Monday 4 September 2023

Flat-pack rabbit

At the very birth of Xerox when photocopying was still black&white I liked to save paper by printing [short] docs back-to-back. Protocol: 

  1. Copy one side
  2. insert that page back into the paper tray
  3. copy the other side
  4. presto!

Easy, except that the first time you do this, the 2nd side will overprint the first OR the 2nd side will be upside down w.r.t. the first OR, indeed, both There are only four possible ways to insert the printed side back into the paper tray but it would always take me 5! attempts to get it to work. Hint: it helps to put a tiny red dot on one corner of the top sheet of the paper tray before printing the first side. That should help to orient the page for the second go through.

Q. How many different ways can you screw together two pieces of flat-pack jig-saw??
A. Enough to strip the thread from the pre-drilled holes and require a match-stick as a shim.

Was in England last month for the last week of the Gdau school holidays, so that both parents could slave away keeping the economy ticking over. Their family home has undergone an infra-structural make-over. Problem is that the building is part of a Grade II Listed "row of seven cottages. Early C19 with C20 alterations. Limestone ashlar; painted ashlar and slate roofs to some; others have pantile roofs to the front, concrete tile to the rear; moulded stacks to party walls and gable ends. Two cottages have wrought iron S shapes to the ends of tie-bars. Included for group value". The real problem is that the electrics had developed a tendency to short out and we were all worried that there would a house-fire or something similar. 

If you've going to rip up floors and ceilings for re-wiring, it might be time for a wider make-over: replacing the kitchen plumbing, swap the bedrooms around etc. When we arrived, the family had just returned home after renting another place down the street while the tradesmen broke things down and built them up again. There was still a stack of flat-pack 'furniture' that required assembly; a stack which was altogether in the berluddy way for a small house. No set of assembly instructions comes with an English narrative; but some are much worse than others: like a xerox of a xerox where the illustrations were kinda crappy to begin with. The Boy and I mistakenly believed that two nearly identical baulks of timber [each a smudged 40cm long in the instructions] were indeed identical. That required dismantling almost all our work to swap them round.

The penultimate task was to hang two glass-fronted doors. The hinges were attached to the doors with two 10mm microscrews. All I had to do was line the hinges up with 12 pre-drilled holes and drive in M4 x 20mm screws. Maybe I should have plunged the screws into a bar of soap before trying to turn them in tight guide holes but I contrived to break the heads off 3 screws leaving the shank obstructing the berluddy 'oles. Each hinge has three holes, but you can get a life-times use if you only employ 2 of them. So I only had to move one hinge down a piece and drill more holes. I also took a trip into Ye Olde Village Hardware Store to buy a dozen robust M4 x 20mm [or 6 x ¾ in as they call them yokes in Britland]. The doors initially manifest a disconcerting tendency to swing open like a poltergeist was present but a stern talking-to solved that.

Ever bought something from Ikea? How many 4mm ⌀ hex Allen keys do you have??? When will FlatPak Inc feel justified in not including an Allen key in every box on the assumption that there are more 4mm Allen keys on the planet than people . . . than chickens . . . than cockroaches? 

With one Gdau to hold the other end, I put together the ladder-shelf unit shown at the top of the post. The longer vertical strut is actually two bits of bamboo laminate held together by a scarf joint. The shelves are bolted to the uprights by counter-sunk threaded screws. My first attempt mismatched the scarf joints so that only half the counter-sunk dents could be on the outside to receive the shelf. screws: dismantle and try again. Second attempt contrived to install the bottom shelf upside down. It's meant to be idiot-proof! But that's clearly a bridge too far for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment