I needed to bore a 7/8" hole in the top of my nightstand, so I could permanently mount the "microphone boom" that holds my Kindle so I can fall asleep reading without breaking my nose. I've been using the clamp-mount base for years and I keep promising myself I'll make it permanent.
Okay, down to basement workshop to find tools for the job. H'mm, it's "engineered bamboo," which is like hardwood plywood, so a Forstner bit will be unhappy. I'm not going to risk my century+ old softwood auger bits from Vonnegut Hardware, but here in the "worn-used" collection is an Irwin-type auger bit with a fine-pitch leadscrew for hardwood, and another.... I needed a 7/8" and sure enough, there was one stamped "14." I dug out a small file; couldn't find the special paddle-shaped file for auger bits. A Japanese-type "feather file" was a good substitute, and in a few minutes, I had a nice, sharp bit, ready to go.
Upstairs, boring with brace and bit, I had to use a small block of wood on the underside of the nightstand top, so the leadscrew could pull the auger bit all the way through, and as it cleared, it struck me what an incredible debt I owe my to Dad and to two men I never met: Eric Sloane and Alfred P. Morgan.
Mr. Morgan was a prolific writer of "How-To" books, especially for young people. His books were my introduction to electronics and to building things. Mr. Sloane was a tool collector and wrote many books. Both of them illustrated their own work and both were early aviation enthusiasts. And both of them, like my Dad, were very much interested in sharing the whys and hows of doing things. Without them, I would never have learned that old augers are marked by their size in 16ths of an inch or the difference between hardwood and softwood augers; without them, I would never have known how to sharpen a dull auger, or even how to properly bore a hole with a brace and bit.
Thanks to them, it was a quick, simple task -- and thanks to them, I cleaned up the tools and put them away properly afterward, too.
None of the three is still around to thank. Two of them have left us plenty of good information. Alfred P. Morgan and Eric Sloane both have extensive Wikipedia entries and many of their books are still in print or available as scans.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
2 years ago