Some Bits of Humor

Sue’s uncle is a Master Carpenter.  He built his home which included a workshop instead of a second car garage.  Because he recently changed residences, the house would be sold. Sue’s cousin made arrangements for distribution of all of Uncle Floyd’s carpentry items.  Though I dabble at projects involving wood and tools, I think I am closer to being a Master Scrounge than even an “Apprentice” in the carpentry trade.  Therefore, I was granted the pleasures associated with cleaning out Uncle Floyds workshop after all of the major items were gifted.

I was thrilled at this opportunity.  I don’t really have space for large tools, yet always manage to find room for a few more screws.  Despite all the major tools being claimed, I brought home two van-loads of “stuff”.  Today’s Friday Frivolity is my ‘Thank You’ letter to Sue’s cousin.

Sue and I expedited emptying your dad’s workshop by simply boxing up everything that wasn’t breathing.  As we agreed, I was to “clear out” the workshop, keep what I wanted and rummage the remainder.  We didn’t bother with sorting as we packed up.  I would do the sorting on rainy days at our house.  It has rained a lot, so I’ve had many hours to review your dad’s “Home Depot” stockpile

For the moment, set aside your previous assessment that I should be living under the watchful care of shrinks at an Acuity Deficient Residence.  Even Certifiable individuals, who tend to often be on the verge of euphoric orgasm, are capable of “reasonable and explainable” joy.

I had no idea how much I am like your father, or visa-versa.  I sorted out enough hack saw blades to last most DIY guys half a dozen years.  I looked up onto my pegboard to see if I might need any from Uncle Floyd’s inventory.  Hmmm, I had 4…Floyd had 8.  I figured  Floyd’s wisdom is superior to mine, so now I have 8 and still there are 4 to sell at rummage.  Thank You very much.

When I finished with saws and blades, I dumped all the drill bits I found scattered throughout Uncle Floyd’s drawers, cupboard shelves, shoe boxes and old Marshmallow Creme jars onto my bench.  Wow, your mom sure used a lot of Marshmallow Creme.  I must have found at least 50 full of sundry woodworking needs.

Hand “brace” bits—both auger and center bit—are easy to spot, so I sorted those out first. High speed, power drills have just about the “Brace and bit” drills obsolete. But, I still have my grandpa’s hand-powered brace, so a big THANY YOU for some old (1950s) super strong, super long, deep drilling, big hole bits for that brace.  Of course, looking at the longest bit of this type does beg the question of when I might ever be tempted to auger a half-inch diameter hole through a 16-inch thick block of wood…using a hand-cranked brace.

Nevertheless, as a collector of anything potentially useful (as well as stuff with no foreseeable use), I am truly grateful.

Masonry bits are also quickly identifiable so corralling them was my next task.  Measuring their sizes and “branding” each one as I put them in a clean plastic “pen” was going very smoothly.  Smoothly at least UNTIL I picked up a bright chromium, unused, still in its original packaging, life-time guaranteed, Craftsman, tungsten carbide tipped, bit.

So…I’m glad you asked…why would a drill bit in store-bought condition surprise me?  Because it was the fourth 1/4 inch size that I’d found. Yes, it’s true.  Concrete bits do wear out, so having a back up is a rather common practice.  But, why would Floyd have purchased (but not used) a new 1/4” bit when he had 2 other quarter inchers that were in excellent condition. Not to mention hang on to the 4th masonry bit that didn’t have a carbide tip.  Actually, disregarding the importance of carbide tip, it does seem a bit unreasonable to save any broken tool that had obviously bit off more than it could chew its way through.

Alas.  Quarter inch is a common size.  Turns out I had 3 of that size just as Uncle Floyd did.  Yah, like I said.  Floyd and I have very similar thought processes.  Thanks for the shiny new masonry bit.  I know I’ll find something to mount on my workshop cinder block wall.  Hmm, maybe a shelving unit for Marshmallow jars.

Now, with the masonry bits put away, the thirty-pound pile of fluted steel on my work bench only had bits for glass, metal drilling, hole saws—which do not work with a saw, …spade bits—which I suppose could work in the garden, …and even a few spoon bits—which only look like a spoon but couldn’t hold broth let alone a noodle.

I mentioned my collector mentality, didn’t I?  Imagine the excitement of a philatelist finding a stamp he doesn’t have in his collection.  In my sizable accumulation of high-speed ‘twist’ bits, I had never come across a 29/32nd bit.  My heart sped up and I stopped breathing to reread the size stamped on the bright steel bit.  Yup…29/32.

There’s a reason this bit is in pristine condition.  I’d bet it’s never been used.  Who would ever need that sized hole? They don’t make dowels that size. Even if they did, I’d use a 7/8 bit and a big hammer. I mean…how much resistance can a 32nd of an inch of wood put up against me and a ten pound sledge. (Thanks for that hammer, also)

However, most of all, Thanks for the peace of mind that I will no longer worry about not having the right sized twist bit for any job.  Adding in Floyd’s bits now completes my collection—1/16th through 1/2 inch at 32nd inch increments.  I just sat there, mesmerized by that  splendid array of steel.  And not just a complete set.  I now have a back-up …or 3… of each size.  Except the 29/32 bit of course.

I’m done for today. I’ve still got good sized pile (even though I’ve never really understood “good sized” quantitatively) of miscellaneous drill bits to sort through — not to mention the huge assortment of files, hand tools, screws, nails, nuts and bolts still awaiting my attention.  Oh, and paint too.  But paint is a whole different story. Another day maybe….