Step 1, Step 2 — Oh, sure!

Years ago, anticipating Christmas, I penned a column about parents and the travails of putting together toys from manufacturers’ directions. Extrapolated to the outdoors, a swing set fits this bill, too. However, a hobbyist can have another “take” on that issue!

I quilt. I have for over 35 years. Over that span, I accumulated a stash of fabric. If you quilt, you know what I mean. Well, after an inordinate amount of time packing fabric in laundry baskets, closets, in the basement, and any place else I could find, I needed some really good storage. I kept a pool table until middle son had a place for it. Once it left the premises, I opted to turn the basement rec room into a sewing area. It would be nice not to crowd myself between the washer/dryer and the bathroom.

I was accustomed to laughing if I happened to go to the sewing room and not have a phone handy. When it rang, I had to crawl out under the open leaves of the cutting table, and wriggle between the ironing board and the doorway hoping to reach the handset before the caller gave up hope of an answer!

At last, I could actually sew and leave the project on the table. Being a woodworker, I looked for about five years until I found a triple section of bookcases that would fit the space available for fabric storage.

With a farming schedule, no project goes on a strict timetable. Buying the al is the material is the first step, but often it reposes in the shop until I get can get a chance to work with it.

The stigma of manufacturers’ directions extends easily to plans printed in woodworking magazines. I have yet to find a plan that goes perfectly. I often need an engineer. Thank goodness, farmer husband fits that bill. If you know a farmer, then you know what I mean. If it’s mechanical or structural, they always seem to know just how to get it in working order.

I studied the book case plans about four times before I cut a piece of wood. Hubby helps me on the 6-foot pieces. I can’t seem to manage them on the table saw without some assistance. All went famously until we came to Step 3. We had cut out the sides and I cut the shelves and set them aside. He drilled the holes for the shelf supports to complete Step 1. Next, I cut the tops and bottoms and assembling each unit before adding the back.

Famous last words. Step 3. It seems that the plans are wrong. Oh, I have plenty of ¼” plywood for the backs, but they won’t be the measurement that the instructions specify. Go figure.

I’ve had this happen so many times before that it is beginning to be a joke around the house. Sadly, it could be an expensive joke if the plans give a critical measurement in error.

So it’s back to the drawing boards with my in-house Purdue grad. As they once said so often on the radio, “Stay tuned for the next episode….”

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