Monday, December 19, 2016

Let Toby Do It

  There's a character named Uncle Toby in the novel Tristram Shandy who every morning for forty years vows he will oil the squeaky door latch sometime that day, but he never does. I like this novel because it's pretty much one big digression and I love digressions, tangents, TMI, etc. I also like Uncle Toby because he proves there are worse procrastinators than myself in the world.
  Putting things off till tomorrow is definitely a problem that can cause missed flights and other heartaches. The best explanation for procrastination I've found is that we're more like a parliament squabbling over policy than a king issuing edicts. I find this comforting because I can blame the Tories for dragging us to perdition.
  There's a latch in my own life that needs attention. It doesn't squeak, rather it jams. It's the latch on our wood stove, the wonderful Jøtul model 118. My only complaint about this stove is that the bolt that holds the door latch gradually backs out. Eventually the latch gets so loose it slips off the lip that it sits on when the door is open and ends up hanging vertically from the bolt. Not a major problem except that when you lift the latch up, the bolt screws into the door and you can't get the latch past the lip. The bolt is too hot to back off with your fingers and now the fire starts to rage as you rush for a screwdriver to back out the bolt so you can latch the door. Then you screw the bolt back in to it's original position and you're good for a week or so.
 The obvious solution is to screw a nut onto the bolt inside the door and clinch it in place so it can't back out. I should just go get the nut, but some back bencher in my parliament always finds a reason something can't be done. "You're going to have to bring the bolt to the hardware store to get the correct size nut," he said. "This is a very special bolt, probably made in a little factory up a Norwegian fjord. There's a good chance you'll lose the bolt and it could be six months before you can get a replacement. Meanwhile, no fires." Another member chimed in: "There does not appear to be enough clearance between the bolt and the inner lip of the door for you to get a nut on the bolt. Why not try Loctite?"  Hmmmm. Loctite is a threadlocking adhesive mechanics use in high vibration areas to prevent nuts and bolts from coming loose. You can supposedly still get the nut off if you need to. Heat will burn off the Loctite so there are three grades: Don't Waste Your Money, Should Be About Right, and This Baby's Never Coming Off. I should have gone with the last one and been done with it, but I'm always second-guessing myself. What if I don't get the bolt adjusted just right, or suppose I need to remove the bolt for some unlikely reason; so I got Loctite number two. And it worked like a charm for about two weeks. I tried a heavier application and got 16 days.
  I could be like Uncle Toby and live with it, but I was determined to one-up him even if he is just a character in a book. Getting the nut was an adventure in itself but I won't bore you with details. A socket wrench would have been best to tighten the nut but I perceived there was not enough room for a socket so I used pliers. This worked about as well as Loctite, maybe a bit worse. By a narrow vote parliament ordered me to go get the socket wrench. There was enough room after all. I got that nut really tight: Three weeks and counting.

Mission accomplished.


Joe said...

Better call Jerry. He's got a truck and travels to the tough jobs like this one.

And don't be too hard on your self as a procrastinator; you're some good company:

Great posts!

Chairman Joe said...

I actually considered having Jerry build up the lip so the latch wouldn't fall off, but feared I'd lose the door along the way.

Chairman Joe said...

Just watched the video. Time for a nap.

Jean P said...

Great story!
Steve (another disciple of Uncle Toby)

Catherine Stenzel said...

Procrastination, eh? Never heard of it. But I am having fun catching up on your December bloggings.

Chairman Joe said...

Here's an update on my nut job. On Nov 16th, 2017 the latch dropped off the lip. Within 48 hours I had the nut retightened, and 24 hours later I posted this update. How's that Uncle Toby?