Entry 74: Holey War

You know what I’m quickly discovering in my new role as a handy homeowner?   No matter how many tools you have, you never have the right tool.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we own a lot of drill bits.  This is because I’ve always owned a power drill, since it’s the one tool I can use to make holes intentionally, as opposed to every other implement I’ve ever owned, with which I always manage to make holes randomly in places where no holes are desired.  And although I’ve gone through many drills over the years, I’ve always kept the bits that came with them.

So imagine my surprise when I needed an 11/32″ drill bit and found that I didn’t have one.  A hundred bits, and not a single 11/32″.

Despite my previously stated aversion to do-it-yourself furniture from countries that eat a lot of pickled fish, I had deftly assembled a small Ikea table to go under the window in the kitchen.  I did this perfectly, without a single leftover part.  Then I proudly put it in its place, and the damned thing wobbled.

Both Barbara and I immediately assumed I had done something wrong.  Admittedly, I don’t have the best track record with this sort of thing, as I had previously put together furniture that ended up looking more like the type of modern sculpture that gets erected in front of buildings in Manhattan so that pedestrians can stop and say, “What the heck is that supposed to be?”

But, gosh darn it, I’m a homeowner now, and I can assemble things.  In fact, I was sitting on a stool that I had put together as I stared at my lopsided table.  Unless the table was straight and the stool was lopsided.

We decided to measure the legs.  Maybe it was Ikea’s fault.  We wouldn’t put it past those sneaky Swedes.  But, no, the legs were all the same size.  Then we realized: it wasn’t the table, and it wasn’t me.  It was the floor.  It was evidently slanted downward toward the window at approximately the same angle as my 401K.

So we put some felt pads on one leg until the table leveled off and we could lean on one side without having the other side turn into a catapult and flip whatever was on it up into the air.  That was fine, as long as we didn’t move the table even one inch, because unless it was on exactly that spot, the padded leg would be higher than the rest, and it would wobble in the other direction.

This was obviously an unsatisfactory solution.

So I went to the hardware store and purchased table levelers. Not just any table levelers but self-leveling table levelers. They float on springs so that each leg can automatically find its level.  Or so the packaging says. And the directions were simple: drill a hole, tap in the plastic thingy, screw in the leveler.

Except that the hole had to be drilled with an 11/32″ drill bit.  (You thought I’d never get back to that, didn’t you?)

Well, let me just say this: what madman (or madwoman) would decide to make anything 11/32 of an inch?  What the hell kind of size is that?  I mean, make it one friggin’ 32nd of an inch bigger so it can be a reasonable kind of size like 3/8!  Or, heck, make it 3/32 less so it can be 1/4.  What makes 11/32 such a magic number?  They don’t even know the size of the leg I’m drilling the 11/32″ hole in.  Maybe it’s only 7/16 across.  Boy, wouldn’t they look foolish then!*

Well, I sure wasn’t going back to the hardware store for one drill bit.  So I ordered one from Amazon.  When it came, I first used it to slice open my finger (my main typing finger!).  Then I decided to drill some holes with it.

So I did.  And Barb and I installed the levelers, and we turned the table over.

And it wobbled.  It was higher, but it wobbled.  Maybe even more than before.  We put the felt pads back on.

So now Barbara is searching the Internet for some sort of cup device.  If she finds it, maybe we’ll try again.

Or maybe we’ll just leave that table exactly where it is.

See you soon.

*Yes, that’s right–a math joke!  You see, 7/16 is bigger than 11/32, so if I used an 11/32″ drill bit on a 7/16″ table leg…Do I really have to explain these things to you?

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2 Responses to Entry 74: Holey War

  1. Vinny Bond says:

    You didn’t want to take a 5 minute drive to the hardware store, but you ordered on on Amazon and waited the 7-10 days for it to arrive?

    THAT is what I got out of this story!!!

    • markhal says:

      Hardware is store is 15 minutes each way, and I get free 2-day delivery with Amazon. Plus I had already asked enough stupid questions in the hardware store for one day.

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