Tuesday, February 26, 2019

In Which I Take Up Fencing

     I got home about 7:30 last night, so sleepy that I didn't notice the backyard privacy fence was broken!  Tam asked me if I had noticed and I admitted I was so busy admiring her post windstorm clean-up work that I hadn't seen it.  She'd done a lot: trash cans stood back up, flattened-out cardboard boxes that had spilled out retrieved from where the wind had blown them, grill cover back on, water and ice dumped out of the utility wagon, and all shipshape.

     Except for the fence.

     The house next door was just sold; the former owner has moved out and the new owner has yet to move in, which means their gate isn't locked.  I don't know if a curious would-be owner gave the fence between us a shake to see how sturdy it was, or if the fence was so weak (it's pretty old) that the recent wind had it ready to break and it finally did.

     An entire section had sagged away from one of the 4x4 fence posts.  I didn't want the new owner to be greeted by that; it's no way to begin with a new neighbor.  Besides that, I think good fences make good strangers as well as good neighbors -- sagging fences and open gates send a message that might prove too tempting for some unfortunate person.

       I found some little 2 x 4blocks of wood and got out the good hammer,* salvaged the old nails and tacked the thing back together.  The repair was pretty quick and didn't fall apart overnight, which makes me happy.
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* The good hammer for this is a lightweight Japanese framing hammer with a long handle, a long nose and a redesigned claw.  It's also got a magnet to hold the nail for the first hit. Light enough for me to swing easily, it's heavy enough to sink nails in a few hits and has a waffle-pattern face that prevents slippage.

10 comments:

Douglas2 said...

I find that if you jam an épée into the post on each side of the loose panel, it holds the panel in place quite securely . . .

Phssthpok said...

Mayhaps it is the fact that I've just awakened and have yet to quaff my first cup of coffee, but my mind is befuddled by the concept of shorter claws providing increased leverage.

waepnedmann said...

The hammer was the first tool.
The blade and the digging stick were its next companions.

Roberta X said...

Phssthpok: check the angle of the claw, and the length of the handle. They actually offer a better *grip;* this, with the longer handle, gives better leverage. I don't know if the copywriter has ever used a hammer but I have my doubts. The designer had.

Will said...

I hate nails. When the wood shrinks, or things just get loose, smacking that nail back in is not much use. Much prefer using screws and battery drills/drivers. When things get loose years later, tightening a screw is effective. Also, running a drill tends to be less annoying to the neighbors than hammering.
Bonus, if not recovered from a concussion, pounding a hammer is injurious to the brain. BT;DT

Roberta X said...

If I'd'a had time to have screwed it, I would'a, but I think it would probably have had to at least buy dinner first, and not at just any cheap dive.

With a good hammer, you can sink a nail as fast as you can think about it, and do so one-handed, which is an advantge working in the dark and holding a flashlight.

John said...

It's nice to see that nothing foiled you in your fencing evolution.

Phssthpok said...

Now see... there's the Pedant in me showing through.

I noted both the longer handle and the increased claw angle. The handle I noted as a leverage multiplier, and the increased angle I noted as providing a longer 'throw' when pulling a nail. But neither of those are what I would call 'shorter claws'.

Hence my befuddlement.

Pedantic Man is pedantic.

markm said...

The shorter claw gives a shorter distance from the fulcrum to the nail. The mechanical advantage of a lever is (distance from where you apply force to fulcrum)/(distance from fulcrum to where the force acts), and shorter claws reduce the denominator, which increases the mechanical advantage.

However, when you get a nail that continues to resist coming out after the first little bit of motion, shorter claws reduce how far it can pull the nail. Sometimes you have to put a block under the fulcrum at the top of the head, reset the hammer and claws, and pull some more. With this hammer, one might need two or three blocks of various heights to remove one stubborn nail. That's slow but better than it being beyond your strength to get the nail to move at all, and the shorter claws and better leverage help with that. I get the impression that Roberta and Tam are strong for women, but most strong women are still weaker than most men.

Roberta X said...

Markm: look closely at the *radius* of the part of the head that serves as the bearing surface when pulling a nail out, compared to that of a normal hammer, and you'll see another advantage.