Thursday, November 18, 2021


      Yesterday, I put together a set of shelves that I had cut, routed and sanded the previous weekend.  Yesterday was predicted to be the last warm day for some time and the flat garage floor is an excellent workbench.

      Assembling a set of my typical shelves once the parts have been prepared is about like assembling flat-pack furniture: it's all there, ready to go.  Glue, pipe clamps and wood screws, with a big wooden mallet to encourage reluctant parts to line up.  I often load up a couple of battery or hand-cranked hand drills, one to make holes for the screws and another with a Phillips screwdriver bit to drive them.

      This time, I didn't.  Some of the shelves were thinner, "patchwork" boards, and it's safer to drive the screws by hand.  I used a Yankee push-type screwdriver, a good compromise between speed and control.

      I didn't have a lot of time to spare.  Tam pulled her car out and I set to work, and in just over an hour, I was standing the assembled set of shelves so she could pull back in.  Having five good pipe clamps help; I can have one shelf clamped in place, glue setting, while I glue and clamp the next, then go back, put screws in the earlier one to hold it, and start on the next shelf, moving clamps as needed.  You just have to keep moving.

      Four screws per shelf, sometimes with an extra if the wood is uncooperative.  They are mostly there to hold it all together while the glue sets; finishing nails will often do, but working with inexpensive boards, it's better to have a little more holding power.  The screws go in pretty quickly, a few quick shoves with the driver --

      But that's not something I do every day.  I was pushing myself, and when I left for work, I could feel some pain in my right upper arm.  It didn't get better at work; instead, it kind of settled in my shoulder.

      This morning, it hurts quite a bit to raise my right arm above shoulder level, or to try too awkward a reach.  I have irritated my right shoulder joint and now I'm paying the price.   So I'm off to go soak in Epsom salted bathwater, and here's hoping it helps.

      The shelves were looking pretty good last night.  I hope I am able to install them this weekend.


Anonymous said...

I liked using my Dad's Yankee screwdriver. We had a drill bit for it which was nice for pilot holes. A carpenter for our school district had the extra-long version, which I saw him use on a piano-hinge installation. He made quick work of that.

That was over 40 years ago. I've begun to embrace my power tools more and more. Still, it doesn't take much to get the shoulders sore. I try to keep up with certain hand-weight exercises I learned during physical therapy to lessen the soreness.

Cop Car said...

My body requires that I sneak up on physical labor jobs - or is it my laziness showing? At any rate, I wouldn't have been able to move the next day had I attempted your feat. I'm sorry that your shoulder didn't take well to the exercise; but, I'm pretty sure that you don't ask your body to do (too much) more than that of which it is willing to do. Then, you got your Booster? Good for you on getting your Booster, but I hope the combination of its side effects and your shelf work calms down quickly.