinates me, Hopi ear candles! 45 minutes for £25. I would want more than £25 to sit with a candle in my ear for 45 minutes.


justme said...

haha...You're too funny!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been royally (so to speak) unhappy with titanium drill bits. The ordinary high-speed steel bits work fine unless you tend to use your bits a lot.

I've had much better luck with cobalt bits. These are a bit more expensive, usually a couple of bucks or so for a 3/16 inch bit, and upwards from there. But they probably last five times as long as a steel bit.

Hardware stores in the US seldom have much in the way of wood. For that, you need a lumberyard. There you can purchase anything from a 1X1 a foot long to a 6X12 or even larger in lengths up to perhaps 16 feet or so. They are very expensive; sometimes more than $100 for a large beam in a long length.

It's increasingly rare to find massive timbers straight from the tree. Most large beams are now glued-up from smaller pieces of lumber.

That's not really a disadvantage, though. They can alternate grain patterns in glue-up boards (also called laminated beams), so the beam is more stable and much less prone to twist, bend, or crack.

They stain up pretty well, too.

I wonder if Britain has a domestic lumber industry. Certainly not in Scotland. When I was there, there was hardly a tree in sight.

I suppose most of the wood is imported from Norway, Sweden or perhaps Russia.

Richard said...

Ear, ear!

(Must be said with Yorkshire accent.)

Terry Hamblin said...

You must have gone to the wrong part of Scotland. Vast acres of Scotland are covered in coniferous trees. I know that there are equally vast areas covered with heather and gorse, but forestry is a major industry in Scotland.

Less so in England, where it is thought to be too fertile to waste on trees, though near us, in the New Forest they have been producing oak and beech for a thousand years. The Royal Navy of Horatio Nelson got its timbers from here.

Not an expert on drill bits. Until the weekend I didn't know there were titanium bits.